Study Abroad in Spain with Arcadia University

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Visa Information

Critical Notes: In order to study in Spain for three months or longer, you are required to obtain a National Visa. While obtaining a student visa can be time-consuming and frustrating, a high majority of students receive their visa without incident. We encourage you to read through these materials carefully, refer to the websites listed on this page and approach this process promptly and with patience and good humor. We strongly encourage you to begin this process as early as possible.

The information provided on this page is intended as a general point of reference. All students are personally responsible for visiting the website of their local Spanish consulate to obtain the most up to date and authoritative application requirements.

Before taking any action regarding your Spanish visa, it is essential that you read the visa instruction email sent by your program manager and familiarize yourself with the details provided within.

Also note: As of October 2012, the fee to secure a visa for semester or academic year studies in Spain is $160.00.


 How to Apply for a Temporary Long Stay Visa for Spain

STEP 1: Obtaining a Passport
You must possess a valid Passport. If you do not have a passport, please begin the process of securing one immediately. Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees. If you already have a passport, please check to see that it has not expired.


STEP 2: Identifying your Consulate Office You will be submitting your visa application to a Spanish Consulate for processing. There are eight Spanish consulate offices throughout the US, in addition to the Spanish Embassy in Washington, DC. You will be assigned a consulate office depending on your permanent home address. In some cases, the consulate may give you the option to apply under the jurisdiction of your campus address, if the jurisdiction differs from your home address. In order to determine the location of your consulate office, please visit the Spanish Embassy Website. This link will take you to the Spanish Embassy in Washington, D.C. From their main page, click on your appropriate consulate's website for more information.

We have provided a listing of US Consulate Offices and their areas of jurisdiction below. This information does periodically change, so we encourage you confirm your area of jurisdiction prior to applying for your visa.You are required to appear in person at the appropriate consulate office in order to lodge your application as the Spanish Consulates will not accept your visa application through the mail (and in some cases, you may also be required to pick up your visa in person). Most consulates require an appointment in order to apply for the student visa in person. Please refer to your appropriate consulate’s website to make an appointment; we strongly encourage you to make an appointment as early as possible. Some consulates will allow you to identify an authorized legal representative to apply for your student visa on your behalf (in which case your documents must have notarized authorization).


STEP 3: Completing the Visa Application

Download and complete the Application for a National Visa.

In English: Download the form

In order to help you with the application process, we have posted instructions on how to fill out a National Visa below. We encourage you to reference these instructions when completing your application. If you have any questions when completing the application, please contact The College of Global Studies at 866-927-2234 for assistance. Once you have completed the application, please make a copy for your records. 

Instructions on How to Fill out a National Visa Application Form


STEP 4: Collecting Your Visa Materials

You will receive in your Acceptance Packet from Arcadia the following four documents:

  1. Arcadia University Acceptance Letter — congratulating you on being accepted to Arcadia's program in Spain

  2. Arcadia University Certification Letter — verifying your enrollment with Arcadia University of proof of financial means

  3. HTH Insurance Letter — verifying your attendance at a Spanish institution

  4. Spanish Certification Letter — verifying your attendance at a Spanish institution
    * (For Granada: will be sent to you in a separate mailing)

You will need all four of these documents in order to apply for your student visa. In addition, you will need to compile the information listed below, prior to submitting your application to the consulate for processing. While these materials are necessary at most consulate offices, each consulate office operates as an independent office and can require additional materials. We advise that you check your local consulate office’s website to confirm their requirements before applying for your visa.  

To apply for a student visa, the following requirements are necessary at MOST consulates. Please consult with their specific website for an authoritative list of current requirements, as this page is only for general guidance.

  • Passport. Please be sure that it is signed and valid for a minimum of 6 months after your program return date.
  • 4 Passport-sized Photos. These will be stapled to your application.
  • 2 Copies of the Completed National Visa Application.
  • Spanish Certification Letter. Included in your acceptance mailing for Barcelona & Toledo*.
    *Sent in a separate mailing for Granada.
  • Arcadia University Certification Letter. Included in your acceptance mailing.
  • Arcadia University Acceptance Letter. Included in your acceptance mailing.
  • HTH Insurance Letter. Included in your acceptance mailing.
  • A Copy of your Flight Itinerary/Airline Tickets. Please be sure that this includes your specific arrival and departure details.
  • Money Order Payment. Cost of a student visa may vary by Consulate, please check the individual websites. Payment must be in the form of a money order payable to the Consulate of Spain. Please be sure that your name appears on the money order.
  • Proof of financial means, as defined by the specific Spanish consulate to which you are applying for your study visa.
  • Receiving your Visa. Please follow the Consulate’s instructions on how to obtain your processed visa. Some Consulates require passports with processed visas to be collected in person, others may allow materials to be returned by mail. If you passport and processed visa can be return by mail please use a Pre-Paid US Postal Service Express Envelope, in order to track your passport and visa and ensure that you receive it in a timely manner.


Academic Year Students Must ALSO obtain the following:

  • A Medical Doctor’s Letter. Most consulates require this. Please have a medical doctor certify on his/her letterhead that you are in good health, free of yellow fever, cholera, the plague, drug addiction and mental illness. The doctor’s signature should appear on this letter.

  • FBI Criminal Record History/Identification Report (verified with a fingerprint card) You are only required to submit one of these two records if you are staying in Spain longer than 6 months. FBI Background checks may take up to 13 weeks to process. While awaiting receipt of your FBI Criminal Background checks, students seeking Academic Year visas may be able to submit their visa application. You should include with the visa application proof that you have requested a FBI Background check. The Spanish Consulate will then start processing your student visa application. Once you have received your FBI Report and obtained the Apostille, you will need to send the original documents and one copy to the Spanish Consulate where you applied to be added to your application, so that final approval of your visa application can take place. For more information on the report, visit this page.

  • Apostille of the Hague. You are only required to obtain an Apostille of the Hague if you are staying in Spain longer than 6 months. Commonly referred simply as an Apostille, this document certifies that the notary public who notarized a document is in fact a notary in good standing with the state. The consulate is requiring an Apostille on the Medical Doctor’s Letter and the FBI Report (and on any other documents that need to be notarized). An Apostille can only be granted by the Secretary of State in the state where the document was notarized. Requirements and fees to get an Apostille vary by state so check with your state's Secretary of State website.


In addition to the items above, SOME consulates require the following items for semester and year students:

  • Academic Transcript. Some consulate offices require a copy of your latest academic transcript. Please refer to your consulate’s website for specific instruction.
  • Additional Identification. Some consulate offices require additional forms of identification and photocopies of identification, including US driver’s license, US state ID card, current student ID, Voter's Registration card, birth certificate or additional photos. Please refer to your consulate’s website for specific instruction.


Other Important Notes

  • We advise that you make an appointment (if necessary) and apply for your visa ASAP—please do not delay. The entire process can take up to 8-10 weeks.
  • Applications will not be accepted more than 6 months in advance or less than 30 business days prior to departure date. Passports must be left at the Consulate General for processing.
  • Please take into account any U.S. or Spanish holidays that may occur around the time you submit your visa for processing. If you are traveling to other countries before or during your stay in Spain, you will want to inquire about the entry requirements permitted with this visa. Students traveling to non-European Community countries may not be admitted into Spain after leaving.
  • Students who study for one semester receive a visa valid for a period of 6 months.
  • Students who study for the academic year receive a visa valid for a period of 3 months, after which the student must contact local authorities to acquire a student residency card, validating the remainder of the academic year. The staff in Toledo, Barcelona, and Granada can assist you with this after arrival, if necessary.
  • You may need to submit 2-3 photocopies of all the documents presented.
  • These web instructions are valid as of 18 June 2010. The Spanish Consulates frequently amend the application process, invalidating these instructions. Please contact your program manager if you have any questions.