You will need a valid passport to enter Spain, unless you are coming from a country within the Schengen zone (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland).
If you hold an EU passport you can visit Spain for as long as you like. If you plan to actually live in Spain you will need to apply for your NIE – your Spanish ID. You will need this for things like opening a bank account, getting a phone contract, etc. We are here to help you with this process, which simply involves gathering a number of documents and taking them to a special appointment. You will also need to register with your local council (Empadronamiento) and with Social Security. Again we are here to help with all that!
If you are from any of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, South Korea, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Vatican, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Uruguay, Venezuela, you will enter on a ‘Tourist Visa’. This is valid for 3 months. Once you have been in Spain for 3 months with only a Tourist Visa, you must leave. After that 3 months is over, it is illegal for you to be in Spain.
If you plan to spend longer than 3 months here, you can apply for a student visa, which allows you to live in Spain legally for 1 year. We can guide you through this process, which takes around 3 months and must be done in your home country. You will need to enrol in a year’s worth of accredited study. An example of this is our year-long academic Spanish program where you study 20 hours a week.
If you are not from the EU, or any of the countries mentioned above, you need to contact your local Spanish consulate to find out what your next steps should be.
All EU citizens can use their European Heath Insurance Card (the new E111!). This enables you to access state-provided healthcare in Spain at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free when on a temporary stay. The Spanish health authority determines what treatment is considered necessary and cannot wait until your return home. If you plan to stay in Spain long-term or plan to work in the country, you need to register with Social Security. This means you will be entitled to state healthcare as the Spanish are.
Non-EU citizens cannot access the state healthcare system and must ensure they have valid health insurance for the duration of their stay. We can recommend HCC Medical Insurance Services (HCCMIS).
Without a doubt, the Spanish healthcare and Social Security system is one of the best in the world. Spanish Social Security ensures that you have access to universal assistance in case of emergency and it covers the biggest part of medical assistance for the Spanish as well as for the foreigners.
To know more about the Social Security system, contact your embassy.
If you are planning on coming to Madrid, why not take full advantage of the experience and sign up for Spanish classes? You can find detailed descriptions on all of LAE Madrid’s courses here.