Costaluz Visa

We don’t know what it is about Spain, but our home country has something that appeals universally and, as a result, ranks as one of the world’s most popular places for relocation.

Students are an example – they arrive to study and then decide they’d like to stay on a more permanent basis. But, how do they convert a student visa to a work permit in Spain?

If this scenario sounds familiar, the good news is that the procedure is straightforward, particularly if you’ve already been resident in Spain for three years. The even better news is that because you’re already a resident, you don’t have to fulfill some of the standard work visa requirements.

Read this guide if you’d like to find out more about the two options available to convert a student visa to a work permit.

Find out how to get a student visa

First requirement

If you’d like to swap your student visa for a work permit in Spain, you should be aware of a minimum residence requirement. You cannot apply to convert the permit unless you have been living in Spain with your student visa for at least three consecutive years. Any less, and your application will not be considered.

First benefits

Although the three-year residence requirement might sound like an obstacle, it is actually a benefit because it gives you a real advantage over other non-EEA nationals applying for work permits in Spain. For example:

No need to prove that there’s a shortage of professionals doing your job in Spain – regular work permit applications from non-EEA nationals must first pass the ‘shortage test’. This test lists job positions in Spain that have a shortage of applicants.

If the job is not on the list, a regular work permit application is not considered. However, applications from holders of student visas are exempt from this requirement.

No need to bear national unemployment in mind – when approving work permits from non-EEA nationals, Spain also considers the rate of national unemployment. The higher it is, the fewer approvals for work permits. But, as a holder of a student visa, you are also exempt from this consideration.

If you don’t meet the minimum residence requirement (three consecutive years), explore these other residence options.

Option 1 – Student visa to work permit as an employee in Spain

If an employer has offered you a job in Spain, this option is for you. And in most cases, the procedure is straightforward because the conversion from student visa to work permit is automatic.

You do, of course, have to make the corresponding application, but in our experience, this is probably one of the easiest ways to get a work permit.

How to apply

Regional governments are responsible for issuing work permits in Spain, so you need to apply to the government in the region where you live. So, for example, in Andalusia, you would make the application to the Junta de Andalucía.

You and your employer need to fill in the appropriate documentation and go to the corresponding regional government office.

Option 2 – student visa to work permit as self-employed in Spain

If you like the idea of setting up on your own as a self-employed individual or through a company, the procedure is to convert your student visa into a self-employed work permit.

The procedure in this instance is slightly more time-consuming, but in our experience, it’s also relatively straightforward. The main requirement is a detailed business plan explaining what you plan to do and how you will do it, plus projected income.

If you’re planning to have premises for your self-employed activity, make sure you include information about them in the business plan. It’s also useful to mention your qualifications and experience.

Find out about setting up a company in Spain

What’s next?

If you’d like to convert your student visa to a work permit, contact our expert team. We’re more than happy to assist and, most of all, make sure that you meet all the requirements and make a successful application the first time around.

Maria Luisa Castro

Director and Founder
María founded CostaLuz Lawyers in 2006 and is the Firm’s Director. María is registered Lawyer number 2745 of the Cadiz Bar Association and is licensed to practice in all areas of law throughout Spain. Working closely with her team, María has developed the firm into one of the most highly regarded and trusted Spanish Law Firms acting for English-speaking clients with legal problems in Spain. We’re here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, initial legal orientation.
María Luisa De Castro - Costaluz Lawyers

4 thoughts on “How to convert a student visa to a work permit in Spain”

  1. Hi! I am a student and i’ve been here in spain for 4 or 5 months for studying but recently an employer has offered me a job in Spain and i did an interview with them and they accepted me and they also gave me an offer letter but they need my visa to be converted to a work permit visa and my starting date should be at 20 March 2023 but they can delay it more if the visa hasn’t been finished yet. Also Im going to finish my study in masters this month but my thesis defense would be in mid march. Is it possible to convert it with the job offer? Thank you very much

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Hi Fawwaz,

      You would need to have finished your studies in order to be able to convert your residence permit.

  2. Thank you very much for this valuable information, I was looking for this type of information only and I got it here. The way you explained all Visa Application Process & Checklist of Documents is really useful to get a knowledge.

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