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
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.
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.
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.