Student visas

If you are a European citizen or have a European passport you are free to work in Spain without a visa.

If you are a non-EU citizen you have a couple of options.

Option 1: Process a student visa

A short-term visa (longer than 3 months, but maximum 6) is easier to process, but does not allow you to apply for a NIE or work authorisation. Any work you do would be strictly under the table, but your stay here would be longer than the tourist visa allows. To apply to extend this visa, you would have to return to your home country.

A long-term visa (more than 6 months) requires more documents and organisation but can be renewed from within Spain. With this visa an NIE number must be acquired within the first month of your stay, making you a recognised foreign resident. After getting the NIE, you can apply for work authorisation once you have a job offer, and you can work up to 20 hours a week. This option provides peace of mind for those who feel uneasy about accepting ‘under the table’ job offers and can make you more employable to schools and language academies who do not offer cash-in-hand work.

To process a student visa you need sign up to a course that is at least 3 months long (as described above). The 1-month TEFL course doesn’t cover this but there are a couple of options:

The Developing Teacher course from TEFL Iberia

This is a post-TEFL training course and includes a variety of input sessions, teaching practice, project work, and self-study. The price for this will be 100€ per month, and the course lasts 6 months. The sessions are run in the morning, so you have time to work in the afternoons and evenings. It starts shortly after you complete your one-month TEFL course.

You can start studying Spanish or the Developing Teacher course after you have completed your 120-hour month TEFL course.

If you have any other questions regarding processing a visa or would like to start the process with TEFL Iberia, please contact for more information.

Enquire about our Developing Teacher course

Spanish lessons from Languages4life

You can sign up to Spanish lessons for whatever length of time suits your needs at our partner school, Languages4life. Both schools operate in the same building so you’ll be familiar with the space after your TEFL course. Classes are in the morning so you still have time to work in the afternoon / evening (which is ideal for English teaching work). The prices for this are:

Course duration Price
6 months 1820€
9 months 2730€
12 months 3274€

This is a great way to make the most of your time in Barcelona and learn some Spanish along the way.

Find out more about Spanish lessons from Languages4life

Option 2: overstay your visa and do cash-in-hand jobs, mostly private lessons

This is technically illegal but very common practice. During your time here it’s highly unlikely anything bad will happen to you (you won’t get picked up and deported!) but complications can arise when you want to travel home, say, for Christmas. Experiences are very varied, some people have been able to come and go without a second glance from the the border guard at the airport, while others have been questioned and made to buy a ticket home.

If you would like to read about recent, first-hand experiences we highly recommend you join the Barcelona TEFL Teachers’ Association page on Facebook. It is an incredibly active online community with tons of non-EU teachers / would-be-teachers discussing their experiences. We also recommend you use their search function on the top right-hand corner of the page and search, for example, ‘overstay visa’ and you’ll find lots of active discussions.

Frequently Asked Questions about student visas

Officially up to 20 hours per week.
It varies from country to country but on average you should give yourself 2 months from start to finish.
No, you could only do cash-in-hand work. The main benefit of a short term visa is being able to travel freely.
Yes, you could do 6 months of Spanish and 6 months of the Developing Teacher course, for example.
No, all first-time visas must be processed from your home country.
No, this must be done from your home country. You can only renew a long-term visa from within Spain (visas longer that 6 months).
Nowadays it is very difficult. The sponsorship process is a large commitment for an employer and it is very hard to find a company willing to take it on. Even if you do, you would have to involve costly immigration lawyers and prove that someone from the EU can’t do the job, which is extremely difficult.
Yes but you would have to leave the EU for a minimum of 3 months.
Very easy, we show you exactly how to do it on the TEFL course.
Send an email to for a complete list of documents.