Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Applying for a Spanish Student Visa through Boston

Skyline of Madrid
Now that I've been accepted into the Auxiliares de Conversación program and have received my school placement, I can begin working on applying for my student visa.  The most confusing part of the process for me thus far.

Need that visa to get here!  source

As part of this program we are technically working on a postgraduate grant and as such are considered students, therefore we apply for the student visa.  Our visa will be good for 90 days from its start date and once in Spain we apply for our NIE/TIE to get our residence.  To start the visa process you must first determine which Consulate you will be applying to.  The Spanish Consulate whose jurisdiction I'm under is in Boston.  If you claim residency in the states of: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine then you also will be applying to the Consulate in Boston.

To apply for the visa you must go to the Consulate in person and then pick it up in person; I have heard that someone else can pick it up for you but they need a notarized letter giving your permission (not 100% sure because I plan on just going myself both times).  The point being, Boston does not mail you your visa nor allow you to mail it.
Palacio de Cristal in Madrid

Once you know which Consulate you must apply to then you will have to look at their requirements.  While some of the general information may be similar, many of the Consulates have different requirements for the background check and medical certificate.  The website for the Boston Consulate lists the requirements you will need for a long-stay student visa (make sure to look at the correct one, the student visa is the last visa type listed).  The requirements for applying for the student visa at this Consulate are:

  • 2 National Visa Application forms (printed double sided) and 1 Supplement Application form, both filled out and signed.
  • 2 color photos with a white background (passport sized)
  • Passport that is valid throughout your stay in Spain and has at least one blank page to affix the visa;  this will be left at the Consulate while they process your visa.  Also provide either of the following: US driver's license, US State ID Card, Voter's Registration Card, or valid Student ID.
  • For non-US citizens only: Alien Registration Card or US Visa with I-20/IAP-66 (except B1-B2), must be valid for minimum of three months past visa expiration date.
  • Color original of your "Carta de Nombramiento" stating your school placement, monthly stipend, work start and end dates, as well as insurance information.  This is very important!
  • Non-refundable money order of $160 made out to the "Consulate of Spain."
  • Certificate of Absence of Police Records-In Boston you are able to either get a State Background Check of the FBI Background Check, but local ones will not be accepted.  It must be no older than three months from the time of your visa appointment, must have the original and translated into Spanish, and must bear the Apostille of the Hague.  You also must get a background check from any country you've lived in for more than six months over the past five years.
  • Medical Certificate-This certificate must be signed by a M.D. or D.O. in a letter-head paper in the following format: “This medical certificate attests that Mr./ Mrs. ……………………… does not suffer from any illness that would pose a threat to public health according to the International Health Regulations of 2005.”  It also must not be no older than three months, but it does not need to be translated or bear the Apostille (one of my friends just had her appointment and confirmed this).

Making Your Visa Appointment:

To make your appointment with Boston you can do it over the phone or online (online you must make an account first).   If it is possible, you should let the Consulate know when you are making your appointment that you will be "one of the Auxiliares de conversación norteamericanos del Ministerio de Educación in the Comunidad Autónoma de (insert your comunidad) starting this coming September/October 2013."  A lot of openings may not appear yet for making the appointment for your student visa, but don't fear.  Keep checking back and more will open up for later in the summer.  I haven't made mine yet because I have to wait until July when I'm out of work.


I have heard from others who have gone through the process that you can get turned away if you do not have the appropriate copies.  I'm making two copies of everything to be sure.  If your documents are accepted they will keep the copy and give you back the original.  You must apply for your visa no less than three weeks before your departure date because it takes around a month to process a student visa.

[Update (6/18): Made my visa appointment today for Tuesday, July 2nd at 11:15 am.  I'm making a day out of it and spending the day up there with my family.]

The Background Check:

I chose to get a state background check instead of a FBI one and it was incredibly easy in RI.  

  1. I went to the office of the RI Attorney General and asked for two background checks, one in English and one in Spanish.
  2. Told them it was for use overseas and would need the signature of the Attorney General (very important, you need to this to get the Apostille!)
  3. Wrote a check payable to the BCI for $10 ($5 for each bgc).  In total waited maybe ten minutes.
  4. Took my Spanish and English background checks to the Office of the Secretary of the State to get them Apostilled.
  5. Told them I needed the documents for Spain and then wrote a check payable to the R.I. Secretary of State for $10 (also $5 each).  The Apostille took less than five minutes to get done.
  6. Check with your state for the requirement you would need, and also if they can also give you a translation of your background check.

The Medical Certificate:

I have a doctor's appointment Thursday morning to talk with my doctor, but the secretary at the office said that it would be no problem and to just print out what the letter needs to say and they will type it up for me.  I'll update you all once I have the appointment done.

[Update (6/13): Got my Medical Certificate today.  Wasn't charged anything by my doctor and they were really nice about it, all I had to do was bring in the requirements and they re-typed it for me exactly as the Consulate website stated.]

The Supplement Application Form:

As far as I know Boston is the only Consulate to require this form.  The first time I looked it over I was a little confused because I couldn't find any information on how to correctly fill it out.  Luckily, my internet sleuthing found some helpful links for past study abroad programs to fill out the information.  I found a link through Syracuse University for students who are studying abroad.  It tells you how exactly to fill out our National Visa form and has a filled in example of the Supplement Form.  Our answers are a little bit different, but not by much.

For example, I'm not a student so I put my actual job for "Profession."  We want multiple entrances, and put our dates as when I plan on arriving to when our school ends.  For example, I put September first until June 30th because I'll be in Madrid.  Our "port of entry" is Madrid or whatever city you're entering Europe via before going to your actual "Main Destination."  Our "Purpose of Travel" is to study and our "Contact Information/Reference Address" is for the school we will be teaching in.



My biggest problem is actually turning out to be the ID because my driver's license expires on my birthday in July so I had to renew it first.  I went Saturday and they said I should have it within a month, so worst case scenario I'll have to use another form of ID applying for the visa. I also got my passport sized photos done then at AAA too.  I did get extra photos because you will need three to get your NIE/TIE processed once in Spain in the Fall, but I wouldn't get them there because I'm pretty sure our photos are a different size.  So I potentially wasted $8 on the extra sets, but not too bad I suppose.  I can save them for the future.

My Costs for the Visa Process:

Background Checks=$10
Apostille of the Hague=$10
Passport Pictures=$16 (1st set=$8 and each additional=$4)
Money Order=$160
Train to Boston=$52 ($22 round-trip and $4 all day parking, for both trips)
Renewed License=$33

[Update (7/2): Had my visa appointment and my visa is set to start September 1st.  I can email back in a month to see if my visa is ready to be picked up.  Read more about my experience in my new post: Visa in Progress, Flights Purchased, and the Waiting Continues
Update (8/9): Picked up my visa from Boston, while I waited the full month my visa took only about 2.5 months.  You can read a little more about it in my post about the art of packing lightly.]

Here are some helpful links I have found for the Spanish visa process in Boston:
Auxiliares de Conversación 2013-2014 Visa Instruction Manual

Have you ever gone through the Boston Consulate to get a Spanish Student Visa?  Do you have any more questions or advice about the process?


  1. I wish I had found this post sooner! I have my appointment with the Boston Consulate on Wednesday and I only have one background check that is in English and I have no idea how to go about getting a translation of the form. My state doesn't do background checks in Spanish like it seems that they do in RI. I'm doing the same Auxiliares de Conversación program, my assignment is in Galicia. I don't know how to make heads or tails of this background check translation.

    1. You might be okay at your appointment, my friend didn't know about the translation either and when she went to Boston they just told her to bring it when she came back to pick up her visa. I would explain to them that you didn't know about the translation and ask if you could bring it later. You just need to find a certified translator, though I'm not sure if the translated version NEEDS an Apostille like the original.

  2. Thank you for posting this! I have my appointment Thursday. I was wondering if you know about the medical insurance. The Boston consulate says you need..

    Health Insurance (original form): International insurance coverage for health/accident with a minimum coverage equal to €30,000 during the planning period of stay in Spain (or its equivalency in dollars). Insurance cards are not acceptable.

    But then my friend said that was covered in the carta? Did you bring any info about your medical insurance?

    1. I used my carta, told them I was doing the Auxilares de Conversación program, and they didn't ask for anything else to prove health insurance. The carta should also cover the adequate funds that are required. Hope that helps!