Wellll, tis that time of year again and after spending my first year abroad working as an “auxiliar de conversación,” I figured I would write a post about the Spanish visa process as many of you reading this are probably seeking information on how to apply! The process appears overwhelming at first, but all in all, it’s not that bad–especially if you’re well-informed and understand the process! Before reading too much farther–I am basing my post and information off of the Spanish Consulate in Chicago. However, many of them require basically the same things–just make sure you refer to your specific consulate before you do anything to get the specific details/information, but overall this is a good guide to walk you through it.
You can find your state’s consulate here: (http://www.mecd.gob.es/eeuu/dms/consejerias-exteriores/eeuu/auxiliaresusa/VISA_INSTRUCTIONS_FOR_US_2016_29-08-16.pdf)
Side note: The following form is your best friend during the whole process. I personally recommend going to your consulate’s website and finding their official requirements (When I applied, I noticed some differences between the one on the Ministerio’s website (where we apply) and the official Chicago consulate’s website, so to be safe I went with the official)
Chicago Specific Requirements (taken from Consulate website) : Language and Culture Assistant Visa Requirements
WHAT YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR THE SPANISH VISA:
- Make an appointment.
- For most of the consulates you will have to personally deliver your application and required paperwork. I did not make an appointment until after I got all of my paperwork done, but I recommend doing it ASAP because sometimes appointments are booked for the next 3 months and it will take you forever to physically apply for the visa even though you have the documents ready. Look at your consulate’s website and see what the waiting times are like, then go ahead and book if you have an idea of when you’ll have all of the paperwork done. Chicago applicants–you can find the link to make the appointment on the form above.
- National Visa Form + 1 Copy
- The application form is fairly easy to fill out– and this one is in English so even better. You can even fill it in online through the link and print it out (recommended) Don’t forget to sign it! You have to glue on a passport size photo to the form. * PRO TIP: I personally had many passport sized photos ordered for this whole process because you’ll need more after you get to Spain and apply for the TIE.
- Original US Passport and ID + 1 copy of both
- Easy peasy–just make some copies
- Again, you’ll need copies of these when you’re in Spain–so if you like to be extra prepared like me, then go ahead and make multiple!
- Easy peasy–just make some copies
- Carta de Nombremiento + 1 copy
- Basically, this is your “contract” that you should get in the mail or by email from your specific region in Spain. It has the amount of your stipend, your insurance information, and the duration of your contract in Spain. It will also have to the contact info and address for your school–necessary for the National Visa Form and to apply, but I recommend working on getting the other documents even if you haven’t received this yet, because it can take some time to receive from your region, but at least you’ll have the rest started/done!
- Official Criminal Background Check with Apostille of Hague legalization + 1 copy
- This part is what stressed me out the most, lol. The background check is very simple to get, but I recommend getting this done pretty early–if not first..because it can take anywhere from one week to three months to get back. Check with your state’s specific requirements, which you can usually find online i.e. Kansas Bureau of Investigation. You will need a fingerprint official record check and you can just get this done at your local police department–it was about $10 where I live.
- Next–The Apostille of Hague???? This part is what made me the most nervous because I had never heard of that in my life and I thought it would be super difficult to receive—no. It’s just a fancy phrase for a notarization through your Secretary of State’s office. Again, look at your state’s specific requirements for this. In Kansas, it was like $7 and I just had to fill out a form, send in a memo for what the background check was being notarized for, a return envelope, and the money..super easy!
- Just to re-iterate-the background check has to be through your state i.e. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation. It cannot be a local background check from your local police.
- Medical Certificate from an M.D. + 1 copy
- Just an official doctor’s note on the hospital/clinic letterhead that says you aren’t going to bring any disease to the country of Spain.
- “Molly Morgan has been examined and found free of any contagious diseases according to the International Health Regulation 2005.” An example, taken directly from the Chicago Consulate’s page.
- US Postal Service prepaid Express Envelope with Prepaid Stamps
- You have to bring this prepaid envelope if you don’t plan on picking up your visa in person so they can send back your passport with that brand new, shiny VISA 🙂
- Money order of $160 to pay the visa fee
- EXTRA COPIES
- Again, I have obnoxious anxiety and am always super prepared because of it, just because you never know, people. Extra copies will not hurt and they will be nice to have when you get to Spain and apply for the TIE.
..and that’s how it goes! I remember being so overwhelmed and stressed when applying for everything, but I promise it is not bad at all once you understand the process! The process to actually get to Spain and begin working will play some mind games with you, but STAY STRONG!
If I survived the process with a cancelled flight the day of my appointment, re-scheduling an appointment for a month after that, sending some documents to the wrong address (don’t ask), and forgetting to get fingerprints done and realizing when I had already sent off my background check form, then you can too! For real guys, I was a mess. Don’t sweat it, cause it will all work out and you’ll be enjoying Spanish sunsets and wine before you know it!
I hope this post was super helpful while applying for your visa. I definitely had many trials and errors while applying so I hope this helps you from making those same mistakes! Comment or reach out out to me if you have any questions!