People come from all over the world to teach English as a foreign language in Spain, and there are a variety of different visa options depending on your nationality. The following is a brief overview of the current options; however, we recommend that you always conduct your own research to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.
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As Spain is a member of the European Union, teachers from other EU member states do not need a visa to live and work legally in Spain. However, you will still need to apply for a residency permit and a tax number on arrival in the country. The application process should be straightforward and you can usually expect your employer to help you through it.
For non-EU citizens, the most common option is a 90-day tourist visa that is issued on arrival at a Spanish airport. Once in the country many teachers simply find a job and work as normal even after the visa has expired. Although this is not technically legal, it is common practice and rarely causes any problems for teachers or employers. Every year thousands of Americans and other non-Europeans follow this route to teaching English in Spain.
An official work visa is not easy to come by in Spain as it requires a significant investment of time and money on the part of the employer. Exceptions can be found in international schools that typically only employ teachers with a high level of qualifications and experience. Work placements organized through the Ministry of Education's public school recruitment program also come with a work visa.
These are available to some nationalities whose governments have an individual agreement with Spain. The visa allows you to work in the country for a specific time (typically one year), with certain restrictions. Working holiday visas are generally only available to those aged 18 to 30, and you will also need to provide evidence of sufficient funds to last the length of your stay. Currently there are agreements in place for Australians, New Zealanders, and Canadians, although this can change at any time so you should contact your nearest Spanish Embassy to see if you are eligible.
A student visa might be a good option if you are planning to study at a Spanish language school or university, as it may also allow you to work legally for a certain number of hours per week. Unlike other visa options, the student visa needs to be applied for in advance from within your own country. Your nearest Spanish Embassy will be able to provide full details of eligible study programs and how to apply.