Time is valuable, and many of us would surely wish for more of it. In case you you are a student in Spain who would like to eventually work in the country, we have good news for you. The job seeking visa will give you more time to stay in Spain while you look for employment.

If this interests you, keep reading! In this article, we will explain everything you need to know to start working after completing your studies in Spain. From the job seeker visa requirements, to the application process, and even an explanation of what happens once you find a job – we’ve got you covered.

Let’s start.


What is a job search visa in Spain?


The job search visa is a residence permit granted to non-EU citizens who have finished their studies in Spain. With this visa, they can extend their time in the country for a maximum of two years to find a job or start their own company.

That is, we are talking about a non-working residency that allows you to stay in the country as a resident, while finding a job.



Before this visa was implemented, foreign students could only stay in Spain until they finished their studies or until their residency card expired.

Thus, having a student visa only allowed the foreigner to legally be in Spain for that given period of time.

And although having a student visa is enough for many foreign students, others would like more time to figure out their next steps.

If you are part of the latter group, keep reading.

The job seeking visa is a great opportunity for those who want to star working but did not have time yet to find a job offer.


Main benefits of the job seeking visa


One of the best things about the job seeking visa is that it allows you to have your spouse or children with you.

However, an important detail has to be made clear here.

You can only have your spouse or children with you while you are on this visa, if they were already with you while you were on a student visa.

This means that when you applied for your student visa, you had already done a joint application.

In this case, your spouse or children are linked to your authorization, and would also be allowed to extend their time in Spain with you.

Another benefit is that the entire application is processed online.

Moreover, it follows a fast-track resolution, meaning you should have a response within 20 labor days; which is much faster than the general 3 months for other residence permits.


Can I work with a job search visa in Spain?


You cannot work with a job search visa in Spain. This may cause some confusion, but as an extension of the student visa, the job seeking visa does not allow you to work.

Rather, this visa is the bridge to getting a work permit.

Like its name, it buys you the time to find a job in Spain.

Once you do receive a job offer, you will need to initiate the work permit application process to be able to work.

Doing this will be a bit easier since you are already legally in Spain.


Do you have any questions so far? Ask our lawyers anything:

I want to talk to a lawyer


Spain’s job seeker visa requirements


First of all, remember that this visa is for non-European citizens.

In order be eligible, you must not be in an irregular situation or prohibited from entering Spain. Next, you must make sure you meet the following conditions:

  • Firstly, you must have completed your studies. Your studies need to have been qualifications of level 6, 7, or 8. These pertain to a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD, respectively. Thus, a language course won’t be eligible for the post-study work visa
  • Secondly, you need to have health insurance. If not public health insurance, you must contract a private health insurance company that is authorized to work in Spain
  • Thirdly, it is crucial to prove that you have sufficient economic means. That is, that you possess enough financial resources to stay in the country during the time of your job search (12 to 24 months). This is usually equivalent to 100% of the IPREM monthly. If you have relatives with you, it’s an additional 75% for the first relative, and 50% for any others
  • Fourthly, you should not have any criminal records in Spain and in all the countries you have lived in previously
  • Finally, keep in mind that not all universities or schools are valid. The degree and the university should be part of a list provided by the government


How do I know if my university or studies are valid for the post-study visa?


Here we face one of the most important requirements for the whole process, and something not every foreigner knows.

That not all universities and studies are valid for this residency.

You will know if your university or studies are valid for the post-study visa if it is part of Spain’s Registry of Universities, Centers, and Degrees.

This is important because even if you were on a student visa but your academic institution was not part of this registry, you will not be able to obtain the job search visa.

You can check this registry here.

This should be the first thing you check. Maybe even before enrolling in a university.

As it is with many big life decisions, doing your research beforehand is something that could open up more opportunities for you in the long-run.


Documents to submit


During the application for your job seeking visa, you must include and submit the following documents to get your residency card:

  • Application form EX-01. Since you are not allowed to work while on the job search visa, this form is for non-lucrative residence permits. You’ll need to mark the option, “Titular de estancia por estudios superiores que cesa, para búsqueda de empleo”
  • The document that proves you have completed your studies or passed all exams necessary to graduate
  • Criminal records certificate from all the countries you have resided in, in the last five years
  • Proof of payment of the corresponding fee 790/012, which you can find here
  • Passport and NIE
  • Census registry (empadronamiento)
  • The document that certifies you got a favorable response from the immigration office

Remember that all foreign documents must be translated to Spanish by a sworn translator, and legalized and apostilled.


How to apply for job seeker visa in Spain


For many foreign students in Spain, finding a job and experiencing the Spanish work environment is their goal after graduation.

However, the main challenge they may face while on the student visa, is not having enough time to find a job.

Thankfully, in 2018, the job seeker visa was created. Through this residence permit, students are now allowed to stay in Spain after finishing their higher studies to find a job or start their own company.

You can start the application procedure 60 days before or 90 days after your student visa expires. It will give you a maximum of 24 months to find employment in the country.

In terms of employment, you will not have limitations or job specifications. This means it does not have to be a highly qualified position, and that you can get a regular work permit in any company.


I need legal advice


Application process step-by-step


Getting this visa is simple.

As we said, you must be in Spain for the application, as you are coming from the student visa.

Nevertheless, you must apply online.

Bear in mind that the whole process must be done in the same city you are currently residing in, so that the authorities can verify your data.

Once you submit all the required documents (which we have previously seen), it will take a maximum of 20 days for the immigration office to issue their response. If you do not receive a response after this time period, your resolution is considered positive, meaning it has been approved.

With your positive resolution, you will need to get an appointment at the Police Station to register your fingerprints.

After around a month, you’ll be able to pick-up your residence card.

Once you have the job seeking visa, you can legally stay in Spain while looking for employment.


Changing a job seeking visa to a work permit


As we’ve explained, the job seeking visa you will give you a maximum of 24 months to find a job in Spain. Keep in mind, however, that once you do find a job, you will have to initiate another process: the process for a regular work permit.

You can only initiate this process once you have already been in Spain for 10 months with the job search visa.

There are two possible paths: getting a work permit as an employee of a company, or getting a work permit as a self-employed individual. Lets break them down.


Changing to a work permit as a self-employed individual (“por cuenta propia”)


To obtain the work permit as a self-employed individual, you will have to set up your own business or company.

This involves presenting a business plan and a financial projection.

This work permit (trabajo por cuenta propia) is not to be confused with the entrepreneur visa.

While the regular work permit falls under the General Immigration Regime, the entrepreneur visa falls under the Entrepreneur’s Law.

If you are applying for the entrepreneur visa, you will also have to submit a business plan, however, your idea has to be innovative and scalable. This means you cannot propose something that already exists in Spain, nor something you cannot actually accomplish.


Changing to a work permit as an employee (“por cuenta ajena”)


In this case, the first step will be to find a job offer from a company willing to hire you. It is important that the job description is related to your previous studies, and requires the abilities that correspond to your level of education.

Here you also have two options: applying for a regular work permit, or getting one as a highly qualified worker

You can apply for this highly qualified worker’s visa if your salary is at least €40,000 annually for a scientific or research position, or at least €54,000 for a managerial position. This visa also falls under the Entrepreneur’s Law.

Moreover, it is an exception to the 10 month waiting period we previously mentioned. This means that if you are a highly qualified professional, you do not have to be on the job search visa for 10 months, and can immediately apply for the residence permit.


Get legal assistance with your post-study visa application


Now you know how the new immigration regulation regarding student visas can benefit you. Are you willing to extend your student residence permit stay in order to find a job opportunity? Let us be your immigration lawyers in Barcelona.


Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and we’ll answer all your questions:


5/5 (1 Review)