Legal formalities for foreigners


Students from outside the European Union

If you are a student from outside the European Union, the EEA or Switzerland, in order to stay longer than 90 days in Spain you need a student residence authorisation, besides if you want to travel during your stay through Europe you can do this freely.

Steps to take to obtain your student residence authorisation:

  1.  Before arriving in Spain: Student Visa.
  2.  During the first month you are in Spain: Foreign Identity Card.
  3. 2 months before your card expires: Renewal.
  4. If you want to travel but your card is expired: Return permit.
  5. If you want to work during your study? : Work permit
  1. Before arriving in Spain: Student Visa

Before arriving in Spain you need to obtain a student residence visa. You can obtain it at the Spanish consulate in your own country. You can find your consulate on the website of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To apply for a visa you need to have an accreditation which approves you are accepted at an education of the Official Chamber of Commerce in Málaga.

It is important that the visa is a student residence visa type D. Other types of visas will not permit you to continue the process to obtain your Foreigner Identity Card.

The visa is only valid for the institution where you have applied for and for the time you have specified in your Letter of Acceptance, That means that when you choose to take another education after you obtained your visa, you need to contact with the Spanish Embassy or consulate in your country to make sure of the steps you need to take before travelling to Spain.

More information for legal stay in Spain

  1. During the first month since you are arrived in Spain: Foreign Identity Card

If your stay in Spain is longer than 6 months, you need to apply for a Foreign Identity Card within a month after your arrival in Spain. To apply you need to go to a Police station in the place you are living.


  1. Two months before your card expires: Renewal

The card is valid for a year and you can renew the card if you want to continue studying in Málaga. You can carry out the renewal process a maximum of 2 months in advance, and you must do so before it expires.


  1. If you want to travel and your card is expired: Return permit

If you want to leave Spain and your card is being renewed, you can apply for a permit that allows you to re-enter the country, providing that your card has already expired. This authorisation permits you to leave and re-enter the country within 90 days.

Process update (29/07/2013): Return permit is valid exclusively for entering the Schengen Area through the Spanish borders. If you intend to enter the Schengen area through another Member State, check prior your departure if you are required a visa for entering that Member State.

To apply you need to go to a Police station in the place you are living.


  1. If you want to work during your study in Spain: Work permit

You need a work permit with the following conditions:

  • In a part time contract, working hours must not interfere with your school hours.
  • The achieved income cannot have the nature of resource necessary to prove your sustenance nor your stay.
  • The validity of the work permit will be valid for the same duration as the contract and cannot be longer than the duration of the student residence permit.


Students from the European Union

If you are from a state which is member of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland have the right of free movement and residence in Spain.

However all the citizens of the European Union that live in Spain for a period longer than 3 months, need to apply for a registration in the central Registry of Foreigners. The registration leads to a certificate of registration being issued and includes a NIE number.

You need to apply for this document directly at the police station.

Which documents are needed?

  • Application form
  • Passport or Identity Card

Registration of the education on the Official Chamber of Commerce in Málaga


Chamber of Commerce

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More Information

Malaga Chamber of Commerce Phone:(+34) 952 211 673 ext. #241