How to Get Work Permission on a Student Visa in Spain (Updated December 2022)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please notice that the regulation of the Ley de Extranjería (Immigration law) was modified in 2022, including important changes to the Student Visa regulations, procedures and requirements. If you would like to know more, please read our article “How the Spanish student visa is affected by the new immigration law regulation

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below is one person’s personal experience applying for part-time work permission on a student visa in Gijon, Asturias before the change of the Ley de Extranjería Regulation in 2022. 

If you’re currently in Spain on a student visa, you are eligible to work up to 20 hours outside of your “study” hours. This authorization, however, is not automatically “activated” just because you have a student visa – you have to have a company request this authorization from the Oficina de Extranjería (the Foreigner’s Office) before you can start working.

The good news is that this process is fairly straightforward and easy to get approved because you are not changing from one visa to another – you’re just letting Extranjería know you have a legit job offer so that their office can make sure your future employer won’t take advantage of you.   

When I applied for this work permission on a student visa last year, I was teaching English in two middle schools with the auxiliar program, a teaching assistant program (updated 2023) organized by the Spanish Ministry of Education. Since I was working only 12 hours a week, I had a lot of free time and wanted to gain some marketing experience while working abroad.

Gijón, Asturias: Lucky to call this place home for the last three years!

I started interviewing with a local tech startup, making sure that I let them know in advance that I was only able to work 20 hours per week outside of my teaching hours because of my student visa status and they assured me that this wouldn’t be a problem. Once I had received an offer, I explained the work authorization process to my future employer and we started collecting the necessary paperwork, which only took a couple of days.

After we had everything in order, we presented the application at our autonomous community’s Oficina de Extranjería in Oviedo (Asturias) and only had to wait about 20 days for the authorization to go through. In other autonomous communities, this process can take up to 3 months to receive an answer, so it’s best to start as soon as possible.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started! 🙂

Getting Work Permission on a Student Visa

papers for work permission on student visa
Notes from my first trip to Extranjería, annotated by me and the funcionario (public official)

Required Documents

Before your appointment, you and your future employer must have an original AND copy of the following documents:


  • EX-12 application form
  • Valid passport, along with a copy of every page in your passport (even if it’s blank)
  • Official class schedule or any accredited documentation that shows when you’re studying 
    • **If you’re a language assistant (auxiliar de conversación), you would bring in your teaching schedule. I had my school print it out on letterhead and then they signed and stamped it to make it look “official.”**
  • Accredited documentation that proves you are professionally qualified to do the job**
    • **This step applies to individuals who will be working in a specialized field that requires them to have a certain degree or certification, such as: law, medicine, education, engineering, etc. Example: If you are going to work as a nurse, you need to have a nursing degree, and should bring your original diploma (with the apostille) and a copy.**


  • Accredited documentation that proves the identity of the employer:
    • If you’re working for an Individual: He or she must bring their NIF, NIE, or give permission to the Extranjería to check his or her information in the Sistema de Verificación de Datos de Identidad y Residencia
    • If you’re working for a Company (S.L., S.A., Cooperativa, etc): Your company’s representative must bring:
      • The Company’s NIF and a copy of the “escritura de constitución”, as is currently registered in their local Registrar (Registro)
      • Public document that shows who your company has authorized as their legal representative (e.g. CEO, Director of HR, or anyone else who your CEO has trusted to act on behalf of the company)
      • NIF or NIE of the company’s legal representative who has signed the application on the company’s behalf
  • The contract should include the hours you’ll be working and your wage
  • Accredited documentation that demonstrates the company is able to pay you

Note: If you and/or your company prefer to read the requirements for work permission on a student visa in Spanish, I’ve linked the original list from the Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social’s Immigration Portal.

Presenting the Application

Once you and your employer have gathered your respective documents, both of you will have to present the application together at your autonomous community’s respective Oficina de Extranjería. Keep in mind that you may need to make an appointment beforehand, depending on the size of your autonomous community, so make sure you consult with your local Extranjería office in advance.

What to Do After Submitting Your Application

After you’ve shown the originals and copies of all of your documents, there are two different scenarios:

  1. If your initial contract is less than six months…
    Then all you and your company have to do is wait up to three months for the approval of your work authorization. Although your application is in process, you are not allowed to work for your new employer until Extranjería gives you an official response by mail.
  2. If your initial contract is more than six months…
    Then your employer will have to pay an application fee (
    tasa) within 10 days (including weekends/holidays) from your appointment; your employer can either pay the fee online or download the Modelo 790 (código 062) form and pay it in-person at their local bank.
    • On this form, make sure they select “7. Autorizaciones iniciales para trabajar a titulares de autorización de estancia por estudios, prácticas no laborales o servicios de voluntariado” so that they pay the correct fee of 119.89 euros (as of 2022). After your employer has paid the fee, then you will have to wait up to three months for the final verdict on your application.
First Resolution Letter: 20 days later and we were approved!

Once you’ve waited a few weeks (or up to three months if you live in a bigger autonomous community), you’ll receive a notification by mail explaining whether your work authorization has been approved or not. If you’re approved, the next steps involve getting a Social Security number from your local Oficina de Seguridad Social and having your company darte de alta (enroll you) into the Spanish Social Security System.

Additionally, if you don’t have a Spanish bank account yet, you’ll need to open an account so that your employer can pay you. As soon as you’ve opened up an account, share your IBAN (International Bank Account Number) with your employer and you’ll be all set to receive your direct deposit each month.  

Now that you’ve been approved by Extranjería, enrolled yourself into Social Security, and shared your bank information with your new employer, you’re all set to work! ¡Enhorabuena!

Have you applied for work permission on a student visa in Spain? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about it or answer any additional questions you may have!

By Lindsey Larson (LinkedIn 

Following Lindsey’s step-by-step guide on how to get work permission on a student visa, we had a few questions. Here are her answers!

Following Lindsey’s step-by-step guide on how to get work permission on a student visa, we had a few questions. Here are her answers!

Did you have to present any documentation from the auxiliar program that stated the work you would be doing is compatible with the program?

No, I didn’t have to present any documentation to the auxiliar program. I don’t think it’s necessary because you already had to prove to Extranjería that your new position will not interfere with the aux program, so nothing would be changing from the aux program’s perspective.

Do you know… If you already have an appointment to apply for or renew your student TIE can you ask for this autorización at the same time – or do you have to make a separate appointment once you have the valid TIE in hand? 

Yes, you have to make a separate appointment and renew your TIE with the aux program first. Once you have it en tramite, you have to wait for your resolution letter to come in the mail, and then make a second appointment for the work authorization.

How much time was left on your visa at the time?

At the time, I had 2 weeks left before my visa expired, but I got my resolution letter for renewing with the aux program after my visa expired. Once I had the resolution letter, I went to Extranjería and requested the work authorization.

If the work contract is longer than the length of the validity of your current NIE, how long is the work permission approved for? Do you have to re-apply for it when you renew the TIE?

From my understanding, when getting work permission on a student visa, the contract cannot be longer than the validity of your TIE. That is, unless you’re renewing with the aux program another year and want to work during the summer. There was one exception that you could work up to 3 months with a 40-hour work week, but that could only happen if you didn’t have classes (aka summer time) and if your renewal for the aux program had already been approved.

If you aren’t renewing with the aux program, I don’t think you can work longer than the validity of your TIE because they already know you aren’t renewing.

In that vein, when did you apply for this permission and how long have you had it? Do you have any experience renewing it yet?

I had work permission from September 2016-May 2017 (a month before the aux program started until the last day of the aux program). We renewed the work authorization after 4 months because my company had a policy of a 4-month trial period for all employees, so we had to renew my authorization in January. It was easy to do and I was able to continue working while we waited for the letter because they were just extending the contract I already had. I don’t know about the details though because the legal rep for our company looked into everything and did it without me.