Expired Spanish TIE: Can I Stay in Spain if I Leave My School where I am a Language Assistant?


I am a Language assistant on a student visa in Spain, I have only been doing this to obtain the visa to live here, but let’s just say things aren’t going so well at my school… In my passport my visa was only for 3 months (which has now expired) and I have my TIE which expires in June 2024.

If I leave my school now what will happen? Can I stay in Spain until my TIE expires?


These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“They can have your residency canceled if you quit.”

“Correct, and this is what they’re supposed to do “by the book”, so if the school’s Director is a rules-follower, you can count on the residency being cancelled. If I were in Anonymous’s shoes, I would not stay in Spain too long past the end of the time in the position, or if they want to stay in Spain, tough it out until May. It comes really quickly!”

“You’ll be fine with your TIE but you obviously won’t be able to renew. Don’t lose it. But they’ll very unlikely cancel your residency or hunt you down to make you submit your TIE and leave. I say you’re good til it expires and after it does you have your tourist time.”

“If you’re from the United States or a place outside the EU with no ties to the EU, it takes 10 years to obtain citizenship and that clock starts after you convert to residency. Student years count towards nothing towards citizenship. They only count as 1/2 toward EU residency. You would be eligible for long-term EU residency after 5 years in Spain (student years divided by 2 plus full residency years).”

“You cannot work on a Spanish non lucrative visa, not even as a freelancer, it is specifically designed for those who do not work at all (retirees, etc). If you are a freelancer you would be considered self-employed and the Digital Nomad Visa would be your only option.”

“10 years for nationality. Permanent residency (Long term) is after 5 years. For the EU long term(permanent as well) your years as a student count in half. Contact us for a consultation because it seems that you have a lot of confusing information.”

“If you can hold out until the course ends and obtain the letter of completion of your studies/program/school, you can change to a residence and work permit once the course is finished. With the changes in the law, it is no longer necessary to wait until you have been a student for 3 years to modify.”

“Previously, students needed to wait 3 years to be able to modify a residence and work permit (Student Visa modification). This has changed, and you can modify to a residence and work permit after completing your current studies. But to be able to modify you have to have passed the studies. You will need an employment contract and an employer who is willing to help you with the permit. If you leave school you will not have the letter of having completed your studies, therefore you will not be able to access a residence or work permit, and you will not be able to renew the current permit.”


The consensus among group members and experts is that leaving the school could potentially lead to the cancellation of residency, especially if the school decides to follow the official procedures.

However, there’s a possibility of staying in Spain until the TIE expires, but renewal without completing the course or without a new visa type would be challenging. Transitioning to a Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) or exploring other visa options, such as a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) for freelancers, could be viable alternatives.

It’s also highlighted that student years count differently towards residency and citizenship timelines.

Legal advice from immigration experts is recommended for navigating the complexities of Spanish immigration law and exploring pathways to residency or work permits post-studies.

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Bruno Bianchi
Bruno Bianchi is the Director at SpainGuru, where he offers his expertise on Spanish immigration, visas, and residency. Over the years, he has been a guide for many navigating the intricacies of Spanish immigration & bureaucracy. In addition to his role at SpainGuru, Bruno anchors the SpainGuru YouTube channel. Through this platform, he shares valuable insights and updates on immigration matters, simplifying complex processes for a global audience. Bruno's dedication to providing clear and trustworthy information has made him a trusted figure in the community. In addition to his pivotal role at SpainGuru, Bruno boasts over 17 years of professional experience in several online platforms. With roles ranging from the COO and co-founder of Spotahome.com and Sales director of the MAPSA Group, Bruno's diverse experiences (he holds 3 nationalities) and multilingual capabilities (he speaks 5 languages) make him a dynamic and influential figure in both the immigration and business sectors.