Complete Guide to NIE

What to do when you finish your studies in Spain?

Notice:

This blog is written according to the most recent information available in September 2022. We are going to update the blog as new official information is published by the Spanish government. There may be certain conditions mentioned or not mentioned in this blog that may or may not match your specific case (studies, nationality, etc). We also will not explain every single option available (e.g. pareja de hecho). We recommend consulting with our trusted immigration lawyers if you need any specific information.

You got the Spanish student visa, you moved to Spain and studied here. Now your studies are coming to an end and you are wondering “what to do next?”

We are going to look at 4 (out of many) options you can choose from:

  • Renew your student residence (continue with the same residence)
  • Switch from student residence to residence for job seeking
  • Switch from student residence to residence for doing an internship
  • Switch your student residence to residence with full work permit

Remember: It’s up to you to decide which option is good for you depending on your case, interests and future.

Renew your student residence again

Official name: Prórroga de autorización de estancia por estudios

According to the official website of the Spanish Immigration Office: this is an annual extension of the authorization to carry out studies, research or training activities, participation in student mobility programs, and non-work practices or volunteer services in Spain.

This means that you renew your student residence and continue as a student again.

For example, you study for 1 year and decide to study for another year. In this case, you will have the same status: temporary resident as a student.

As a student:

  • your status will be a temporary resident who is studying (same as before)
  • you will have the right to have an internship agreement and do an internship for up to 30 hours a week (it used to be 20 hours but from August 2022, it has been increased to 30 hours)
  • you will NOT have the right to work (whether part time or full time)
  • you will be able to apply for the individual public health card (read our blog Introduction to the Spanish Public Healthcare System)

Conditions:

  • You must have already finished your studies successfully and received your certificate of completion and/or the final official degree
  • The new subject must be equivalent or higher (you can’t get a Master’s but then decide to go back and do a Bachelor’s)
  • The new subject must be the same, related or complementary to the previous subject (you can’t get a Master’s degree in digital marketing and then decide to do another Master’s degree in cooking)
  • You must not have any criminal background or record
  • You must prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your studies (about 7,000.00 € for 1 year)
  • You must submit your application within a period 60 days before your residence’s expiration date and 90 days after.

In general, you need to do the followings to renew your student residence:

  1. Finish your studies and receive the certificate of successful completion
  2. Have private health insurance (we recommend the Sanitas International Student Health Insurance. It’s affordable and ideal for the student NIE renewal)
  3. Receive your new school enrolment paper
  4. Renew your padrón if necessary (read our blog What is Empadronamiento and How to Get a Padrón)
  5. Apply for a student residence renewal
  6. Receive your renewed residence card

You can see all the conditions, requirements and steps with more information on the official website (Spanish only).

Residence authorization for job search or starting a business

 Official name: Autorización de residencia para búsqueda de empleo o inicio de proyecto empresarial

According to the official page: “This authorization can be requested by those foreigners who have been holders of a prior authorization to stay for studies and who have completed their studies at an authorized higher education institution in Spain, reaching at least Level 6 according to the corresponding European Qualifications Framework to university degree accreditation (This heading encompasses “university education, advanced artistic education, advanced professional training, advanced professional plastic arts and design education, and advanced sports education).”

In most cases, the duration of your residence (as a student) is tied to the duration of your studies. For example, if your studies end in June, your residence will end in June as well. This won’t give you enough time to finish your studies and look for a job.

However, things changed in 2021. In 2021, the Spanish government came up with a new type of residence: residence permit to look for a job or start a new project.

The purpose of this new type of residence is to give time to the recent graduates to look for a job. This residence does NOT give you the right to work, but the opportunity to find a job.

This process:

  • applies to people who have reached at least Level 6 of the European Qualifications Framework (Bachelor’s degree or higher)
  • applies to students who have studied at an accredited university and degree (See the list of accredited universities and studies. If your school/study isn’t listed, you are not eligible)
  • does not give you the right to work during this period. It only gives you enough time to look for employment

Conditions:

  • Not be an EU or EEA or Switzerland citizen
  • Not be prohibited from entering Spain
  • Lack of criminal record in Spain and in the previous countries
  • Not suffer from any disease can have serious effects on the public health
  • Have had the authorization for studies and an extension of it
  • Have studied at an accredited university and received an accredited degree
  • You must prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay while you search for a job (about 7,000.00 € for 1 year)

Procedure:

  1. Finish your bachelor’s or master’s degree successfully
  2. Proof of successful completion of your studies and your school accreditation
  3. Have private health insurance (we recommend the Sanitas International Student Health Insurance)
  4. Renew your padrón if necessary (What is Empadronamiento and How to Get a Padrón)
  5. Criminal record background check from all the countries you have lived in in the last 5 years and your home country
  6. Have all your documents translated into Spanish and fully legalized
  7. Apply for job seeking residence

Remember: not every graduate can do this process. You must have studied at an accredited school/university. You can see the list of the accredited universities and studies. If your school/study isn’t listed, you are not eligible. You will need to consider another option.

You can see all the conditions, requirements and steps with more information on the official website (Spanish only).

Residence permit for internships

Official name: autorización de residencia para prácticas

This type of permit was introduced in August 2022 and it is very new. The residence permit for internships allows you to live in Spain and participate in an internship program to improve your knowledge, experience and skills in a professional setting.

The internship can be free or unpaid through an internship agreement, or paid through an internship contract.

This permit

  • is ideal for individuals who want to do an internship to improve their skills and for companies that are looking for foreign interns for a short duration (12 or fewer months)
  • involves less paperwork compared to the authorization for residence and full employment (see next section below)
  • can be given for both paid and unpaid internships

Conditions:

  • Not be an EU or EEA or Switzerland citizen
  • Not be prohibited from entering Spain
  • Have lived regularly in Spain during your studies
  • Not suffer from any disease can have serious effects on the public health
  • Lack of criminal record in Spain and in the previous countries
  • You must apply within a period of maximum 2 years from the time you finished your studies
  • The internship must be in the same academic field and at the same or higher level of education degree or study (for example, you can’t do an internship at a web design company if you have a degree in mechanical engineering)
  • Carry out the internship within a program supported by an internship contract or internship agreement
  • If it’s not a paid internship, you must prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay while doing the internship (about 600€ per month)
  • The internship can be part-time or full-time.

Procedure:

  1. Find a company that is willing to hire you as an intern and provide all the official documents needed for your case
  2. Have proof of successful completion of your higher education in the last 2 years from the time you apply
  3. Have private health insurance if the internship is unpaid (we recommend the Sanitas International Student Health Insurance)
  4. Renew your padrón if necessary (What is Empadronamiento and How to Get a Padrón)
  5. Have all your documents translated into Spanish and fully legalized
  6. Sign the internship agreement/contract by all parties (the document must include a description of the internship problem, the educational objective and/or the different aspects of the internship, duration of
  7. the internship, and any terms and conditions applicable
  8. Apply for residence permit for internship

The duration of the permit depends on the type of the internship.

If it’s not a paid internship, the duration of your permit will be six months or equal to the duration of the agreement. You can renew this permit only once given the condition that the initial permit plus the extension do not exceed one year in total.

If it’s a paid internship, the duration of your permit will match the duration of your internship. You can renew this permit one time for a maximum duration of one year.

You can see all the conditions, requirements and steps with more information on the official website (Spanish only).

Initial authorization for temporary residence and paid employment

Official name: Autorización inicial de residencia temporal y trabajo por cuenta ajena/propia

This allows you to have a temporary residence in Spain while having full work permit. In other words, you will be able to work and have full access to the public health system as a tax paying employee similar to any other local worker.

Previously, you had to spent 3 years in Spain as a student before you were allowed to change your status from student to employee but starting from August 2022, the law has changed and you are no longer required to wait 3 years. You can switch right after the end of your studies as long as you find a company to sponsor you or you apply to become a freelancer.

This residency can take two paths:

  • having an established company sponsor and hire you (residencia por cuenta ajena), or
  • starting your own freelance business (residencia por cuenta propia)

Working for another company (cuenta ajena):

Before thinking about this process, you must find a company that is willing to hire you and would provide all the legal documents necessary to employ you. They must meet all the requirements and commit to sponsoring you here in Spain.

This permit:

  • is incredible for any individual seeking full employment in Spain
  • involves lots of paperwork and taxes for the applicant and the protentional employer
  • can take up to 2 months to be approved (meanwhile, you do not have the right to work for the employer and have to wait patiently)

Conditions:

  • Not be an EU or EEA or Switzerland citizen
  • Not be prohibited from entering Spain
  • Not having received any scholarship from your home country or the Spanish government
  • Not suffer from any disease can have serious effects on the public health
  • Lack of criminal record in Spain and in the previous countries
  • You must have a contract signed by you and the employer with the condition that it becomes valid only if you receive the work permit
  • The employer must be registered in the Social Security System
  • The company must have sufficient economic, material or personal means for his business project and to meet the obligations assumed in the contract with the worker.
  • The company must provide required documents to show they have met all the tax obligations
  • The company must pay the company tax for acquiring a non-EU employee (about 230€)
  • Proof that the company can guarantee the necessary solvency
  • Any other document required by the government

You can see all the conditions, requirements and steps with more information on the official website (Spanish only).

Starting your own freelance business (residencia por cuenta ajena):

This type of permit allows you to work as a freelancer and reside in Spain while meeting all legal obligations on your own.

This permit

  • is ideal for those who want to pursue a career where you can operate on their own. For instance, a photographer, or a consultant
  • requires having a very detailed business plan with all sorts of reasonable projections
  • requires a lot of work done to meet all the tax and license obligations (in a company, there is a person dedicated to this task and you don’t have to think about any of this but as a freelance, you might have to some or all the tasks yourself)

Conditions

  • Meet the requirements that current legislation requires for the opening and operation of the projected activity
  • Possess the required professional qualification or accredited experience, sufficient in the exercise of the professional activity, as well as, where appropriate, membership when required
  • To be able to prove that the planned investment is sufficient and the impact, where appropriate, on job creation
  • Pay the fees for processing the temporary residence authorization and that relating to the self-employment authorization
  • You have to prove you have the training/skills and, where appropriate, the legally required professional qualification to work in this field

You can see all the conditions, requirements and steps with more information on the official website (Spanish only).

Summary

Now you should have a better understanding of what to do when your student residence comes to an end.

To sum up, you have 4 options:

  • Renew your student residence again without changing your status
  • Modify your student residence to residence for job seeking but this is possible only if you have received your degree from an accredited school/university
  • Change your student residence to residence for internships. The internship can be paid or unpaid
  • Change your student residence to the full work residence. It can be working at an established company or freelance

Here you have a basic graph to show the options:

We hope this blog helped you understand your options better. If you have any questions, comment below.

If you need the help of an lawyer (which we highly recommend), you can contact our trusted immigration lawyers.

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