Professors and students who are EU citizens have no legal formalities to complete before coming to Spain. In accordance with current legislation, all students belonging to a European Union or European Economic Area member state, as well as the Swiss Confederation, and who intend to reside in Spain for a period of time longer than three months must register at the Central Registry Office for Foreigners (Registro Central de Extranjeros) in order to be issued a certificate of registration and an identity card for foreigners (NIE).
The certificate of registration can be obtained without prior appointment and in person at any of the national police stations (Comisaría) close to your place of residence. If you live in Barcelona you will need to go to the police station of the Barceloneta district (Avinguda Joan de Borbó, 32).
The documents you will need to provide are the following:
Health Cover for European Union citizens:
Any foreign student, researcher or professor coming to UAB must have medical insurance cover.
If you are a citizen of the European Union or a citizen of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and you are entitled to social security in your country, you should apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card makes visiting a state-run hospital, doctor's surgery or dental practice in European countries easier and means you will be treated in the same way as someone who lives in that country.
You can obtain a card free of charge by contacting your local health insurance institution as each individual country is responsible for producing or distributing the card in its own territory.
Take into account that the card does not cover private health care or repatriation costs. Visit the EHIC website to find out more.
If you are a Non-European Union citizen and you are preparing to study in Spain, you need to arrange your legal situation, depending on the duration of your stay.
Period of studies up to three months:
1) The European Directive EC Nº 539/2001 March 15th, 2001 includes in its annex II the countries whose nationals are exempted from the obligation to obtain a visa for study periods of up to three months. Those have to fulfill the legal requisites described in article 5 of the Schengen Code, and in case of having to prolong the stay, it is possible to request an extension for a maximum of three more months.
2) The European Directive EC Nº 539/2001 of March 15th, 2001 includes in its annex I the countries whose nationals are submitted to the visa obligation (type C) to enter the Schengen Area.
Period of studies up to six months:
There is a visa (type D) for studies that allows you to stay in Spain for a period of up to 180 days (Visado D Estudios hasta 180 días). This type of visa does not allow you to obtain the Residence Card for foreign students (TIE).
Period of studies longer than six months:
Those non-EU citizens who are going to study in Spain for a period of more than six months have to apply for an open visa for studies (type D). This type of visa (Visado D Estudios, Investigación) is valid for three months for entering the Schengen Area and once you have entered Spain you have to obtain the Student Residence Card for Foreigners (TIE) in order to remain legally in Spain.
The TIE is a temporary permit that permits you to stay in the country for the period of your studies. The card is valid for a maximum of one academic year and can be renewed annually until you finish your studies. Your academic performance will be taken into account when renewing your permit. The document gives you the right to remain legally in the country while you study.
You will have a maximum of 30 days after entering the European Union to begin the process of applying for the Student Residence Card (TIE). For this, you will need to present your flight ticket (boarding ticket) or the stamp on your passport showing the date in which you entered the European Union.
You can apply for a visa through your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate.
Important: A visa can never be changed once you are in Spain. The only visa valid is the one obtained from the Spanish Embassy or Consulate before coming to Spain.
Health Cover non-EU citizens:
Any foreign student, researcher or professor coming to a catalan university must have medical insurance cover.
If you are from outside of the European Economic Area you should check whether there is an agreement for healthcare between the Social Security of your country and the Social Security of Spain. If there is such an agreement, you should submit the necessary documents in your country so that you can have free access to Spanish public healthcare.
In the case of renewing your Residence Card (NIE, TIE) you have to check if the above mentioned document replaces the obligation to present a private medical insurance regarding illness and accidents (Social Security does not include the repatriation to your home country).
If your country has no healthcare agreement with the Spanish Social Security system, you should take out private insurance cover for the whole time of your stay in Spain.