Passports & Visas

We’ll Get You on Your Way to BCN!

We’re excited that you’re interested in a Barcelona SAE program, and we look forward to helping you create the experience of a lifetime! Here you will find information regarding passports and visas.


All Barcelona SAE programs require each and every participant to have a valid passport, and it must be valid for at least six months after the program end date. If you do not yet have a passport, please apply for one ASAP as it can be a lengthy process. For information on applying for a passport, renewing a passport, or replacing a lost/stolen passport, please consult the U.S. Department of State’s International Travel Website.

For non-U.S. citizens, please consult your country’s travel website for information regarding how to apply for, renew, or replace your passport.

Student Visas

Some Barcelona SAE programs require a student visa, and some don’t…as it completely depends on the duration of the program. For U.S. Citizens, here’s a quick overview:

  • Semester Students: Any academic program longer than 91 days (UAB, UB, UPF) does require a student visa. Any academic program 90 days or less (BIC) does NOT require a student visa.  Note: Although the BIC program does not require a visa, it does limit the time you can travel within the Schengen region before or after the program.
  • Academic Year Students: All academic year programs are longer than 91 days (BIC, UAB, UB, UPF) and do require a student visa. Please note that Spanish Consulates now require an FBI background check with Spanish translations and apostilles for students staying in Spain longer than 6 months:
    • You can learn how to obtain an FBI background check here. These background checks can take up to 12 weeks to be processed, so please apply early!
    • The U.S. Department of State issues Apostilles. Apostille Certificates are issued for documents destined for use in countries that are parties to the Hague Apostille Convention. For more information on how to obtain an Apostille please check here.
  • Summer Students: Since our summer programs are all less than 90 days, a student visa is NOT required for U.S. Citizens.
  • Interns: Since our internship programs are all less than 90 days, a student visa is NOT required for U.S. Citizens.

If your Barcelona SAE program requires a student visa, we recommend starting the process as soon as possible as it can quite lengthy and we have absolutely no control over the processing time.  However, visa applications will not be accepted by the Spanish Consulate more than 90 days in advance, nor will they be accepted less than 14 days before departure – so please keep this in mind when booking your appointment. If you cannot get an appointment within the desired timeframe, it’s important to keep calling in hopes of there being a cancellation. Unfortunately, Barcelona SAE has absolutely no control over or involvement whatsoever in booking visa appointments.

When obtaining your student visa, it is very important that you contact your local consulate and verify instructions. While some requirements are similar, each consulate can require different materials for the visa application process. To determine your consulate and their contact information, please visit the Spanish Consulate Website.

For additional information regarding your visa, please consult the NAFSA Website.

Important Notes:

  • You will be required to apply for your visa in person, and most consulates require that you schedule an appointment well in advance.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should contact your Consulate to verify specific entry requirements. As these requirements vary based on citizenship, non-U.S. citizens may not be permitted to travel to Spain without a visa or outside of their visa dates. Also, visa fees for non-U.S. citizens may differ so please be sure to check your specific consulate’s website for the most up to date information.
  • If you are under 18 years of age when applying for your visa, additional paperwork may be required. Please contact the consulate immediately for more information.
  • Embassy and consulate contact information is subject to change without notice. Please refer to the website of the embassy or consulate to verify information.

Tourist Visas & Length of Stay

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 12.31.21 PMTechnically you can stay for up to 90 days in the Schengen zone during a 180 day period without a visa.

“If you leave the Schengen Zone the countdown clock stops and doesn’t start until you enter it again. Once you reach your 90-day limit you have to stay out for another 90 days.”

This means that students can figure out their 90 day window, and if they are planning to travel longer than that, they can travel outside of Schengen for some of that time by going to England, Scotland, Ireland, Turkey or Morocco. For example, if you go to Morocco for 5 days (outside the Schengen Zone), you can add an additional five days to the time you can stay.

The consequences of overstaying the visa are difficult to judge, as it totally depends on the customs officer you face and what kind of a day they are having. If you overstay you may be able to leave without any problem at all, or you could face a fine (some sources say this is up to 500€ but it varies), and in the worst case scenario you could face a ban for up to 3 years from entering back into the region. For this reason, we do not recommend that students on a tourist visa ever overstay the 90 day window. More information can be found on the Schengen Visa Website.

Work Visas

Unfortunately, Barcelona SAE is unable to assist students with obtaining work visas. If you ever look to return to Barcelona in the future, please realize that getting a visa to live and work in Spain is quite expensive and can be extremely difficult. As such, most of our former participants that decide to return come either on an internship program, to teach English in Spain with a visa, or to study a masters degree. More info can be found on the Savvy Backpacker Website.