Student Visa Modification Timeline: How to become a freelancer in Spain

El Parque Del Buen Retiro in Madrid

**Updated as of May 2019**

If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you’re on a student visa and have been participating in the Spanish government’s language assistant program for a few years or have completed a Master’s degree and internships but are now looking for a change. If you’ve answered yes, then this post is for you!

My story:

I’m an American who fell in love with Spain a good long while ago back in my junior year of college when I came to study abroad in Seville. I knew I had to come back one day and I succeeded in doing so in late 2014 when I moved to Galicia to teach English and lived there for two years. However, those gray, rainy days sent me packing and in late 2016, I moved to Madrid to expand my horizons, make more connections and slowly try to escape the world of teaching.

After being told I was not able to renew at my school in Madrid for a second year, I was forced to consider other options in order to continue to live in Spain. So, last February, I began networking, making connections and getting my name out there like never before. I also researched a couple of different types of work visa applications in Spain since I was nearing the 3-year anniversary mark in the country. After 3 years here on a student visa, you have the chance to modify your visa to a work visa with a company (cuenta ajena) or present a business plan and pre-signed contracts and start your own business (cuenta propia). Seeing as the latter required fewer fees and startup costs (as a freelance translator and copywriter who had her own laptop) and not to mention lower visa fees, I chose the latter.

The auxiliar gig had been good to me and afforded me the chance to work in Spain and travel around Europe but I was ready to get back into my career.

From start to finish, this entire process took a little over 6 months to complete. I knew that my end goal to start working in Spain as a freelancer and earning full years towards long-term residency (student years only count as half) would pay off so I started this crazy paperwork trail journey.

During this entire time where I was gathering information, documents, trying to find clients and write my business plan, I never found a comprehensive list of all the steps I needed to do in order to turn in a complete application.

So…that’s why I’ve decided to compile my own list in hopes of helping someone else who finds themselves ready to exchange their student visa for a work visa and become autónomo.

Before we begin…

Ask yourself these questions first:

  • Have I completed at least 3 cumulative years in Spain with no more than 90 days outside of the country each year?
  • Can I prove that I have completed my studies during these 3 years (received 3 letters of completion by the schools where you’ve worked)? 
  • Can I declare that I have not received scholarship money from the AECID (a Spanish organization) nor from any organization in my home country during my time in Spain?
  • Do I have a valid student TIE? (Absolutely mandatory in order to complete this application.)
  • Do I really have a desire to stay in Spain long-term and why? And how will your skills help improve the Spanish economy?

If you’ve answered yes to the first 4 and deep down you really do want to stay in Spain long-term, you’re ready to start the modification process.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer nor can I provide any professional legal advice. I’m merely recounting my own personal experience regarding this visa application and the timeline I had in order to complete it. All advice I give is merely based on my own experience and opinion.

Pro-tip: It took me about a month and a half to gather and request all of the documents I needed for this application. I would suggest giving yourself about 2-3 months time total in case one of these steps happens to take longer for you.

Anyway, let’s get started!


May 17th, 2017

I met with Patricia from the law office of Sterna Abogados to discuss my student visa modification options.  I had done a lot of research at that point so I  didn’t have a lot of questions about the process but I created several hypothetical situations to ask. The most important piece of information was that I learned I could legally apply to modify my status 90 days before the anniversary of my 3rd year in Spain. (For me, it would be after late June). The meeting lasted one hour and I was able to ask all of my questions, which mostly consisted of steps to take after getting the visa and then longer-term residency card, and I felt confident after I left. I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the steps I had to do but I still felt confident. I had no idea the amount of paperwork that would lie before me. Keep scrolling to find out just how much…

Why Sterna Abogados? I chose to make an appointment with this law office as they are connected to a very informative website called Spain Guru The consultation only cost me 50 euros (subject to price increases depending on what year you’re reading this) and I found it very well-worth my time. Due to budget constraints, I chose not to hire the lawyer but in case you are interested, the estimated cost for this particular firm to help me do the modification was around 600 euros.

June 12th, 2017

In the morning on this day, I applied for and received a background check from Spain on the spot at the Atención del Ciudadano office located on Calle de la Bolsa,8 (metro Sol). The law actually indicated that I didn’t need to resubmit my fingerprints for an FBI Background Check from the United States (my home country). And in the end, I wasn’t asked for the background check from Spain but I got it just in case. It also only cost 3,40 euros so it wasn’t a very large expense.

An official background check from Spain. One of the least painful bureaucratic tasks I’ve ever done!

In the meantime, I got some clarification on a few of the requirements found on this specific hoja informativa (about the FBI background check) and continued my search for companies that may want to contract my copywriting or translation services.

June 21st, 2017

Sent contact info to the AECID email to request the letter that states I have not received a scholarship from their organization during my 3 years in Spain (does not indicate you have received a scholarship at all, it just can’t be from them).

I had to send an email to with the following script and information:

Quisiera pedir Certificado de la Dirección General de Asuntos y Asistencia Consulares, sobre si la estudiante con nombre, (insert your full name here), acreditó disponer de medios propios o beca en el momento de presentar la solicitud de visado.

• Organismo que le requiere el documento solicitado: La Secretaría de Estado de Administraciones Públicas (Delegación del Gobierno en la Comunidad de Madrid> Extranjería)

•Copia de la tarjeta de identidad de extranjero, está juntado a este email
(Note: Take a picture of or scan your current, valid student TIE and attach it to the email)

  • Nombre y Apellidos
    •Nº de Pasaporte
    •Nº de Tarjeta NIE
    •Una Dirección postal dónde remitir el certificado (this would be your current address or if you are moving, put down a friend’s address where you know it will not get lost or forgotten)

On this day, I also made an appointment (around this date) to go to the US Embassy here in Madrid and it gave me an appointment for July 27th, which meant I couldn’t set my appointment for the Extranjeria until the 28th at the earliest. I selected Notarial Services as my request didn’t fit under any of the other categories provided while I was going through the steps to book the appointment.

Pro tip: **Book this appointment early if you are applying to modify in the summer as the Embassy is usually very busy around this season.**

June 28th, 2017

Received a digital copy of the letter from the AECID (actually for the second time since they spelled my legal name incorrectly)

Letter Confirming No Scholarship Received by AECID

Hard copy version of the non-scholarship recipient letter from the AECID I received a few days after the digital copy.

June 30th, 2017

I finished my last and final-hopefully- day as an auxiliar at my school in Madrid and received both my letter of completion from my school in Canillejas and my first school in Coruña. I hadn’t received one from them during my first year but I kept in contact with my coordinator and she was happy to write up the letter. I received it by email and I printed off a copy of it.

Final letter of completion from (and most important of the 3) from the school in Madrid. Yours should look similar but each school is different. Make sure you get it stamped with the school’s seal!

July 3rd, 2017

On the morning of this day, I went to my bank here in Madrid to request a certified copy of one of my bank statements (with only 2 months worth of transactions, though I would recommend showing 3-4 months) but received a stamped copy of a regular statement instead. I also received both copies of the AECID letter this day.

July 13th, 2017

All of my networking from the previous months paid off as a contact informed me on this day that I would be contacted about a big summer project for one of their clients. I learned about the project the next day via an email from the project manager and agreed to join the team. Really glad to have gotten this step over with after months of searching and contacting companies.

July 14th-17th, 2017

During this time frame, I was in contact with UPTA, an organization with locations all around Spain that offers support for autónomos. I was in the process of creating my business plan and so on this day, I inquired about the requirements and application form for the approval process. It typically takes 7-10 days for UPTA (in Madrid) to evaluate the viability (success rate) of your business plan. The cost has remained an affordable cost of 15€ but from doing research on this, it seems to be the cost of the approval letter for the Comunidad de Madrid. For other regions, the cost varies.

However, it’s not the only organization in Spain that approves business plans. Here’s a short list of the four other organizations that you can contact:

    • Federación Nacional de Asociaciones de Empresarios y Trabajadores Autónomos (ATA)
    • Confederación Intersectorial de Autónomos del Estado Español (CIAE)
    • Organización de Profesionales y Autónomos (OPA)
    • Unión de Asociaciones de Trabajadores Autónomos y Emprendedores (UATAE)

**Note: I didn’t receive the service agreement from the client in time to be able to go through with getting my business plan approved by UPTA so I reluctantly skipped this step. And on the hoja informativa, it says this step is optional but highly recommended. Looking back on the process, I recommend getting your business plan approved and to give yourself 1-3 weeks (approximately) to get this step completed.**

July 18th-19th, 2017

While you’re running around and doing all of these errands and office visits, remember to stop (and literally) smell the roses. Find a stress reliever and stick with it. Mine was taking long walks around Madrid. 🙂

I was in contact with a sworn translator who was recommended in previous posts on the Spain Immigration Group) and asked him for a quote on the cost of two sworn translations of my Bachelor degree diplomas. He quoted me an affordable price of 40€ with next day turnaround. All he required of me were PDF or JPEG copies of my diplomas in order to perform the translation. (If you’re in Madrid and want to hire the same traductor jurado that I hired, please contact me and I’ll gladly refer him.)

**Important note: It’s not necessary to give a sworn translator original copies of your university diplomas. He used the PDF copies I had sent him and printed out a copy of each one to staple to the translated and stamped copies. I didn’t know this was the standard procedure so the week before, I told my parents to send my university diplomas to my apartment in Madrid via DHL (a company which I highly recommend) which cost me an extra 40€.**

July 22nd, 2017

I received the service agreement I had mentioned above, signed it and got it signed by the client. I worked more on my business plan and used a template for one that I found on Spain Guru via this post To see an example of a service agreement, go here.

**Pro-tip: Along with my business plan, I included a copy of my CV (resumé) and listed the URL for my blog (this website) as support for my online portfolio and as another avenue, I’d use to look for new clients during my first year as an autónoma. I can’t say for sure if someone at the Extranjería really did take a look at it but I strongly believe that it helped my case. If you’ve got some time and have always wanted to create a blog or a website of your very own, follow the steps on how to do it in my brand new comprehensive beginner’s blogging guide.**

July 27th, 2017

Went to the US Embassy on Calle Serrano in Madrid bright and early at 8:45 am. I was able to skip the line and go in through the citizens’ side but I still had to wait a considerable amount of time before I was seen. In addition to the wait time, I had to take a number on two different occasions.

Every notarized form you request at the Embassy costs 50€ a page so that’s what I paid for. They had emailed me that week saying their card machine was temporarily down and told me to bring cash. On the contrary, the machine was up and running again that morning but I came with cash anyway. And I would recommend anyone else do the same. It’s likely you’ll find it difficult and inconvenient to make a new appointment quickly, especially if your appointment is in the summer. 

Notarized Statement Confirming Non-Student Status

This form will be given to you at the US Embassy on the day of your appointment. Copy one of the lines from the bottom paragraph and then sign it and swear its validity in front of the notary and youre all set!

Once it was my turn to be seen, I wrote the following statement on the official form I was given:

Declaro que no poseo bienes o he sido becado o subvencionado por organismos públicos o privados dentro de programas estadounidenses de cooperación o desarollo.

Next, I signed it and took a number again. After a short wait, I went to the correct window and swore its validity in front of a notary who was behind it and she signed the form and applied the seal. I left here around 10:30 am.

The next and final task I had lined up for that day was to then go to the MAEC Office near Metro Banco de España to legalize the affidavit (US Embassy letter) so that it was valid in Spain. I had to make an appointment online (and appointment times were organized by 4-minute time slots) so I chose to go around 12:20 to give myself enough time to arrive in case the appointment at the Embassy lasted longer. It was quick, painless and not to mention free! The whole process took only about 6 minutes and then I was officially done with all the running around. You can make an appointment with their office here but you can only make it up to two weeks ahead of time, just as an FYI.

Now, the only thing left was to make my appointment at the Extranjeria on Calle de Silva and I did that on this very same day. (I would recommend setting it a little more in advance as the Extranjería’s website has been redone in the last year and at certain hours appointments aren’t available at all.)

July 30th, 2017

I did the last minute preparation for the appointment which included making copies (not entirely needed, by the way), organizing and categorizing all my documents in my trusty file folder and printed out the copy of my appointment form. All that was left was to try to get some sleep that hot summer night and not be too nervous!

I would definitely recommend getting a good night sleep and eating breakfast before your appointment in order to feel rested and ready to go in case you get assigned to a less than cheerful funcionario (civil servant) the next day.

July 31st, 2017

The day to turn in all my paperwork had arrived and ironically this was also the last day my student TIE card was valid. Several months after this date, I tried to apply to a TEFL program in order to extend my student visa but I was not successful. The important thing was that I turned in my application while the card was still valid, though I realized that I did take a big risk.

Anyway, I went to my appointment at 10 a.m. at Calle de Silva and I successfully turned in my full packet of paperwork. The only tasa I had to pay was the cost of the card for 10,86 EUR. It didn’t match what was listed underneath the tasas for this visa and I was never asked to pay the larger fee at any other point during the process so I didn’t. (This could be subject to change, but it appears that some nationalities are exempt from paying the more expensive tasa and others are not. As a precaution, I would plan to have enough money in your budget to pay for it either way.)

Then, I had to wait.

And wait and wait and wait.

Did I mention that during those two months I waited, I stayed in Madrid in August? As see you can see in this photo, I almost melted in the process but good thing I didn’t!!

Until one day, 68 days later…

October 9th, 2017

After some doubts about getting my application approved at all, the Spanish government decided to approve my student visa modification! Woohoo!

checking paperwork status online Spain

Lesson learned: It’s always best to check your status online!

I, however, didn’t check the online status of my application due to expecting to receive a letter about potential missing documents (a missing translation) so I had no idea it had gotten approved at this point.

October 19th, 2017

I received a certified letter in the mail around 12 p.m. that day from the Oficina de Extranjeria, Calle de Silva and ripped into it with bated breath. It was delivered straight to my door (after the Correos worker couldn’t find my door and was confused by my name) so make sure you list is the one where you actually live and not a friend’s, as you have to be there to sign and receive the letter. Luckily, it said favorable (approved/favorable) and I knew that my application had been approved.

I was about to pay a deposit on a TEFL course in order to renew my student visa the very next day but now I didn’t have to! I was no longer a student! Besides celebrating and calling everyone I could about the news, I made an appointment for my fingerprints at the immigration center at metro Aluche. It was one of those high volume times of the year which meant I was given an appointment several weeks in the future: November 28th.

The letter also stated that I had to register myself into the Social Security system within a time frame of 30 days. At this point and subtracting public (and regional) holidays, I only had 13 business days to do so. Talk about pressure!

Celebratory tintos de verano were in order after learning I had gotten my visa approved! (What a huge relief)

(In the meantime and for the entire month of November I was also searching for a new apartment, new private classes and new freelance projects I could work on as a US person (for the time being). You can imagine my stress levels were through the roof some days as I juggled all of these things at once. And if you’re familiar with searching for an apartment in Madrid, it can take forever to find a good one.)

October 30th, 2017

I made my first visit to the correct Social Security Office for freelancers in my zip code (see photo below for the full list of offices). I requested my SS number by simply filling out a short form and presenting my approval letter. This was the easiest of my visits there.

November 6th, 2017

I went to both Hacienda, the Tax Office (locations are all over Madrid and require an appointment, cita previa, but I went to the one located near metro Guzmán El Bueno) and returned to the same Social Security Office. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and listed my start (work) date as past November 9th (the last possible day for me to register) and it was a holiday only in Madrid. A nice man at the Social Security office told me to go back to Hacienda and ask them to change it.  Didn’t seem like too much of a hassle but remember…this is Spain.

November 7th, 2017

I had gotten another appointment to see someone at Hacienda in order to change my start date but this time for the afternoon. I don’t recommend ever making an appointment at a Spanish government office in the afternoon. Case in point was that I had my appointment around 1:45 p.m. and around 2:20 p.m., the funcionario I was assigned to informed me that I was not able to change the date until that date had passed. I turned to the Spain Immigration Group and asked about it. And found out the next day, it was NOT TRUE! After crying a bit out of frustration and then calming myself down, I made yet another appointment at the Hacienda but I chose to go to a location near Avenida de América.

November 8th, 2017

Around 11:30 a.m. the next day, I went to a different Hacienda where a very helpful man changed my start date in the system (after I had given him an abridged version of my life story in Spain) with ease. I then hurried on over to the Social Security Office in the opposite direction and got into the Social Security system. I had finally crossed these hurdles and breathed a sigh of relief.

November 28th, 2017

I was all set for this appointment -or so I thought- at Aluche around 1:30 p.m. until I realized with a gasp, as I started at a sign that said pasaporte, that I had left my passport on a shelf in my room. Major facepalm moment at the time but I was able to recover later. I made another appointment at Aluche and the next available date was in early 2018. Great…

January 15th, 2018

I had my second and final fingerprint appointment around 1:30 p.m. (don’t ask me why I kept getting assigned this time) and I came prepared with everything I needed. I finished the appointment in under 15 minutes and I  picked up my fancy new card 30 days later, on February 15th. I then applied for my Cl@ve PIN so I could pay the first round of quarterly taxes online.

Student visa card to residency card - at last!

The final product: a brand new residency card!

And that’s it! The whole process from start to finish.

**2019 Update: If you’ve happened upon this page but are about to renew your cuenta propia work permit, check out the most recent article I wrote about it and how to correctly renew your residency.

I hope you found this post helpful and useful as you pursue your own application and continue living and enjoying Spain.  Any questions or comments, please add them below and join the discussion!

**If you’re also living in Madrid and want to chat or receive coaching/mentoring in person for a small fee during the process, please reach out or contact me on Upwork (for things such as proofreading your CV or writing your business plan). I would be happy to help you achieve your own goal of working and living in Spain legally.**

Find me on Instagram, connect with me on LinkedIn or email me. Let’s get in touch!

31 thoughts on “Student Visa Modification Timeline: How to become a freelancer in Spain

  1. Molly Anderson says:

    Hi, so Im working on getting my modificstion now too. I have my appointment to turn in everything on June 29th. Once I have everything turned in, is it possible to get a regreso and go back to the states? Do you know what I would need to do? I’ve already bought my ticket for July 11th, so I kinda need to figure this out! Thanks in advance!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Molly, thanks for commenting with your question. I was told in the legal consultation I had to renew my student visa at the same time (but I couldn’t so I chose not to travel) and that would meet the requirements for the autorización de regreso application. Technically they won’t grant you a regreso if you’re changing visa status and not just renewing the same type of visa. Hope that makes sense to you! P.S. I did see you post in the Spain Guru group too so hope you got an explanation there as well.

  2. Sai Kishor Kothakota says:


    This post is very helpful. Thanks for taking some time to post such a valuable information. I have a question regarding this modification. Do we need to really complete 3 years inorder to apply for this kind of modification (or) is it fine if we are about to complete 3 years in a month or two. Because as per what you have written, says that we need to have our NIE valid, and once we are about to be done with 3 years study period, renewing it on the same record is a bit difficult, unless you have enrollment in some courses. Please do clarify my question.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Sai,

      Thanks for your comment. And I’m glad you found the post helpful, that’s the main reason why I wrote it!
      To answer your question, and I believe I mentioned it in the post, but you can apply for the modification within 90 days of your 3rd year anniversary in Spain. My card was going to expire before I reached 3 official years so that extra window of time really saved me but I still had to get the application in before my card expired.
      So yes, you can submit your application within a month or two before you officially reach 3 years.
      Hope that clarifies it! Any more questions, just ask. 🙂


        are AECID people helpful with this process?. I see that you received your copy in a week, are they very responsive to our email. Just want to know to plan my things.

        Thank you,

        • Sarah says:

          The man who emailed me from AECID was very helpful and responsive. I will add that this was in late June, just before the summer schedule took affect so they may not be as responsive in August. I honestly would not count on getting many email replies from late July until mid-September when classes and normal schedules resume.

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks so much for this useful information – I’m sure it’s going to save a lot of people a number of headaches. I wondered if some people in Barcelona might find this useful – it’s where you can find all the information about the process in Catalonia. They actually also provide a guide for the business plan including Annexes, and it’s much clearer than before about which tasas you need to pay and how to figure out which ones are applicable. However, it’s pretty much impossible to get an appointment!
    If anyone has successfully completed the process in Barcelona, it would be great to hear.
    Thanks again for posting all this information.

    • Sai Kishor Kothakota says:

      Dear Rachel,

      I do understand the hassle of getting the appointment. You need to keep on looking time to time to get one. I can understand that this is shit, but there is no other go. Try to check everyday morning. You will have high chances to find one.

      • Sarah says:

        I’m going to ditto what Sai said above. It’s been really tricky to get an appointment through their system ever since they changed it over to a new one. I’ve also heard checking at midnight the next day works, too. Hope these two tricks help but definitely don’t give up! Let me know what worked in the end.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Rachel!
      Thanks so much for your comment and I’m glad you found the post so helpful!
      Plus, I feel that the information you shared for anyone doing the process in Barcelona will be extremely helpful. I don’t know anyone who’s successfully done it (or the autónomo visa) there so I would also be curious to know someone’s experience.
      The Extranjería system was changed to a different server this year and I think that’s why it’s been so difficult for people to get appointments to show up. It’s caused so many problems but there are tricks to them show up. How far along in the processs are you may I ask? 🙂

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the encouragement. I went to lodge the application today and had a really nice lady who helped me since I had the wrong tasa de trabajo (which the Treball site had incorrectly linked – no, really….) and after she advised me to get another one (which was also incorrect) we looked through the website together and found the correct one. I always submit at the general administration office (Carrer Bergara) when there are no appointments (which is every time I’ve tried) and they always accept my application and explain that they simply send off the documents to the correct office. I could have gone to the OAC in Carrera 24 and they would have given me all the information but I just didn’t have time. Plus the guia tells you that you can submit at any registration office. I didn’t need to do the criminal background check (I figure they have both my Australian one and the Spanish ones on record if they need) and I didn’t get my business plan approved by any agency. The tasa de residencia was 10,72 and the tasa de trabajo was 73,25 or something. I had my cartas, a service contract, business plan, some examples of work, a translation of my diploma and the constitution and registration of my company, a bank statement, CV. I didn’t bother to consult with any lawyers about the process beforehand. I’m fully prepared to wait 3 months and from what I’ve heard, it’s taking 6-8 months so…let’s see?
    I’ll let you know if it’s successful but I don’t expect to hear for a while!
    Best of luck to everyone who’s applying.

  5. Sagar soni says:

    Hello very good and congratulations for your good result and hard work
    Actually I want to ask you that for those who come in student visa , does extrangeria ask about empadronamiento after completiton of three year?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Sagar,
      Thanks for your well wishes! It did take a lot of hard work to get this process done.
      As far as the empadronamiento goes, the Extranjería didn’t ask me for it. You will need to bring a recent copy (el volante) when you go to get your fingerprints done for the new TIE (tarjeta de identificación de extranjero). So make sure you bring a copy that’s less than 3 months old to your fingerprint apppointment at your local comisería. For Madrid, that would be in Aluche or any of the comserías in the outskirt towns.
      Hope that helps! 🙂

  6. Sagar says:

    Thank you Sarah,
    So if I wanna transfer my student visa to freelancer, should business plan be related to study or I c choose any other business?

    • Sarah says:

      If you want to modify your existing student visa by the self-employed/freelancer route, I would suggest going into the same field you studied because they require you to show related degrees and professional certifications. Choosing to start a business in a field you didn’t study would ultimately have a negative effect on your case. So I would stay in the same field if I were you, Sagar!
      By the way, what is your home country?
      I wrote this post from an American perspective and experience but I’ve had a few people from other countries contact me and so I’m curious to see where others are from. 🙂

  7. Sagar soni says:

    Hello Sarah

    I am from India. But if the business is related to study then there is no problem,right ? and I am glad that you are sharing information .
    do you know which are other way of extension apart from freelancer for student ?

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Sagar,

      Sorry for the delay in my reply. I’ve never been to India before but it’s on my travel list.
      Anyway, as long as your proposed business plan is related to your studies and degree(s), it should be fine.
      I don’t know how to do any other extensions or visas that might help you work in Spain personally as I was recommended this one for my visa status at the time last year. Hope this is still helpful for you! 🙂

  8. Chado says:

    Hello Sarah,

    I hope everything is fine 🙂 I reviewed your post and it is really useful, many thanks to share your experiences and feelings.. I would like to ask you a question regarding the requirements..

    –> I have already completed my 3 years here in Barcelona and I found a company that I can work.
    However, my third (current) master will be finished on February 2019. But I wouldn’t wait till February. Can I apply 90 days before I finish?
    Please let me know. Many thanks 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Chado,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m so glad you found the post and my experiences helpful. Helping at least one person (but in this case more) was the main reason why I wrote it. 🙂
      Anyway, in regards to your question. If you have already completed 3 years in Spain/Barcelona, you wouldn’t have to wait 90 days before your Spain anniversary as you would be eligible to do it any time after the 3-year mark.
      However, if your current Master is something you will need in order to be qualified for the job you were offered, then maybe you should wait until it’s completed? Also, when does your TIE expire? I’m sure that’s a factor for you, too.
      Hope this was helpful and look forward to your reply!

  9. Chado says:

    Hello Sarah,
    Thanks for your reply, I hope you had a great weekend! =)
    My TIE will expire on 13 March 2019.

    I have to apply as soon as possible because my company is pushing me to sort this out!
    That’s why I cannot wait until I finish my last Master. My question is can I apply before I finish my master and once I finish, Can I update my apply with the completed certificate of my last master? Is that possible?
    Thanks a lot Sarah ! :))

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Chado,

      I had a great weekend, hope you did too!
      Let’s see. I understand why your company would like to have you get your application processing as soon as possible. Spanish bureaucracy is so slow! 😛 However, just keep in mind that you won’t be able to start working until they approve your application and you get into Social Security (dada de alta). To answer your question, if you don’t need your current Master to complete the position they want to hire you for, then you could submit your documents before you finish the Master. Your student TIE MUST be valid at the time you turn in your application so just remember that (and it is coming up soon but not too soon). You can also submit additional documents that may help your application once you turn it in. So, you could always turn in a sworn translation (if necessary) of your last Master’s degree to help strengthen your professional skills needed for the job you’ll carry out with the company. Hope that makes sense!
      Also, where will you be applying from? I went through the process here in Madrid but through the self-employed route as you can see. Just curious!

      • Sai Kishor Kothakota says:

        Hey Sarah, One question once you submit the application while your card is valid. Do you need to have it valid until they turn up with a resolution or not required?.

        • Sarah says:

          Hey Sai! I was told that you should renew your student visa in case it was going to expire before a modification application could be approved but I ended up not doing this. Renewing my student visa wasn’t possible in the end but my resolution came out favorable (and others have as well) so no, it doesn’t have to be valid after you turn the paperwork in.

      • Chado says:

        Hello Sarah,
        Your answers are really helpful. I appreciate your help 🙂
        I will apply from Barcelona.
        If I can submit additional documents(my master completion document in this case) after I turn in, that would be perfect.
        Because I can apply right away and I can submit my Uni document once I complete (Feb 2019).
        Is that make sense??
        Thank you very much Sarah !! All the bests 🙂

  10. marie says:

    Hi Sarah,
    This is a great post! I’m about to start this process and the details that you provide here are so very appreciated. 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Marie! Thank you so much. I’m glad you found this post helpful. Wishing you lots of luck as you begin the process to modify for your student visa! 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      That would be fine but you confirm for me that you’re a real person? I’ve been getting a lot of spam comments lately and sometimes I can’t tell which comments are genuine and which are spam. Thanks a lot! 🙂

  11. Bridget Murphy says:

    Hi Sarah! I’ve posted this in the Spain guru group, but I thought I’d ask you here just in case because I’ve read your blog and you have such good info! I’ve been in Spain 4 years. 2 years on a student visa doing the aux program with CIEE, 2 years on a student visa doing the aux program with UCETAM, and next year I will be doing a Master’s in Barcelona. So, in total, by next year I will have been in Spain 5 years on a student visa…(though 4 have been with the aux program, and one will be doing a master’s). A student visa for the aux program v. a student visa for a master’s program is the same student visa, right? In regard to the student visa modification process to get a work visa for cuenta ajena…these student visas count for the 3 consecutive student visa years I need, correct? I just want to make sure my student visa for a master’s isn’t going to ruin the 3 consecutive student visa years I have as an auxiliar. To me, they are all student visas and my master’s one will count toward 3 consecutive years. But I’m not 100%. Thanks for the info you may have!

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Bridget! Thanks for coming over here and asking your question. I think other people who will read this post about student visa modification will find it helpful, too.
      To answer your question about a student visa with the auxiliar program and a student visa for a Master’s program, there’s one key thing I must point out. It doesn’t matter what program you’ve come for on a student visa, what matters is whether or not you’ve renewed the same TIE (tarjeta de identidad del extranjero) or gotten a new visa in your passport each time. I think I saw this reply in the Facebook group but if you’ve gone back to your home country and gotten a new student visa affixed to the your passport, your time in Spain resets.
      Though I didn’t do the modification to cuneta ajena, I advised someone who did and he said he was denied due to having this same issue. His case was two years in the auxiliar program and then one year doing a Master’s program.
      I personally just renewed the same TIE card (in Galicia for two years and then Madrid for one where I was placed as an auxiliar) and had no problem with this part of the requirements.
      I even had this question confirmed with a lawyer I saw for an initial consultation before I started this process on my own. I hope my replies helps give you clarity!
      And thanks for reading 🙂

  12. Alegra says:

    Hello! I have a question. My TIE expires May 31, 2019. I have had the same visa since October of 2016, when I started the auxiliar program. Unfortunately, I have been here for 32 months when my visa expires, and not for 36. I am wondering if you know of any options that can help me reach 36 month’s in order to qualify for the visa change. Since you were an auxIliar for three years, how did you make it work if the program is technically not a full year? I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!

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