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6 ways to change your study stay to a residence and work permit

stay for studies

Thanks to the multitude of universities, study and professional training centers in Spain, many people come to the country with a “student visa” that allows them to stay in the territory while they carry out their studies. However, once they have finished their studies -sometimes even without finishing- many of them look for a way to get regularized in the country. Do you want to know which are the 6 alternatives to change your stay for studies to a residence permit? Here we tell you everything, come and join us!


What is the change from a study stay to a residence permit?

To begin with, the residence permit for seeking employment after finishing higher education is a permit that will allow you to accumulate years if in the future you want to apply for Spanish nationality by residence. On the other hand, despite the number of years you spend in Spain, if you have a residence permit for studies, you will not be able to accumulate time to apply for Spanish nationality.

This job search authorization is valid for one year and cannot be extended. Likewise, you can access it after completing any type of higher education, whether it is a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Once you have this permit, you can access a job or present your own business project, as long as these are directly related to the level of studies completed. If the application is not resolved within 20 days, residency is considered granted.

What do you need to apply for a change of stay for studies?

Among the requirements you need to apply for the change of stay for studies in Spain to residency, the following stand out:

  • Provide proof that your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree studies were completed and that they were completed under a study stay authorization.

  • Not having been awarded a scholarship by public or private institutions in your country of origin.

  • Not having a criminal record in Spain or in your country of origin.

  • Have a formal job offer that reflects your signature and the employer’s signature.

  • Accreditation of solvency and legality of the company or person who would be hiring you.

  • Application and fees corresponding to this procedure, all paid.

  • Apply for residency for the purpose of seeking employment within 60 days before or 90 days after the date of the end of the study stay. This cannot be done earlier or later.

  • Address the application to the Government Delegation or Subdelegation in the province where you wish to reside.

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6 options to change your authorization of stay for study purposes to residence and work permits

Since Spain is one of the most recognized destinations to carry out an education, it is normal that many people arrive in the country with a stay for studies and after finishing (or even before) their studies want to settle in the country by applying for a residence and work permit.

Therefore, here are the 6 ways in which you can change your stay in Spain for study purposes to a residence permit:

stay for studies

1. From study stay to work residence

This is one of the most common changes that foreigners usually make, and we are not only referring to those who have a visa for studies, but also to those who are residents for roots and even for humanitarian reasons.

As established in Article 199 of the Foreigners’ Regulations: in case of having a stay as a student or a residence for the search of employment and you have, in addition, more than 3 years in Spain as a student, it is possible to opt for a modification to a residence for work of the foreigners’ regime.

It is important to keep in mind that the residence permit will be linked to the application you make. That is to say, if the application is to work as an employee (as an employee), this will be stated on your card. And if later you want to register as self-employed, you will have to make a new modification.

For a better understanding, here is a more detailed description of each one:

Initial employment

Among the requirements to apply are the following:

  • Have lived in Spain for at least 3 years on a student visa.

  • Have completed your studies by the time you request the change.

  • Have a formal job offer.

  • Not having been subsidized and/or awarded a scholarship by either public or private organizations, either in a Spanish program or in your country of origin.

With this modification and having lived in Spain for a certain period of time under a student visa, you will be able to go from having your legal stay as a student to having a legal residence permit with permission to work. This type of residence, initial work permit, has a duration of 1 year, so when it expires, you will have to renew it.

Initially self-employed

In case you want to become self-employed to start your own business, you can opt for the initial self-employment. However, to obtain it you must present a business plan and demonstrate that you have the economic means to carry out your investment.

As in the previous case, you must comply with a series of requirements, see what they are:

  • Have lived in Spain on a student visa for at least 3 years.

  • Have completed your studies by the time you make this change request.

  • Not having been awarded a scholarship in public or private organizations belonging to either Spanish programs or to your country of origin.

Of course, the residence for initial self-employment will have the same duration of 1 year, so when it expires it must be renewed.

2. From stay for studies to residence for the search of employment

Since 2018 this has become, along with the initial one for paid employment, one of the most requested residences by those with a stay for studies. One of the clearest differences with respect to the previous alternative is that this one does not require a specific previous time to be able to apply for it.

In that sense, the requirements you will need to comply with are the following:

  • To have medical insurance.

  • Have financial means.

  • Have completed your studies.

  • This residency is intended for those who have completed their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in Spain.

It is important for you to know that this authorization will grant you a residence permit with which you will be able to seek employment, but it will not allow you to work. So, I’m sure you’re wondering, why do I want it if it doesn’t seem to work? But the truth is that in that time the following can happen:

  • If you find a job offer in your area of training, you can modify this permit to an initial employment permit.

  • If you find a job offer as a Highly Qualified Professional, this permit can be modified to Highly Qualified Professional Residency.

  • If, for some reason, you want to start a business and become self-employed, you can apply for a change to initial residence for self-employment.

Depending on which of these scenarios occurs first, you must comply with the requirements of each of the residences in order to make the change.

3. From study stay to residence for professional practices

Although this authorization is not as well known or used as the previous ones, it is another alternative that you can take into account to change your stay for studies to a residence authorization.

To apply you must comply with:

  • Have obtained a higher education degree within the last two years or be studying to obtain one.

  • Have an internship agreement or contract.

It should be noted that this authorization can be requested both in Spain and in your country of origin and can be done telematically where there will be an administrative silence of 30 days. If you do not receive a response within this period, you can consider that you have received a positive resolution.

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4. From study stay to residence due to labor integration

The new ruling called STS 452/2021 of March 25, put on the table the possibility for students who are in a situation of irregularity, lack a criminal record and have been residing in Spain for more than two years and who, in addition, can prove an employment relationship of more than 6 months, to opt for the residency of labor roots.

This has a duration of one year, so, at the end of this period, it cannot be renewed, but you will have to apply for a change of residence to a work permit.

5. From study stay to residence due to social integration

Until the publication of the residency for job search, the “arraigo social” was the most frequent option used by students to modify their stay to residency, since it is perhaps the oldest and “with the fewest requirements” with which a foreigner could regularize his or her status in Spain.

Therefore, in order to apply, you must meet the following requirements:

  • First, you must prove that you have resided in Spain for at least 3 years.

  • You will have to get a favorable insertion report from the autonomous government of the region where you live.

  • You must not have a criminal record, neither in Spain nor in your country of origin, in the last 5 years.

  • Have a formal job offer.

  • If the autonomous community in which you live has a second language, you must prove that you understand and speak it. To do this, in the case of Catalonia, you must take a 45-hour Catalan course.

6. From study stay to residence by EU family member

Finally, if during your time as a student you managed to strengthen ties with an EU citizen, whether a Spanish citizen or an EU member, and you can prove the union through marriage, domestic partnership or unregistered partnership with proven cohabitation for at least 1 year, you can apply for your residence as an EU family member.

This residency offers you the possibility of having a work permit for employment and/or self-employment and has a duration of 5 years.

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Generally speaking, these have been the 6 options most frequently chosen by students to change their authorization of stay for studies to a residency regime in Spain. As always, our recommendation is that you seek advice from an expert, because there may be exceptions. In TAS Consultancy, we are committed to provide you with the help you need, just contact us through our email and let us know your doubts and we will gladly assist you.

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