This article is a follow-up to the article about how to apply for the Spanish student visa at the consulate in Chicago.
At the consulate they’d advised that my passport would be returned by USPS mail within 4 to 5 weeks. I received the passport just short of 3 weeks later. All EU student visas look alike. They’re pasted into the passport book on a gritty green paper. There are some important pieces of information on the visa. I explain a few of them below and highlight my revelations about the process.
This isn’t actually the “entry date”–on the visa it just says “from”. You can enter the country anytime between this date and the “until” date.
I’d been nervous about this step because I wanted to be able to arrive in Spain with a bit of a buffer before the start of classes. The university humored me by adjusting the start date of the school on their acceptance letter to reflect my desired date of entry. I didn’t understand how other applicants would manage it without this extra help. Here’s what I learned.
In the “date of entry” field on the National Visa Application Form, I wrote the 7th of September, a full week before matriculation. The visa, now that I have it in my hand, says I can enter Spain from the first of September. So I think it’s safe to deduce that the consulate issues the visa with an entry date buffered by one week prior to the date you indicated on the application. My classes were to start the 29th of September, so having gone that extra step to ask for the adjusted dates on the acceptance letter was necessary.
It surprised me to see that the visa was issued for only three months. Then I found a little slip of loose paper in my passport with these instructions:
Your visa has been issued for 90 days with multiple entries. Once in Spain, you must request–within a month upon your arrival–from your local Subdelegacion del Gobierno (Office for Foreigners) the necessary resident card, which will allow you to stay in the country for the duration of your solicited time, as well as travel in and out of the country.”
So the “until” date on the visa is the 14th of December.
Visa type / Entries / Duration
If you applied for the student visa, make sure the visa type reads “D”.
The next field states whether the visa is for single, double, or multiple entries. I don’t know why they had you choose this on the National Application Form, but since it doesn’t cost you anything extra, you should have chosen ‘multiple’, since you don’t know that you won’t need to leave the country and return.
The duration of this visa will say 90 days.
The rest of the fields are self-explanatory; there’s the location of the consulate you used, the date it was issued, your passport number and name, “Estancia” under additional observations, and finally a set of numbers on the bottom. One number, the “N.I.E” will be important for you later on. The little note in the passport, whose text I quoted above, bids you to retrieve your residence card, the NIE. This number is your reference, so it behooves you to write it down somewhere for safekeeping, just in case your passport gets lost.
Now that I have the Spanish visa, I can purchase a flight ticket. I will purchase a oneway ticket and take along an itinerary from Delta for a return flight, just in case they ask at the border. I will update this article as I experience the process of attaining the N.I.E residence card.
Update: I’m in Barcelona. I’ll write about it. It begins here: Why I wanted to study in Spain.