How Canadians Can Apply for the Spain Working Holiday Visa

Did you know that as a Canadian citizen you can live and work in Spain for up to two years with the Spain Working Holiday Visa? Imagine yourself walking down Barcelona’s lively promenades, admiring street performers, and enjoying sangria and tapas at local restaurants. It’s all possible with the working holiday visa!

Before you get there, you will need to get some paperwork together and file your visa application. We’ll cover it all in this post, so let’s jump in.

Wish this was you? Just follow our steps and it could be!

But first, what is a working holiday?

A working holiday is an extended trip where you work abroad to help fund your travels in a particular country. The working holiday visa is the permit that allows you to stay in a country for longer than a tourist. It also allows you to work, which tourists are not allowed to do.

Did you know Canadian citizens are eligible for working holiday visas in over 30 countries around the world? We’re very lucky to have many opportunities to experience working and travelling abroad!

Working Holiday Visa Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply for the Spain Working Holiday Visa, you must meet the following conditions:

  • Be a current resident of Canada
  • Have a valid Canadian passport for the duration of your working holiday in Spain
  • Are between the ages of 18 and 35 when you apply
  • Have support funds of about $3,000 CAD or more
  • Do not have a criminal record
Madrid boasts beautiful architecture, eternal sunshine, fabulous food and great nightlife.

Why Go on a Working Holiday to Spain?

Year-round sunshine, for starters. There are no winter blues here, and Spaniards utilize this to the fullest, whether soaking up the sun at the beach, sharing tapas on patios or getting active in the great outdoors. You won’t find a better work-life balance than in Spain!

They’re a famously friendly bunch too, making the perfect companions to practice your Spanish with. Discover more about living in Spain, and if you’re dreaming of making the big leap abroad, our Spain Send-Off Program will make the transition seamless, from your working holiday visa application to getting a job and so much more. For additional in-country support, two weeks of accommodation and language lessons, our Kick-Start Spain Program is the perfect introduction to life in Spain!

Spain’s Youth Mobility Visa Program

The working holiday visa for Spain is part of a larger Youth Mobility Program. This program provides opportunities for youth from Canada and Spain to experience work and travel in each other’s countries. In this program, there are five visas available to Canadian citizens. These five categories include:

A) Post-secondary graduates who wish to obtain additional training in Spain through a pre-arranged job;

B) Students registered at a Canadian post-secondary institution who want to complete part of their studies at a Spanish institution, including under inter-institution agreements;

C) Young professionals wishing to obtain additional training in Spain through a pre-arranged job that contributes to their professional development;

D) Students registered at a Canadian post-secondary institution who plan to travel to Spain during academic vacations and wish to work on a casual basis to support the cost of the trip;

E) Young Canadians who plan to travel to Spain and who wish to work on a casual basis to support the cost of their trip;

What all this means is that there are two options for Canadian citizens wanting to do a working holiday in Spain:

Category D: if you are a post-secondary student and want to work during your trip to Spain.
Category E: if you are not a student and want to work during your trip to Spain.

Eating alfresco is an everyday occurrence in Spain

What to Know Before Applying for the Spain Working Holiday Visa

  • Canadians can obtain the Spain Working Holiday Visa a total of two times. However, each time must be through a different Youth Mobility Visa category.
  • Each stay can be for up to one year.
  • If you apply for another visa category, there needs to be a minimum three-month wait between each stay in Spain.
  • The visas are multi-entry so you can leave Spain and re-enter as many times as you please while your visa is valid — so you can easily visit other European countries!

Visa processing time: We recommend contacting Stepabroad and starting the visa process four to six months before you plan to depart.

Important to note: You must enter Spain within 90 days of your visa being granted to you.

Cost of application: $165 CAD.

Application method: The application has two parts. Depending on your location in Canada, you may need to submit your application by mail or in person at your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate.

Step 1: Apply for the NIE

Before beginning your Spain visa application you need to get an NIE (Foreigners Identification Number). Your NIE will be your personal identification and tax number for Spain. It is required in order to submit your visa application.

To get your NIE, you must gather the following documents and fill out the necessary forms:

You must have a valid Canadian passport for the duration of the visa.

Photocopy of biographical pages of your passport
This is the page of your passport which shows your passport photo and personal details.

Proof of economic, professional, or social interests
This will be used to justify your application to live and work in Spain.

EX-15 form
This form must be completed in Spanish, then printed.

Form 790
You must complete, sign, download, and print this form.

Consular fee
This fee must be presented in exact cash. The fee is $14.10 CAD as of February 6th, 2020.


If you live in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario (except Ottawa), Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, or Nunavut: You can apply for the NIE at your designated Spanish consulate in Toronto.

If you live in Quebec (except Gatineau), Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick:
You can apply for the NIE at your designated Spanish consulate in Montreal.

If you live in Ottawa or Gatineau:
You can apply for the NIE at the Spanish Embassy in Ottawa.

Important: you cannot submit your NIE application by mail. To avoid travelling to the consulate, you may use the services of the Honorary Consul in your local area.

You could be doing your weekly food shop in places like this!

Step 2: Prepare your visa application documents

Once you receive your NIE, you can begin your Spain Working Holiday Visa application. You will need to gather the following documents:

Important: You must submit both the originals and photocopies of all documents.

What you’ve received after completing step one.

Ensure your passport is valid for the entire duration of your working holiday in Spain.

Passport photo
The photo must have been taken within the last six months from the date you submit your application. It needs to be a professional passport photo.

Application forms
Fill out the required Spain working holiday visa application form. Be sure to complete it correctly to avoid delays in your application.

Proof of travel insurance
Provide evidence that you have travel insurance for the total duration of your working holiday in Spain.

A return ticket
Show that you have a return flight departing Spain or enough funds to purchase one.

Proof of funds
Prove you have at least $3,000 CAD of accessible funds. This is not how much the visa costs. It shows you have enough money to support yourself in Spain.

The visa processing fee is $150 CAD. You can pay this fee with cash, money order, or certified cheque.

Pre paid express post
Include a prepaid express post envelope with your application so your passport can be mailed back to you with a tracking number.

Additional required documents if you want to stay in Spain for longer than six months:

Criminal record check
You will need a criminal record check with fingerprints for anywhere that you have lived in the past five years. Processing times and fees vary by location so get this done well in advance.

Medical certificate
Obtain a medical certificate from a recognized doctor in Canada to prove you are in good health.

Perfect your Spanish with friendly locals - you'll be speaking the local lingo in no time!

Step 3: Submit your Spain Working Holiday Visa application

Once you have all of the above documents gathered, submit them to the Spanish Consulate. Make an appointment to apply in person, or mail all of your documents.

There are three consulates in Canada — Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. Each consulate is responsible for certain regions in Canada. Be sure to submit your application to the consulate whose jurisdiction you reside in.

Toronto Jurisdictions

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Ontario (except Ottawa and greater Ottawa)
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut

Visit the Toronto consulate’s website to book your appointment.

Ottawa Jurisdictions

  • Ottawa & metropolitan area

Visit the Ottawa consulate’s website to book your appointment.

Montreal Jurisdictions

  • Quebec (except Gatineau)
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

Visit Montreal’s consulate website to book your appointment.

Each consulate’s business hours are very limited. Keep in mind you will need to work around their schedule.

Review your application thoroughly before paying to ensure you made no mistakes and have filled in everything correctly. If your visa application is denied, you are not given a refund for the application fee.

Spain is so close you can almost taste it…

Step 4: Receive your visa!

Once you have submitted your Spain Working Holiday Visa Application, you can sit back and wait. Processing time takes anywhere between three and six weeks. However, it is also possible for it to take longer, up to several months. If this happens, send a follow-up email to check on the status of your application.

Important: The Spanish Consulate will hold onto your passport for the duration of the time they are processing your visa, so make sure you don’t have any out-of-country travel plans during this time.

If you have followed our instructions and completed the application correctly, you will receive your prepaid express post envelope back with your passport inside. Open it up to see an exciting Spain Working Holiday Visa sticker inside – congrats!

You’re not quite finished yet. There is one more step to complete once you arrive in Spain.

Final Step: Travel to Spain and collect your Residence Card

Once you receive your passport back with your visa inside, you have 90 days to enter Spain. After entering the country, visit the Oficinas de Tramitación Para Ciudadanos Extranjeros to pick up your residence card.

Now you are officially a resident of Spain! How does it feel?

Ready to apply for your Spain Working Holiday Visa?

Fill in the form and our team will get in touch to help you plan the trip of a lifetime!