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.
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 allow 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 traveling abroad!
In order to be eligible to apply for the Spain Working Holiday Visa, you must meet the following conditions:
COVID-19 NOTICE: The Embassy of Spain in Ottawa is currently not accepting applications for the working holiday visa. If you would like to receive updates on when the Government of Spain will resume processing working holiday visa applications, fill in the form at the bottom of this post.
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 country. 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 Canadians 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.
We’ve put together an overview of how to apply for the Spain Working Holiday Visa as a Canadian passport holder. Scroll down for the step-by-step process, or click the links below to skip through the steps.
Stepabroad is recognized by the Government of Canada as an official organization whose services Canadians can use for work and travel support while planning their working holiday.
Visa processing time: The processing time is three to six weeks from the date you submit your application in person. However, this can be extended up to several months if there are issues with your application documents. Therefore, we recommend starting your application at least four months before your departure date.
Important to note: You must enter Spain within 90 days of your visa being granted to you.
Cost of application: $150 CAD.
Application method: The application has two parts. The first part can be mailed in. The second part requires you to submit your visa application in-person at your nearest visa application center.
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.
This form must be completed in Spanish, then printed. You can find the form here.
You must complete, sign, download, and print this form. You can find the form here.
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 traveling to the consulate, you may use the services of the Honorary Consul in your local area.
COVID-19 Notice: The Embassy of Spain in Ottawa is currently not accepting applications for the working holiday visa. If you would like to receive updates on when the Government of Spain will resume processing working holiday visa applications, fill in the form at the bottom of this post.
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.
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.
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.
Prepaid express post
Include a prepaid express post envelope with your application so your passport can be mailed back to you with a tracking number.
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.
Obtain a medical certificate from a recognized doctor in Canada to prove you are in good health.
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.
Visit the Toronto consulate’s website here to book your appointment.
Visit the Ottawa consulate’s website here 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.
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.
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. Your residence card is similar to your Canadian SIN number and is required to work in Spain.
Fill in the form and our team will let you know when there is an update from the Spanish government on visa processing and new procedures.
Disclaimer: No Legal Advice Provided.
The material on our website and on this webpage is intended to provide only general information and comment to our clients and the public. Although we make our best efforts to ensure that the information found on our website is accurate and timely, do not, under any circumstances, rely on information found on our website as legal or immigration advice. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on websites to which our website provides links to. For assistance with your specific inquiry or problem, please contact an immigration consultant or call the nearest Spain Consulate.
Tessa is the Program Development Manager at Stepabroad and a travel lover at heart. Her passion for travel started during a summer in university when she moved to New Zealand on a Working Holiday. She was immediately hooked and since then has lived in Europe and Asia and backpacked through more than 40 countries.