Budgeting for Barcelona – Part II: The Visa

The Student Visa process for Spain (and I’m sure many other countries) is quite trying. There are a plethora of forms and documents needed and if you start too late, you might find yourself out of time before you need to hop on that flight overseas. Not only must you budget your time to get through this lengthy process, you must budget your money because it’s going to cost you more than a few bucks to get everything you need.

When to start applying for a visa:

I think the correct answer here is as soon as you’ve been admitted and researched the process. I’m learning now that it’s never too early. I’m leaving on August 16 and started the process on April 8. I’ll be cutting it close. The background check can take up to 8 weeks and the visa application takes a minimum of 4 weeks. Not to mention I’m sure you’ve got a lot of other things on your plate.

The Process for Spain:

  1. Obtain FBI Background Check with Apostille Certification (plus one copy)
  2. Book Appointment for Student Visa with consulate in your state
  3. Get Letter of Acceptance from you chosen school
  4. Get Global Health Insurance with minimum coverage of €30,000
  5. Provide Proof of Financial Means (a.k.a. student loans or savings that show you can survive in the country for the amount of time necessary to obtain your degree – $1,000 per month of stay)
    • One of the following:
      1. Letter from the school claiming full financial responsibility for your studies (often included in acceptance letter)
      2. Proof of financial aid of scholarship for at least $1,000/mo for room & board
      3. Notarized letter from your parents assuming $1,000/mo for your room & board
      4. Personal bank account showing $1,000/mo
  6. Obtain letter from your doctor, or Medical Certification, indicating that you are in good physical and mental health and free of diseases (plus one copy)
  7. Show US Driver License, US State ID, or Current Student ID
  8. Show and leave Passport with the consult while they evaluate your documents
  9. Get 2 Passport Photos with white background (to be stapled on your application form)
  10. Fill out and sign 2 Copies of Application Form 
  11. Purchase Money Order for application fee

The Costs:

  1. Finger printing for background check – $15 (money order only)
  2. FBI Background check – $18 (credit card or money order accepted)
  3. Global Health Insurance – $400 – $500 (a full year is paid up front)
  4. Doctor Appointment – $15 (depends on your insurance)
  5. Passport photos – $8 (varies – check out CVS for $2 off coupon)
  6. Application fee – $140 (money order only)

Total costs: $596 – $696! Ouch! 

Yet another expense to add to the budget sheet. The expense really add up from GMAT to application fees to reservation fees, this is one pricey venture.


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