How to get student jobs in Spain as international students

Although both EU and non-EU students can work in Spain, non-EU students face stricter requirements when finding a student job.


6 minute read
Updated on 20 Mar 2024

Even though Spain's one of the most affordable countries to live in, you might still want to make a few extra bucks to support yourself during your studies.

Naturally, you’ll have questions about whether you can work as an international student in Spain, where you can work or how much you’ll earn.

For your convenience, we’ve created this guide to help you with all the questions you might have.

Can I work in Spain as a student?

Yes, you can work as a student in Spain. Only there're different rules and regulations for Non-EU/EEA students and EU students.

Work in Spain as an EU student

EU/EEA students simply need a signed employment contract to work in Spain. Since you don't need a student visa to study in Spain, you're not subject to any restrictions when it comes to how many hours you can work.

Although you can work full-time, most students choose to work part-time to not let their work interfere with their studies.

Note that you have to be registered in city hall (have your empadronamiento) if you stay in Spain longer than 3 months.

How to work as a non-EU student in Spain

The Spain student visa imposes certain restrictions for international students wanting to work in Spain. You'll need to follow these strictly if you want to work next to your studies.

Here’re 3 different paths you can work in Spain as a non-EU student:.

  1. Internship as a part of your study program Spanish internships for international students are usually mandatory to graduate from your program. So you can obtain an internship as a part of your studies and also get credits for completion. These internships must match your academic education.

If you have a valid student visa, then you just need to find an internship and have a signed agreement (convenio) between your host company and university.

The downside of this is that you either won’t get paid or only be compensated up to €300.

  1. Extracurricular internship You can also find an extracurricular internship voluntarily. In this case, the internship doesn’t have to be related to your academic education. You’ll get paid at least minimum wage.

  2. Part-time jobs You can also find a part-time job, such as a waitress or a bartender in a restaurant, to gain extra money during your studies.

You need to obtain work authorisation for both extracurricular internships and part-time jobs since they don’t match your studies and they’re not part of the study program.

Obtaining work authorisation visa to work during studies

Requirements for non-EU students to work during their studies with a student visa:

  1. The company that wants to hire you needs to apply for a work permit or authorisation to work (autorización para trabajar) on your behalf.

  2. You’re only allowed to work part-time during the academic semester (20hrs per week).

  3. During summer (non-academic term), you’re allowed to work full time, as long as your contract is a maximum of 90 days.

  4. Your part-time work can’t be your main source of income. This means that you can’t show your part-time work as a source of income when you apply for a renewal of your student visa.

  5. You’ve to make sure that your work doesn’t interrupt your studies.

For work authorization, you’ll need to collect the following documents:

  1. Your passport
  2. 2 recent photos of you
  3. Police record (proof you haven’t been involved in any criminal activity in the past 5 years).
  4. Proof of accommodation (rental agreement form)
  5. Work Contract (signed by you and your employee)
  6. Proof of qualification for the extracurricular internship (e.g. a high-school diploma or vocational certificate).

Working after studies

Work permit

Anyone who has studied in Spain for 3 consecutive years can get a work permit while they’re still on their student visa.

To work in Spain, you need to receive an offer from a Spanish company. Once you accept the offer, the company can apply for your work permit.

Applying for a job from within Spain gives you a huge advantage as you can apply for any job that’s also available for EU citizens in Spain. While the rest of the non-EU students applying from abroad can only apply for jobs on the shortage list (jobs that are difficult to fill locally).

Freelancer visa

If you want to form your own company, you can apply for a freelancer permit.

Bear in mind that the requirements for self-employment visas are more complex. You’ve to show a detailed business plan, clear goals, and accurate financial projections.

High Skilled immigrant visa

You can apply for a high-skilled immigrant visa after 1 year of studying in Spain. But to be qualified:

  1. You’ve to have a managerial role
  2. Your salary should be a minimum of €50,000 annually

Apply for a post-study work visa (job search visa)

As of the end of 2018, the Spanish government introduced a job search visa which allows international students in Spain to stay an additional year after graduation to look for a job. You’ve to apply at least 2 months before your student visa expires. If you successfully find a job during the period, you’ve to exchange it for a work visa.

To qualify for a job search visa, you need to have:

  1. University diploma/certificate
  2. Minimum of €7,000 in your bank account
  3. Spanish health insurance
  4. Fee for application

Is it easy to get a job as an international student in Spain?

It’s not easy to find a job in Spain, but it’s not impossible. Several reasons make it difficult to find a job in Spain.

  • There’s a shortage list.

If you weren’t studying in Spain for quite some time, only jobs on the shortage list are available to you.

  • The process is complicated.

The whole process of visa application can be complicated and tiring. There’re many required documents to collect, and overall, bureaucracy can be pretty slow in Spain.

  • Language can be a barrier.

You can indeed find a job in Spain without speaking any Spanish, especially in big cities like Barcelona. But your chances are much less than those who speak Spanish. Even many international companies prefer employees who know at least both languages. So why take the time to learn Spanish while you're still studying?

  • The unemployment rate is high in Spain.

Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates (approximately 14%) within Europe. This makes it quite challenging to find a job not only for international but also for locals.

How do students get jobs in Spain?

There’re a couple of ways you can find a part-time job as a student in Spain.

  1. By word of mouth/networking

You can tell your friend group that you want to work. Ask them to spread the word. Networking is always a great way to find a job. Let them know you’re available to tutor them for English or babysit their younger sibling in exchange for a few bucks.

  1. Through your university

Go to your universities’ career centre and ask what’s available. Apart from jobs related to your academic career, you can also find part-time positions in university libraries, cafeterias, or dorms.

  1. Look at what’s available in your city.

Retail and service sectors are popular among students. Hand out your CV to the gym close to your home. Ask your local bar if they need a bartender. Check if the supermarket in your neighborhood is hiring.

  1. Look at online resources.

Go through international portals like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, The Local or local ones like thinkSpain,

  1. Utilize social media

Look for vacancies on sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Join groups for students in your city. Local bars, cafes and stores often share job openings in students groups to attract students.

  1. University career fairs

Most universities organise careers fairs to introduce students to possible employers. Career fairs are especially great if you’re looking for an internship or want to find a job related to your degree.

How much can a part-time student earn in Spain?

As a part-time student, how much you’ll earn depends on your job and citizenship.

The average salary per hour in Spain is €8.45 in 2023. The average salary for part-time non-EU/EEA students is €450.

Popular student jobs with average salaries

Job TitleAvg. Salary per Hour
Social Media€20
IT Support Specialist€20

Best places to find a student job in Spain

Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia are hot spots for many international companies, making them the best places to find a student job or a job after your studies.

But we advise you to start looking for work early as these cities are very popular with international students. To avoid competition from other students, we recommend brushing up on your Spanish by attending one of the various language schools. Knowing Spanish will open up more part-time work opportunities and also help you find accommodation in some of the biggest Spanish cities.

Find summer jobs in Spain

If you want to work during summer, you should look for Spain’s summer tourist destinations. Many options are available in Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga or Ibiza resorts each summer. You’re more likely to find summer jobs in Spain for English speakers in these cities as they’re highly popular with tourists.

Popular summer jobs for students in Spain include handing out flyers, working at restaurants, or working behind bars. There're also many job opportunities for those with qualifications for water sports (surfing, kayaking, etc.), tennis, golf, or lifeguard certificates.

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