If you’ve lasted this long, I’m sure that you are very serious about this study abroad thing. And maybe even to Spain, and even better, to Granada.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me. Now if you’ve already done everything I’ve already talked about, its time to secure a Visa.

A Visa is necessary if you will be in Spain for over 90 days. My program happens to be just over this limit, but I would advise you to get one if your program is anywhere near 90 days or if you plan on or think there is any little chance you want to travel around afterwards. There is absolutely no obtaining a Visa in Spain once you get there (at least that’s what I’ve been told, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry anyway).

Step one to obtaining you Visa is locating the nearest consulate. You will have to travel to the consulate to apply for the Visa OR to pick the Visa up. You don’t have to do both, but you MUST do one.

Next, fill out the application. You need to make sure you get the right one for your consulate, but here’s the link to the one I filled out for Chicago’s Spanish Consulate: http://www.maec.es/subwebs/Documents/Solicitud%20de%20visado%20nacional%20-%20Inglés.pdf.

Also, you will be applying for a student Visa.

You’ll also need at least two passport photos, a copy of your drivers license, and a PASSPORT (if you don’t have one—Google another resource. And stop living life so limited, you non-passported person!). I think that’s it but remember this blog is like Wikipedia, mostly correct, but double-check a reputable resource.

I used a Visa service called Perry International, https://perryvisa.com/index.htm, out of Chicago. Basically I paid them to take my materials to my Visa application appointment. I am especially glad I used this service because I was able to email Perry multiple times and they patiently answered my multiple questions on what I need for the Visa. Also, these guys have done this a million times, they know what you need, and they aren’t going to let your appointment come and go without you having all the right stuff. So yes, I recommend using a service. It doesn’t have to be Perry, although they worked out just fine for me.

Here is where the medical stuff comes in. If you take any prescription drugs, talk to ISA about what you need to do for the place you are going. I needed to get permission to take in some of my medication. ISA will send you a preformatted document for the Consulate of everything you need to include, and what your doctor needs to include in their letter to the Consulate about the medication. These need to be brought into the Consulate directly or faxed in. They also need to be translated to Spanish. I had my Spanish teacher do al my translations, so if you need any I suggest starting there. I had Perry bring the papers in with my Visa app, although I eventually had to fax in updated documents.

Tiffany from ISA told me this repeatedly—you will not hear anything back from the Consulate about the medication. Just bring a copy of the papers you sent with you, and pack you medication in your carry on with those papers. Once I go through customs, I’ll let you all know if I had any problems getting them through.

Also, while we are at it. You need to bring medication for the entire duration of your trip. You can get a maximum of three months at a time (from what I’ve been told). Insurance (at least mine) will cover this; just make sure you are clear this is a special exception because you are leaving the country for three months. Also, you can’t ship medication into Spain.

Back to the Visa. You’ll need to make an appointment online at the Consulate and then overnight your materials to Perry or go to the appointment in person. I cant speak for how the appointment goes because I didn’t go! I received an email about six weeks later saying my Visa was ready for pick-up. I round-tripped Chicago in one day to pick it up, waking up at 3:45 am to make my flight there and coming back only a few hours after arriving. I definitely don’t recommend doing this, as it took a few days to recover!

Just a quick recap on the meds: you’ll need to write a letter to the Consulate, your doctor will have to write a note to the Consulate, both must have Spanish translations and include all information stated by ISA or you study abroad advisor. You can get up to three months of meds at a time, they need to be in you carry on with copies of the documents you sent to the Consulate.

Not much more I can say about Visas and meds, except GET IT DONE!


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