Centro Centro, Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid, Spain flag
Centro Centro, Plaza de Cibeles | Madrid, Spain

If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get the Youth Mobility Visa Spain, you’ve come to the right place! This is going to be your in-depth, step-by-step guide to getting the visa, detailing everything you need to get and do for a successful application. What do I know? I just received my working holiday visa for Spain and it’s my third one (I’ve been to the UK and France on the youth mobility schemes)!

After a couple visits to Barcelona, I decided that I wanted to spend an extended time in the city, living, creating, and exploring Spain. Fortunately, I discovered the  Spain-Canada Youth Mobility Program — since I just finished my master’s and I’m not 35 yet, I thought…the time is now!

About The Youth Mobility Visa Spain Guide

This is a step-by-step guide to applying for the Spain-Canada Working Holiday visa while residing in Canada. This post is mostly relevant to people who wish to work on a casual basis — that is, you are not studying or going to Spain with a pre-arranged contract (though this will still be useful for you).

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ABEs – Always Be Eating | Learning to make Paella in Barcelona

If you’re reading this post, I imagine you’re considering, or are in the process of, applying for your working holiday visa for Spain. Welcome! Before we get started, please have a read through my Disclaimer page.

Last Updated: May 11, 2018


  • Canadian passport holder residing in Canada
  • Age 18 to 35, inclusively, on the date the applications is submitted
  • Able to purchase medical insurance for the duration of the entire stay
  • A minimum of CAD $2,200
  • You do not need a job contract to apply for this visa

How to Apply for the Spain Youth Mobility Visa in Canada

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City of Arts and Sciences | Valencia, Spain

This document provides all of the information on the process of applying for the youth mobility visa Spain in 2018:

What You Need

Originals and photocopies of the following:

  • Visa application form
  • Recent passport photo
  • Your valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least one year from when you enter Spain.
  • Document proving residence in Canada (driver’s license, health card, etc.)
  • Proof of funds (bank statements no more than two months old showing you have at least $2,580)
  • Medical insurance policy covering hospitalization and repatriation in case of death (not necessary if you have a pre-arranged work contract)
  • $150 application fee (cash, money order, certified cheque) + $14.50 for the NIE
  • NIE (Foreigner Identification Number)

If your stay is longer than six months, you’ll also need:

  • A police check from the RCMP and from the authorities of every country you’ve lived in over the last 5 years
  • A medical certificate from your family doctor with the wording specified in the document above

You can only apply for the visa 3 months in advance of your intended date of departure.

† We’ll get to this.

pa amb tomaquet, kasparo, barcelona, youth mobility visa for canadians
Croquette and Pa amb Tomaquet at Kasparo, Barcelona


1.  Gather the information needed and fill out the application form to the best of your ability. For the address in Spain, I chose a hostel in the city I would be staying in and used that.

2.  If you don’t already have a NIE (i.e., from studying or working in Spain previously), complete the EX-15 form. This is the form in English to help you fill out the form. Here are some more instructions I was sent from the official who processes the applications. Note the difference regarding the wording for what you write under section 4.2 (Motivo) — use the one in the document I was sent. 

3.  Complete form 790 Código 012 and print it out. Under NIF/NIE, put your passport number; Autoliquidación remains Principal and select Asignación de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) a instancia del interesado. Under the subheading INGRESO choose En efectivo (in cash). Your NIE will be processed first and you will receive it by email. The consulate will then process your visa application.

4.  Mail everything — including your passport — to the Consulate that handles applications for your province. Be sure to send registered mail! Separate the application form and the NIE application and make a note that both are in the file. You can have your passport mailed back or you can collect it (I picked mine up from the Consulate in Toronto).

youth mobility visa spain, working holiday visa spain, spain canada youth mobility visa, canada spain youth mobility
Then the visa is issued! (It’s not the original – I’m renewing my passport)

Further Advice

Here are some tips for applying for your Youth Mobility Visa for Spain — based on my experience:

Travel Insurance

You are required to have travel insurance throughout your stay in Spain unless you have a pre-arranged work contract. As usual, I bought 6 months of travel insurance with World Nomads and sent the policy with my application. I cancelled the policy for a full refund within the 14-day cooling off period.

When I arrived in Spain, no one checked to see if I had it or not. Please be aware that this is not an endorsement for undermining the requirements of the visa or travelling without insurance. Once I was sure of my actual travel dates, I purchased travel insurance that covered me for the duration of my stay in Spain.

Medical Note & Police Check

I didn’t get these. I’ve lived in 3 countries in the last 5 years and it would have been a pain to get criminal record checks. I also read that the medical note is one of the biggest hassles because doctors don’t want to use the wording in the document. I didn’t want to be bothered with all that malarkey so I reluctantly resigned myself to only staying in Spain for 6 months — which is why I only bought 6 months of travel insurance.

However, you’ll note above that my visa was issued for a year anyway. 🤷🏾 Do what you will with this knowledge.

Keep copies of everything

This is Spain. The processing time is normally 3 weeks. Mine took nearly 3 months.

The Consulate misplaced my documents and stopped processing my dossier because they thought they were waiting for me to send the right ones. They also lost the fee I paid for the NIE (which I stupidly sent in cash — don’t do that). Luckily, I had copies of all the forms and scanned/sent photos as needed. If you don’t hear anything in three weeks, send a follow up email.

If you make a mistake, the consulate will email you to get the correct information — they won’t just reject you as long as you meet the criteria and provide the required documents.

Upon Arriving in Spain

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Seafood Paella at La Arroceria | Corralejo, Fuerteventura

When you arrive in Spain, you must get your passport stamped to validate the visa. If you do not get it validated, your stay in Spain will not be legal because you need to prove when you entered the country.

Declaración de Entrada

If, like me, you enter via another Schengen country and do not receive a stamp, immediately go to the Policía Nacional at the airport (in Barcelona, this is in the far corner of the Terminal T1, 3rd floor, check-in lobby). Tell them you need a Declaración de Entrada. You must do this within three days of entering Spain (regular days, not business days) or it will not be validated. I arrived in the evening and the person who processes the Declaración only works business hours (e.g. 9-6 Mon-Fri) so I had to go back to the airport the next day.

declaracion de entrada espana, youth mobility visa spain canada
You need this if you didn’t get your passport stamped upon arrival!

Book an Appointment for your TIE

On the last page of the Youth Mobility Program document, it says: “Program participants who wish to stay in Spain for a period of time longer than 6 months, but less than one year, MAY apply for a “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero” (Foreigner ID Card) at their closest “Oficina de Extranjeros”.

You don’t have to, but the TIE is what proves your legal status in Spain. If you read this Government of Spain page, you will learn that you must apply for your TIE within a month of your visa start date or arrival. Canadian Girl Meets World has a great guide for getting your TIE, so I won’t address it here. I just wanted to stress that the visa in your passport may not be enough to get a job, social security, a phone contract, register with a doctor, open a bank account, and so on.

As for me, I didn’t know about the time limit, went back to Switzerland for a couple months, and did not book my TIE appointment until my return in October. When I went for my appointment in November, I was informed that I could not get a TIE. It hasn’t affected my ability to stay or travel outside of Spain, but it has meant I can’t work. Don’t be like me, book your TIE appointment!

Disfrútate en España!

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If you like it then you shoulda put a pin in it!

41 thoughts on “How to Get a Youth Mobility Visa to Spain for Canadians”

  1. Hi!
    Thank you so much for writing this post! I’m filling all of my paperwork to apply for this visa and this is the very first thing I’ve read that really simplifies the process. I really appreciated that you included what you need to do after you arrive in Spain cause I hadn’t thought about that.

    There are some things that I’m still confused about and so far I haven’t been able to get in touch with any official that can answer my questions (fingers crossed someone returns the email I sent to the consulate in Toronto). Do you know another way to get in touch with anyone? I live in Alberta so I can’t pop in to an office to talk to someone although I would give away my hat for the chance.

    I also noticed that the wording for the NIE form is different than what they ask on the fact sheet. Does it matter which one you use?

    And I have a question about flights but the wording on the application fact sheet is funky.. it says that you must present a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one.. after considering my options I’ve decided to purchase two one way tickets as I’m hoping to stay for a year so does this mean that I will have to purchase my first ticket at the time of my application or should I wait until after my visa is approved?

    Thanks so much for your time!


    1. Hi Giovanna!

      You should get a response from the consulate – the official who processes the applications is very responsive. Yes, I would recommend using the wording the consular official told me to write under Motivos: PARA VISADO DE MOBILIDAD JUVENIL

      The proof of funds ($2,200) is to demonstrate that you can purchase a return ticket therefore you do not need to buy one. I would suggest waiting until the visa is approved.

      I hope that helps! Good luck 🙂

  2. Hi Alyssa

    How did you find out about the TIE and the limit of one month to apply? I arrived in Spain in November on a Youth Mobility visa from Canada – my visa in my passport is valid for 1 year. The consulate provided no information regarding the need for a TIE upon arrival in Spain.

    Can you send me any details on where this info came from!



    1. Hi Stephanie – You can find the information on the Government of Spain Immigration Portal. The TIE is what proves your status for stays longer than six months. They also told me at my appointment that it was too late to get the TIE.

      On the last page of the Youth Mobility Program document, it says: “Program participants who wish to stay in Spain for a period of time longer than 6 months, but less than one year, MAY apply for a “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero” (Foreigner ID Card) at their closest “Oficina de Extranjeros”.

      I can say this – though take it with a grain of salt and remember the above Disclaimer where I explain that I am not responsible for loss or damages pertaining to the advice in these posts – I don’t have a TIE, I’m in my 7th month here, and I don’t have a problem travelling. But I’m quite certain I wouldn’t be able to get a job.

  3. Hi Alyssa,

    Love your site and this information, I agree that is has been very hard to find clear direction and answers about applying for the visa. You mentioned that you can only apply for the visa 3 months in advance of your intended date of departure… I am planning on arriving in August so I wont be applying till May, but does this put me at risk for not being approved? I read that they only give 1000 youth mobility visa’s per year, do you think applying this late will be an issue?

    1. Hi Nicole – You can arrive any time within the validity dates of the visa (although remember you must apply for your TIE within a month of the date it becomes valid). I don’t know if you won’t be approved or if they’ll just move up the start date. My advice is… just don’t apply more than three months in advance?

      I doubt that will be an issue…they’ve never run out of spots.

  4. Hello Alyssa- it’s Alisa!
    Concur with the above- your information is very clear.
    I have 3 questions (despite your clarity, I am a bit neurotic and this is my first time- so, like many who embark on this, the sheer amount of information is overwhelming):
    1)Once I’ve applied for the WHV/sent in my passport, do I only get my passport back once the Visa is approved? The reason I ask is that I’d like to apply for a WHV for the UK as well, for the summer of 2018 before moving to Spain in September, so I’m concerned about overlapping timelines.
    2) Assuming I get my WHV for Spain for the year- I’d be teaching abroad with a CELTA- am I able to apply for WHV’s in other countries in the EU while residing in Spain? I’ve heard you need to be somewhere 6 months in the EU before you apply for a WHV…so after six months, I’m hoping to apply to a different country without having to return to Canada.
    3)Lastly, and this is a bit off-base- if my end goal is EU citizenship/residency, could you recommend any websites/offer advice as to how to go about that? I’m not sure I qualify for a Blue Card/Work Permit as I have a Bachelor’s in English and a CELTA- but don’t speak Spanish or French (just Russian).

    1. Hi Alisa,

      1) Yes, you only get the passport back when your visa is approved. I’m curious why you’re getting the WHV for the UK. It’s incredibly costly for a three month stay… You also couldn’t apply for the Spanish WHV until June, and you can’t do it from the UK. Just my $0.02.
      2) It depends on the country. You have to read their specific guidelines.
      3) I have no idea what a Blue Card is. You would have to be sponsored by company or get married to an EU citizen. Citizenship generally takes 5-10 years of leave to remain without restrictions (e.g. the WHV in the UK does not count towards citizenship)… unless you have citizenship from a Latin American country. In that case, 3 years’ residence in Spain will grant you Spanish citizenship.

  5. Hi Alyssa,
    I’m a Canadian citizen hoping to move to Spain later this year through the Youth Mobility Program, and this is far and away the most helpful webpage I’ve found yet on the subject, thanks for all the effort you’ve put into the post!
    I have a couple questions if you have time, and I’ve found the consulates here in Canada less than helpful.

    -what is defined as being “working on a casual basis”? Is there any limits on that, as in limited hours a week or not allowed to work the entire year? Or is it a open, free choice year where you can work and do what you like the entire time?

    -Can you be a student part time once in Spain if you’re applying under category E?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Willem, thanks – glad you found it helpful! Not sure exactly, but long story short you can work full time with the TIE. Yes, I believe you can.

  6. Hi Alyssa,

    This post was super helpful – thank you!
    I am currently working on my application for a Spanish Youth Mobility visa (as a Canadian). I would like to stay for a year but am worried that I don’t have time to get the police check/doctors note before I mail in the application (I’m out of the Canada at the moment, so getting those documents is rather difficult for me!).

    I know that you said “do with this information what you will,” but I just wanted to gauge someone else’ thinking on the process before making my own decision (about whether or not to send these documents in haha). Do you know of anyone else who has skipped that step???! Or, have you skipped sending these in for your UK and France Visas? For these countries was your year contingent on these documents?

    I am thankful for any additional insight/advice you can provide!
    Thanks again for the detailed and helpful post Alyssa,
    Helen Rose

    1. They aren’t required for the other visas. I don’t know of anyone else. Also, you should be residing in Canada when applying. Good luck!

  7. Hello,

    I am trying to get an unpaid internship for more than 6 months in Barcelona while also learning the language, do you think I would be eligible for the Spanish Youth Mobility visa? Under which category would I be applying for? and would I need any documentation from the company I would be interning in for the visa application?

    1. Yes. If you have a contract – the one for internships; if not, the working holiday. The information package tells you what you need from the company. Good luck!

  8. Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you so much for this extremely useful information! I have gathered all the necessary documents besides my travel insurance.
    I live in Toronto and have been reading reviews about the consulate online and I am very nervous to send all my documents/passport there as they say they aren’t very helpful or reliable. I’m just wondering if you had any issues?

      1. Thanks so much! I have sent everything in and I am just waiting on my NIE. Do I pick my passport up when the visa is finally issued, or can I go get it at any time? I asked the consulate but all she responded was, “your NIE will be emailed to you” lol

  9. Hey Alyssa!

    Thank you SO much for writing all of this down, it’s helped me quite a bit for my own planning! I was wondering, were you required to purchase your plane ticket before leaving? Or just…the return flight?


    1. Well, yes, you probably are required to buy a plane ticket before you can leave. I don’t think they let you on flights without one nowadays.

  10. Hi Alyssa

    Great post! I’m wondering if you ended up having to contact the Consulate, or if they contacted you (when the issue of waiting on documents to be sent arose). Also, when you sent in your application, did it list your intended date of travel and did that date end up passing during the processing time? I’m at three weeks waiting, and I did end up purchasing my flight (leaving in 3 weeks).

    Thanks very much!

    1. Hi Em, They emailed me about the documents when they received it. I followed up after not hearing back from them. No, my intended date of travel was not exceeded because I applied several months in advance. If you would like to know who to contact, send me an email and I will give you the contact info for the consular official who processes the youth mobility visas in Toronto if that’s where you sent it.

  11. Hi Alyssa,
    I applied for my NIE/790 Código 012 form through the consulate in Toronto on April 25th and they told me I couldn’t get a visa without one. However, they weren’t very clear- they made it seem like I need an NIE before I even think about applying for a Spanish WHV, while you seem to have applied for both at the same time. Can I start working on my WHV application now (without having my NIE yet), as I’m going to be flying out of the country during the last few days of July?

  12. Hey Alyssa- it’s Alisa again.
    I’m applying for a YMS visa to Spain, but I’m confused about something (and I think my last comment was deleted, for some reason). I applied for my NIE and the 790 Código 012 form in person at the Toronto consulate on the 25th, and the woman was quite unhelpful- she basically said I can’t apply for the visa until I receive the NIE. However, upon reading your blog, it seems like you can apply for your NIE and YMS visa at the same time. If this is the case, that would be incredibly helpful as I need my Spanish Visa before I leave for the UK in the last week of June- and time is not on my side.

    1. Hi Alisa, Unless the rules have changed recently, you send all your documents together and the NIE will come first. Then the visa will be processed. It should say so in the guidance document.

      1. You can refer to this section in the guidance document:

        “A NIE (Foreigners’ Identification Number). Application for this number will be submitted at the
        same time as the visa application
        . Please read the steps listed on our webpage about “NIE” and take
        note of the following remarks:”

  13. Hello Alyssa,

    I currently have a Youth mobility Visa and I am living in Spain now! Do you know how it is possible to renew the visa for one year? Also Im now looking for a job, and was wondering how many hours a week you can work with the visa? Thank you very much


  14. Hello,
    I am planning to live in Spain for a year under the youth mobility visa. I was also wanting to travel around Europe during this time. Your article was very helpful! However I read that “Foreign nationals who hold a valid long term national visa can move freely through other Schengen States for a maximum of three months within any six month period, so long as they meet the entry conditions.”
    I just wanted to clarify if this meant I will not be able to travel to other countries for more than three months.
    I read this at http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/TORONTO/en/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Documents/youth%20mobility%20visa.pdf

  15. Hi Alyssa,

    I’m filling out my application form and was wondering what box you checked concerning: 20 Principal purpose of journey? There is not an option for youth mobility visa. Did you just add a box and write that in?
    None of the current options: Studies, Research, Accreditation, or any of the Residence options seem appropriate. Unless you checked “Residence Temporary work as employee (nine months a year)

    Any tips? I checked the link for Canadian girl meets world but she was apply for the purpose of study.


  16. Hi Alyssa, thank you for your post, very clear.
    Do you know if there are any Visas left and/or where we could find out this information?

  17. Thank you for your reply. I am just realizing now that there are 2 types of visas here (youth mobility and working holiday). My plan is to move there for a year and try to get a full time job in my field of study, do you know which one I should apply for? Would I be eligible under the youth mobility even if I don’t have a pre-arranged contract with an employer there?

    1. There’s only one visa. ‘Working holiday’ is the noun – it usually means you’re travelling and working casually to fund your time abroad. The agreements between the countries are usually referred to as youth mobility agreements. So it’s a visa for a working holiday or a visa under the youth mobility agreement… it’s the same thing.


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