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.


  • 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 2017:

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 $2,200)
  • 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.

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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).

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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!

7 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.

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