Non-EU students studying in Spain will be allowed to stay in the country after graduation

University students from non-EU countries enrolled in Spanish universities will be able to stay in Spain after graduation, according to Spanish authorities.

The Spanish government has announced that it is working on legislation that will allow non-EU students to stay in Spain for up to two years after completing their studies. The legislation means that these students will not need to renew their residence permit every year, but will automatically obtain the residence permit for a period of two years.

Spain attracts many international students every year; however, the country’s universities lag behind the UK and the US in this respect, although tuition fees for international students at US and UK universities are high, the local reports.

According to the report, despite lower tuition fees at Spanish universities, students are hesitant to study in Spain because it takes longer to validate their qualifications and they do not receive a residence permit in the country after obtaining their their degree.

The Spanish Minister of Universities, Joan Subirats, has confirmed that the new Law on the University System (LOSU) provides for the extension of the residence permit for the duration of the studies, stressing that students will no longer need to apply for a residence permit every year.

Subirats further said authorities should find ways to retain talent trained in Spain, so that they continue to have residency status and be employed for two years in the country.

According to Erudera, students graduating outside the EU/EEA, Switzerland or China must meet two main academic requirements in order to study at a Spanish university:

  • Recognition of a school certificate – which demonstrates that a student has the necessary degree to be admitted to a Spanish university.
  • EBAU Entrance Examination (selectividad) – officially called Evaluación del Bachillerato para el Acceso a la Universidad (Evaluation of the Baccalaureate for University Access).

Data from the Ministry of Education shows that international students made up 9.4% of the student population in Spain in 2021.

Thousands of graduate students in Spain have already left the country. Over the past decade, 90,000 Spanish graduates have moved to other countries to develop their careers.

According to Statista, a data provider, Africa was the most common region of origin for international students in Spain in the 2020/21 academic year, while the number of EU students fell. stood at 205,556.

The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation reported that 208,366 international students pursued studies at higher education institutions in Spain during the 2019/2020 academic year, including mobile students.