Spain’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

Spain’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians
Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on

If you’re an Australian aged between 18 and 30 years old, you’ve completed at least two years of higher education and you speak at least a basic level of Spanish, you can participate in Spain’s Youth Mobility Programme!

Spain offers up to 500 working holiday visas to Australians each year under its Youth Mobility Programme. Under this arrangement, Australians can live and work in Spain for up to 12 months. You are allowed to work for up to 6 months per employer, study for up to 4 months, and travel freely within the rest of the Schengen Area for up to 3 months within any 6-month period.

With its warm climate, laid-back lifestyle, history & culture, mountains & beaches, and its proximity to the rest of Europe, Spain is a popular destination for young Australians. In addition to modern cities like Madrid and Barcelona, Spain boasts charming beachside towns and islands including Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza and the Canary Islands.

Lanzarote, Spain
Lanzarote, Spain. Photo by Matteo on

This page contains information about Spain’s Youth Mobility Programme Visa for Australian citizens. It was last updated on 24 January 2022.

Key facts about Spain

  • Population: Approx. 47 million
  • Official language: Spanish
  • Capital city: Madrid
  • Largest cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza
  • Name of the country in Spanish: España
  • Currency: Euro
Madrid, Spain. Photo by Alex Azabache on

Spain Working Holiday Visa requirements for Australians

In addition to Australians, Spain offers working holiday visas to citizens of Canada, Japan, New Zealand & South Korea.

The information on this page applies to Australian citizens. Please consult the Spanish embassy in your country for information applicable to citizens of other countries.

To apply for a Spanish working holiday visa as an Australian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Aged between 18-30 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
  • Speak a functional level of Spanish (at least A1 level)
  • Successfully completed at least two years of higher education
  • Have sufficient savings to support yourself initially in Spain (at least AUD5,000)
  • Have a return flight ticket to Spain
  • Agree to purchase travel/medical insurance to cover the entire stay in Spain
  • Are in good health

You cannot apply for this visa if you:

  • Will be accompanied by dependent children
  • Have already participated in Spain’s Youth Mobility Programme
  • Have a criminal record

Documents needed to apply for this visa

When applying for a Work & Holiday visa for Spain as an Australian citizen, you will need to provide the original and a copy of the following documents:

  • National Visa application form (PDF)
  • Two recent passport-sized photographs
  • Valid Australian passport
  • A return flight ticket or proof of sufficient funds to buy one
  • Proof of financial means (i.e. bank statement/s from the past 3 months showing you have at least AUD5,000 in savings)
  • Police criminal record clearance from Australian Federal Police, and/or any other countries where the applicant has lived during the past 5 years (documents must be less than 3 months old, and translated or apostilled if not in English or Spanish)
  • Medical certificate signed by a doctor stating that “the patient has been examined and found free of any contagious diseases according to the International Health Regulation 2005”.
  • Proof of having successfully completed at least two years of higher education (e.g. academic records)
  • Proof of possessing at least a functional level of Spanish
  • Proof of international comprehensive travel/medical insurance covering medical, hospitalisation, medical evacuation and repatriation costs (see our guide to travel insurance for Schengen country visas)
  • Application for a National Identity Number for Foreigners (PDF) & completed 790/012 form

There is also a visa processing fee of approx. AUD129 (this could change), payable in cash at the time of application.

See the Embassy of Spain in Australia website for more information.

Spanish language requirement

According to the Consulate of Spain in Melbourne, any of the following six things can be accepted as proof of a functional level of Spanish:

  1. DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language) at level A1 or higher
  2. Completion of the A1.1 and A1.2 Spanish courses (each course is 30 hours) at Instituto Cervantes in Sydney
  3. Completion of Spanish Online Course AVE via Skype with two 12-week courses at levels A1.1 and A1.2
  4. At least four semesters of Spanish during secondary education
  5. At least two semesters of Spanish during higher education
  6. Applicants fluent in Spanish without any formal qualifications or a language certificate can instead prove their fluency during an interview at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate General at the time of application.

How to apply for a Spanish Working Holiday Visa

You can apply in Australia up to 3 months before your intended arrival date in Spain. This needs to be done in person at one of the following Spanish missions, depending on where you live in Australia:

You should make an appointment with the relevant Embassy or Consulate-General well in advance. It usually takes up to one month to process your visa application. This could be longer during Christmas/New Year and Spanish summer holidays. Once approved, you’ll be notified by writing and must return to the place where you lodged your application within one month to collect your visa.

See the Spanish government website for more information.

One last thing: Before you arrive in Spain, you may also find it useful to join a Facebook group such as Australians in Spain or Aussies in Madrid to connect with other Australians who’ve already made the move!

While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

Matt Graham

Matt is the founder of Working Holidays for Aussies. Passionate about travel and always looking for great deals, he believes that gap years & working holidays are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and gain invaluable life experience. Originally from Australia, Matt has travelled to over 70 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

54 thoughts on “Spain’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

  1. Hi. I just want to confirm if one needs to arrive in Spain on the youth mobility visa within 90 days of visa issue date or 90 days from application date. If the visa applicatiin date was 15 June 2022 and issue date was 14 July 2022, can Arrival in Spain be 20 September 2022?

    1. It looks like the Spanish embassy has removed all information from its website, so I can’t double-check right now. But I believe you would need to *apply* within 90 days of your planned arrival date in Spain.

  2. Hello,

    As you said, the Spanish embassy has removed all information from its website. Is the two years completion of higher education necessary. At the time I wish to apply, I would have finished 1.5 years, I suppose that would not be sufficient?

    Kind Regards, Jackson

    1. Hi, you would need an undergraduate university degree or to have completed at least two years of full-time study at university. Unfortunately a HSC doesn’t fulfil this visa requirement.

  3. oh jeez that’s actually so unfortunate I’ve been dying to do this and just started looking into it just to find this out. is there no other way around it? do you know any other places similar to Spain that may not require this?

    1. Most airlines unfortunately don’t really offer “open end” tickets any more, you would need to either book a one-way ticket or a return ticket with the leg back to Sydney being within a year of the booking date. That said, you could book a return ticket and change the date of the return flight before you leave Sydney to be up to 365 days after the flight to Spain.

      This may be of interest –

  4. Hi,
    Do you know if ‘Successfully completed at least two years of higher education’ would mean that a diploma that was completed part-time over two years (but which is one year full-time) would not meet the eligibility criteria?

  5. Hello,

    How strict is the Police Criminal Record document needing to be less than 3 months old?
    I have a police cert from when I lived in Japan in 2017 but the cert was issued in June 2022. So over 6 months old.
    Do you think they will have a problem with it even though I have not entered Japan since 2019?


    1. I don’t have any personal experience with this, but I would suggest that if the Spanish government has specified it needs to be less than 3 months old, then this would be enforced. I wouldn’t risk it and would apply for another one shortly before applying for the visa.

  6. How strict are they at the Spanish consulate in sydney with the level of Spanish for this mobility working visa application. Can you go if your Spanish is not up to scratch but you are going to immerse yourself in Spain to learn the language

  7. Hi Matt,
    What are the better travel/medical insurance policies to look at? Are there still covid precautions needed for medical insurance. planning to go in July for 12 months

  8. so if I live in perth I have to go to melbourne to go to one of the spanish missions in person?

  9. Hello,
    Would a diploma, or a cert 4 be accepted as higher education? Or does it have to be a degree

    1. Degrees, graduate certificates or diplomas are generally accepted as tertiary qualifications for a Work and Holiday visa. But a Certificate IV would not be eligible.

  10. Hey,
    Are the Canary Islands included in the Spanish WhV for working rights?
    Also do you know if its possible to apply for an extension of the visa arrival time as I would like to arrive in January/Feb next year but apply ASAP approx 6months in advance for planning purposes? Is the 90days minimum or expectation?

    Hannah 😊

    1. Yes, you can live anywhere in Spain including the Canary Islands.

      You do need to apply for the visa within 3 months of your planned arrival, however.

  11. Hey Matt thanks for you speedy reply. Wow that’s a tough arrival time considering the limited amount of visas issued per year. Does it renew with the calendar year so if I miss out for 2023 then 2024 jan it will start again?

  12. Hi Matt,
    A couple of questions!
    Is it possible for me to go to Europe on a Schengen Visa and apply for Spain’s Working Holiday Visa from Europe (or a Non-European country, i.e. India where my parents are currently based), or do I have to return to Australia?
    Alternatively, in relation to the above question, if I wanted to do 6-8 weeks travel around Europe, including Spain, before commencing the 12-month Working Holiday Visa would I require the visa before my travels?
    From when the Working Holiday Visa is issued, what is the timeframe for arriving in Spain?

    1. Hi there. Firstly, if you’re an Australian citizen, you wouldn’t be travelling to Europe on a “Schengen Visa” as Australians don’t need a visa to travel in the Schengen Area as a tourist for up to 90 out of every 180 days. If you’re not an Australian citizen, you may require a Schengen Visa but in that case you also might not be eligible for Spain’s working holiday visa.

      The only way to apply for a Spanish working holiday visa is in person, in Australia. You can do this up to 3 months before you intend to arrive in Spain. If you want to apply a full 3 months out, then travel in Europe after you’ve received the visa (in countries other than Spain) for 1-2 months before arriving in Spain, that should be fine.

      I believe your Spanish visa would be valid from the date that you intend to arrive in Spain, as per the flight booking that you show as part of your visa application.

  13. Hi!
    I’m an Australian Citizen but in Vienna on a WHV so also technically a temporary resident there. I wanted to know if I could complete the AVE Global course with tutoring in Europe/London and it still be valid for the application as the course is the same just different location. The Spanish embassy back home (less courtesies) disregards the question and says I pretty much have to fly back just to apply for the WHV spain visa and then return to Europe, yet the Australian Embassy in Spain say you can apply from your local embassy/consulate so long as you are outside of Spain and it would just depend on if the Vienna embassy would except it.

    Do we listen to our government located in Spain or the Spainish embassy in Australia? It seems a pointless waste of time and money to fly home just for a visa application.

  14. Another question… you are 30 when you apply and at the date listed for your intended arrival (1 month before 31), if the embassy don’t fully process it until you turn 31 (given the information I have read about processing delays) could you be rejected?

    1. Officially, you just need to be 30 at the time of application. I take this to mean the date that you apply, but personally would not risk it. Since it takes around a month to process, I would want to apply at least a month before turning 31.

  15. I’m 30 years old, turning 31 in early may 2024. Wanting to begin my working holiday as late as possible in 2024, how long before I turn 31 should I lodge my visa application? If I waited until early March, 2 months before I turn 31, is this sensible?

    And it it’s approved, do I need to begin using the visa 90 days after the application lodgement date or 90 days after the visa issue date? Gracias.

    1. Hi, please see the answer to the question above. You can apply up to 3 months before you intend to arrive in Spain, and should apply at least a month before as it can take that long to process the application. I think applying 2 months before you turn 31 should be fine.

      You need to provide a plane ticket as part of the visa application process, so you should expect to arrive in Spain on the date that’s on your ticket.

      1. Thanks Matt,

        In addition, should I aim to have the visa issued before I turn 31? or should I be booking my arrival to be before I turn 31?

        Thank you

  16. Hey Matt,

    Do you have an updated link to the visa form? The one listed here is broken and I can’t for the life of me find a PDF of the form anywhere. Also, do the visas run out?! I am applying next April 2024 – would it be a possibility that visas would be maxed out by then?

    1. I don’t have a current link, sorry, The Spanish government stopped providing information about this visa on its website a while ago. You might need to get in touch with your nearest Spanish embassy/consulate.

      While there is an annual limit, I doubt this would ever be reached by Australians applying for this particular visa. I think you’ll be OK on that front.

  17. Hi Matt,

    I’m planning a gap year next year and want to apply for a Working Holiday Visa in Spain.
    However, I plan to leave on the 1st of March and will be travelling around Europe until the 1st of June. On the 1st of June I could enter Spain, however would this be allowed as it would have to be after ‘three months of applying’, as I would need to apply before I leave the country so I have enough time to get my passport back (as I am from Perth so need to send my passport to Melbourne to apply).


    1. Hi, unfortunately as you need to apply in person, in Australia, within 3 months of arriving in Spain, I don’t think you’d quite be able to maximise your time in the rest of Europe in this way. However, you could plan to enter Spain for the first time in late April or May (for example) and your 12 months of visa validity in Spain would start then. You can still spend a bit of time in the Schengen Area outside of Spain while your Spanish visa remains valid, although you can’t live or work outside of Spain using that visa.

      For further questions about this, I’d suggest that you get in touch with the Spanish Consulate-General.

  18. Sorry additionally I forgot to mention, that I also know that this visa can be activated in other European countries (such as Italy).
    And was wondering if you know which countries are applicable for this.

  19. Hi Matt, I had a question about leaving Europe. If you have the working holiday visa to Spain but also want to do some traveling in other countries towards the end of the 12 month period, can you leave Europe from any European country (EU or non EU)? Or do you have to get a stamp and fly directly out of Spain back to Australia? For example I was thinking of doing some traveling in the last two months of my visa validity period in France and also the UK, and wanted to fly home from the UK instead of from Madrid.

    1. In theory, I believe you are allowed to travel within other Schengen Area countries outside of Spain for 90 out of every 180 days while holding a Spanish working holiday visa. You do need to leave the Schengen Area by the date that your visa expires, but you don’t necessarily need to leave from a Spanish airport – it could be from elsewhere in Europe. Just make sure you leave before your visa expires.

      As to whether you can then return to Europe immediately after – I don’t know. To be honest, I would personally err on the safe side and avoid returning to the Schengen Area for at least 90 days. However, you could certainly fly to the UK, spend some time in the UK and then fly from there back to Australia. The UK is not part of the Schengen Area or European Union.

  20. Thanks for this helpful overview! Do you know much about the viability of transitioning from the one year working holiday visa to a skilled or long-term work visa?

    1. We don’t provide information on that, sorry. But it’s not really a matter of “transitioning” to another visa – you’d need to apply for a different type of visa in your own right and the application process for this is unrelated to your working holiday visa.

  21. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the detailed information. Just wondering if you know whether you need a confirmed job contract at the time of applying for the working holiday visa? Or do they usually grant the working holiday visa, and you’re able to find a job whilst already in Spain?

    1. No, you don’t need a job contract to apply for a working holiday visa. You can look for a job after you arrive, and in fact, there is no requirement that you have to work while in Spain.

  22. Hi Matt,
    Do you know what can be used to prove 2 years higher education? If I have completed over 2 years of a bachelor degree but not finished it does that qualify? And what should I use to show this, is a print out of my academic transcript sufficient?

    Another question, it states in the requirements to have either a return flight or proof of sufficient funds to purchase one. Is the bank statement that I print out for the proof of finances enough to also prove sufficient funds to buy the return flight? Thank you

    1. You should just be able to show a copy of your academic transcript showing you completed at least two years of undergraduate study.

      If your bank statement shows that you have enough funds to both support yourself in Spain, plus enough to buy a flight back to Australia, that should be fine.

  23. Hi Matt,

    I am looking at getting a Working Holiday Visa later this year to stay in Spain.

    My girlfriend would like to join me too but doesn’t have tertiary education and is looking at instead getting an alternative visa to extend her stay in Spain (e.g. Digital Nomad Visa, Non-Lucrative Visa).

    Do you have any knowledge or experience of these visas at all?


  24. Hi Matt,

    Thank you for the information regarding the Spanish WHV. I would like to ask a question regarding travelling in the Schengen area following the expiry of the Spanish Visa.

    I understand as Australian citizens we are able to travel in the Schengen area for 90 days in any 180 day period. With the visa this would mean that Spain would be exempt from this calculation effectively meaning days spent in Spain would not count to this 90 days.

    I would think this would mean that during our visa we are able to travel freely in the Schengen area (outside of Spain). Would this also apply at the expiry of the visa as well? That is to say that once the visa expires we are able to travel to around the Schengen area under the 90/180 day rule without having to exit the Schengen zone.

    Appreciate this is a longer question and that there may not be a one true clear answer – any experience or insight you can provide would be very much so appreciated.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Gavin,

      This is a common question and it’s unfortunately really hard to get a definitive answer. I’ve even tried asking the European Commission directly but didn’t get a response.

      My understanding is that, as long as you leave Spain to a non-Schengen country before your Spanish working holiday visa expires, you can then re-enter the Schengen Area after your visa has expired and stay for another 90 days (out of every 180 days). In other words, the time spent in Spain while you had your visa wouldn’t count.

      However, I cannot guarantee 100% that this is the case. It is a bit of a grey area, sadly. I would personally prefer to err on the side of caution and wait at least 90 days before returning to the Schengen Area, just in case there may be any issues.

  25. hi, in the application form where it asks about the main purpose of journey what should I tick for the working holiday? As in the conditions says the main reason should be travelling but in the application doesn’t give that option.. thanks

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