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Legal Status while in Spain

If you are not a Spanish citizen, it is important that you make sure that your documents are in order to legally reside and study in Spain. SLU-Madrid will assist you in the process; however, your legal status in Spain is ultimately your responsibility.

SLU-Madrid requires students to provide evidence of their legal residency in Spain. Failure to present the appropriate student visa upon arrival or to maintain legal residency as a student will result in immediate withdrawal from classes and expulsion from university housing; refunds will be issued according to the refund policy.

If you are studying at SLU-Madrid for more than one semester, you have 30 days after entering any country of the European Union, including Spain, to apply for your residency card (TIE - Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjeros or tarjeta de residencia ). The Spanish authorities takes this seriously and you should make certain that your documents are in order. 

The Spanish authorities may modify the process to obtain TIE at any time. The University is not notified by the Spanish authorities when these changes occur; however, the information on this page is updated as soon as SLU-Madrid learns of any modifications.

Obtaining Your Residency Card

If you currently hold a 90-day student visa, you must obtain a residency card (TIE). 

SLU-Madrid assists registered students with this process, checking that they submit the necessary documentation to the Spanish authorities when they apply for their initial tarjeta de residencia. However, it's the student's responsibility to follow procedures as stated by the Spanish authorities with regard to this matter, as well as to keep copies of all documentation submitted for processing. 

If you currently hold a 90-day student visa and you are under 18 years old, you will need to obtain additional documentation prior to coming to Spain. You must also check with Student Life that you have all the necessary documentation prior to submitting your residence card application. 

Find complete step-by-step instructions for obtaining your tarjeta de estudiante

Renewing Your Residency Card

If you need to renew your residency card (TIE), you will need to gather the following original documents along with a photocopy of each. 

  • Application form EX-00. Be sure to fill out the form online before printing it out. You need two copies. 
  • Passport
  • Sanitas card
  • Expired tarjeta de estudiante (TIE)
  • Certificate from the SLU-Madrid Office of the Registrar. Be sure to let the registrar know you need the letter for the card renewal. 
  • Proof of Sanitas coverage through the University along with your valid Sanitas card. You may obtain this letter through the registrar. 
  • Documentation from the last six to 12 months that shows that you have the financial means to cover your stay and purchase a ticket to your country of origin. This amounts must to be at least 550 euros per month. Financial statements from non-Spanish entities must be translated into Spanish. The Office of Student Life can refer you to a legally certified translator who can provide an official translation into Spanish. Certified translations tend to cost around 60 euros. 
  • Form 790 modelo 052 that shows that you have paid the corresponding fee. The application fee is approximately 20 euros.

Find complete step-by-step instructions for the renewal process

Documents supporting the renewal of your tarjeta de residencia can be submitted at the following office: Calle García de Paredes, 65, no earlier than 60 days prior to the card's expiration date and no later than 90 days after it expires. 

If the last day to submit your documents falls on a Saturday, Sunday or national holiday, then you must submit the documents at Calle García de Paredes, 65, no later than the last business day prior to its expiration. 

If you do not deliver all of the necessary documentation in time, you will have to start the whole visa process over from scratch in your home country. 

Application for Re-Entry Permit

If you are in the process of renewing your residency card and must travel outside of the Schengen Area, you are responsible for obtaining a re-entry permit

Due to changing laws in the renewal process, the University may not be held responsible for the outcome of this process. SLU-Madrid can only advise students to the extent of its knowledge at the time of renewal. It's the student's responsibility to complete the renewal process and apply for an autorización de regreso (re-entry permit) if necessary for travel within the processing period. Some of our students have found that contracting an immigration lawyer is helpful. 

In the event your tarjeta de estudiante (TIE) is lost or stolen, you must file a police report (denuncia), and deliver a copy of it along with two copies of form EX-17 and a copy of your passport to Brigada Provincial de Extranjería y Documentación on Avenida de los Poblados (Metro: Aluche (Line 5)). Documents can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. During this visit, you will be scheduled for a follow-up appointment. 

SLU-Madrid Family Partnership Program

The SLU-Madrid Family Partnership Program was developed to enable international students to begin their university studies at SLU-Madrid before turning 18. In addition to addressing the legal issues related to guardianship of a minor, the program provides support to these new students as they adapt to a new culture and way of life.

Regardless of whether a student will turn 18 within days of arriving in Madrid, or later during the first year of study, he/she will require a legal guardian in Spain until turning 18 in order to live in a colegio mayor or student residence and study at SLU-Madrid.

The relationship between students and their legal guardians can be as close as both parties desire. Students, for their part, share their home cultures and world views with their guardians and their families. In turn, the students – and their families in their home countries – have the benefit of knowing that there is someone to support them as they transition to life as SLU-Madrid students. While the legal relationship may last only a few weeks, many of these student-guardian relationships last for a lifetime.

If you serve as a legal guardian for an international student, you are also permitting him/her to benefit from the unique Jesuit, liberal arts education offered by SLU-Madrid.


To apply to serve as a guardian or to request a guardian for an international student who is under 18 years old, please contact:

Once a student and guardian have been paired, SLU-Madrid will schedule at least one virtual meeting for the student, the student's family, the guardian and the guardian's family to meet prior to accepting the guardianship.

Once the parties accept, the parents of the student who is under 18 will prepare the legal and notarized paperwork as required by their home countries in order to name the legal guardian in Spain. They will be in touch with the guardian, who will have to complete the appropriate paperwork to accept the role.

Once the student arrives in Spain, the guardian will represent or accompany the student in administrative and judicial proceedings. When there are no complications, the guardian's commitments are typically limited to accompanying the student to apply for his/her TIE (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero) Residency Card, to get his/her fingerprints taken for the TIE, and ultimately, to pick up the card.

We hope, however, the relationship extends beyond these procedural concerns. The SLU-Madrid Family Partnership Program is designed to foster connection between the new student and the guardian in Madrid.  Guardians are encouraged to take steps to strengthen the connection by:

  • Inviting the student to their home for a weekend meal.
  • Letting the student know that they are available to answer questions about Spain.
  • Communicating with the students' parents, offering them additional perspectives on the student's adaptation to life in a university residence and at SLU-Madrid.
1. Legal Guardians

Can I be a legal guardian?

  • A person who is a legal resident in Spain, can act according to all of their civil rights and who is not under 18 years old or declared incapacitated is eligible to be a legal guardian. The person must not be profit-seeking and their main goal must be the protection of the student who is under 18 or is incapacitated.   

Benefits for the student's legal guardian:

  • To support the education of an international student.
  • To connect his/her own family to another culture by cultivating a relationship with the student.

Process to become a legal guardian:

  • Sign up for the SLU-Madrid Family Partnership Program.
  • SLU-Madrid will schedule an initial virtual meeting so that you and your family can meet the student and the student's family before all parties accept the guardianship.
  • Once all the parties accept, the student's parents will proceed with all the legal and notarized paperwork as required by their home countries to name you as their child's legal guardian. They will be in touch with you as you will have to sign all those documents accepting your new role.

Responsibilities of the legal guardian:

  • Be capable and willing to be an international university student's legal guardian until he/she turns 18.
  • Sign for the program.
  • Meet with the student and the family.
  • Provide data and collaborate with the family on all the legal and notarized paperwork for the guardianship.
  • When there are no complications, the guardian's commitments are typically limited to accompanying the student in the process of getting his/her TIE: applying for the card, getting finger prints taken, and picking up the card.
  • Act as the student's legal guardian if needed.
2. Families of students under 18 years old

Whenever it is possible, the student's family is encouraged to look for a legal guardian in Spain whom they already know and trust (relative or friend). Through this Family Partnership Program, SLU-Madrid extends the opportunity of serving as a legal guardian to alumni and to the families of current SLU-Madrid students.

SLU-Madrid does not guarantee that there will be people willing to act as legal guardians for a student who is under 18 years of age in the event that their family has no contacts in Spain. Any legal guardianship entails responsibilities (you may read the legal implications for the legal guardian in the previous section) and they must be volunteers.

Benefits for the international university student who is under 18 years old:

  • To learn about Spain, its culture, and the Spanish way of life before being turning 18 years old.
  • To be able to study at SLU-Madrid.
  • To have an additional adult contact in Madrid who they can trust and who cares for their well-being.

Responsibilities of the student's family:

  • To prepare the necessary paperwork in their home countries according to law and that will be valid in Spain.

SLU-Madrid will only act as a liaison between the two parties; it cannot guarantee that students who are under 18 years of age will be attending SLU-Madrid, nor that there will be families willing to act as legal guardians. SLU-Madrid will not interfere in all the paperwork that needs to be done for a legal guardianship as it is an agreement between two parties. Both families will need to seek legal advice on that matter.

Contact Us

For more information about issues involving your residency card (TIE) or obtaining an autorización de regreso, contact Student Life at