So You Wanna Teach in Spain Too? How Much Do You Like Paperwork?

How are you teaching in Spain? What was the application process like? How much do you get paid?? All your answers can be found right here:

Overview of Program:

  • The official name of the program is “Auxiliares de Conversación” or A.K.A the language assistants program in Spain.
  • The program is run by the Spanish government.
  • The program pays either 1000€ or 700€ per month depending on the province you teach in.
  • For the provinces that pay 1000€, you have to teach 16 hours per week. For 700€, you teach 12 hours per week.
  • The program typically starts from late Sept/early Oct – late May/early June (total of 8 months).
  • The application is free but you’ll have to spend your own money to get a visa, to buy a plane ticket, to find housing, etc. The program does not assist in any of that.
  • The program provides health insurance.
  • Minimal requirements: a high school diploma and demonstration of fluency in English.
  • You do not need to speak Spanish but it would help greatly.


Application Process

Note: The steps below apply to U.S Citizens ONLY. For all other nationalities, please google “Auxiliares de Conversación Your Country” for exact instructions.

1. The Application 

This website makes me shudder.

Every year, the Auxiliares de Conversación program opens up their applications either in January or February. The application is free and is done online completely but you’ll need to upload copies of the following:

  • A copy of your passport
  • A copy of your high school or university diploma (one or the other)
  • An essay about why you want to teach in Spain
  • A resume (optional but helpful)

In the application, you’ll need to indicate:

  • The top 3 regions you’d like to teach in Spain
  • Whether you’d like to teach in an elementary, secondary, high school or language school for adults
  • Whether you’d like to teach in a rural, suburban, or urban setting

The program will do their best to give you your preferences but nothing is guaranteed. Everything is on a first-come-first-serve basis so the earlier you apply, the higher your chances of getting your preferences.

Things to consider:

  • Barcelona is NOT a region. Catalonia is but if you put that down, you might not end up in Barcelona.
  • Madrid is a choice but it’s usually what MANY first-year teachers put. It’s something to keep in mind especially if you’re applying late.

Once this is done, congratulations, you’ve finished the EASIEST part! Now you WAIT.

2. Getting Your Acceptance Letter and Placement

Sometime around late April/early May, you’ll receive an acceptance (or rejection) email from the program. In this email, they’ll also tell you which region you’ve been placed in.

Once you receive this email, you’ll have 3 DAYS to respond. If you miss the deadline, you’ll lose your place.*

  • If you’re not happy with your placement, there’s not much you can do. You can TRY emailing the program but from I hear, they rarely budge.
  • If you’re not sure if you want to go, I’d recommend accepting your position first because you can always renounce it later.

*IMPORTANT: if a lot of people end up rejecting their positions, the program will email everyone again to see if anyone is interested in these spots. So if you missed your acceptance email, you still have a chance to get one. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOUR INBOX.

3. Wait for Your “Carta De Nombramiento”

The “Carta de Nombramiento” is an official document from the region you were placed in stating which school you’ll be working in, your stipend amount, and your working terms.

You can expect this document to arrive about a month after you receive your acceptance email. Once you get it, guard it with your life. You will need this to get your working papers in Spain.

4. Applying for Your Visa 

This process is quite lengthy, so I’ve broken it down into several parts:

Part A – Background Check

There are 2 options:

  • A state-level background check – for those of you who’ve only lived in one state in the U.S.
  • A national-level background check – for those of you who’ve lived in MULTIPLE states in the U.S This is also known as an “FBI History Check” because it’s done by the FBI.

For details on where to get a background check, you’ll have to check in your individual states. They are usually in offices located in city hall/downtown or a non-governmental agency that represents them. You’ll have to pay a fee to the agency for them to process it for you.

I paid: $110 (However, I know there are much lower rates. Shop around.)

Part B – Getting an Apostille for Your Background Check

You mean, I get a… stamp?!

An “apostille” is a fancy word for getting a giant stamp from the U.S Department of Justice in Washington D.C to prove your documents are “official.”

For national-level background checks, you have to find a “channeling agency” to mail your documents to D.C and then they’ll mail the apostille to you.

For state-level background checks, I was told you can go get this in person somewhere in your state (but don’t quote me because I didn’t do this).

IMPORTANT: expect 2-3 weeks to finish this entire process (that is, if they don’t send your files to Timbuktu by accident.)

I paid : $55 

Part C – Get a Doctor’s Note

“Spain? why?”

For your visa, you must also get a letter from your doctor saying you are healthy and fit to work in Spain. This letter must contain their letterhead, stamp, and certain information. To check the requirements, check on your consulate website.

Note: I was told the consulates are very strict with this, so see if you can find a template on the consulate website to use. If your letter doesn’t meet their requirements, they will REJECT it.

Part D – Schedule and Go to Your Visa Appointment

Okay, fine, not as dramatic but it felt like it.

Unfortunately, there are only 9 Spanish consulates in the entire United States, which means if there isn’t one in your state, you’ll have to travel to one of them physically to get your visa. Also, you’ll have to go TWICE: once to apply and another to pick up your visa.

They used to allow people to do this over the mail but since last year, they started requiring people to go in person. Sucks, I know.


  • Schedule your visa appointment early (usually, you can do this over the phone or on their website)
  • Make sure you have ALL the documents you need and make copies of everything!!
  • You have to pay the consulate about $120 (I can’t remember the exact amount, sorry!) and it must be in a check form from the U.S Postal office.

Important: Schedule your visa appointment as soon as you start your background check process. But DON’T schedule it too early either because if you don’t have your background check done by the time your appointment comes, it’ll be pointless.

Total Costs for me: $120 Est. 

After your appointment:

  • Go back to the visa office in a week or month (depending on the consulate) to pick up your visa. It’s a piece of paper plastered into your passport. Make sure all of the information on there is correct.
  • Your visa is a “student visa” and it’ll only allow you to stay 90 days in Spain. When you get to Spain, you’ll have to apply for an extension (called a TIE).

Total amount for background check, apostille, and visa: $285

Now, you are set for Spain!


5. Apply for Your NIE and TIE (Once You’re in Spain)

Once you get to Spain, you’ll need to go to the I.D center in your city to get your NIE and TIE.


  • An NIE (from what I understand) is similar to a social security number in the U.S but it’s NOT a card. It’s simply a SET OF NUMBERS that you must have in order to work in Spain.
  • A TIE is your Spanish I.D card. This card has your NIE # and picture on it. It also allowsyou to stay in Spain until the end of your school year.

IMPORTANT: The exact instructions to get an NIE and TIE varies from region to region so you’ll have to look them up by yourself. But if you make it this far, congratulations, you’re an official language assistant in Spain!


!!!!! Super Important !!!!!

Application and visa instructions are subjected to change ANYTIME, so make sure you check the official website for the most up-to-date instructions. I’m NOT responsible for any missing documents or missteps. It’s YOUR responsibility to find out what you need exactly.

Questions? Comments? Leave them down below and I’ll try my best to help you!