Tips for Aux: Visa Requirements for the Auxiliares de Conversación Program

After passing the stage 2 interview with the education adviser and submitting the application via PROFEX to eventually get a school placement in Spain, applying for the visa was one of the last steps I had to do in the Philippines to be officially part of Ministry of Education’s auxiliares de conversación program. For me, it's the most important step a language assistant (LA) has to prepare for, as most of the requirements you submit are meant for the visa application.

Applying for a visa is always nerve-wracking to me, given a number of requirements to complete and the unpredictability if I'd be granted visa or not. Despite a good travel history, I have a fair share of visa denials and approvals. With that, I always take the visa steps seriously. In this blog, I'd like to share the specific visa I applied for as an LA, when did I apply, and the exact documents I submitted.


What visa type

As an LA, you have to apply for a long-stay visa (a.k.a. student visa and type D visa) at the Consulate of Spain in the Philippines. This visa, by default, is only valid for 90 days. Once you arrive in Spain, you convert this student visa to a foreigner's card, or more popularly known as the TIE (tarjeta de identificación de extranjero), which is valid for one year and renewable annually if you wish to stay under the same program. The TIE lets you stay long-term in Spain and enables you to travel around European Union.

As a general rule, all long-stay visas require that the applicant to physically appear and submit the requirements at the consulate. The Consulate of Spain in the Philippines is located at 5th floor ACT Tower, 135 Senator Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati City. Appointment is strictly required before going. I'll talk more about it later.


When to apply the visa

You can base your visa application date on when you wish to arrive in Spain. The validity start date of the student visa will also be within the time frame of your arrival date. So when could you possibly arrive Spain then?

Visa application can be as early as 3 months before the intended arrival. The program begins on October 1. LAs are only allowed to arrive in Spain not earlier than 10 days before the program start date. With that, you can apply the visa early as the 4th week of June. 

Visa processing and issuance may take 10 business days (or more). As a general rule, apply the visa as early as possible because you'll never know what might happen. In our batch, a lot of visa appointments were canceled due to the lockdown / pandemic. We were in the middle of completing our visa requirements when Manila went on a 2-week lockdown from August 4 to 18. Mine was supposedly on August 6, but I had no choice but to cancel it on the website. It was so stressful while waiting for the elusive slots, but eventually the consulate opened more slots and I was able to book an August 27 appointment. Thankfully, the rest went smoothly, and my visa was issued on September 10. 


Where, when, and how to book an appointment

As mentioned, appointment with the consulate is mandatory. The appointment is booked via BLS Spain’s website, a third party agency that helps out in processing short-stay visas (e.g. tourist Schengen visa) for Spain. Not to get you confused though, all long-stay visas are processed by the consulate alone, thus all communication (i.e. visa requirements questions, visa application followup, etc.) should only be done with the consulate, not with BLS Spain. The consulate's work email is con.manila@maec.es.

Appointment slots are available only as early as 2 months before the intended appointment date. For example, if you'd check the slots in October, appointment slots from October-December may only be booked.

Asked on when is the best time to book, I'd probably say when the acceptance letter is already there and when you're sure to secure the government-issued documents (i.e. apostilled NBI clearance and medical certificate). Note that if you attend the appointment with incomplete requirements, the issuance of the visa may be delayed.

For a step-by-step guide on how to to book an appointment, I will write a separate blog soon :)


Visa requirements in general

- Just follow exactly what the Ministry listed for the requirements. Note that there are some long-stay visa requirements that don’t apply to Ministry auxiliars anymore (i.e. the requirement for medical insurance and the Spanish translation of apostilled documents), so just follow the said list to be less overwhelming.

- When you submit the requirements, make sure to bring both the original documents and its photocopies.

- Make sure the photocopies are in A4 size paper as it’s the preferred size of the consulate. 

- The consulate looks at the original documents, but will only get the photocopies (except for the visa form). To be organized, sort them in 2 long brown envelopes, one for the original and the other for photocopies. Use paper clips instead of staplers. 


Visa requirements in detail

Here’s the list of requirements I submitted, arranged in the following order:

1. Filled up national visa application form. You can download the form here (I will write a separate blog on how to fill up the form step-by-step soon). After filling up (either handwritten or computerized), produce at least 2 photocopies. The consulate will get the original form and one photocopy, then will give you back the other copy with a receipt stapled.

2. One passport size photo with white background. Glue it at the top right of the visa form. I wrote my name at the back of the photo (just in case my photo accidentally gets detached from the form).

3. Valid passport. To be considered as ”valid” by the consulate, your passport has to be valid until September of the following year. For example, when I applied on August 2020, I made sure my passport is valid until September 2021. Tip: If your passport will expire soon, better renew it in the Philippines than in Spain. Why? Renewing means your passport number will change. This lessens the hassle of updating the records. Also, remember that your visa and NIE are printed on your passport.

Photocopies of previous passports’ bio page, visas, stamps. At the last minute, I didn’t submit my old passport (nor photocopies of the pages) and just presented the current one. Why? Well, I was just paranoid the consulate might look into the old records. Apparently, I used that old passport when I applied for a tourist Schengen visa to Spain in 2017 and got denied. The following year, however, I applied for the same visa at the French Embassy and was granted a visa.

4. Acceptance letter. I printed mine in colored format, A4 size. In Spanish, it’s called the carta de nombramiento. This is the confirmation that you've been assigned a school in Spain. 

     How to get the acceptance letter: By now you must already know that PROFEX is the start point of getting an acceptance letter. Once you have a school assignment, which you initially know via PROFEX, you're just waiting for the acceptance letter then.

If you're assigned in Madrid, you get the acceptance letter from AuxMadrid, a portal for LAs assigned in the Madrid region. With my experience, the acceptance letter was posted on July 3, two days after I received an email notification to register at the AuxMadrid portal. There’s no exact date on when acceptance letters are sent, and it varies per region. Madrid usually sends out much later than other regions. 

5. Proof of economic means. Being in my 30s, I can confidently say that I'm not financially dependent on my parents anymore (yaaas, haha), so I didn’t present any affidavit of support. If you're an undergrad or fresh graduate with no source of income yet, skip this part and look at the requirements for economic means for dependents instead. So anyway, here are the proof of economic means I presented:

   5.1 Bank certificate. This certificate proves I have an account with a certain bank. The said certificate contains the account type, current balance, account opening date, and average daily balance (ADB). In my case, I presented 2 savings accounts from BDO and EastWest Bank. I requested them at the branch of my account (for BPI, I think it can be requested at any branch) at least 2 weeks before the visa appointment day. It’s better to request the bank certificate as late as possible so that the records are more recent. A bank certificate request costs 100 PHP. 

   How much should be in the bank account? While I presented bank accounts that contain more than 500,000 PHP combined, there’s really no exact amount bracket stated by the consulate. In fact, I have batch mates whose accounts contain 150,000 PHP and were granted the visa. What’s more important is the maturity of the account. Meaning, avoid presenting a bank account that’s too recent. When you show a very new account, it may ring a bell to the consulate that you might just be doing a show money. If you don't have a bank account yet, then open it as early as October. In that way, by the time you apply the visa in June (or later), your bank account is old enough and ready (to party in Spain, haha joke!).

   Is the bank statement also needed? Not really, but it can help prove your financial capacity. A bank statement shows the debit-credit of your money in the bank. In my case, I didn’t submit a bank statement anymore since I feel like my bank certificates were enough to prove financial capacity since they’re 2 anyway. For me, I think the consulate only needs to see if you can afford at least one month’s expenses in Spain (since a delay in the LA's first month stipend may happen) and the travel expenses to Spain (estimated at 2500 € combined). 

   5.2 Income Tax Return (ITR). For employed individuals, the corresponding form needed is the BIR 2316. When I applied the visa last August 2020, the only available ITR is for 2019. It’s totally fine if you can’t present the same year’s ITR. In fact, my BIR 2316 only had a January-May 2019 tax declaration (I was unemployed from June-December 2019), but it wasn’t a problem at all.

   5.3 Credit card statement of account (SOA). Since the SOA shows the credit limit of my credit card, I thought of presenting it too to boost my financial capacity. I presented 2 SOAs (Citibank and Metrobank). To get it, I simply printed the latest SOA from the credit card’s portal. 

   5.4 Certificate of Employment (COE). Luckily, I was still employed when I applied the visa, thus I was able to present a COE that shows my monthly salary and tenure in the company. However, since I had been in that company for 8 months only, I also presented a COE from my previous company where I worked for 8 years. 

   5.5 Certificate of land title. I know this isn’t necessary, but I just thought of presenting too since it’s a strong proof of financial capacity and ties with the Philippines. 

6. Medical certificate. Generally, just make sure it's authenticated by the Department of Health (DOH), apostilled by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and issued in the last 3 months upon visa appointment. I wrote a blog on the medical test I took. Also, I blogged about how I apostilled my documents. You can read these blogs for more information. 

7. NBI clearance. Make sure it's issued 3 months upon visa appointment. Here's a guide on how to apply the NBI clearance

8. Transcript of records (TOR). As proof of studies, I only presented my TOR. I wasn’t able to give my diploma, but it was fine.

9. Visa fee. The long-stay visa fee costs 3,380 PHP (non-refundable). You can only pay in cash and make sure to pay the exact amount. The Consulate can't give a change.


Do you have other questions about the visa requirements? Feel free to ask below!



Tips for Aux: Visa Requirements for the Auxiliares de Conversación Program Tips for Aux: Visa Requirements for the Auxiliares de Conversación Program Reviewed by Shelly Viajera Travel on 22.10.20 Rating: 5

No comments:

I want to hear from you! Please leave your comment! (:

Powered by Blogger.