Your First Visa

Find Your Regional Spanish Consulate

In order to finish getting your visa, you will need your Carta de Nombramiento, but many other necessary documents take time to receive, so it is important to start collecting documents beforehand.

Each consulate is a bit different, but generally, you will need a long list of documents. For certain documents required, they can have an expiration date which means once a certain amount of time has passed, they are no longer valid. The bottleneck is the FBI background check + Apostille + Translation which has 5 months of validity. The medical form is the other document that can expire with 90 days of validity. On top of that, your visa appointment can’t be over 90 days from your start date in the program (October 1), so timing is everything.

This section will walk you through the entire process. Make sure you follow the steps for your consulate, and don’t worry. It’s a long process, but I will break it down for you.


Before collecting all your documents and preparing for your visa application, it is important to know which consulate you need to prepare for. Below, I have a map of the Spanish consulates in the U.S.A. It is color coordinated to help find your regional consulate. You must go to your regional consulate. For example, I am from Michigan, so I went to the consulate in Chicago. I am not allowed to apply for a visa at any other consulate except for the one in Chicago.

Generally, the requirements will be very similar between consulates, but there are some crucial differences between each consulate you go to. The documents you prepare and the methods of getting an appointment can be slightly different between consulates. These requirements can also be changed depending on current circumstances.

I applied through the Spanish embassy in Chicago. At the time it was required to present the visa documents in person. Recently, the Chicago embassy started to allow mail in applications due to the high demand. After you find your consulate, I will explain how the process can be different and give resources to help you apply for your first visa.

Choose Your Consulate

Guidelines and requirements can be changed at a moment’s notice. Triple check everything with the consulate’s website.

I am not a lawyer. I am sharing the information from the perspective consulates’ websites along with my personal experiences in an organized manner.

Below is a PDF from the NALCAP program that gives the general guidelines for the visa process. It is a great guide to help with general requirements, but you need to follow the exact requirements for your consulate. FOLLOW THE EXACT INSTRUCTIONS FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE CONSULATE.


After you have succesfully completed your visa application during your appointment at an embassy, you will have 3-6 weeks to wait for the visa to be processed and sent back to you (or retrieved).

When you receive your visa, it will state that it is only valid for 90 days. This is completely normal. Once you arrive in Spain, you will need to complete more paperwork to receive the foreign residency card (TIE). This will be covered later. In the meantime, start looking for a good flight because after receiving your visa, you have a finite amount of time to get to Spain.


Before leaving for Spain, check out the NALCAP Webinar for 2022. It includes important information for all NALCAP participants, new and returning. Also, make sure you aren’t missing anything before your flight!

Last minute preparations. What to bring and what to do before you get on that plane.

Before Your Flight

July 28, 2022 – NALCAP Webinar hosted by the consulate of Spain. Includes key information and updates for the auxiliary program.

NALCAP Webinar 2022 – highlights

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