San Francisco Visa Checklist

You’ve gone through all the steps. Now it’s time to triple check everything before applying for your visa.

Make sure to double check everything with the official San Francisco Consulate website. Small changes can be made to the requirements, and it’s important to get the information straight from the source before sending anything.

San Francisco Consulate Official List of Requirements

San Francisco Consulate Contact Page

Send the following documents via email and in PDF format to this address:

cog.sanfrancisco.vis@maec.es

PDF – Photocopy of a valid, unexpired passport (no more than 500 Kb) of the page or pages of the passport that contain biometric data.

PDF – Copy of letter of acceptance “Carta de Nombramiento” (no more than 500 Kb).

Follow the instructions from the consulate email in response.

Important Information Regarding Your Application

National Visa Application Form (Original)

A recent, passport-size, color photographs (do it professionally). Photograph must be glued to the National Visa Application Form (Original).

Valid, unexpired passport and a photocopy of the page or pages of the passport that contain biometric data must be submitted. The passport must have a minimum validity period of 1 year and contain two blank pages. Passports issued more than 10 years ago will not be accepted.

Photocopy of this page

Carta de Nombramiento (School placement letter original and copy) This letter must provide information on the school the applicant has been appointed to (address, phone number, contact email). It must also contain information about the grant, the duration of the program and the insurance policy.

FBI Background Check (Original and copy of FBI background check. It must be apostilled and translated into Spanish by a sworn translator) If you have stayed in another country other than Spain for over 180 days within the last 5 years, you are required to provide a background check through that country as well. (I stayed in Germany for a year, and even though I applied for a German background check, it never came. My application was accepted anyway). I got lucky. I don’t recommend it.

Medical Certificate (use the template) Send the original and a photocopy of the medical form.

Proof of residence in the consular district Provide a copy (not the original) of US Driver’s license. If you do not have a US Driver’s License, provide valid State ID proving your residence in the consular district.******

*****Because you will be mailing in your application, do NOT send your original license/ID. Send 2 photocopies of your proof of residence.

Payment of the visa fee ($160 money order)

Prepaid USPS express mail envelope

Evidence of Immigration Status in the US, for non US passport holders only

If you are requested to send the visa application by mail, it is a good idea to have a sheet of paper that includes the following:

Name, last name, email and cell phone number to contact the applicant during business hours if necessary.

In general, paperwork in Spain requires the original along with a copy, so it’s a good idea to always check if you need a copy.

Once you have triple checked everything, make sure to carefully follow the instructions of the consulate when they respond to your email. They may request that you send your visa application by mail or in person.

Important Testimony

The SF consulate has been giving the following message to applicants when sending in their email:

“Dear applicant,

Please read this email carefully. Please send ALL required documents (notarized Spanish translation) to this Consulate (1405 Sutter St. San Francisco CA 94109) via postal mail, INCLUDING your Passport, a photocopy of the personal information page of your Passport, a money order of 160USD for the visa fee (to this Consulate). Please write “VISA” in the front of the envelope.

Please make sure you check all documents required on the Consulate website. Please notice that the Consulate of San Francisco requires the same documents as those listed in this link for the Consulate of Los Angeles.

https://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/losangeles/en/Servicios
Consulares/Paginas/Consular/Visado-de-estudios.aspx

Due to the high volume of applications received we will only be able to process EMERGENCY student visas. We will not have time to process every request, for that we strongly advise you to send your complete application ASAP, otherwise it is likely you will not receive your visa in time. Priority is given to complete applications in chronological order of arrival. No in person appointment required when all documents are sent, the visa can be picked up in the Consulate when notified as available.

If you have already submitted your documents or you already have an appointment, please disregard this email. Do NOT reply to this email if information already submitted nor to update us on the status of your shippment.

Thank you,

CGE SF”

Unlike the San Francisco consulate, the Los Angeles consulate requires a notarized copy of your apostilled and translated background check. It also requires a notarized copy of your proof of residency. Other applicants have sent emails to the consulate asking about this, and they stated the following:

“I got a response from the consulate, no notarization is necessary. Just apostille and translation.

These comments were collected from Auxiliary Facebook groups and the Auxiliary Subreddit.

Guide for Los Angeles Application

Visa Checklist for Los Angeles

By mail: Follow the instructions of the email, and in an organized fashion, place all of the documents in your USPS express mail envelope that is addressed to the Spanish consulate in San Francisco. Save the tracking number, and check it frequently to make sure your application arrives. Feel free to include a self-addressed, pre-paid express mail envelope as well. Many applicants were able to receive their visa by mail instead of requiring an in person pickup.

Consulate General of Spain
1405 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109-5417

After finishing your visa application, save all of your visa documents you collected to a flash drive and the cloud, google drive, or whatever you use. You will need these documents in the future.

Collecting the visa: The San Francisco consulate website states that “the visa must be collected in person by the applicant or by their representative (if the applicant is a minor) within a maximum period of 2 months, counted as of the day after the date on which the favourable decision is notified. The Consular Office will inform the applicant regarding the procedure for the return of the passport and any other original documentation.” 

Some applicants have found success sending a self-addressed, pre-paid express envelope in their application. The consulate can then send your passport with visa back to you. Make sure to write down the tracking number for yourself. Processing time ranges from 3-6 weeks.

Upon entry to Spain and within the first thirty days, applicants must apply* for a Foreigner Identity Card or TIE where the applicant is located. The TIE will be valid for as long as the auxiliary is enrolled in the program in Spain.

*You only need to start the TIE process within the first 30 days. Do not worry about receiving the TIE within 30 days of arriving.

When you receive your visa, it should look like the following picture. Included in the visa page is your personal information, visa type, entry date, visa duration, and sometimes your NIE. The visa duration will be 90 days for this type of program. Do not worry. Once you arrive in Spain, you will apply for a TIE which is a type of residency card. This will allow you to stay for the entire duration of the program. The NIE is an identification number, similar to a social security number, that comes with your TIE.

I highly recommend you enter Spain after your entry date on the visa. Although rare, some bureaucrats will deny your application for a TIE if your passport was stamped before your visa´s stated entry date. You would be required to leave the country and re-enter.

The Spanish visa will be stamped to one of your passport pages.

Once you are approved for your visa, you will be assigned a NIE. Some consulates will include your NIE in the visa itself, but others will not. You will receive this number when you receive the TIE. If you received your NIE in the visa, great! The NIE is useful for getting an apartment, opening a bank account, and getting a phone plan with a Spanish phone number. If you didn’t receive your NIE in the visa, you will have to use your passport number until you get the TIE, and it might be more difficult to complete the previous steps. Everything will be covered later.

Once you are approved for your visa, you will be assigned a NIE. Some consulates will include your NIE in the visa itself, but others will not. You will receive this number when you receive the TIE. If you received your NIE in the visa, great! The NIE is useful for getting an apartment, opening a bank account, and getting a phone plan with a Spanish phone number. If you didn’t receive your NIE in the visa, you will have to use your passport number until you get the TIE, and it might be more difficult to complete the previous steps. Everything will be covered later.


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

You are so close now! Start looking at flights, but I wouldn’t purchase anything until you have a visa in your hand.

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