This article breaks down getting the Youth Mobility Visa from Canada to Spain based on my experience in June 2022 and November 2023 (I have gotten this visa twice)
This visa is available for Canadians aged 18-35 who want to move to Spain for 1 year for one of the following reasons:
- Employment (and you have a post secondary degree)
- Study in Spain
- More training / professional development
- Current Canadian student with a desire to travel and work
- Working holiday
As I mentioned, I have gotten this visa twice, which is the maximum amount of times you can get this visa. Each time needs to be for a different reason. Example: the first time I was under Category E as I didn’t have a job offer and planned to do a combo of travel and volunteering and I was open to working if I found a job, the best general one to get when you don’t have any set offers or plans. The second time I got Category A as I had a job offer. My close friend did the opposite, she had a job (Category A) the first time and the second time she did the general (Category E) as she didn’t have a job offer yet.
Walk through each of the documents
When I applied most recently (Type A), I used the following checklist as my cover page in addition to a motivation paragraph explaining why I wanted to go and what I planned to do. I will walk you through each of these items and how I got them…
1. Visa Application Form: https://www.exteriores.gob.es/en/EmbajadasConsulados/Documents/Consular/20210611-Formulario%20nacional%20espa%c3%b1ol-ingl%c3%a9s.pdf
2. Photograph: small passport photo
3. Canadian Passport + photocopy: your original passport is sent in the mail. So you are passportless during this time. Make sure you include a photocopy and track the package you send.
4. Driver’s License (Ontario): just a photocopy, not original driver’s license, proves residency.
5. University Diploma: it was not required but I included it to show I was getting a job in my field of study.
6. NIE: This took time and research the first time, please see Cet article about the process.
7. Work Contract – (Economic Means) + NIF: the NIF is a tax number for the company. I also stated that this would cover me for the financial requirements. Note: I did not need proof of funds or a flight home as I had a job offer which showed I would have money for Category A. When I did Category E I just printed out 3 months of bank statements to show I had money, I didn’t translate or authenticate.
8. Medical insurance: I bought medical insurance from World Nomads and included that in the application, which I cancelled within their cancellation period, so that I could get an insurance for only the days I was not covered by my other insurance I had through my job. I do not recommend no insurance, but I made sure to get one that suited my plans best.
9. 150$ fee: certified cheque, so the money doesn’t get “lost” in the mail.
10. Motivation letter: explain why you love or are interested in Spain, what your plans are and that you intend to come back to Canada.
11. Proof of Accommodation: I printed my AiBNB reservation, didn’t translate or authenticate. You can likely cancel your Airbnb if your plans change. I ended up staying with friends, but including that in the application was much harder to prove (they have to go to the police station for some forms etc) so I just submitted the AirBNB reservation instead.
12. Prepaid Xpress post: I included a smaller (passport sized) return xpost addressed to myself and kept track of the tracking number.
13. Criminal Record Check RCMP + translation + photocopy: I got mine done at F1 Fingerprinting in Burlington, ON both times. It took about 7 weeks to come back in the mail. I also got it translated on the second application, not certified (as the waiting times for the Appostile at the time were very slow so I skipped it and it wasn’t a problem for me either times.). The Criminal Record Check is explained in this post.
14. Medical Certificate: my family doctor wanted me to pay 200$ for the medical certificate. Instead I paid 250$ to a seafarer medical doctor, as I am a sailor and this 250$ would cover me for sailing for 2 years and would be helpful for me more than my doctor’s note only for the visa. Apparently some people were able to go into a walk in clinic and get a doctor to sign the required note for them, and some other doctors refused to do it as they are not familiar with the European medical system they are signing. The following wording needs to be signed:
This medical certificate states that Mr. /Ms.[…] does not suffer from any diseases that may have serious consequences on public health in accordance with the provisions contained in the 2005 International Health Regulations.”
Of note: If you are staying under 90 days you do not need this visa. If you are staying 90-180 days you need this visa but you do not need #13, #14. If you are staying 6 months to a year you need to include the Criminal Record check and the medical note.
Where to send your documents
I assembled all of the above mentioned items, labelled them with sticky notes which matched the list above and sent it to the consulate. I sent mine to the Toronto Consulate as I lived in Oakville, however there are 3 options:
1. Consulate of Spain in Toronto
Covers the provincies of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario (except Ottawa and the National Capital Region) and Saskatchewan; and the territories of Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon.
Consulate General of Spain, ATT: Visa Department, 2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1201, Toronto, ON M4W 1A8.
2. Embassy of Spain in Ottawa
Covers only the cities of Ottawa, Gatineau and Canada’s National Capital Region.
Embassy of Spain, ATT: Visa Department, 74 Stanley Avenue, Ottawa (Ontario), K1M 1P4
3. Consulate of Spain in Madrid
Covers the provinces of New Brunswich, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec (except Gatineau and the National Capital Region).
Consulate of Spain, ATT: Visa Department, 1200 Avenue McGill College, Suite 2025 H3B 4G7 Montréal (Québec)
More information about jurisdiction: https://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/toronto/en/Consulado/Paginas/Jurisdiction.aspx
My first visa I got back in 6 weeks, my second visa I got back in under 2 weeks. However my friend got her first back in 6 weeks and the second back in 3 months (as it was in the summer).
When you get your passport back there is a visa printed in it with the start and end dates of your stay. I included in my application the 1 year start date (day of my flight) and return date (a year later) as I understand if you do not specify your dates they will print the day that they processed it, and you will be missing out on those days that it is in your passport but you haven’t flown away yet.
Now you can travel! The envelope you get back will include information about a TIE you should get if you are staying over 6 months. I never stayed over 6 months so I do not have tips on the TIE. (I never stayed longer than 6 months, but I got the 12 month visa to give me the option in case my plans changed and I wanted to stay longer).
Don’t panic, they will approve it. Give yourself time, and include all the requirements. Enjoy Spain!
Detailed information from the Government of Spain can be found here:
My Spanish experience
My Spain experience wasn’t typical because I sailed on a boat for 4 months and I have family in Spain. So I do not have many recommendations or culture shocks as my experience was abnormal.
So far I have visited a few places:
- Tenerife: incredible volcano-formed island. Book 3 months in advance your free ticket to climb to the top of Mount Teide (highest point in Spain) and eat at a Guachinche. The most difficult thing I did here was driving (manual vehicles were the only ones available when I went) on small and steep mountainous roads.
- Barcelone: I love it because I have family here. I was sad to find out on a recent trip that the Parc Guell is no longer free and has to booked in advance The transit is great, and beautiful. Take the day trip to Monserat Mountains if you like hiking and getting out of the city. If you don’t want to go so far, go to Tibidabo. The city has a lot of English speaking in the streets, depends on if you want that experience. Also Catalan is the official language of course.
- Madrid: Friendly people, big city but also very walkable in the centre. It was very hot in June (42 degrees) and I had to spend most of my days in my hotel’s AC.
- El Escorial: 5 Euro 1h bus from Madrid (day trip). I hiked up a mountain and saw the monestary, amazing spot.
- Toledo: I paid a tour company for a day trip here. It was 43 degrees and very hot, but so beautiful. Worth the visit.
- Zaragoza: I went here as it was between Barcelona and the North. I only did 1 day and I feel that was all I needed. It was very beautiful, and I love a city with a river.
- Cadiz: Beautiful, friendly people (everytime I got lost even though it is so small) great beach, take a trip to taste sherry wines at Tio Pepe in Jerez
Sevilla: It is beautiful and I look forward to coming back a different time when it is cooler… I went in July and it was 47 degrees. It was so hot, the streets were empty between 3-5pm due to heat, so at least I got beautiful photos in Plaza España without tourists. I ate great fish and excellent icecream.
- Huelva: More of a desert landscape. Nice braches, weather and sunsets. Very close to the Portugal border.
- Vigo: I liked the marina area and it seems like a nice town. I didn’t spend much time here, but I used it as a hub to go and visit the Cies Islands which is a must if you can fit it in. Close to Portugal’s other border.
- Santiago de Compostela: I ended up here and attended a mass at the main church. It is a special place for sure. Lots of people from the Camino de Santiago.
- Aviles: This was a smaller town, but it had a great vibe and friendly people. Less beautiful buildings than other towns, but not touristy which is nice.
- Bilbao: Is known for the Guggenheim museum. It has a great metro system where you can go to nearby beach towns from the metro alone. Bilbao has great Pintxos (similar to tapas but on bread) and is very lush and green (especially as it is known for rain).
- San Sebastian: Has the most Michelin Star restaurants in Spain. It’s a pretty spot and I plan to go back for more than just a few hours in the future.
- Basque Country Gems: Plentzia, Bermeo, Urkiola, Getxo, Portugalete, Lekeitio, Gaztelugatxe.
I have chosen to live in the Basque Country. I like the mild winters, and not too hot summers. I don’t mind rain, and I like that it makes the vegetation so green. Great hiking available here, and you have mountains and beaches so close together. Great for surfing, sailing, paragliding. Great food, especially seafood. I enjoy the Basque culture.
Places on my list to see hopefully this year: Granada, Valencia, Malaga, Marbella, Salamanca, Leon, Logroño.