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Spain Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand citizens

Find out how our very own Kiwi Lucy Nelson went about to get a 12 month working holiday visa for Spain!

Hola a todos! My name is Lucy and I moved to Spain on a Spain Working Holiday Visa in July 2023. It has always been a dream of mine to move to Spain ever since I spent a summer in Spain working as an Au Pair back in 2017.

I love Spain for three main reasons. Firstly, the people. Friendly, hospitable, animated and vibrant. I truly believe Spanish speakers around the world possess these beautiful qualities. The great thing about living in Spain is that you will meet Spanish speakers from all over the world as well.

Secondly I enjoy the Spanish way of life. It’s relaxed, bars and restaurants are open late, siestas can be had and tintos de verano can be drunk everywhere.

Lastly, the Spanish language. What a fun and expressive lengua (that is not too hard to pronounce generally!)

I decided to move to Madrid and look for work when I arrived. It’s such a big city so there are lots of opportunities. Within six weeks I found a job teaching English in an English Language Academy. I had a wonderful time getting to know Madrid whilst I was job hunting. I really enjoy living in Madrid. The public transport is fantastic, the gastronomy and architecture is stunning. Not to mention that long list of museums and other cultural experiences. The nightlife is also a lot of fun!

Please note you will need to book an appointment with the Spanish Embassy in Wellington. You may have to wait several months before you attend your appointment. At your appointment with all your required documents, you will have to leave your NZ passport with the Spanish Embassy. After your appointment you may have to wait 10-14 days for your Spain Working Holiday visa to be printed and affixed to your NZ passport. Make sure you arrive into Spain on the stated date on your Spain Working Holiday visa.

Spain Working Holiday Visa application process explained:

Spain Working Holiday Visa application requirements:

To be eligible for a Spain Working Holiday Visa you must:

  • be a citizen of New Zealand.
  • be resident in New Zealand.
  • have a New Zealand passport that is valid for at least 3 months after your planned departure from Spain.
  • be at least 18 years and no more than 30 years old, both inclusive, at the time of your application.
  • be going to Spain primarily for vacation purposes, with work being a secondary intention for your visit.
  • not be accompanied by any dependents.
  • hold a return airline ticket or have sufficient funds to purchase such a travel ticket.
  • possess sufficient funds to support yourself during the period of your stay in Spain.
  • acquire, so that you have it before travelling to Spain, medical and hospitalisation insurance, valid for the whole of your intended stay in spain.
  • meet Spanish health and police clearance requirements.
  • pay the prescribed Spain Working Holiday Visa application fee.
  • not have had a visa approved under the Spain Working Holiday visa scheme in the past.

Please note that it is not compulsory to have your flights pre booked to apply for the visa. There are 2000 places for this visa each year for New Zealanders going to Spain.

VERY IMPORTANT: As of April 13th 2023 the rules changed for WHV between NZ and Spain. Visa holders from both countries are now allowed to work the full 12 months of their visa (previously only 6 months). They do not have to change employers every 3 months. Now there isn’t currently any online resource from Spanish immigration that states this change. However you can read about it from the New Zealand side here and here

Here is an email from the Spanish Embassy in Wellington about this:

Working Holiday Visa for Spain New Zealand citizens 12 months employment

Rest assured that when I got a job at an English Language Academy I was able to accept a 9 month work contract and all is well!

Spain Working Holiday Visa documents checklist for Spain

This information is directly from the Spanish Embassy in Wellington.

In order to apply for this type of visa you need to provide the following:

  1. One visa application form duly completed, signed and dated, which must be obtained from this Embassy. Please do not forget to include your e-mail address on the visa application form, as this Embassy will communicate via e-mail only.
  2. One passport size colour photograph on a light coloured background. This must be glued (not stapled) to the visa application form on the top right hand corner. Photographs must be printed on quality photographic paper. (You are allowed to be smiling in this photo.)
  3. New Zealand passport with a validity of at least 3 months subsequent to the foreseen date of departure from Spain. It must have at least two blank pages and have been issued within 10 years prior to the submission of the visa application.
  4. Return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket.
  5. Evidence of having enough funds (a minimum of 532.51 EUROS per month or equivalent in foreign currency). (For the full 12 months they want proof of at least 532.51 Euros x 12 in your account when you apply.) In NZD equivalent.
  6. In the event that a parent or guardian is committed to covering the applicant’s costs, the parent or guardian must provide a statutory declaration signed before a Notary Public or Justice of the Peace and include a certified copy of their passport or NZ Driver Licence, a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate and current bank statements (stamped by the bank).
  7. Paid Health insurance for the whole duration of the stay in Spain. The insurance must cover all medical costs for all the duration of the stay as per the health assistance catalogue by the Spanish Ministry of Health (Ley 16/2003, 28 May, on the cohesion and quality of the Nacional Health System). The insurance company must be included in the National Registry of insurance allowed to operate in Spain (the full list can be checked at (I bought a fully comprehensive policy with SANITAS. They have been great so far. You can book all appointments on their app and the service has been helpful and efficient so far. You can also view all the policy documents in Spanish/English.)
  8. A police clearance certificate from New Zealand and any other country where the applicant has lived for the last 5 years (this/these document(s) must be less than 6 months old). In New Zealand, this must be obtained from the Ministry of Justice ( Please note that you must present a Police Clearance Certificate from New Zealand, even if you have not lived here in the last five years.
    VERY IMPORTANT: You must get this police clearance (criminal record check) apostilled. Please see information on getting an NZ police clearance apostilled Basically it’s like an international version of getting someone cited by a JP. NOTE: It can take three weeks to get your police check from the Ministry of Justice and then another four weeks to get it back with the apostille from the Department of Internal affairs documentation team so only plenty of time for this.

Website with information about how to go the apostille here below:

  1. Medical Certificate from your Doctor, less than 3 months old, with the following wording: “This medical certificate states that Mr or Ms. ……… does not suffer from any of the diseases that can have serious implications for public health, pursuant to the provisions of the International Health Regulations 2005”. (I just went to my GP and got this done.)
  2. N.I.E (foreigner’s identification number): Applicants need to apply for a NIE through this Embassy when submitting the visa application. In order to apply for the NIE applicants must provide the following: a) Application form duly completed, signed and dated, which must be obtained from this Embassy. You must clearly state in the field “Motivos” (point 4.2 of the NIE application form) the following: “ACUERDO DE MOVILIDAD CON NUEVA ZELANDA”. b) Form 790 duly completed, signed and dated. This form must be completed online before downloading and printing. You must do this through the following link: forms are confusing!! Honestly anything you’re not sure about filling in just leave it and then ask at the time of your visa appointment. I would email them in advance to say that you need some help with it and them they’ll help you at your appointment.
  1. A non refundable application fee – visa and NIE – (for updated information about fees, please call the Embassy before lodging your application).
  • Visa costs: The current visa application fee is $133.50 NZD.
  • NIE (Foreign identity number) $16.40 NZD
  • Total cost $149.90 NZD (Please always check with the embassy as this rate can fluctuate.)

Visa length: 12 months.

While in New Zealand requirements before you leave and my advice

  • Allow plenty of time to apply for your working holiday visa!
  • Before you book your working holiday visa appointment, check the current Visa and NIE processing times by emailing the Spanish embassy in Wellington and asking them. The NIE (foreign identity number) is used by the Spanish police and can take a while to come through. My visa took 7 weeks to process.
  • Do not book your flights too close to your visa appointment. Or perhaps wait to book your flights until you are approved.

Spain requirements upon your arrival and my advice

In a nutshell this graphic will help show you what you need for a working holiday visa in Spain:

Documents to live work and study in Spain


If you are staying in Spain for more than 6 months and you intend to work then you need the following to work:

  • TIE: (Foreign identity number card): See here for more information.
  • Empadronamiento: (A document which states that you reside in Spain and lists your address.) NOTE: You must show evidence of a housing contract for a minimum six months to get this Empadronamiento document. See here for more information.
  • Social security: This was super easy. I just had to take my passport and my TIE (or in my case it was a temporary paper TIE which works fine) and I filled out a form at a local office and it was all good. See here for more information.

What can I do in case of my Spain Working Holiday Visa refusal?

Best to ask the Spanish Embassy in Wellington.

Embassy of Spain in Wellington contact details:

Living in Madrid

Accommodation: Average rent in a shared apartment would be around 550 euros including water, internet, electricity etc. Here is a wonderful guide from CitylifeMadrid.

Facebook pages to join to find accommodation in Madrid:

If you just type Madrid accommodation into Facebook you will find many more!

Public Transport: The public transport network here is FANTASTIC. It is also super cheap at the moment. You can buy a monthly unlimited pass for as low as 28 euros. (If you are under 25 then it’s even cheaper). Note that these prices are subject to change as at the moment they are heavily discounted.

If you would like to exchange your NZ drivers licence refer to our page here.

Job Hunting useful resources:

For teaching jobs

Fun things to do when living and working in Madrid:

Enjoy Madrid and Spain – You will love it too!

Lucy Nelson Kiwis in Spain 2023 Spain Working Holiday Visa

Find the latest news for Spain from the New Zealand government

Would you like to share your experience with Kiwis wanting to move to Spain?

Message Kent and he will arrange a time to talk on the phone about how to make a start.

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