Welcome to Madrid!


Check out all the information about Madrid below!


“It’s like a dream to come to Spain and stay for a couple of years and get somebody to teach you Spanish music.”

– Lenny Kravitz

Check out all the information you need to move to Madrid!


How to apply for a Spanish Visa:

  • You don’t need a visa if you come from / are:

 – European Union
– European Economic Area (EEA)
 – Swiss Citizens

To study in Spain for more than three months as a Non-European student you need a student visa type.

  • Cost: 

Applying for a student visa in Spain has a non-refundable fee of €60.

  • Timing: 

It takes approximately 15 days for your visa application to be processed, however it can extend up to 1 month in case of incomplete or imprecise documentation.  Make sure to apply at least one month before your arrival to Spain.  Check out our checklist at the bottom of this page!

  • Documents required: 

 – Passport or national ID valid for at least six more months from application date, and for 90 days after the length of your stay is completed
 – Acceptance certificate from your university/institution
 – Health Insurance that is valid in Spain
 – Photo ID (government issued)
 – Birth Certificate
 – Completed application form (can differ depending on your country of origin)

Keep in mind that all official documents, if not in the required language for the application, must be translated by a sworn, official translator who works with the embassy.  They will be able to provide details regarding this – always ask.

Who to contact: 

Your country’s embassy in Spain, the Spanish embassy in your country, or the Spanish Consulate covering your jurisdiction in your home country.

Click here to find the closest Spanish embassy or consulate:


Make sure you do not try to get your long stay visa through a certified agency, it should be directly through the respective government authority (embassy, consulate, etc.), double check, always!

What you can/cannot do:

With a Spanish Student Visa, you’re allowed to work part time or in a temporary position.  The maximum amount of hours cannot exceed 20 hours (internships excluded) a week. If the work doesn’t interfere with your studies, full time work is possible, if you get a work permit.


What now?

Do not procrastinate, get this done as soon as you arrive in the country.
  • NIE: If you are a foreigner from outside of the EU+ the usual members, you will have to obtain a foreign student identity card (NIE) at a foreigners office or police station. This cannot be done online. You can have it done by lawyers for a hefty fee around 250 €, so we recommend doing it yourself. It will take up to 40 days for you to receive your NIE. If you obtain a student visa, your residence permit will be included, and you will receive the student residence permit along with it. Required Documents (original and copy):


    – Printed and filled application form EX-17 here

    – Valid passport (d-type visa and stamp of spain)

    – Certificate of enrollment

    – Referral note of the municipal registration (volante de empadronamiento: certificate of your regular residential address)

    – 3 photographs of ID card size (32 x26 mm)

    – Receipt of the application fee payment form here








How to rent a flat in Madrid?


  • Platforms to search on:

Facebook (never pay before seeing the flat first, it’s easy to find flatmates there, maybe an option if you have difficulties finding something).  However be mindful, Facebook is not always trustworthy, although it is safer with a personal connection to the person.  If you’re ready to take the risk, Facebook can be a good option.  Be sure to keep an eye out for groups created by your school.   Remember, at EIS we can always go check out the flat for you, look into our support services. 



From our experience, we recommend Idealista and Pisos, they are two of the best sites for Madrid housing.



Looking for a flat in Madrid?

Check out the EIS Madrid Rental!




  • Budgeting:

Housing in Madrid is relatively cheap in comparison to cities such as Paris, costs are around 700-1,000 Euros per month (900 in the city center, 700 outside of the city center).  For good apartments, start to look 3 to 4 months before moving there.  Remember in Spain, everything is negotiable. 

  • Utility costs – average per city: 

Water is around 20 Euros per month.

Electricity is around 50 Euros per month, it may be more in summer because of the air conditioning.


Where to live (neighborhoods in Madrid):

El centro


  • List of documents you need to rent a flat: 

 – Income statement and/or proof of income from your parents
– Contact information
– ID
– Proof of housing insurance, especially as a Non-EU citizen
 – Payments are easier if you have a Spanish bank account, nonetheless, provide your bank account information



What is the budget I need to live in Madrid?


  • Basic budgeting per month (in euro):

-Housing : 450/1000

– Electricity : 60

– Food : 200/400

– Transport : 20 (metro card)

– Phone : 10/20

– Going out: 200/500

– Min: 1150 Max: 2150

  • Broke Bitch Tips:

– Use the app Unidays for discounts (restaurants, supermarkets, fashion, technology…) 

– The app Student Beans is also a good one 

– Whenever you purchase something ask for student discounts and don’t forget to smile!


  • Check cost-of-living website:

– https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Madrid



How to open a bank account in Spain?


  • First, should you even open one? 

Opening a Spanish bank account makes everything easier (housing, payments, phone contract if not prepaid).  Like in France, Spanish bank accounts are often requested.  Especially for a longer stay, it’s recommended.  If you’re only in Spain for a semester, don’t bother unless you really love paperwork (looking at you Amy Santiago).


  • Documents required: 

– Passport and/or ID card AND student visa if applicable
– A document to prove your address
– A recent bank statement or utility bill (less than 3 months old)
– A document to prove your employment status (such as a pay slip, tax return or a letter from the government stating that you’re unemployed). 


In some cases, depending on the bank, your documents must be translated into Spanish by a “translator jurado” (licensed translator).  This is often required and is affordable, especially in larger cities.


  • Banks to Consider:

 – ING direct
– Bankia
– Santander
– Sabadell

These banks are reliable and offer good option for students, especially the ING direct.  Once again, don’t forget to mention your student status.



What is the local subway company in Madrid?

How can I get around Madrid?


  • Public Transportation:

 Download the Metro de Madrid App or Google Maps.

The best option is the metro youth card for 20 Euros per month if you are under 26 years old.  There is also an annual pass which costs 200€, therefore you can calculate what would be cheaper in your personal case. For both passes you need to purchase a Personal Card with photo (TTP), on which you can charge the metro pass. To get it, you either order it online and it then it is delivered (approximately 1 week), or you can make an appointment online for one of the offices and take it directly home with you. (https://www.crtm.es/media/143130/ttp_solicitudtarjeta.pdf). It really depends on how much you use the metro.  Don’t forget to check if your university has a stop nearby!  Either way you apply, you will need the application form, ID, and passport photo.  To get the monthly pass, or the annual season pass you need a Personal Card (TTP) first.

The creation of the card cost 4€.

The remake of a lost card costs 6€.


You must make an appointment to order your card, annual or monthly pass.

  • Driver’s License:

If you want to drive in Spain, you can use your foreign (Non European) license for the first six months. If you’re from the EU or EEA area (European Economic Area), you can use your license.  After two years, it is recommended to convert it into a Spanish license.

  • Emergency service contacts:

• Emergencies: 112
• Health emergencies: 061
• National Police: 091
• Local Police: 092

 – Your country’s embassy (lost passport, etc.)



How to apply for Spanish insurance?

Why do I need insurance in Spain?

  • Renters insurance (Seguro de Hogar):

– Renters insurance is officially required, but often not asked for while renting an apartment (if you wanna take the risk), or might be covered by your landlord.  Make sure to ask about it when renting.

– When choosing renters insurance, you can opt for buildings cover, contents cover or both.

– Buildings cover is insurance on the building itself, the content everything inside the apartment- Atlantis, Mapfre and Santa Lucia are the best ones.


  • Required insurances:

Health insurance (universal):

-The Spanish universal healthcare system (SNS, Sistema nacional de salud) is very good and goes alongside with the private insurance plans

– Emergencies are treated no matter what (yes, really)!

– Europeans are covered with their EHIC Card, only for longer stays a registration in the SNS is required

– If you are from a non-EU country and a student under 26, you can get free public healthcare, but you must register in the SNS (do it)

– To register you have to get a social security number at a TGSS (Tresorería General de la Seguridad Social) office. You will need a valid passport/ID (with visa if applicable), your residence certificate, proof of registration at your local town hall.  With your social security number you are entitled to medical help – apply for a health card (tarjeta sanitaria universal)!

– Dentists, pharmacy costs, and ambulance are not covered by the SNS 


  • Private health insurance:

– Especially as a non-EU citizen it can be favorable to have a private insurance

– Private insurance costs between 50-200 euros a month

– Some of the largest health insurance companies include:

Allianz Care


  • Personal/ Third-party-liability insurance:

– Third-party-liability insurance is not common in Spain. Check your home country insurance policy, it likely covers you.



Is Madrid a safe city?


In general Madrid is a safe city, where normal precaution should be enough.

But of course, as one of the biggest cities in Europe, pickpockets are inevitable and you should be careful in public transportation and crowded places.  

  • Areas that aren’t super safe at night:

– The outer parts of Madrid, require more awareness 

In general you should live your life as in every capital or bigger city.

For more detailed information go to: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/safety-and-security



How to apply for a phone subscription in Spain?

Who are the phone operators in Spain?

  • Phone providers: 

 – Movistar https://www.movistar.com/es/
 – Jastel https://www.jazztel.com/
– Orange https://www.orange.es/
– Vodafone https://www.vodafone.es/c/particulares/es/

The companies above have the best prices for prepaid and contract sim cards, and they are reliable.

  • Apps to Remember:

 – Metro App (Madrid)
 – Supermarket App for good discounts (look for the one in your city)
 – Blabla car
 – Whatsapp (commonly used in Spain)
 – Uber is working in Madrid (yeah!)
 – Cheap flights with Ryanair and Vueling 



Things you should know about Spain:


  1. Madrid is la ciudad de las tapas, beer comes with free tapas.
  2. You can obtain the JOBO card at the tourist information center at plaza mayor and get discounts and free entries for shows, restaurants etc. 
  3. The Spaniards have a completely different life rhythm from other Europeans. They typically have lunch between 1 and 3 pm, and dinner around 10 pm.
  4. The national anthem of Spain has no words.
  5. There are no laws about public nudity in Spain (that’s our favorite).
  6. Madrid is in the physical center of the country and the plaza Puerta del Sol is the exact center of the country.
  7. Do not be alarmed by a dirty floor in a bar.  It is completely acceptable and normal to throw things on the ground in bars.  Most of the time a dirty floor means a good bar!
  8. Spaniards own more cars than cell phones.
  9. Spain has the second highest number of bars per inhabitants.





We designed you a checklist to help you through your preparation!


If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!  We’re here to help.


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