Healthplan Spain


intern at work A Guide To Internships In Spain Expat Tips

Spain is renowned as a top tourist destination and a favoured study-abroad location for international students. Interning in Spain offers a wealth of opportunities for personal and professional growth beyond just the internship program. The country's vibrant cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia provide a welcoming atmosphere, making you feel like a local.

Additionally, Spanish is widely spoken, allowing you to improve your language skills while interning. The experience will broaden your perspective and make your resume stand out.

Below we cover everything you need to know about internships in Spain.

What are the different kinds of internships in Spain?

In Spain, there are two types of internships (practicas): Curricular (student) and Extracurricular (graduate).

  • Curricular internships (student) are required for university graduation and must align with the student's academic field. They aim to provide valuable work experience and contribute to grades (ECTS). A learning agreement must be signed by the student, their educational institute, and the host company to establish learning goals. These internships usually last 2 to 6 months and cannot exceed 1 year.
  • Extracurricular internships (graduate) are voluntary and for students who have graduated within the last 2 years. These internships should be in the student's academic field, have a learning objective, and have an internship contract signed by the student, the host company, and, in some cases, the last educational institute. Extracurricular internships typically last 6 to 12 months and cannot exceed 2 years.

The majority of internships in Spain are unpaid or offer a minimal salary of just a few hundred euros per month, with some companies only covering expenses such as transportation.

Part-time internships involve a workload of up to 20 hours per week, while full-time internships require up to 40 hours per week. Most companies prefer students to be placed through a convenio (agreement) with a local university for a duration of up to six months.


Will I need a visa for an internship in Spain?

Whether you need a visa will depend on whether you are an EU or non-EU national.

If you are from outside of the EU (European Union) and plan to study for more than 90 days, you will need to acquire a student visa.

Typically, non-EU students require either a short-term (91-180 days) or long-term visa (180+ days) to enter Spain, which can be obtained from a Spanish consulate or embassy located in their country of permanent residency.

If you are a graduate residing in Spain or wish to extend your student visa to undertake an internship, you will need to apply for a Residence permit for internships.

Likewise, if you are not currently resident in Spain and wish to undertake an internship, you will need to apply for an internship visa. The company will also need to apply for your residency authorisation prior to your application for the internship visa. 

EU nationals are not required to obtain a visa to enter or study in Spain.

For studies in Spain exceeding six months, the student will need to apply for a TIE residence permit (Tarjeta de Identitad de Extranjero) within 30 days of arrival. The TIE can be obtained from a nearby foreigners department or national police station and must be renewed annually for up to five years.

An NIE number is also required. If you are a non-EU national this will be included when applying for your TIE. EU citizens may apply for their NIE number within 90 days of arrival in Spain.

For further details on student visas, TIE, and empadronamiento, please see our student visa page.

How do I apply for an internship?

Initiating the internship application process can be time-consuming, however, with a clear understanding of your requirements, the process can be easily navigated by following a straightforward guide.

The following are some of the main requirements to apply for a Spanish internship.

  • Enrolled in an educational institution: To qualify for a curricular internship in Spain, it is a requirement to be currently enrolled in an educational institution. This is because internships are typically part of the mandatory curriculum of universities.
  • Obtain approval from both the university and the company: To ensure the legality of the internship, obtaining permission from both the educational institution and the hiring organisation is necessary. This legal document, known as a ‘Convenio’ or ‘Learning Agreement’, allows the student to complete the application process. All three parties, including the student, must sign the agreement prior to the start of the program.
  • Acquire a student visa or NIE number: For paid internships in Spain, international students must apply for a NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), which enables EU and non-EU citizens to participate in internships. Without an NIE, obtaining a Social Security code, which is necessary for receiving a salary, is not possible. Non-EU students must also obtain a student visa to enter Spain.
  • Obtain a social security number: The Social Security number is crucial for students participating in paid internships. The hiring company is responsible for enrolling the intern in its Social Security program. The Número de Afiliación a la Seguridad Social can be obtained at the Social Security Office.
  • Private health insurance: This is a strict requirement for students and those wishing to do an internship in Spain. At Health Plan, we can provide you with the correct policy which meets with the official government requirements.

Approved student visa

How to find an internship in Spain

So you have decided that a Spanish internship is right for you, but how do you go about finding one?

When applying for an internship, consider multiple factors to ensure that it fits your preferences. To increase your chances of securing an internship in Spain, it is worth applying to multiple companies.

Here are some effective methods for finding an internship:


Networking can greatly simplify the process of finding an internship. Utilise connections such as friends, family, university colleagues, and professors to help you find the right internship. These individuals may know someone who can offer you an interview opportunity at their company. Don't overlook the power of networking as it can often provide you with unexpected opportunities.

Apply to companies direct

Applying to companies related to your field of study is another effective way to secure an internship. Persuade them to hire you by highlighting your skills and qualifications. Even if the company is not publicly seeking applicants, consider sending an application.

University partnerships

As a student, you can explore internship opportunities through your university or university partnerships with organisations. Many universities in Spain offer internships through the Erasmus program, a non-profit organisation for international students.

Social media and online websites

LinkedIn is a well-known professional networking site for job and internship seekers, and you can search for opportunities in your desired field. Additionally, online organisations such as Primer Empleo, Go Overseas, Internship Makers and Spain Internships are just a few of the companies that can help you find a suitable internship.

Other valuable resources for interns are the Fundación Universidad/Empresa (FUE) and

English or Spanish Language Internships?

Whether you should do an English or Spanish internship in Spain depends on your language proficiency and personal preferences.

An English internship in Spain is an opportunity to gain professional experience while using your native language. This type of internship is often offered by international companies or organisations that operate in both English and Spanish-speaking markets. These internships are a good option if you feel more comfortable using English in a professional setting and want to gain experience working in a multinational environment.

A Spanish internship, on the other hand, is an opportunity to improve your Spanish language skills while gaining professional experience. These internships are usually offered by Spanish companies or organisations and require a high level of Spanish proficiency. This type of internship is a great option if you are interested in enhancing your language skills and learning about Spanish culture and business practices.

In both cases, an internship in Spain is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable professional experience, learn new skills, and make international connections. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your individual goals and what you hope to gain from the experience.

What are the best cities and locations to do an internship?

Spain's cities offer abundant opportunities for students seeking internships in a wide range of fields. A stint abroad in Spain is considered a valuable and enriching experience for both personal and professional growth. However, with so many options available, choosing just one internship can be challenging for international students.

Below we list some of the most popular cities in which to do your internship in Spain.

  • Madrid is the capital of Spain and is known for its rich cultural heritage, lively atmosphere, and excellent quality of life. The city offers a wide range of internship opportunities in popular industries such as business, finance, and marketing. Additionally, Madrid is home to many multinational corporations and start-ups, making it a hub for innovation and a great place for interns to gain practical experience in their chosen fields. With its vibrant nightlife and active social scene, Madrid is also a great place for interns to network and make new connections.
  • Barcelona is a great place to do an internship. Barcelona is a city located in the northeastern region of Spain and is known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. The city offers a wide range of internship opportunities in popular industries such as business, tourism, healthcare, and human rights. Additionally, Barcelona is a hub for innovation and creativity, making it an ideal location for those looking to gain experience in cutting-edge fields. With its excellent quality of life and active social scene, Barcelona is also a great place for interns to live and network with other young professionals.
  • Valencia is another popular destination in which to do an internship. The city is located in the eastern part of Spain and is known for its rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful beaches. It offers a range of opportunities in popular industries such as tourism, hospitality, and marketing, as well as cutting-edge fields like technology and sustainability. Additionally, Valencia is home to a large student population, making it a welcoming and supportive environment for interns.
  • The Canary Islands - A hidden gem in Spain offering exciting opportunities for international students seeking new experiences. Tenerife, the largest island, provides internships in industries like hospitality, tourism, marketing, and marine conservation.

Unpaid interns in Spain must register for social security and file a tax return

Note that from October 31, 2023, unpaid interns in Spain must register with the social security office and file a tax return. Further info can be found here.