Student Visa, Entering from within Schengen Area

Hi, RS Forum folks. My daughter will be studying abroad in Granada in the fall of 2022, and we are running into a logistical challenge. She will be starting her trip from the US with a few days visiting family in Milan, then flying into Malaga from there. Since she will be arriving into Spain from within the Schengen area, it is our understanding that she will not be going through passport control/immigration at Malaga. Does anyone know if there is an immigration office at the Malaga airport where she could get her student visa stamped? Any other suggestions about how do handle this?

Thanks so much for your input!


  1. I’d start with your daughters’s study abroad program, either her home university or, preferably, the office or university connection in Spain. No doubt they’ve dealt with this question before and have an easy answer.

    • As a former director of an international office, I second the previous poster’s advice. The study abroad office at your daughter’s institution and/or the program in Spain are the most reliable sources for this advice.

  2. I can’t speak directly to the student visas, but I’ve been doing research/future planning around gaining Spanish residency. The passport stamp for entry is something of an antiquated formality that is being phased out across Europe in the coming couple of years. Setting stamped in at Milan shouldn’t present any issues. If she’s just there for one term she won’t even be getting a residency card (which would take most/all of the term to process anyway.) The date of entry into, and exact number of days in, Spain becomes an issue at times of renewing longer-term residency and when calculating tax residency. Even for that, the stamp is not the sole means of proof, and people entering via other countries are counseled to save boarding passes as records of their travel.

  3. Hi, you write: “Since she will be arriving into Spain from within the Schengen area, it is our understanding that she will not be going through passport control/immigration at Malaga.”
    Will your daughter have a valid visitor visa for Italy? Obviously she does not need an Italian issued Schengen visa if the TOTAL length of stay in the Schengen area is less than 90 days. If not then it is my understanding that she will almost certainly go through passport control/immigration at Málaga. Only residents of Schengen countries (which she is obviously not) and visitors who have a valid visa issued by a Schengen country are able to avoid immigration controls — and even then may be randomly asked for proof of residence (as I was recently when flying into Barcelona from Italy).

    When she arrives at Málaga airport she’ll likely see two signs — one reading EU and EEA, and one reading Non-EU/EEA — she should take the Non-EU/EEA route. In theory she should be able to get a student visa stamp at the airport on producing official proof provided by the university, and, if she takes EU/EEA route on arrival she will likely not be able to get student visa stamp — as Schengen country residents do not need such, so there is no need to have anyone at EU/EEA entry point with the necessary stamp. However, would suggest you apply for the visa in the U.S. before planned departure date.
    Here’s what it says on the official Málaga University website:
    “The visa or residence permit must be processed in your country of residence prior to your arrival in Málaga. To apply for a visa please contact the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your country. This should be done as soon as you have received the letter of acceptance from UMA. The application must be submitted personally, with the official form in the Spanish Consular Office or Embassy in your country.”
    And here’s a link to same webpage:

    and this from the official Spanish government website:
    “Documents accrediting the purpose and conditions of the planned stay: At the request of the competent authorities, the reasons and conditions of the planned stay must be accredited by documentary proof or other means. To this end, the presentation, among others, of the following documents may be required: For study trips, training programmes, non-work internships or volunteer work with a duration of less than three months, enrolment documentation or proof of admission to an educational establishment or internship contract or proof of admission to a volunteer programme.”
    Here’s the website: [][2]

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