Can AIL help me get my student visa?
As an Instituto Cervantes accredited Spanish school, we are authorized to issue letters of acceptance for full time students, which are recognized as official proof of study by Spanish consulates and embassies. Once your enrollment is confirmed, we will send you your letter along with other documents required to start your visa process.
Do I have to pay for the whole course up front?
In order to benefit from a 10% discount and pay no enrollment fee (for courses of 9 weeks and more) it is necessary to pay for the entire course up front. If you don’t need study visa, you just need to make a 200€ deposit, and the full payment can be made on your first day of classes.
How long does it take to complete a level?
With the Intensive (and Long Term) Course schedule, it usually takes between 10 and 12 weeks to complete a level, such as A1 or A2. That said, it is important to note that students’ progress depends on their learning style, aptitude for languages, and the time and effort they are willing to put into learning and practicing. It can also be influenced by their native language and the other languages they speak. If your objective is to learn as much as possible in a defined period of time, it’s important you dive deep into your Spanish studies: spend time revising class content, complete your homework, practice with natives outside class, listen to Spanish music, watch Spanish movies, read Spanish books and magazines, and watch yourself improve rapidly!
Am I going to repeat material or activities during my classes?
You will never repeat the exact same material in any of your classes, though you may review similar exercises to solidify your understanding of certain items. If you stay consistently enrolled and attend all your classes, you (and the material) will advance week by week. Regarding activities, we have over 80 options that allow you to explore the city sights, museums, discuss interesting topics, and practice your Spanish.
AIL Español uses textbooks recommended by Instituto Cervantes that endeavor to provide the best methodology of Spanish teaching, complemented by a range of audio/visual materials, handouts, the school’s own materials, and the internet.
Each student, upon request, receives an attendance certificate once they finish the course and has the option to take an exam at the end of the course. In order to receive a completion certificate, the student must obtain a passing grade of 60/100 or more.
Can I join a course that's already started?
Yes! If you want to join a group that has already started, we will not charge you for the classes you have missed. Please contact us for further information and available groups.
Start dates for complete beginners
If you haven’t studied any Spanish before, then you will want to start from the very beginning. Unlike other schools, we do not say that complete beginners can start anytime and then just throw them with other students who have already studied: this approach is not best for the student and could cause a tense and unpleasant start to your Spanish learning adventure. Our policy is to have new complete beginner groups starting every two weeks. If you cannot make one of these dates, please do tell so we can send you all the appropriate learning materials to prepare before coming to Madrid (at no additional cost) and/or offer you private catch up classes on arrival.
Can I have the same class schedule as my friend/spouse etc.?
We always consider the fact that you are travelling with a friend or partner when scheduling your group classes and will endeavor to place you in classes at the same time. Though it is not something we can 100% guarantee, it is almost always possible thanks to the large amount of group classes available. The further in advance a course is booked, the easier it is for us to arrange (as we do for the vast majority of cases), allowing you to enjoy Madrid together in your free time.
When does course registration close?
The course can be booked right up to the week before the course starts, but it is always best to book as early as possible.
Will the professor speak my language?
All our professors are native Spanish speakers and the classes will take place primarily in Spanish. That said, many of the teachers have at least a basic understanding of English.
What’s the difference between the intensive and the long-term courses?
The long term course is an extended version of the Intensive course, with the same 20 classes/week schedule. Those who join the course for 8 weeks or more at a time enjoy a reduced price of 170€/week instead of 190€/week and, after booking 9 weeks or more at a time, we waive the enrollment fee and include all textbooks as well.
Programs for Juniors
Is there a required minimum age?
No! We welcome groups of all ages and have housing options available that suite each group’s needs.
Will the host families take the students to school each day? How far away do they live?
Students will not be accompanied to school each day: Madrid is incredibly safe with a great public transportation system! It’s easy to use and very intuitive. In addition, all our families live in central neighbourhoods, which a maximum distance of 30 minutes from the school by public transport.
How many students are needed to form a group?
To arrange a group trip, we ask that each group have 5 students or more. That said, if you have 2, 3 or 4 students, AIL Madrid can offer some fantastic discounts if you sign up together. Don’t hesitate to ask!
Will the students share classes or activities with others?
When all students in a group have a similar age and level, we create classes of 10 people comprised solely from your group. And the same goes for activities! However, if your students are over 16 years old and want to integrate into our regular courses and activities, we can arrange for them to join the general classes best suited to their level.
What is included in the price of a shared flat?
When selecting their housing, students can choose from a single or double room. The price will then include utilities (gas, light, water), WIFI, and a landline to receive and make calls within Spain. It also includes towels, sheets, basic cleaning products, and a weekly cleaning service in shared living spaces.
Most of our accommodation options do not have air conditioning. Please be aware of this especially if coming to Madrid in the summer months.
What is included in the price of a one bedroom apartment?
Each one bedroom apartment has a double bed or two single beds. The price includes utilities (air conditioning, light, water), as well as WIFI, a weekly cleaning service, and towels and sheets that are cleaned weekly.
What is included in the price of a student residence?
To begin, students should choose from single or double rooms. The price will then include full board (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) from Monday to Saturday, as well as towels and sheets that are washed weekly with your clothing. It also includes a daily cleaning service for bedrooms and bathrooms (except Sundays and holidays). Finally, it includes WIFI, a landline to make and receive calls, and a fan in each bedroom.
What is included in the price of a host family?
The price includes a daily halfboard (breakfast and dinner), WIFI, a landline to make and receive calls to and from other Spanish landlines, and towels and sheets that are washed weekly with your clothing.
How many students live in each shared flat at a time?
There is usually an average of 4 to 7 students living in each flat at once.
Is WIFI included in my housing?
All of our flats, families, and residences have a high speed WIFI connection.
What are host families like?
AIL’s host families are carefully selected to ensure that all students enjoy their stay and are treated as members of the family. Our families can be anyone from single people to couples or families with small or grown children.
Do the host families speak other languages?
The best part about staying with a host family is practicing your Spanish and immersing yourself in Spanish culture. With this goal in mind, our families only speak Spanish with our students.
What is the purpose of the deposit?
The deposit has two purposes: to reserve your room and to guarantee payment. For security reasons, we require the deposit for the entirety of your stay: the student must leave the room in the same state they found it. If there is no damage found in the room/accommodation at the end of your stay, your deposit will be returned to you within 7 days of your departure. If damages are found, we will subtract the amount required for repairs from the deposit and return the rest.
What happens if I want to leave before my contract ends?
In the event of cancellations prior to arrival, any upfront payments will be considered as a non returnable payment for accommodation (subject to a one month limit). In the event of cancellations after arrival, one month’s notice of accommodation cancellation is required. Following this notice period, all additional accommodation amounts paid will be reimbursed in full.
Can I reserve a private bathroom?
Private bathrooms can be requested and these have a supplement of 105€ per week. Please note however that we have limited private bathroom options so booking is subject to availability.
Where are the shared flats located?
Our shared flats are located in central neighborhoods of Madrid and are all well connected by public transportation (within 30 minutes of the center).
In Case of Emergency
- Emergency services in Madrid: 112
- Madrid City Council Information : 010
- Community of Madrid Information: 012
- 24 hour Chemist: 098
- Madrid and Móstoles: 080
- Community of Madrid: 085
- National: 091
- Municipal: 092
- Guardia Civil: 062
- SAMUR (Accidents in public places): 092
- INSALUD (Urgencies): 061 or 112 (English or Spanish)
- Emergencies: 91 522 22 22
- Intoxications: 91 562 04 20
- Ambulances: 91 473 93 61 Madrid Emergency Number Health
Lost or stolen Credit Cards
- Visa: 901 10 10 11
- MasterCard (Eurocard): 91 519 21 00
- American Express: 91 572 03 03
- Diner’s Club Card: 902 40 11 12
Information for Parents
Is Madrid safe?
Madrid is one of the top two safest cities in Europe, and its only getting safer! Each year Madrid law enforcement agencies review and improve their approach, ensuring that crime rates drop each year from their already very low numbers. While there is an occasional pick pocket, the majority of our students of all ages feel safer here than in their home towns- something their parents confirm after visiting! That said, things happen and AIL Madrid wants its university preparation students to feel comforted that if they need help they have someone to call at any time, day or night. In the case of any problem that should occur we ask our students to call our 24-hour emergency contact number: 607 959 887.
Where will my child live?
If your child is under 18 years old, we require them to live with one of our loving, native Spanish host families, to ensure they get the attention, care, and security they need. This provides a fantastic way for them to practice Spanish at home, immerse themselves in the culture, and have a strong support system during their stay here in Madrid. If they are over 18, they also have the opportunity to live in a student dormitory or in a shared flat for student under 30. Either of these options will give your child a strong social network, with friends from all over the world, and as well as a secure home in a residential area of Madrid. All of our accommodation options are carefully vetted or provided directly by AIL Madrid, to ensure your child is always in safe hands!
What will their diet be like?
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most popular in the world for a reason: with fresh, locally produced vegetables, fish, and meat, our students come to class with energy and a sense of general well being. If they’re staying with a host family, they have the added benefit of home cooked meals with the family, or, if they’re in the dorms, a fun dining hall atmosphere with friends. In the shared flats, they have the opportunity to select their food independently from Spain’s numerous supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants. No matter what you choose, they are sure to enjoy some of the country’s finest tapas and paellas!
What if my child has food allergies?
Spain has an incredible amount of dietary options: most supermarkets have gluten free sections (even the mom and pop shops on the corner), and all of them provide lactose free products. Most restaurants also provide allergy information, so your child is sure to be able to avoid upsetting foods. We will also make sure that their host families know about any dietary restrictions in advance.
What is the Spanish drinking culture?
A lot of parents worry about their children going a little wild when they leave home but, in Spain, drinking culture is more social and less binge focused. Your child is far more likely to learn to have a responsible glass of wine with dinner than anything else, especially if they’re staying with a host family.
What type of monthly allowance will they need?
Students have different spending patterns based on their interests and habits in Spain, so it depends a little on what you’d like to provide them with. In recent years, prices in general have increased slightly, but the cost of living in Madrid remains lower than most other European countries, especially with daily expenses such as food and public transportation. The cost of rent will most likely will be the most expensive factor of the student’s stay in Spain but AIL provides several affordable accommodation options to help keep things reasonable.
A few examples of standard Spain prices:
Lunch (3 courses): 9-15€
Movie Ticket: 5-10€
What documents do I need to make sure they are prepared?
Each student should view our planning checklist in advance, but the 6 most important items to review are:
1. Make sure your child has an up to date passport, valid for the entire duration of their stay (for university preparation, at least one year from the start of the program)
2. Determine whether they need a student visa and if so, make sure you allow sufficient time to obtain one. Study visas are required for all non-EU nationals entering Spain for a period of greater than 3 months and for residents of certain countries no matter the duration of the stay. Please see our Study Visa page for more information about obtaining visas in Spain.
3. Organize international health insurance and travel insurance.
4. See your doctor before you go.
5. Be sure to bring a sufficient supply of any prescriptions you require.
6. Think about what countries you may want to visit while you are here and be sure to obtain any recommended vaccinations/medications.
Can my child visit the doctor in Spain?
The medical field in Spain is highly advanced and easily accessible: AIL Madrid offers travel and medical insurance to its students so that they may travel safely. We are happy to answer any questions regarding the terms and conditions of our student travel and medical insurance. Once you’ve purchased insurance, the company will provide you with a list of available doctors and services covered in Madrid.
Airport pickup service in Madrid
To help you make the best possible and most relaxing start to your Spanish study holiday, AIL Madrid offers an airport transfer pick up service. An AIL Madrid representative will wait for you in the Arrivals hall and will be instantly recognizable as he or she will be holding a clearly labeled large marker with your name on it. Our Spanish and English speaking representative will already have your accommodation details and will take you straight there… and don’t worry, if your flight is delayed, our representative will wait! If you would like to reserve this please let us know at the time of booking and if you need a single journey or a return trip.
One way: 75€
To secure your place on the course and book your accommodation, a 200 Euros upfront payment is required. This amount will be deducted from the total amount due. If you choose to stay in a student residence and/or require AIL Español to send you a visa invitation letter, the upfront payment required is higher. Please consult for details.
You can pay your upfront payment through any of the following methods:
1. International bank transfer to our bank account in Spain
Account holder: Academia Internacional de Lenguas Madrid, S.L.
IBAN (International Bank Account No): ES34 0128 0028 2601 0008 3487
BIC / SWIFT code: BKBKESMMXXX
Bank: Banco Bankinter S.A.
Address: Calle mayor 3, 28013 Madrid, SPAIN
Please remember to clearly show your name on the bank transfer instruction and email us a copy of the transfer.
AIL Español is not responsible for any bank transfer charges. Payment must be received in full – please instruct your bank to remit the full amount with additional funds to cover ALL bank transfer charges.
2. Visa or MasterCard
We can send you a secure link via email for you to input your card details and approve the transaction.
Payable at the school.
Balance of fees
You can pay the balance due on your first day in Madrid in cash (Euros only) or by Visa or MasterCard. If you prefer to pay by bank transfer, please make the transfer at least 5 days before your start. For security reasons we do not accept cash payments by post.
4. WeChat or Alipay
AIL Español has an official payment account on WeChat and Alipay platforms. If you are at the school, you can pay your tuition fee in Euros with a QR code that can be requested from our Student Care Team on the front desk.
If you are not in Spain, please contact our Chinese Student Care Team member (WeChat ailespanol), who will send you a payment code with the amount due, so you can scan the code directly on your mobile phone to pay.
Why buy travel insurance?
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, international travel involves risk. You may arrive at your destination to find that your luggage with personal items has disappeared, a personal emergency may necessitate your early return to your home country or a medical emergency may require hospitalisation or even air evacuation. Without appropriate travel insurance, you may be in jeopardy of significant financial liability.
See here our medical insurance.
Public Holidays in Madrid
Public Holidays in 2024
- January 1 (Monday): New year
- January 6 (Saturday): Epiphany of the Lord
- March 28 (Thursday): Maundy Thursday
- March 29 (Friday): Good Friday*
- May 1 (Wednesday): Labour Day*
- May 2 (Thursday): Day of the Community of Madrid
- May 15 (Wednesday): Saint Isidro Labrador’s Day
- August 15 (Thursday): Day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
- October 12 (Saturday): Spain’s National Holiday
- November 1 (Friday): All Saints’ Day
- November 9 (Saturday): Day of Nuestra Señora de la Almudena (Our Lady of Almudena)
- December 6 (Friday): Spanish Constitution Day
- December 9 (Monday): Day of the Immaculate Conception
- December 25 (Wednesday): Christmas Day
Open a bank account in Spain
Why open a bank account in Spain?
For students who are planning on being in Spain for a long time, opening a bank account is a hugely advantageous way to:
• effectively manage your finances
• have 24 hour free access to your money via a network of ATMs
• reduce bank charges and exchange commissions
How can AIL Español help?
New bank account opening procedures in Spain are rigorous requiring the presentation of lots of documentation. Adding the potential linguistic barrier (you should not expect the bank staff to be able to speak any languages other than Spanish!), the task can be quite daunting.
As one of our students, you will benefit from us holding your hand during the process, arranging appointments, making personal introductions and, if required, assistance with completing application forms.
What are the advantages of opening a bank account with Sabadell?
After reviewing all available options, we recommend Banco Sabadell for the following reasons:
• Their account conditions are extremely competitive. Opening a bank account with Sabadell through AIL Español is totally free of charge. This is an enormous advantage, as banks in Spain usually charge you to open a bank account.
• We know their friendly staff and they even have some English speakers too!
• And most importantly, our students have given us positive feedback on their experiences and the customer service.
Banco Sabadell Bank Account (“Cuenta Expansión”) Features:
• No monthly maintenance / administration charges
• Deposit cheques free of charge
• National transfers in Euros are free of charge
• Free cash withdrawals for amounts over 60 Euros- with 32,000 ATMs, you´ll always find one nearby!
• Free debit and credit cards (and replacements within 72 hours if anything happens)
• Check your account online at anytime
• Option to receive text messages or email alerts about your account – high security is guaranteed!
• 3% cashback on household bills – on Internet, telephone, gas, electricity and mobile phone bills (up to 20 Euros a month!)
How do I sign up?
Speak to our Student Care Team for more information including the required documentation; they will happily accompany you to the branch if you would like to open an account!
Protect yourself from unforeseen circumstances! Cancellation Insurance is available for 5% of the total sum of the full program invoice, provides coverage for the cost of your course and accommodation, and is valid from the date of purchase until the end of your course. The insurance fee must be paid in full at the time of reservation and does not cover the enrollment fee, services already used at the time of cancellation, the cost of the insurance itself, or your travel costs. The enrollment fee is returned if you cancel before having started the course, but is not returned if you cancel during the course.
Cancellation insurance is not available for students who have received the invitation letter for study visa application.
Cancellation insurance will give you the security of knowing you will receive a refund within 15 days from the date we receive your cancellation documentation, and will be transferred to the student’s account or account of origin (AIL Madrid will not refund this amount to any other person or account).
Study Visa for Spain and Schengen Countries – Requirements
EU nationals are not required to obtain study visas to study in Spain.
Visas are not required for courses of less than 90 days (i.e. 12 weeks) for nationals of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, South Korea, Costa Rica, Chile, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Vatican, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Please read the guidance below very carefully if you are not a passport holder from one of the above listed countries or if you will be studying with us for more than 12 weeks.
1. Consult your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate about Spanish study visa requirements for your country at least 120 days prior to departure.
2. Enrol with AIL Español advising us of your nationality and your country’s specific study visa requirements, if any exist. (Please note prior to granting a Spanish study visa, your local Spanish Embassy will require AIL Madrid to confirm that your Spanish program and accommodation fees have been paid for in full).
3. AIL Madrid will send you a Certificate of Enrolment (Study Visa Invitation letter) by email and a hard copy by post on the same day (with a copy sent by email immediately).
Certificate of Enrolment - your "study visa invitation"
This will be required by your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate prior to issuing a visa. The document is evidence that you are enrolled in a course and will state your name, the course details, your accommodation details, the dates of study and confirmation of the amount paid for the course and accommodation fees. It is signed by the AIL Madrid Director and is stamped with the school’s seal.
AIL Madrid Certificate of Enrolment is a valid document for study visa purposes and will result in your application being approved if there is no other problem with the other documentation you present.
Spanish Study Visa Application
Your visa application should be made at least three months before your departure date.
Please note that although AIL Madrid will gladly assist you in the process of obtaining a study visa; we are required to work within the strict guidelines of your local Spanish Embassy/Consulate. It is the local Spanish Embassy/Consulate who makes all decisions regarding the granting of study visas and their decision is final.
In the event that a Spanish study visa is denied after you have paid your course fees, AIL Madrid will reimburse the course fees, minus a 200 Euros administrative charge. However, should you subsequently successfully obtain a Spanish study visa and take an AIL Madrid Spanish course, your enrolment fee will be waived.
Typical Visa Requirements
The following documentation is required to be submitted to your local Spanish embassy by you in person or by your legal representative:
• Passport valid for a minimum of six months with three photocopies of the personal information and photo page
• 4 recent pictures, passport size
• Completed Spanish study visa application form
• Proof of admission to AIL Madrid as a full-time student (provided by AIL Madrid)
• Private health insurance policy – AIL Madrid can advise you on health insurance if required
• Original certificate of good conduct issued by the police department of the city or cities where the applicant has spent 6 months or more in the last 5 years – a translation into Spanish must also be provided
• Original medical certificate typed on doctor stationary verifying that the applicant is free from the following quarantine diseases: yellow fever, cholera, and the plague. The certificate must also certify that the applicant is free of drug addictions and mental illness. A translation into Spanish must be provided
• Confirmation that accommodation details while in Spain have been paid for in full (provided by AIL Madrid)
• Proof of financial means for the period of study in Spain. This could be:
• Certificate of enrolment from AIL Madrid stating educational and living expenses have been paid for in advance, or
• Notarized letter of parents/custodians, assuming financial responsibility while student is in Spain, or
• Current statement of the student’s bank account with a minimum balance of $1000 per month of stay in Spain or $1000 worth of travelers cheques per month of stay in Spain.
DISCLAIMER: Rules and regulations for visas change constantly. Whilst we make every effort to keep abreast of changes, we cannot guarantee that the information above is accurate or complete. We cannot accept any responsibility or be held liable for your visa application and we strongly recommend that you contact your local Spanish Embassy or Consulate as early as possible to ensure that you are aware of the requirements for your country and have all necessary documentation.
Spanish Study Visa Questions Answered
- Who is considered a student?
Foreigners coming to Spain with the only purpose of studying or undertaking research, training or a non-lucrative job in any Spanish educational or scientific, public or private, officially recognized centre.
- How long does the student visa last?
It is granted for the whole duration of the Spanish course, with a one year maximum duration.
- When does the Spanish study visa expire?
When the activity for which it was granted comes to an end or when the period for which it was granted is over.
- Is the Spanish study visa renewable?
Yes, the Spanish study visa is renewable.
- Can foreign students’ relatives come to Spain?
Students who have obtained a visa can apply for the corresponding stay visas for their relatives to enter and stay in Spain, during the period of their studies or research.
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