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No EU passport, but want to live and work in Barcelona? Here’s how!

There’s nothing like living abroad to fill you with a sense of excitement and adventure. And where better to move than sunny Barcelona? Situated between beach and mountains, it’s a city that really does have it all. If culture is your thing, there is world-famous architecture and museums galore.

More interested in nightlife? Barcelona has bars, restaurants and nightclubs to suit every taste and budget. From sports to shopping, sunbathing to cinemas – this city has a great deal to offer. In short, Barcelona really does deserve pole position on your hit list.

So how can you make it happen?

Beautiful Barcelona.

Teach English in Barcelona

If Barcelona is the destination, TEFL is the industry to bring you here. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a rewarding career that will open the doors to so many new experiences. The most widely recognised TEFL qualification is the Cambridge CELTA. This is required by around 75% of employers worldwide, and prepares you for all major aspects of English teaching. Here at Oxford TEFL, we have been training teachers since 1998 and have well over 6000 face-to-face and online graduates. This is the course that can get you started with a new career and help you to realise your dreams of moving to a new country.

If you’re in possession of an EU passport, moving here is a cinch. A little paperwork here and there, and you’re ready for life in the Catalan capital. However, there are lots of would-be Barcelona inhabitants who don’t currently have the necessary documentation. Nationals of some countries can visit Spain without a visa for up to 90 days (check yours here), but even then, you can’t work and will have to run off home when your three months are through. This might be especially noticeable for British passport-holders, who, post-Brexit, are now subject to the same rules as those from every other non-EU country.

If you’ve done some research about moving to Europe, it may seem rather daunting. Stories of failed visa applications and expensive wasted flights abound. So what can you do to live and work legally in Barcelona? How can you ensure that everything goes smoothly to avoid stress and uncertainty? Oxford TEFL’s DTS course is just the solution you’ve been looking for…

Who’s it for?

Before we go on to tell you in detail about the DTCS and what exactly it entails, let’s take a moment to outline who’s eligible.

You must:

  • Be over the age of 18.
  • Have at least a C1.2 level of English.
  • Be in good enough health to deal with the demands of an intensive training course.
  • Have the right motivation for TEFL teaching.
  • Demonstrate a willingness and enthusiasm for developing your teaching skills and learning Spanish.

Strongly recommended, but not essential:

  • An initial TEFL qualification (e.g., CELTA or equivalent)

So, if you’re looking to build your skills as a TEFL teacher while having an exciting new adventure in Barcelona, the DTCS could be for you! But how exactly does it work? Let’s find out…

Some of our recent trainees getting to know each other on the Oxford House Barcelona terrace.

How does it work?

The basics

The DTCS provides you with ongoing teacher development and Spanish lessons. These total 20 hours per week, which meets the requirements for a long-term student visa. This, in turn, entitles you to apply for student work authorisation upon your arrival in Spain. Once this is granted, you are permitted to work for up to 30 hours per week. Most full-time teachers only teach about 20-25 hours of class per week (the remaining hours are spent lesson planning and marking assignments).

We’ll take a detailed look at what’s included below, but it’s important to know that you will be supported throughout the process by our dedicated and experienced Visa Advisor, James Waltz. Unlike other providers, we do not subcontract this role, meaning that you will be assisted throughout by a member of the Oxford TEFL team. Indeed, as a US citizen, James himself made use of our Visa Service when he first came to Spain. This makes him uniquely well-placed to understand both the necessary administrative processes and the personal support applicants require.

James Waltz
James Waltz, Oxford TEFL Visa Advisor

What exactly does it include?

Visa Support

DTCS trainees often list the level of support provided by James as one of the highlights of their experience. Here’s what’s on offer:

Before Arrival in Barcelona

  • Unlimited support by email: You will receive replies within one business day, meaning that you’ll never have to worry about a long wait when you’re at a crucial stage of your application process.
  • Step-by-step guidance: James will talk you through exactly what’s required and when. This takes away the mystery surrounding the visa process and lets you feel that you are in control of what’s going on.
  • Helping you determine where to send your application.
  • Confirming what documentation is required.
  • Support filling in forms for the different processes required: This might sound trivial, but with so many forms to fill in, oversights are common. Oxford TEFL will save you time and stress by providing assistance where required.
  • Providing bilingual templates: This helps you save time and reduces translation costs.
  • Making medical insurance recommendations.

After you arrive in Barcelona

  • Unlimited support by email: Just because you’ve made it to Spain doesn’t mean that the support has dried up! James will remain on-hand, with replies still sent out in one business day.
  • Step-by-step guidance applying for legally required documentation: Spanish bureaucracy can be a challenge for the uninitiated! We will help you through the process of obtaining the following:
    • Empadronamiento (Housing Registration)
    • NIE and TIE (ID Number and ID Card)
    • Social Security Number
  • Support with translation, filling in forms and making appointments.
  • Liaising with potential TEFL employers to help them sponsor your student work authorisation: Don’t forget that our CELTA graduates gain access to our Careers Service, which can help you to find those employment leads in the first place!

Before your visa expires

  • Step-by-step guidance renewing your student visa at no additional cost (if you are taking another course with us).

You can also take advantage of our Visa Service if you’d like to come to Barcelona just to take the CELTA course and need a visa in order to do so. More information is available here.

Developing Teacher course with Spanish

Your visa arrangements have been made, you’re in Barcelona, and you’re fully CELTA-qualified. What happens now?

It’s time to begin the DTCS (Developing Teacher course with Spanish). This constitutes the 20 weekly hours of study that are required for the long-term student visa. Unlike some other providers, however, we have worked hard to design a course that is practical, relevant, and worthwhile. The DTCS co-ordinator is Kate Williams, who says:

“We created this course with several priorities in mind. Firstly, we wanted to provide newly arrived teachers with what they really need. This meant including content which is genuinely useful and focuses on the challenges commonly encountered by TEFL teachers during their first year or so on the job. Secondly, we wanted to provide as much flexibility as possible. Having worked as a teacher for many years, I’m aware that managing your academic timetable can be a balancing act. For this reason, we included assignments and elements of self-study that can be completed at a time to suit you. Thirdly, we understand that improving your Spanish language skills is a priority as you’re finding your feet in Barcelona. Our Spanish classes are fun with a focus on communication. We wanted to ensure that you develop the skills you need and enjoy yourself in the process!”

Kate Williams, DTCS Co-ordibnator in Barcelona
Kate Williams, DTCS Co-ordinator

English Teacher Development (40 hours per month)

As the name suggests, this is the component of the course that will let you build your skills as a TEFL teacher. The sessions and tasks are varied, and can be divided as follows:

4 hours of face-to-face group workshops

  • Practical, hands-on sessions: There’s nothing more demotivating for a busy TEFL teacher than attending a dry, theoretical lecture. We guarantee that our engaging, participative input sessions will provide you with tonnes of ideas to take away and use in your own classes.
  • Wide-ranging content: All key aspects of TEFL teaching will be covered. These include, but aren’t limited to, Pronunciation, Grammar, Business English, Young Learners, and One-to-One classes.
  • Personalised: Your expert tutor will cater the sessions to the needs of the group and the individual. You’re also welcome to ask for help. Starting a new group next week and have no idea where to begin? Ask your DTCS tutor. Having difficulties with classroom management? Your tutor and classmates can surely give you some advice.

4 hours of online teacher training webinars

  • Varied content: Again, these webinars cover all main areas of TEFL with a focus on common areas of difficulty for inexperienced teachers.
  • Expert tutors: Experienced TEFL teachers and tutors from all over the world have contributed to our series of webinars. Benefit from the expertise of some of the industry’s foremost experts, and learn what real teachers are doing in their lessons.
  • Flexible: Watch the webinar at a time to suit you!

8 hours of reflective tasks

As the most recent Cambridge White Paper on professional development points out, reflecting on your teaching practice is crucial if you are looking to make progress. These reflective tasks are designed to help you look back at your own performance in the classroom with a view to making positive changes moving forward.

18 hours of independent work

  • Varied: You will undertake a range of independent tasks, including completion of assignment, designing tasks, reading etc. Again, these are all designed to be of benefit to the recently qualified teacher.
  • Supported: The co-ordinator and your tutor will be on-hand to answer any questions you may have. This means that although the work is independent, you will not be left entirely to your own devices.
  • Flexible: This work can be made to fit in around a busy teaching schedule. In class all morning? Complete your independent study at night. Going away this weekend? Take advantage of the train journey to catch up with some self-study.
  • Personalisable: In many cases, you will have a choice of tasks or activities. This will allow you to make the content of the course even more relevant to your own teaching context or area of particular interest.

Spanish (40 hours per month: 32 at Oxford House Barcelona and 8 of homework)

Another key aspect of the DTCS course (Developing Teacher course with Spanish) is the opportunity it provides for you to improve your Spanish. This will, of course, be of great benefit to you while you are living and working in Barcelona. It’s much easier to get by when you can manage more than the occasional ‘dos cervezas por favor’, and with so many opportunities to practice, you will find that your level goes up rapidly.

Just as important, though, is the boost to your employability speaking Spanish will provide later on. Recent studies (in Spanish) show that demand for Spanish among employers is growing while that for French and German is on the decline. However you look at it, learning Spanish is well worth the effort. But what exactly are the classes like?

Spanish at Oxford House

As a DTCS trainee, you will be signed up to Spanish Plus classes at our language school, Oxford House. These are taught by our experienced team of Spanish teachers and are designed to improve students’ skills in all key areas: Speaking, Reading, Listening and Writing. Nevertheless, there is a focus on oral communication, and you will soon find that you are able to produce Spanish with more confidence and ease than before. This holds true whether you come to us as an absolute beginner, or already having a strong level. The classes are available at levels A1 – B2, meaning there’s bound to be a fit that’s right for you.

One of our most experienced Spanish teachers is Itamar Ortega. She tells us:

“It’s an absolute pleasure to work with DTCS trainees. Because they are with us for at least six months, we can really see them making progress and growing in confidence. It’s not uncommon for a student to arrive at Oxford House speaking basic high school Spanish, then leave us a year later able to hold a very fluent conversation. Levels are reassessed every month, meaning that students have the opportunity to advance when the time is right for them. All in all, my experience has been that DTCS trainees tend to make the very most of what our Spanish Plus classes have to offer.”

Oxford House Barcelona - Barcelona Navigator

Advantages of Spanish Plus

As we have seen, the Spanish Plus course has plenty of benefits. These include:

  • Experienced teachers
  • Levels from A1 – B2 with monthly reassessment
  • A variety of authentic materials and high-quality learners’ resources
  • Practical content that helps you to communicate outside of the classroom
  • An international mix of students, great opportunities to socialise and network
  • A range of obligatory and optional homework tasks to help you reach your goals
  • Paper-free
  • Use of Edmodo, an online learning platform where you can submit assignments, contact the teacher, find extra resources, etc.


Don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what some recent Spanish Plus graduates had to tell us about their experiences on the course:

“I took online Spanish classes with Oxford House and was really pleased with how much I was able to learn in a short time. The teacher was warm and friendly, encouraging us to speak and providing concrete feedback about our mistakes”

Constança Andrade Brito

The classes at Oxford House have really helped me to make progress towards my goal of using Spanish with confidence. My teacher made a great effort to ensure everyone was included, and the variety of activities made the sessions very engaging.

Pavel Pokorny

How can I demonstrate the DTCS to employers?

After completing all this professional development with the DTCS course (Developing Teacher course with Spanish), you will naturally want to demonstrate to potential employers all that you have learnt. We will help you to do this by providing you with a certificate of course completion. This really makes you stand out from the crowd in the job market, whether you decide to stay in Barcelona or search for a new adventure elsewhere. To pass the course and be eligible for the certificate, keep in mind that you must:

  • Attend at least 85% of the timetabled course.
  • Complete the development tasks to a satisfactory standard.
  • Communicate respectfully and professionally with tutors and fellow trainees.

In return, your certificate will:

  • State the length of the course.
  • Outline the components of the course in detail.
  • Confirm that you have passed the course.

What do graduates say?

Established in 1998, Oxford TEFL is one of the largest and best-regarded CELTA providers worldwide. With a pass rate of over 97%, we receive very positive feedback, with an average 4.9/5 ranking on Google. You can read more of what our graduates have to say in our testimonial page.

Although we took an unwelcome break during the pandemic, the DTCS (Developing Teacher course with Spanish) has been running for over eight years. During this time, dozens of teachers have passed through our doors and we are proud to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback here too. Here are just a couple of examples:

“I’ve just started my DTCS course, which is allowing me to further my teacher training, improve my Spanish and get a long-term student visa permitting me to work 30 hours a week, which is perfect! Tim couldn’t have been more helpful with the complicated visa process- I couldn’t have done it without him.”

Sophie Sanders, current DTCS trainee

“I was attracted to apply for a course at Oxford TEFL in particular because of the visa support service. I had heard stories about how obtaining an NIE could be a nightmare, more so if you did not speak Spanish. For those coming to Spain to pursue their teaching career and who do not want hurdles, Oxford TEFL is their answer. Thank you!”

Juliet Mabutwe, DTCS graduate

What are the next steps?

It’s clear, then, that the DTCS course (Developing Teacher course with Spanish) provides non-EU passport holders with an exciting opportunity to live and work in Barcelona. We have removed a lot of the stress that can surround moving abroad, and the well-oiled machine of our Visa Service and DTCS course provides ample reassurance. If all this has given you a craving for adventure, here’s what to do:

  • Learn more about the CELTA course here and apply here (you can apply for the DTCS and Visa Service at the same time)
  • Click here to apply for the DTCS course if you already have CELTA or equivalent.
  • Read more about the Visa Service here.
  • Read more about the DTCS course here.

See you on the Rambla de Catalunya!

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