TEFL: Living & Teaching in Spain Illegally


UPDATE : I lived and worked in Spain illegally from January 2014 – August 2015. I cannot be sure what things are like now. This is an account of what I experienced and how I went about working illegally as an English Teacher in Spain during that time. Feel free to contact me, I check email infrequently but will write you back. Gracias!

While many people may not be comfortable publicly advocating something that is illegal, it goes without saying that it is being done, so I might as well share my experience and publicize my dirty secret – I am an illegal immigrant, or as I prefer to be called, an international woman of mystery.

I lived in Spain teaching English for a year and a half, and although I don’t write about it much, it has been one of the best experiences of my life by far. I get a lot of emails about the logistics of living and teaching English in Spain illegally – that is, without a visa. I have come to find that there is a general lack of information on how to go about this to be found on the internet, so I hope this clears up some concerns and questions you have.


I was clueless when I moved to Spain and had to figure all this out through experience, so let me clear up some common misconceptions:

  • A 90-day tourist visa for the EU can only be renewed by leaving the EU for 90-days. It is not like being in many other countries where you can cross the border for a few hours and return renewed. Taking a weekend trip to Morocco does not do anything but provide for some adventure, good shopping and a foggy head upon return from the hash.
  • Travel is absolutely possible while living in Spain illegally. Stay within the Schengen zone (which includes 26 European countries) and you will be fine – flying included. I have friends who have even gone to the states and returned to Spain after living here illegally for over a year without a problem. Simply put, the Spanish government just doesn’t really care.
  • Working under the table is much easier than all the other blogs I’ve read make it out to be. Many academies are fine with illegal teachers because they evade taxes and still provide students with a coherent, native speaker. Of course there will be some who won’t hire a teacher without a proper visa, but the smaller academies generally don’t have a problem with it. Private lessons are also a great and highly profitable option.
  • There is more to Spain than Madrid, Barcelona and Seville. I chose Granada because of the history, culture, hippies, gypsies, nature and size – and, as expected, fell in love. There are opportunities to work everywhere in Spain and there are some really special places in this country. Branch out and you will surely be surprised by what Spain has to offer.
  • You don’t have to be a grammar wiz to teach English if you are aiming to teach adults. Yes, a solid knowledge of general grammar is necessary, but I am human and can’t know everything. A TEFL course will help you brush up on vital grammar and teach you how to share this information with learners. When you don’t know something, saying, “I’ll find out and tell you next class,” does the job just fine.
  • Being fluent in Spanish is absolutely not required. While some command of the language is helpful, especially with adult learners, you can easily get by with just the basics.
  • Although a TEFL/TESOL certificate is recommended, it is by no means required to teach in Spain. I found this out, to my great disappointment, after proudly mentioning my qualification in an interview to get nothing more than a head nod and asked if I was available to work Fridays. They completely glazed over it and I know plenty of people teaching without certification. If you are a native English speaker, that is enough for this tranquilo country.
  • Don’t lose sleep in fear the Guardia Civil is going to bust down your door and put you on the first plane out of the country. They won’t. So rest easy and have fun. Live life like you normally would with an extra dash of adventure.

I lived and worked in Spain illegally January 14, 2014 to August 2015. I started my very first teaching job 5 days after landing in Granada with nothing but a backpack and a heart full of dreams.

When I first looked into teaching abroad I discovered that it is nearly impossible to receive a work visa in Spain unless you go through a program that works directly with the Spanish government – which places you in a region/city that you cannot directly choose, working in a middle school or high school. Every bit of this went against what I wanted so I just decided to pack a bag and try my luck.

I was assured by The International TEFL Academy, where I completed my online TEFL/TESOL certification, that working in Spain sans visa was common and easy to do and they were absolutely right. I am not the only one doing this.

I personally have no fear in terms of being here more than a year past my 90-day tourist visa – which expired April 9, 2014. However, I am aware that not everyone is comfortable with this option. I happen to be wired for adventure and am a thrill seeker, but to be honest, working here without a visa is just about the least exciting illegal thing I’ve ever done. As long and you don’t do anything stupid to get yourself arrested or even noticed by the government (like trying to receive health insurance after living here for 6 months – which someone I know did and got deported…) you will be just fine.

I live daily life like I would in any other city in the states. I just showed up, got work, made friends and have loved every minute of it.

Finding a Job

The demand in Spain is exceptionally high. Whether you want to teach kids or adults, there is plenty of work to go around. I found my first job by email blasting my CV to every academy that came up in the Google search results for Granada. I called ads for academies I saw on the street and talked to people. If you want something, you have to be willing to work for it.

Getting paid under the table is also remarkably easy to come by as there is so much work and academies don’t pay taxes on your income, win-win. Although you won’t have a contract guaranteeing your employment, it is highly unlikely the academy will cancel classes unless they fall below the minimum number of students or there is a serious problem. They don’t want to lose you anymore than you want to lose them.

You can earn more from private classes and there is more flexibility as well. If you are having trouble finding work in an academy, this is a good option. I charge anywhere from 10-15€ per hour depending on the needs of the student and if I have to travel to them or if they come to me. 10€ if they come to me and just want conversation and 15€ if I go to them and need to prepare grammar lessons.

You can find students for private lessons (clases particulares) on a couple of different craigslist-type sites: TusClasesParticulares.com and ClasesParticulares.com. Networking with other teachers and meeting locals is also a great way to learn about job opportunities and find private students.

I work at two different academies with adults (B1 and B2 Cambridge exam prep), have a few private lessons, and teach online via Skype. I work 20-25 hours a week and I earn more than enough to live. It is also exhausting to teach all day so anymore than this would deplete your energy and become a burden.

CV (curriculum vitae) or resume

I had a hard time finding a solid example of a real and current CV that academies expect to see when applying. Want to check mine out? Contact me and I will be happy to share it with you. No experience? That’s ok too, we all have to start somewhere! My very first CV only included pervious work experience from the states, my education and my TEFL certification. Someone will be willing to give you the experience you need.

If you’re interested in obtaining your TEFL/TESOL certification, you can receive a $50 discount through this link by mentioning my name, Morgan Garza 🙂 Spread the love!

Be confident and fake it till you make it.


Obviously, eating out, partying, traveling, shopping, etc will vary from person to person and city to city so this is the bare minimum I pay to live in Granada:

  • CELL PHONE (WITH 600 MB of DATA): 10€
  • GROCERIES: About 30€/week…120€/month
Medical Insurance

To be frank, I don’t have any. Not travel insurance or any type of insurance. While this option is not for everyone, it works for me. It is cheap enough to go to the health center (centro de salud) and get treated for anything from an allergic reaction to a broken arm. Many of the people I’ve met here living illegally have some type of travel insurance that is inexpensive, but that pretty much only covers things like getting hit by a bus or spontaneous combustion. But accidents happen so this one is a very personal decision.

Becoming Legal

If you are determined to live and work in Spain legally, there are ways. And these ways are Spanish men or women. Getting “married” is a quick(ish) ticket to a temporary visa. If you’re willing to deal with the bureaucracy, the the time it takes to get even the simplest form approved, and the mañana mañana attitude of the Spanish people, then a pareja de hecho is the way to go. It’s basically a civil union stating you live together and are in a romantic relationship. Meet someone, fall in love (or in agreement), start the paperwork process and reap the benefits of legality. This means you are a citizen though and have to pay taxes etc, but you will also get health insurance and other benefits of being legal.

Going Home

(UPDATED APRIL 27, 2016) : I lived in Spain 100% illegally for a year and a half. When it came time to go home back to the states, I was really unsure of what to expect at the airport. As I am infamous for living spontaneously and not really planning anything (or worrying about anything before it happens) I headed for the airport, expecting smooth travel. I had a lot of friends who traveled freely from the US to Spain and back again with zero trouble going through immigration to leave Spain, so I went in with the mindset of “no pasa nada” (no problem). I was right. As I approached the immigration officer with my ticket and passport in hand, my heart was beating wildly, palms sweating and a rush of adrenaline coursed through my body as if I were at the top of a roller coaster, about to fly through the air head first.

I handed my ticket and passport to the immigration officer. He opened the book, stamped a random page, handed my documents back to me and waved me through. What? That easy? No questions of how long I stayed, where I visited, what I was doing in Spain/Europe for a YEAR AND A HALF undocumented? Nothing! Not a peep, not a look, not a word. People tell me I’m lucky, and that’s fine…but really, don’t worry about going back to the states. Spanish officials want to send Americans home happy and without trouble, so this was just another day in the life that was an absolute dream living in Spain. VIVA!

Do it!

My grandma always used to say, “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” If teaching abroad in Spain is something you can’t stop thinking about, then start seriously thinking about doing it. Anything can be figured out if you have the willingness to do it.

Effort = results

Have a specific question or want to chat privately? Send me an email and I will be more than happy to help you in any way I can. I get such great joy from helping people realize that their dreams are attainable and possible. And when I see people do something from the soul, my heart nearly explodes with love and joy. I want you to be happy and to be your best self. I am here for motivation, to tell you what you already know but need to hear from someone else, and to help you say yes to yourself.

Un beso!

53 Comment

  1. Maureen says: Reply

    Nice job! Sending love!

  2. Millie says: Reply

    I read your post like ten times! (And sent you a PM. lol ) I must admit, that if it wasn’t because I have children, one of whom will need to be registered in school by September 2015, I would definitely do the “illegal” way.

    I’m actually planning on attending the TEFL job fair in May at Cardona and obtaining an address and NIE while there. Then, fly back to Bangkok (where my family and I currently are) and we all return in September for a month long vacation.

    My hope is that by September, I’ll have most of the legal logistics taken care of. My husband has a contract in Bangkok so I’d have to be the one to “work” in Spain, just to be able to stay.

    I’ve also considered applying for citizenship under the Spanish Historic Memory Law because my grandfather was born in Puerto Rico before 1916, but can’t find any more information on this online.

    If you happen to come across any new info (wink. wink.), please let me know.

    Buena suerte y que sigas disfrutando la vida!

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Millie! Thanks for getting in touch, you’re so sweet I hope to have answered all your questions in the email but please let me know if you have any other concerns!

      I’ll also send you the info of the company I am working with for the Skype classes. Por lo menos, get you some cash flow in the autumn while you look for other avenues of citizenship.

      Un beso!

    2. Peter Kern says: Reply

      Hi Millie! I was reading your post to Morgan and I noticed you were planning to attend the TEFL job fair in Cordoba in May ( Not sure which year). I was wondering if that was the Spainwise job Fair? If so, was it worth it? I’m planning my trip to Spain around two of them in May 2018. One is in Cordoba, and the other in Bilbao. How is everything working out? I plan on teaching the “illegal” way in November of 2018, and am always looking for information if you have any time. Did you take a class through International TEFL? How is their follow up with you? Sorry my questions are all over the place, just a little excited about a new life.

  3. its nice to read your experience…and i really want to know all about tefl would you like to join me.

  4. Brianne says: Reply

    Are you currently still in spain? Have you met a lot if people doing the same thing as you?

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hi Brianne! I am still in Spain, living in Granada. I have met a few others living/working illegally – it seems to be quite popular in Spain as they are so relaxed or “tranquilo” as we say here 🙂

      1. Brianne says: Reply

        Thanks for getting back to me! Do you find/hear certain cities are better than others for working illegally? I’m struggling to get a visa right now, and I’m tempted to come and do my Tefl anyways and just stay afterwards. My program is in Madrid, but I don’t think the program really encourages people to stay unless they’re on a proper visa. I’ve heard so deportation horror stories, so I’m a little weary, but live the idea of being an international woman of mystery lol
        Also, how is it possible to travel without them noticing your tourist visa is expired? You said you visited Morocco, but that’s technically outside Europe, how did that work? Sorry for all the questions, just excited to find someone who’s doing what I want to do!

        1. Morgan says: Reply

          Hey Brianne! I am pretty sure that you can find illegal work in just about every city in Spain. The mentality spans the entire country. Although the program you are enrolled in for your TEFL cannot openly advocate working in a country illegally, there is truly no problem with staying. If you find you love Madrid and want to make it work, then go for it! They have legal implications and if they go around telling students to live and work somewhere illegally then they are putting themselves at risk. But don’t worry, that is why I am here to tell you to just do it!

          When I went to Morocco, I was within my 90-day tourist visa when I first got here. As long as you stay within the Schengen zone then you are absolutely fine to travel by air, bus or train. Please ask me anything you want to know, I am so happy to help a kindred spirit and share what I know about this experience 🙂

          Email me if you prefer at morgangarza@gmail.com – I will definitely be able to get back to you quicker.


  5. Thanks so much for this post. My girlfriend and I are currently living in Singapore. She teaches english and I am currently an “international woman of mystery” as well. It’s a lot more stressful here because the possibility of deportation is real and I absolutely can not work. So talks of moving to Spain have become a weekly topic. I’ve meet a few people here that have recently come from Spain and they have nothing but fabulous things to say. The possibility of us relocating to Spain either at the end of this year or the end of next year is very high. We are looking into Seville but now I may look into Granda as well.

    1. Quick question.. Do you know if foreigners living in Spain illegally can drive (scooter or car)?

      1. Morgan says: Reply

        Hey Taylor! Thanks for stopping by, I am happy this has been of help to you! I would absolutely suggest looking into Spain seriously as your next stop. I have nothing but great things to say about my experience and the availability of work and travel is tremendous. I am pretty sure that foreigners who do not have a DNI (Spanish identification card) are allowed to drive daily, but I do know for a fact that you can rent a scooter. The chances of you getting caught driving are slim to none, but you never know. And that is just one more thing that could lead to you getting caught there illegally. But I am no expert on that as my feet were my transportation 🙂

        Keep me updated if you head to that area of Spain and I will set you up with some contacts to get things moving!

        Buena suerte!


        1. Emily says: Reply

          My answer would be, if you get in a wreck, then they will ask for your passport and voila! I wouldn’t risk it!

  6. Wolf says: Reply

    Hey there,
    Thanks for sharing that info!

    Am I assuming correctly, that you never plan to leave Spain or the Shengen area?
    Since on leaving, you will be noticed for having stayed passed your 90 days. And this would prevent you from returning?

    I like the sound of your story, but I have family in Australia and might need to see them every once in a while! haha

    Thank you.


    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Wolf! I actually am back in the states now. I didn’t have any trouble leaving Spain – the immigration officer didn’t ask one question or even look at my stamps, after a year and a half of being there. I didn’t leave the Schengen zone but I know many Americans who did and didn’t have any trouble re-entering, even after going back to the states. Spain is super relaxed on this issue so I doubt you will encounter any trouble. Buena suerte! Xx

    2. Emily says: Reply

      I think you could reenter into Spain from Morrocco by ferry. They seem really relaxed at that border and sometimes don’t even stamp…Avoid UK… 🙂

  7. Dareios Katsanikakis says: Reply

    What’s it like teaching online? Were you hired by an online school or do you do it yourself?

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Dareios, I actually love teaching online. It is incredibly convenient. I work for a company so I don’t have to solicit students at all. Pretty much the dream job! Email me if you have any other questions 🙂 morgangarza@gmail.com

  8. Alice Mooney says: Reply

    Hey hey!
    I am an Australian currently teaching english in Vietnam with my boyfriend who is from the UK. Obviously he holds the golden passport, but after hearing about you story I have a lot more confidence that I may be able to work in Spain now without applying for lengthy work permits.
    My only concern is that, leaving means ill either be visiting Australia or England every now and then and I have no idea how it works at the other end. You say when you arrive in Spain and the states, it’s fine, but Australia and England could be problematic once i’m outside of the 90 days. And I don’t think I would stay in either for longer than 3 months to wait for it to renew. Is there a loophole here? or ?
    Hope this makes sense.

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Alice! The British passport truly is Golden, he is a lucky man! I only left Europe to go to Morocco (within my 90-day visa) and when I went back to the states after a year and a half. While I didn’t have any trouble at the airport leaving Spain, I have heard horror stories about people over-staying their 90 day European visa and trying to go to the UK. I would strongly urge you against traveling there after the 90-days are up. I can’t be sure about Australia, and don’t know anyone who has had trouble or success. But I did meet a lot of Aussies who had a 2-year working visa for the UK that were just hanging out in Spain. You could get that and then camp out in Spain for that time and work under the table. Email me if you have more questions, I am happy to help any way I can: morgangarza@gmail.com

      Good luck!

      1. Kate says: Reply

        Hi Morgan,
        This article is so helpful – thank you!
        Does an approved UK visa have an impact on the tourist visa in Spain?
        We have a 5 year visa and would like to stay in spain for 12 months.
        Hoping you can shed some light on this.

        1. Morgan says: Reply

          Hi Kate, I really can’t advise on that I truly have no idea! Good luck and thanks for stopping by my little corner of the universe! Xx

  9. Ryan says: Reply

    Did you have student loans when you went over? If so, what did you do about them?

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      I did, and probably will for the rest of my life unfortunately. I put them on deferment. I tried to pay them the first couple months but quickly realized I wouldn’t be making enough to pay for everything so that was the best option for me at the time.

  10. Nick says: Reply

    Did you have to open a bank account in Spain? I’m about to do exactly what you did but I wasn’t sure how the money/ bank stuff works if you are working under the table?

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      I didn’t have a bank account actually so I am not sure of any repercussions associated with that. I just made a little bank account in my dresser drawer, haha worked pretty great for me! Where in Spain are you headed??

      1. Nick says: Reply

        Haha seems easy enough! I’m headed to Malaga. I’m leaving at the end of the year…I’ve heard some good things from friends so hopefully I’ll love it!

        1. Morgan says: Reply

          You’ll love Malaga, it’s a great city and has amazing weather. Be sure to get up to Granada for some tapas and stunning views, history and culture! Buen viaje!

  11. Mark Jayson A. Paraoan says: Reply

    Hi! Worth reading! Was really challenged. Can you provide me your personal email? Here is mine: markjayson_paraoan@yahoo.com thanks

  12. Jess says: Reply

    Hey Morgan
    Just wanted to say thank you so much for this info , it has been incredibly helpful! My partner and I are going to Thailand to complete our tefl then moving to Spain at the end of the year and he has an EU passport but I am Australian so I was stressing about working illegally but you have eased my mind.
    Can you reccomend any coastal towns rich in culture and laid back for us to set up in and both teach ? Also neither of us have a degree but will have our tefl cert do you think that our job opportunities will be slim due to not having degrees ?
    Thanks again .

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Jess! So happy this article has helped ease your fears. It really is simple, but just seems outrageous before taking the leap. You’ll be fine. The Mediterranean coast is dotted with some really cool towns, but strangely a lot of the real Spanish culture is a bit lost on the coast as there is a different kind of culture all together that seems to congregate at the beach. BUT, here are a few to look into: Huelva, Cadiz, Malaga, Nerja, Alicante, Valencia. Valencia is the largest of these cities and Malaga is the next largest, but all much smaller than Barcelona. I think the most laid back (and beautiful and job friendly) might be Cadiz. Great surf and views of the Med and the Atlantic. It is like right on the cusp after the Gibraltar Straight so you are saddling the two bodies of water. I loved spending time in Nerja because cliffs fall into the turquoise sea, but I am not sure how much work is there. Malaga or Valencia would be the safest bet work wise, but not the prettiest beaches and larger cities. Pretty everywhere in Spain is super laid back besides Madrid and Barcelona haha so you’re good there.

      Not having a degree is not a problem at all. Having the TEFL will be fine and since you’re a native speaker, that’s really all that matters.

      I hope this has helped! Email me if you have any other questions 🙂 morgangarza@gmail.com

      1. jess says: Reply

        Hey Morgan thanks for your reply! My partner and i have now decided that we would prefer Granada to live as it will be winter time and we recently were living in Canada so we love the mountains!.. With this in mind and seen as you lived there i was hoping you could answer a few questions for me…. How far is the drive to the ski hills ? Is it fairly easy to find housing in Granada should we arrange before we get there or just wing it ? Do you recommend we buy a cheap car to get around in and to explore the rest of Spain , if so were do we look for cars for sale ? I have read that its very hard to fly out of Granada is this the case ? ( we plan on travelling all around Eu from where we set up home ). I also noticed you did your TEFL through international Tefl academy, is this a well know internationally recognized company to do it through ? I am researching and there are soooo many company’s and i don’t know how to tell if they are “accredited” or not or if it even matters (as you said they just brush over it in the interview) however i plan on travelling to many countries to teach English and don’t have a degree so i feel a recognized certificate may help with job search. Thanks so much for you advice!

        1. Morgan says: Reply

          Hey Jess! Well I have to say that it absolutely delights me to know that you two will be going to Granada! Ah I so wish I was there to show you around but you will fall in love in your own ways with that magical city! The ski lifts are about 30-45 away depending on weather and traffic. Housing is super easy to find and there are multiple sites you could visit to find either a shared flat (piso compartido) or a private flat. I’ll send you a bunch of link via email, I’ve got your address. For a car, I would definitely suggest getting one if you want to move about with freedom and have the funds to do it. Start by looking on https://www.milanuncios.com – You could also think about just doing blablacar for all your travels. It’s a shared ride service and people post trips that you can accept online and pay for. It’s a great way to practice Spanish and get places super cheap. The airport in Granada is tiny and only a few airlines fly out of there and to limited countries. Easiest is to get a bus/blablacar to Málaga (2 hours south) as there is a large international airport. I’ve also taken many flights out of Madrid but that’s a 5 hour bus ride. International TEFL Academy is accredited and the certification (not the company) is internationally recognized. All you need is a cert from a legit academy and you’re set. I’d definitely recommend getting certified if you wanna teach in different countries as not all are as relaxed as Spain and International TEFL Academy is a great way to do it online or in person. I hope this has helped and keep an eye out for an email from me with links for housing and more!! Xx Good luck!

          1. Rafi says:

            Excellent piece of article Morgan! Thank you very much for this. I really think you can help me out with your suggestions for some of the questions I have. Is it possible to contact you by any email? My email address is rahi3100@yahoo.com, I would really appreciate if I get a response from you. Many thanks!

  13. liz says: Reply

    Hi Morgan,

    I’m Australian and am hoping to move to Spain early next year. I am really interested in living in Granada but am quite nervous about living and working there illegally. I just wanted to know if you have any tips for finding a job there? Also, tips for teaching online as well? Thanks for all of your information 🙂

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Liz!! Wrote you an email so keep an eye out 🙂 Good luck sista!

      1. Vatsal says: Reply

        Hey can indian passport holders cans do too?

  14. Rae says: Reply

    Hi Morgan. Thanks so much for this article! I’ve been trolling the internet for almost a month now, with only negative info coming up- until I found yours. Kudos to you for just saying it how it is.
    I’ve sent you an e-mail but thought I’d post it here (just in case someone is reading the comments and getting some great info, like I just did)
    I too, like so many of your other readers have a boyfriend with the Golden Passport. And I have what is known as “The Curse of the Green Mamba” – having a South African passport.
    All I want to do is travel to Europe and work during a ski season. With Spain having some great ski resorts, it looks like a great option for me 🙂 Do you have any more knowledge/ suggestions on working at ski resorts in Spain? Do you think it will be easy to work illegally?

    I also plan to do my TEFL qualification before I go, just as a nice backup. I would love any advice/ contacts/ city suggestions on teaching English in Spain. As a free bird, I have no real preference at the moment – I just want to go!

    Thanks again for your great post 🙂

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Rae!! Replied to your email so check it out! The golden passport is such an incredible thing to have haha! Maybe you two can look into a civil union so that you can work legally. It’s like a step down from a marriage with most of the same benefits in regards to legality. Buena suerte amiga! 🙂

  15. Kelly says: Reply

    Love this! I’m illegal too in Sevilla and you’ve officially destroyed any fears I had about going back home.

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Nice, Kelly!! I love Sevilla and went there often! You should check out Granada if you haven’t already…you will be enchanted I assure you 🙂 Have some tapas y tinto de verano for me por favor! Oh how I miss Spain! Xx Buena suerte amiga!

  16. Mark says: Reply

    Hi Morgan, thank you for this article!! I’ve read it over and over again and it really inspired me! I have a temporary residential visa in France but I would like to go teach EFL in Spain (maybe for a period longer than the validity of the visa so illegally). Would you recommend me to get a NIE or empadronamiento? I’ve seen so many schools only wanting to hire people with the NIE. Thanks a million!!!

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hi Mark! Thanks for taking the time to read and I’m happy to know you’re inspired! That is my goal 🙂 You won’t be able to apply for empadronamiento or an NIE without a student/work visa. Academies who require an NIE are not going to be an option for you. The demand is so high in Spain that you should be able to find work illegally. A great option that also pays a lot is private lessons. You can charge more by the hour, set your own schedule and really connect with students because you’re working one-on-one with them. I’d be happy to give you some advice on doing this 🙂 you can email me at morgangarza@gmail.com

  17. Mark Lewis says: Reply

    Mark Lewis here.

    I am planning to make it out to Spain by later summer/early fall of next year(2017).
    I am currently volunteering as an ESL assistant this “semester” at a really cool local non profit. I plan on doing the same next “semester”.

    I don’t have a bachelors degree!

    I am seriously thinking about attending this tefl international school in either Madrid or Barcelona. A 4 week course. pretty intensive.

    So basically I feel and am hoping that by summer/fall of 2017 i should be pretty
    “with it” teaching wise. that is the hope anyway.

    I to worry a bit about the non visa thing. But more than that I still worry that I may get up there and won’t find any work. I am very good at hustling when I need to be.

    You think me not having a bachelors degree has much bearing on my teaching chances?


    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey Mark, thanks for stopping by! It’s very exiting that you’re on your way to living and working abroad! I don’t think not having a bachelors degree will be a deal breaker for you…especially since you will have the TEFL course. And if you do decide to take the 4-week intensive, that will help you meet people and network in the city you want to live in, which gives you a big upper hand as opposed to just showing up. I think what academies and private students care about most is your character, dedication to helping them and valid experience in what you’re teaching. Since it seems you’ll have all of that, I wouldn’t worry. Good luck in your planning and please let me know if you have any other questions! You can email me at morgangarza@gmail.com 🙂

  18. James says: Reply

    Hello Morgan,

    I am looking to go over next month! I have a MBA and undergrad.. Are you still over there? The tefl class I could do would be for 6 months and cost 4,500.00 USD! However they guarantee that I will have a salary of 1600-2000 per month in Barcelona due to in house jobs. Would you do the class and get the visa or just work under the table?

    Great blog

    1. Morgan says: Reply

      Hey James, hoooooolllyyy mollllyyyy that’s a long and expensive course! Are you sure it’s just TEFL or are you getting any additional certification like CELTA or astronaut training? Ha! Honestly, that seems a little unnecessary and excessive. Most teachers in Barcelona make 1000-1500 euros (under the table or in an academy) b/c cost of living is so high. Is the visa they are offering a student visa and that’s why the course is so long? Are you able to work during the course to start bringing in some income? What company is this? Just from a time and money standpoint I wouldn’t do it…shoot me an email if you wanna talk further on it! morgangarza@gmail.com 🙂

  19. Stefan Begovski says: Reply

    Hey Morgan,
    Thank you for your inspirational post. I fancy the under the table payment, although I plan to get a student visa to be legal (since I am not from America and if caught I will be very limited in terms of traveling), but I do fancy this under the table think. What are the chances of finding work under the table in Malaga? Also I have a degree in English Philology and teaching and I plan to take the TEFL course with the teacher development so I can qualify for a student visa. Thanks so much

  20. Dev says: Reply

    Hi! I would love to be able to teach English in Spain. Do you mind me asking how much you made or what the average monthly paycheck is in Granada for under the table workers? Thanks!

  21. Ciara says: Reply

    Hi! I am a United States student looking to get a degree from University of Barcelona. The only problem is that one document that I need for the student visa will not arrive in time for my first day of classes. Have you heard of Americans studying at public universities in Spain illegally? I would be able to get my student visa for my second year of studies and on but right now I am in a crunch.

  22. Misha says: Reply

    What about traveling outside of the schengan, like to Africa or Asia, etc. Did you travel to places out of the schengen and then have issues getting back into Spain?

  23. Carlton Leard says: Reply

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I want to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and not at all appear to get something done.

  24. Rafi says: Reply

    Excellent piece of article Morgan! Thank you very much for this. I really think you can help me out with your suggestions for some of the questions I have. Is it possible to contact you by any email? My email address is rahi3100@yahoo.com, I would really appreciate if I get a response from you. Many thanks!

    NB: sorry , by mistake I have put this comment under another comment.

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