CELTA course FAQs for non-EU citizens

Entry requirements

As an American, do I need a visa to enter Spain and take this course?

No, you don't. You can be here for three months from the date of the stamp on your passport (sometimes they don't even stamp your passport).

If I am married to an EU citizen, will I be able to work?

Marrying an EU citizen gives you the right to work, so you would be granted a Resident's Permit and a Work Permit.

Is it possible for non-Europeans to take the course in Barcelona? Do the requirements vary for US citizens?

The requirements to follow the CELTA course are the same for all nationalities! That is: minimum age 20; university entrance-level qualifications; a feeling for the subject -matter, ie. language.

Teachers whose first language is not English need to have a level which is advanced and fluent enough to enable them to fulfil all components of the course successfully.

On the CELTA course itself

Is the focus of the course American or British English?

It's the English you speak! There is always a mix of US and British and a sprinkling sometimes of Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders etc on the course. This leads to much, sometimes highly enjoyable and eye-opening discussion and exchange of vocabulary. None of it is "right" or "wrong". Our message is: you teach what you say.

In the US teachers of ESL are expected to have an MA in TESOL. What is the difference between a CELTA and an MA in TESOL?

Compared to an American MA in TESOL, the CELTA is much more practical and classroom based: there is regular teaching practice. The CELTA is very well-known in Europe, and there are now some CELTA centres (mainly International House) in the USA, and it is gradually becoming known there too.

>> More information TEFL, TESOL, ESOL courses - what's the difference?

Finding work after the CELTA course

Is it true that finding work teaching in Spain is quite difficult for Americans?

It is extremely difficult for a non-European to find legal employment in Western Europe teaching English. This is due to the lack of reciprocal labour agreements between EU and non-EU countries - ie. a Spaniard would not be able to work without a work permit in the US, Australia, NZ, Canada etc, and would have a very difficult time trying to obtain one!

The work permit situation for non-European Union citizens is extremely problematic. The authorities may well refuse to grant a work permit even if a job contract has been given, and the necessary visa applied for, so schools are often reluctant to employ non-EU teachers.

However, this does not prevent Americans or other non-Europeans from following the course: we have had many American trainees who have successfully completed the course and gone on to work. There are many teachers living without visas and working without contracts in Spain but, although this is illegal and schools are liable to a large fine if found out, there are very few inspections, and there have been no deportations that we are aware of.

There is no difficulty at all for non-EU citizens in finding employment in non-EU Eastern Europe, Latin America or Asia.

What kind of results have other Americans had after receiving a certificate from your program?

Many have found work here in Spain; many have gone to Eastern Europe or Latin America where employment is easier for US citizens, and some have gone back home to teach using the CELTA.

See also: What are the advantages of going abroad to do a CELTA course?

In our FAQS section

Before the course

During the course

After the course

See also

FAQs for non-EU residents

TEFL, CELTA, TESOL... What's the difference?

Why Spain and not the UK to take a TEFL course?

Report on survey of former CELTA course trainees

All about Barcelona

Barcelona Online

Our Barcelona directory is a great place to find out further information about the city.

Further questions...

Still got questions about the CELTA course? Contact us and we'll be happy to answer them.



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