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Spain: Tourist Visa Requirements For Foreign Visitors

Do I need a travel visa to Spain?” should be the first question that comes to your mind as soon as you start planning your trip. Well, here’s the answer!

 

Do You Need A Travel Visa To Spain?

In Spain, tourist visa policies are different depending on the nationality. As a member of the European Union, conditions applied to neighboring countries are much more flexible. In addition to this, other countries (European and Latin American) are also excluded from travel visa obligations.

Important recommendations before starting your trip:

  • Check the expiry date of your passport and your national ID card (if your country has one)! They need to be valid at least for some time after the end of your trip.
  • Make sure your passport has blank visa pages. Spain authorities require that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure. Allow at least 2-3 free pages in visas section.
  • Take your passport and national ID card with you. In Spain a driving license, a student card and other documents are not considered as a valid national ID card.

 

Here is a complete and updated list, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores), of the nationals for which a tourist visa is NOT required.

Apart from these, all nationals from the rest of the world will need to apply for a tourist visa through a Spanish Embassy or Consulate a few weeks before their departure.

 

You Don’t Need A Tourist Visa. What Do You Need To Pass Immigration?

The situation is different depending on whether you are from a European country or not since the document that the Spanish authorities will request from you will be different.

  • You are a national of a European country: you can present either your passport or your national ID card.
  • You are a national of a non-European country: you can only present your passport.

Check this information with the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate.

You can stay during up to 90 days during any 6-month period. In other words, you can spend a total of 90 days throughout a period of 6 months. From then on, you’ll have to leave the country.

However, there are a few tricks that you can use to stay 90+ days holding a Schengen tourist visa. Risky, but might end successfully.

 

You Need A Tourist Visa. What Do You Do?

All visas are managed and issued by Spanish Embassies and Consulates. You will need to apply and obtain your visa there prior to your trip.

Note that visas are not issued in Spain! Don’t try to enter the country without a visa as you won’t be allowed to enter Spain, and your embassy or consulate will not be able to help you.

You are not allowed to apply by email, regular mail or fax. The application must be submitted in person. Therefore, request the respective appointment at least one month before the proposed date of travel.

Likewise, you are only allowed to pick up your student visa in person.

In general, you should apply for a visa approximately 4 to 8 weeks before the date of departure. However, it depends very much on the time of the year and the demand that each embassy or consulate has.

Each Spanish Embassy and Consulate has different visa procedures. Contact them to make sure what documents they require, the fees and the time it will take to process your visa.

Nevertheless, here is a preliminary list that can help you out:

  • Schengen Visa application form. You must fill it in and sign it.
  • Medical insurance with international coverage. The Embassy or Consulate may even require you to sign a sworn declaration.
  • Cover letter, explaining in detail the purpose of your visit.
  • Flight bookings with your name and return date.
  • Travel itinerary and hotel bookings for the entire duration of stay.

 

If you still have doubts on the subject, check the travel visa FAQ.

And if you intend to study in Spain, find out if you may need a student visa.