It’s important to be prepared as to what you’re going to need prior to entering Spain … If you’re a national of an EU country – or Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland – you needn’t worry yourself about visa requirements in Spain.
Just a valid passport or national identity card is needed to enter Spain if either of these apply to you – regardless of whether you’re entering Spain as a tourist, student or to live.
• Today though, Spain is becoming increasingly popular for visitors and permanent residency seekers from countries not within the EU, hence you must follow the correct procedures involved in obtaining the necessary documentation for entering and possibly staying in the country.
• Like many EU countries, Spain is part of the Schengen Agreement which basically led to internal borders being waived for nationals of countries signed up to the treaty; thus creating the borderless Schengen Area.
• A national not from an EU country (or Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland) can stay in Spain, and most other Schengen Agreement countries for that matter, for 90 days before you will be required to obtain a visa – but it must be for tourist purposes only.
• Once this 90-day visa-free period is up, you must apply for a long-term visa should you wish to stay in Spain after this three-month spell. Visas are always obtained from your native country and never from within Spain, so you have to make sure you apply in your home country and they must also be submitted through a duly completed application form which is available here or from Spain’s Diplomatic Missions/Embassy in your native land.
• Submitting an application for a visa will cost the applicant a fixed fee, usually of 60 Euros and it’s worth noting that even in the event of a visa being refused, this payment is non-refundable.
• In extenuating circumstances the fee may be waivered or reduced but this would be down to the sole discretion of the Spanish Diplomatic Missions/Embassy; whom would have to be consulted over the issue.
• What type of visa? … Visa for family reunification: You would apply for this visa if you are married or related to a Spanish citizen. Of course, the relation may be scrutinised so it cannot be taken advantage of; but siblings, children under the age of 18 and parents would certainly qualify.
• Work visa: If you wish to go down this route via an employer, you should contact them regarding obtaining a working visa as you will need your employment contract to hand to the authorities. You must be aged over 16 – except in the case of self-employment, in which case you must be over 18 – and have obtained the prior necessary authorisation to live and work in Spain. Upon arriving in Spain you must register for the Social Security scheme, apply for a foreign identity card for citizens of the EU.
• Student: You must have obtained the corresponding visa which will give you the initial authorisation to stay in the country if you wish to stay in Spain for study reasons. When the duration of the study stay exceeds six months, you must apply for a foreign student identity card from your equivalent Foreigners Office or police station. It’s worth noting that in order to obtain these, you must be enrolled in a school, university or exchange program.
• Tourist: You can stay in Spain for up to 90 days if you apply and are indeed successful in obtaining a tourist visa, unless you are an EU, Swiss, Liechtensteiner/Liechtensteinerin or Icelandic national, in which case you are exempt from this due to the Schengen Agreement as explained above.
For more information or to directly contact the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Article by David Johns