Guidelines for Spain Visa

How to apply for Spanish visa? - Everything you need to know!

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Visa to Spain

The Kingdom of Spain is the largest country in Southwestern Europe (the continental territory) and two archipelagos: the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. Spain is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area which means that its visa policy is the same as in all the Schengen Zone. It also means that a holder of a Spanish visa can travel between 26 Schengen Zone member-countries as they are granted freedom of movement whether arriving by air, land, or sea.

Nationals of some countries can enter Spain without a visa for tourism or business, for a period not longer than 90 days within 180 days. There is also a list of states whose citizens must apply in advance for a tourist visa issued by the Spanish overseas diplomatic mission. Remember that even if you hold a Spanish visa which is valid in all Schengen Zone countries, you are not allowed to the external border of the European Union different from the Spanish one. For example, with the Spanish Schengen visa you will be not granted the entrance to France, Italy or Poland. Of course, you can go there from Spain once you arrive there with your valid Spanish visa. But you can leave the Zone from any of the Schengen member countries.

Spanish Schengen Visa

The most important thing to know, when you are a non-European citizen is to which countries you can go with the Schengen Visa. Keep in mind that if you leave the Schengen Zone with your one-entrance tourist visa, you will be able to come back not sooner than after 180 days from your visa issuing date.

Schengen Area - named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement signed in Schengen (the city in Luxembourg) - is also called the Schengen Zone and is the largest passport-free travel area in the world covering most of the European countries. Citizens of Schengen Zone countries can move freely without any limitations inside it. In this area, there are no borders like there was one state. The third countries nationals - holders of tourist Spanish visas -  are allowed to do it too but only for tourist or business purposes. 

Countries in Schengen Area are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Each of them can be an issuer of a tourist Schengen Visa but if you want to travel to Spain for the other purposes, you need to apply for this special type of document. Keep in mind that your Spanish visa ex. work or study may be not valid in other European countries for the same purpose. 

Spanish Visa Guidelines

You might be a bit confused by all those information about Spanish visas but we will try to organize your knowledge. After reading our guidelines you will know:

  • Who needs a visa to Spain?
  • What you can do in Spain with a Spanish short-term visa?
  • How to apply for a Spanish tourist visa 
  • What are the required documents?
  • What to expect from a visa appointment?
  • What are other types of Spanish visas?
  • What are conditions for Spanish visas for minors?
  • How to extend a short-term visa in Spain?

Who needs a visa to Spain?

If you are not a citizen or do not have a residence permit (or a valid long-stay visa ) in one of the Schengen Zone countries, it does not mean that you need a Spanish visa. Your home country may be on the list of Schengen-visa-free ones which are:

  • Albania, Andora, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia
  • Bahamas, Barbados
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei
  • Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • El Salvador
  • Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala
  • Honduras, Hong Kong
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Macao, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro
  • New Zealand, North Macedonia, Nicaragua
  • Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent
  • Samo, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea
  • Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu
  • Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay
  • Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela

So, if you have a passport of one of the above 62 states, you can enter Spain for the purpose of tourism, visiting and/or business for maximum 90 days within a 180 days period, 

However, if you haven’t found your country on the list, you have to apply for a travel permit to Spain. There are only a few more exemptions. If you are:

  • an EU family member’s residence or EU long-term residence permit,
  • a passport of a “British National Overseas”, “British Overseas Territories Citizen”, “British Protected Person”, “British Subject” holder
  • a holder of a special residence card as a diplomatic or consular staff

You have the right to enter and stay in Spain on the same rules as EU nationals.

What you can do in Spain with a Spanish short-term visa?

A Spanish short-stay visa allows you to stay in one or more of Schengen Area’s member countries up to 90 days only for one of following reasons:

  • Tourism, sightseeing, holidays
  • Reunion with family and friends
  • Business (conferences, trades, negotiations)
  • Medical reasons
  • Diplomatic visit
  • Sport competitions
  • Cultural events
  • Research or short-term studies
  • Transit

Spanish visa is not a student, work or permanent residence visa. Every person who wants to live, get a paid job or study in Spain must apply for a dedicated type of visa. Bear in mind that if you violate the rules of the short-stay visa (for example you overstay or start earning money) you can be deported from Spain and not let in any Schengen Zone country in the future.

How to apply for a Spanish tourist visa

You can apply for a Spanish visa in embassies and consulates of the Kingdom of Spain. This is not possible to apply online because the visa appointment is mandatory, but you can download application forms from official websites - print them twice, complete and sign them.

When applying for a Spain visa, make sure you submit your application within the given time frame which is maximum 6 months before the date of your planned departure to Spain and minimum 2 weeks before the intended date of travel to Spain. The best option is to apply at least one month before the trip.

What are the required documents for Spain visa?

Once you complete your forms, gather other obligatory documents. They are:

  • your passport ( it must be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the end of your planned stay in Europe Union. At least two pages must be blank.)
  • 2 taken within the last 3 months printed color passport-style photos meeting the requirements
  • a cover letter stating the purpose of visit to Spain and itinerary. 
  • copies of any previous visas
  • Spain Travel Insurance confirmation of minimum 30,000€ coverage within Spain and the entire Schengen area
  • complete Itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from Spain
  • proof of financial means which can be:
    • recent bank statement
    • employment contract stating your salary
    • income from a rented property
    • retirement benefit plan.
    • A letter of declaration from a sponsor in the Kingdom of Spain
    • Any other documents proving that you have the means to support yourself while stating in Spain
  • addresses of accommodation in Spain for the whole duration of the intended stay in Spain (hotel bookings, your relatives or friends addresses)
  • certificate of a criminal record of the home country (you must that you have no open crime case involvement)
  • proof of civil status (marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, ration card if applicable)
  • proof of payment of the Spanish visa fee (€80 for adults, €45 for children)

What to expect from a visa appointment?

A Spanish visa appointment can be a stressful perspective but in fact, there is nothing to be afraid of. During this meeting, you will be asked about your purpose to travel to Spain, how many days you plan to be in Spain and possibly in the Schengen Zone and which countries you are going to visit. Prepare your travel plan - the country where you are going to enter and the country where you’re going to exit Europe are the most important.

Usually, it is possible to schedule the appointment online but you need to check it. Any way - online, by phone or in any other way - but you must be scheduled. You will not be accepted for the interview if you don’t book it in advance. Don’t be late, dress smart, try to be kind and calm.

After the visa appointment, a consular officer decides if you are eligible to enter the country. That is why they want to know better about you, your situation and the purpose of your visit in Spain. Answer honestly and completely all the questions, be prepared for the conversation about your marital status, number of children and current job. You will be probably asked if you have sufficient funds for the entire stay in Europe or if you have somebody you know there.

The appointment usually takes 10-15 minutes and then you receive a printed copy of your application to sign.

Consulate or embassy officers will issue a decision about a short-term visa within 20 days. 

If you apply for a long-term stay visa, it may take even 2 months.

Other types of Spanish visas

If you want to live, get a paid job or study in the Kingdom of Spain, you have to apply for the visa which is suitable for the purpose of your stay. 

Pick up one of the most common Spanish visa types for long-stay:

  • Student Visa - if you want to take a study course longer than 90 days
  • Work visa - if you are a qualified worker wishing to work in Spain
  • Au Pair Visa -  if you plan to work for a family in Spain, under certain conditions
  • Golden Visa -  “residency by investment program”, through which you can move to Spain if you invest a certain amount in real estate
  • Entrepreneur Visa - if you want to invest in Spain
  • Working Holidays Visa - if you want to go to Spain to do a summer job
  • Non-lucrative Residence Visa - if you want to immigrate in Spain and you have sufficient income to support yourself

Depending on your reasons for visiting Spain and the frequency of your trips, the embassy or consulate can issue you a single-entry visa, double-entry visa or a multiple-entry visa.

Spanish visa for children

If you are planning to travel to Spain with your under-age children, you must apply for a visa for them too. The Spanish short-stay visa requirements for minors are a bit extended. You need to present also:

  • their birth certificate 
  • an application visa form signed by both parents (In cases where only one parent has full custody over the child, a family court order is needed)
  • certified copies of ID/passport of both parents.
  • a notarized parental authorization to travel to Spain, signed by both parents or guardians if the minor will be travelling alone.

The rest of documents such as the valid passport, passport-style photographs etc. remain the same as for the child’s parents/guardians.

How to extend a short-term visa in Spain?

You are allowed to stay in Spain and other Schengen Zone countries up to 90 days and if you leave Europe after your visa expires you may experience problems at the border. So, if you are planning to stay longer, apply for a long-stay visa. If your stay in Spain is longer for unpredicted reasons, you can try to extend your Spain Schengen visa - but this is possible only in exceptional cases. What are these reasons? The list is short and closed:

  • Humanitarian reasons such as medical treatment, a funeral after the sudden death of a family member, necessity of giving support to a person close to you who is going through some kind of hardship, etc.
  • Force majeure defined as “an unexpected situation has occurred all of the sudden in your home country” (war, violent protests across the country, extreme weather conditions, no flight connections because of a natural disaster)
  • Important personal reasons such as an unplanned wedding (yours or of your family member), unfinished business or other situation you consider as very important and claim as unplanned.

In every case, you must prove that new facts and special reasons have occurred when you already have been staying in Spain.

Please keep in mind that visa’s extensions are granted only in special situations and you may experience a refusal, so plan your holidays scrupulously not to overstay in Europe.

Spain for holidays

Holidays in Spain mean the unforgettable meeting with the mix of cultures, breathtaking nature, vibrant cities, marvellous beaches, delicious food and everything you can dream about on the journey.

Go to the Mediterranean seaside and discover the soft sandy beaches, fishing towns and water sports centres. Or maybe visit Madrid or Barcelona with their museums, art galleries and centers where you will be not sure whether to admire the architecture, churches and cathedrals and shop to your heart’s content.

Don’t forget that Spain is also Baleares in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa which are the paradise for surfers, divers, families and honeymooners. 

Whatever you decide to do in Spain - this country is really worth exploring! Take your time for relaxation, contact with nature and making new friends as Spanish people are described as the most friendly and life-loving nation in Europe!