Our guide to visas and permits for Spain should tell you everything you need to know about what to do and where to do it. Remember, if you’re still confused or in doubt, you can use the Just Landed Spain expat forum to look for the answers you need.
As is the case in most European countries, if you are a citizen of the EU, EEA (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) or Switzerland, you can enter Spain and stay for up to 3 months without registering. If you would like to stay longer, you will have to register with the local authorities. Please have a look at the article about residency and NIE. Things are slightly less straightforward if you’re from another part of the world.
Spain is a part of the Schengen area. This is a group of 26 countries who share visa rules and have a list of nationalities who may enter the country freely without having to obtain a visa first. The following countries are member states of the Schengen area (April 2013): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. If your country is not a member state or does not have an agreement with Spain, you will need to get a visa before leaving your home country, as none are issued within Spain.
If you enter Spain with a tourist visa you can stay in Spain and/or any other country in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days during any 6-month period. A visa granted by one of the Schengen countries is therefore valid in all other member countries.
On the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, you can find out, whether you need a visa or not.
Types of visa
There are several types of visa for Spain, only one of which should apply. Application forms can be downloaded from this website. If you’re married or related to a Spanish citizen, then you can apply for a Visa de reagrupación familiar. There are three other main types of visa:
- work visas
- student visas
- tourist visas
The first two require to to have your employment or study organised before arriving in Spain, and your employer or educational institution should be able to help you organise this. The tourist visa is only valid for ninety days.