Visas for Spain

Who needs a visa and how to apply

If you are a citizen of the EU, EEA (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland, you can enter Spain and stay for up to 3 months without registering. Citizens from Croatia, which has only recently joined the EU still need work permits, probably at least until June 2020. If you would like to stay longer, you will have to register with the local authorities. Things are slightly less straightforward if you’re from another part of the world.

Short term visas

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:

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. However, it’s important to note that you can’t work in Spain if you’re visiting the country on a Schengen visa without a work permit. See our page on work permits  for more info.

Schengen visa exceptions

The following countries and states do not require a separate visa to enter the Schengen area:

Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See (State of the Vatican), Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, (Republic of) Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Serbia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

If you do require a schengen visa, you need to get in touch with your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate, who will provide you with the correct information on how to apply.

Long term visas

If you’re coming to Spain to work, you can either apply for a residence visa in person at your embassy when you arrive in the country under the conditions of a short term visa, or apply before you leave through a duly accredited representative at the Spanish Diplomatic mission or your nearest Spanish Consular Post. If you come to study you must have your visa organized before you arrive. Application forms can be downloaded from this website. 

When you apply for a visa, you must pay a fee which is usually around €60, that won’t be refunded if you get rejected. This fee is waived in certain circumstances, but you should consult with your Spanish representative as to the conditions and requirements of your visa application, as these vary depending on your country of nationality and the reason for your trip.

There is also an agreement between Canada and Spain that allows young people aged 18-35 to visit Spain and work for up to year, and vice versa. For more information on this, get in touch with the Spanish consulate  in Canada.

All foreigners must obtain a foreigner’s identity number or NIE, including citizens from the EU, EEA or Switzerland who don’t require a visa. You will need this for making any financial transaction, such as opening a Spanish bank account or paying taxes. Most people obtain their NIE when they arrive in Spain at their local Foreigner’s Office, but it is possible to apply for your NIE at your nearest Spanish consulate before you move, although this can take up to four weeks to arrive.

For more information, check out our pages on working  or studying abroad  in Spain.

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