Visas for Spain

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A Schengen visa for SpainRegardless of how many Ernest Hemingway novels they have read as preparation, expats will need to have the appropriate visa for Spain prior to their arrival.

The good news is that Spain is a Schengen state and, as a result, a large number of foreign citizens don’t need a visa for short-term visits or business trips.

Those who do should, however, be sure to process their applications at least three weeks prior to departure.

Visit and business visas for Spain

Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and nationals belonging to one of the countries on the Spanish government's designated list are afforded visa-free entry and the right to a 90-day stay. It is simply necessary to have a passport that is valid for three months from the final date of travel and neither a visit visa nor a business visa is required.

This list includes Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the USA, but does not include India or South Africa, among others.

Citizens of countries not appearing on the list must apply for a Schengen Visa to gain entry into Spain for tourist or business purposes. The visa also grants the holder access to the remaining EU member-states (except the UK and Ireland), as well as three non-EU member states.

Those who secure a Schengen visa can travel in Spain for up to 90 days within a six month period, from the date of entry.

Schengen visas for Spain

Those who apply for a Schengen visa will need to gather the required documents, complete a visa application form and submit to the Spanish consulate or embassy in their home country before they travel. Processing times can vary, so expats should be sure to submit their application in due time before their departure date.
Documents required for a Schengen visa application must be written in Spanish or English and generally include:
  • Passport with at least two blank pages, valid for three months from the last date of travel
  • Recent colour, passport-sized photo
  • Round-trip air ticket or itinerary to/from Spain
  • Proof of travel, health or accident insurance
  • Proof of sufficient funds during travel (amount required varies)
  • Proof of accommodation (hotel reservations, letters from friends, details of a tour, etc.)
If applying for a Schengen visa to travel to Spain for business purposes, it is necessary to include a letter of invitation from the Spanish business party and a letter from the applicant's employer stating their duties in Spain. If attending a conference, proof of registration and accommodation is required.

In some cases, applicants may be asked to provide additional documents, at the discretion of the Spanish embassy or consulate.

Once granted the Schengen visa, it is still best for new arrivals to bring the documents mentioned above with them since, in some cases, customs officials may request these.

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