Visas for Spain

Regardless of how many Ernest Hemingway novels you’ve digested, and no matter the number of olives and anchovies you’ve gorged yourself on, prior to your visit to Spain, you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate visa arranged.

The good news is that Spain is a Schengen state, and thus a large number of foreign citizens don’t need visas for short-term visits or business trips, but those who do, must 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 those nationals of a designated country list drawn up by the Spanish government are afforded visa-free entry into the nation, and the right to a 90-day stay. It's visas for Spainmerely necessary to have a passport valid for three months from the final date of travel; no visit (tourist) visa or business visa 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; though, this visa type will also afford individuals 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 visa for Spain

Those who apply for a Schengen visa will need to gather the required documents, complete the visa application form, and submit to the Spanish consulate or embassy in their home country prior to travel. Processing time can vary, so be sure you submit the application in due time prior to your departure date.

All documents must be in English or Spanish.

Documents required for Schengen visa application
  • 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’s necessary to include a letter of invitation from the Spanish business party and a letter from your local employer stating your 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 to bring the documents mentioned above with you on your trip; in some cases the border guards may request these.

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