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Explaining Spain's Visa Policy | Schengen and More

A component of the European Union's broader domain of freedom, security, and justice policy is the Schengen area's visa policy. Except for Ireland, it applies to Spain and the Schengen Area, and all other EU members. 

The visa policy states that during stays of up to 90 days in 180 days, nationals of certain countries are not required to have a visa in order to enter Spain or the Schengen region by land, sea, or air.

What is a Spanish Visa?

Visa for Spain is required for travelers entering the country who are from countries that do not enjoy the visa-exempt status.

A Spain visa allows individuals to travel to Spain and stay there for a set period. What an individual can do when visiting Spain depends on the type of visa, he/she applies for. 

Entry Requirements for Spain

To enter Spain, visitors need a valid travel document or a passport, a visa (if applicable), documents attesting to the intent and specifics of the intended stay, and proof of funds.

For stays of more than ninety days in any one hundred eighty-day periods in Spain for work, study, or to reside, third-country nationals must obtain a national visa. When traveling to Spain to work there for less than 90 days, then also they require a visa for Spain. 

To become a permanent resident in Spain, enroll for long-term education, or engage in employment, citizens of the European Union, the States of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland do not require a visa. 

They must, however, be listed on the Register for Citizens of the Union once they have arrived in Spain. 

Will a criminal record influence the visa approval?

Visa-free Entry 

Depending on the nationality, travelers can visit Spain without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180 days. This is applicable whether they are going on a vacation, on business, for short-term courses, to see family or friends, for athletic or cultural events, or to attend meetings in Spain.

They just need to make sure their entire stay is within the 90-day restriction if they plan to visit Spain and other Schengen nations without a visa. Schengen countries visited during the 180 days before departure count against the 90 days.

The following nations do not require a short-term visa to enter Spain are as follows:

  • Bahamas
  • Saint Christopher & Nevis
  • Albania
  • Barbados
  • Andorra
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • R.Y.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
  • Chile
  • Monaco
  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Colombia
  • S.A
  • South Korea
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominica
  • A.E
  • Georgia
  • El Salvador
  • Granada
  • Honduras
  • Guatemala
  • Malaysia
  • Japan
  • Marshall Islands
  • Israel
  • Mauritius
  • Kiribati
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Micronesia
  • Palau
  • Moldova
  • Peru
  • Montenegro
  • Panama
  • Nauru
  • Solomon Islands
  • New Zealand
  • Paraguay
  • Samoa
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Saint Lucia
  • Holy See
  • Serbia
  • Venezuela
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Timor
  • Vanuatu
  • Tonga
  • San Marino
  • Tuvalu
  • Uruguay
  • Vincent & the Grenadines

But take caution!

Citizens of any of these nations may enter Spanish territory without having to go through any formalities at the consulate or obtain a Schengen visa. However, they must still fulfill a few conditions, such as providing evidence of lodging or a return flight ticket.

Nationals of third states must comply with the entry requirements outlined in the Schengen Borders Code. 

Visa On Arrival in Spain

Holders of Spanish passports with golden visas can enter Spain and Schengen countries without a visa. For identification reasons, a valid ID or passport will be sufficient. On arrival, such guests are given a 90-day stay permit.

Travelers from Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland who own a valid passport or national identity card may be allowed to enter Spain. 

Visitors might require an entry visa depending on their nationality unless they hold a valid residency card as a relative of an EU citizen.

At all costs, travelers must fulfill Spanish government entry requirements to stay longer, work or study, travel on business, or for any other reason if they are visiting Spain. 

Types of Visas for Spain

Spain offers different kinds of visas to interested applicants.  

Therefore, applicants need to fulfill several requirements, go through many formalities, and pay a fee to obtain a visa to Spain. 

Residence Visa for Spain 

Residence visas are typically granted to retirees who wish to reside in Spain but do not wish to work. Applicants must demonstrate they have the resources to sustain themselves and any dependents to be considered for this visa. 

Applications for residence visas must be submitted at a Spanish embassy or consulate along with a variety of documents, such as bank statements, results of medical exams, and results of police checks. 

Applicants for a long-term resident visa for Spain must have spent at least five years in Spain.  

Work Visas for Spain 

There are several categories of work visas for Spain, each of which serves a different function. Visa for seasonal work, the EU Blue Card Visa, and Long-Term work visas are a few of the most prevalent Spanish visas. 

Unless applicants are from an EU nation, they will need a Spanish work visa to work in the country. The maximum stay permitted by Schengen Visas, which is intended for tourists, is ninety days. 

Employee Visa for Spain

A work permit is required for those over the age of sixteen who want to work as employees in Spain. This visa allows for seasonal employment.

Study Visa for Spain 

To attend school in Spain, non-EU students require a study visa. Finding a course and getting accepted are prerequisites for applying for this visa. 

Students are typically permitted to work up to twenty hours per week on these visas, which are typically valid for the length of the course. 

Spain’s Airport Transit Visa  

Most nationalities do not require a transit visa to enter Spain so long as they have a passport that still has at least six months left on it and can show proof of onward travel. 

Only the following nationalities need a Schengen Transit Visa: 

  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Sierra Leona
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Ghana
  • Syria
  • The Gambia
  • Iraq
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Iran
  • Guinea
  • Cameroon
  • Jordan
  • Togo
  • Afghanistan
  • Ethiopia
  • Bangladesh
  • Côte D’Ivoire, Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Who Requires a Schengen Visa for Entry Into Spain

The Schengen Visa provides access to not only Spain but also to the other countries in this region because Spain and the other members of the Schengen Area have a similar visa policy.

Spain Schengen Visa

The kinds of documents needed to apply for a Schengen visa for Spain depend on the duration and goal of the intended trip. Travelers must enclose a list of supporting documents for short-term visas listed below, according to the intended use of the trip:

  • Tourism/private visit -flight bookings, financial proof, accommodation booking, insurance, etc.
  • Business-basic documents, the purpose of travel, invitation letter from organization in Spain, etc. is needed.
  • Relative of an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen-evidence of family relationship (birth, marriage, certificate of legal partnership, and some basic documents are required.

The Spanish Embassy is free to request more information or papers, as well as to request an interview with the applicant.

How to Apply for a Visa for Spain

When applying for a visa to Spain, an individual must do so in person, and children must do so with their parents or other legal guardians. 

To apply for a Spanish visa, the process is quite straightforward: 

  • Gather the paperwork needed to apply for a Spanish visa
  • Make an appointment with the Spanish embassy or consulate
  • Show up for the Spanish visa interview with the necessary paperwork
  • Receive a response to the application

To process the application, the Consular Office may ask the applicant to supply any missing documents or to give more information. A personal interview with the candidate may also be scheduled. 

As of the day following the application submission date, the legal time frame for making a decision is fifteen working days. However, if an interview or further papers are required, the time frame may be extended. 

The applicant must personally pick up the passport, visa, or refusal certificate within a maximum of one month, measured from the day after the RESUELTO is notified. If the applicant is a child, the applicant must do so through a representative. 

Applicants can visit the Embassy on Wednesday, Friday, or Monday from 12 p.m. to 12.50 p.m. without an appointment to pick up the Spanish visa, valid passport, or a refusal certificate.

It is advised that they must ensure that there is a document that proves the Consular Office had received the visa application in the first place. 

If the visa application is accepted, the Spanish Embassy will issue a visa sticker that will go to the passport together with the necessary original documents. 

If a visa request is denied, the applicant’s passport and a letter of denial will be provided. Additionally, the applicant has one month from the day after receiving notice of the refusal to lodge an appeal for reconsideration to the consular office. 

A judicial review request may also be made to the High Court Justice of Madrid within the two-month window from the day after the applicant receives notice that their application for a visa has been denied. 

A request for judicial review may also be filed if their appeal for a reconsideration of their decision has been rejected. 

ETIAS Visa Waiver for Spain 

Starting November 2023, Spain will introduce the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) Visa waiver. 

Citizens of nations that are currently exempt from visa requirements will have to fill out an online application and pay a fee with a debit or credit card. 

The ETIAS for Spain will be easy to obtain because the application may be completed online without the need to visit an embassy or consulate.

Spain ETIAS Visa Waivers will be valid for the next three years.

Can the Visa be Extended?

The extension of stay in Spain beyond 90 days (for purposes other than work or residence) may be permitted to nationals of countries for whom a visa is not required for entry into Spain.

Visa for Spain can only be extended if there is an extraordinary case that warrants it, such as humanitarian, familial, public interest, etc.

For exceptional circumstances, like a medical emergency, visitors to Spain who need to prolong their visa-free stay (if applicable) must apply to the immigration authorities (Extranjera).


  • Not be a party to any events that might lead to entry prohibition, expulsion, or return.
  • Visitors must possess the necessary means of support throughout the requested period of extension.
  • Applicant must not be a citizen of, nor a family member of the European Economic Area, Switzerland, or any of the States of the European Union to which the regime of the Union applies.
  • Applicants must provide special justification for the extension request.
  • Have travel assistance cover that pays for medical costs and repatriation during the desired extension of stay in the event of sudden illness or accident.
  • Ensure admission to a third country or return to the country of origin. For instance, a ticket issued in the applicant's name with a closed return date falls before the end of the required length of stay.

Required Documents

  • When applying in person, applicants must submit an official application form (EX-00) in duplicate that has been correctly filled out and it should be duly signed.
  • Applicant must possess a passport or travel document that is valid for longer than the requested extension of stay.
  • Paperwork demonstrating adequate financial resources. For instance, cash, traveler's checks, certified checks, and payment letters.
  • Evidence confirming that travel health insurance is valid for a period equal to or greater than the desired extension.

When providing documentation from other nations, it must be translated into Spanish or the co-official language of the region where the application is being submitted.

Applicants can submit either a face-to-face application or an electronic application.

In the event of a concession, the extension of stay will be noted in the travel document, such as a passport, or a separate document if the interested party entered Spain using another type of documentation. 

This will protect the document's holder and any relatives who are listed on the document and are currently in Spain.

If the application is rejected, the decision will outline the applicant's exit from Spain, which must occur before the initial period of stay expires. If it has already passed, within the time frame specified by the resolution, which cannot exceed 72 hours. 

The duration of the departure will be noted on the travel document, passport, or other applicable form issued to record the departure from Spain.

Visitors must get in touch with the Spanish Ministry of Interior if an individual wants to extend his/her "Schengen Visa" for another 90 days. Please be aware that the Schengen Visa is rarely extended by Spanish authorities.

Before the trip, travelers should confirm with the Spanish embassy consulate what kind of visa and/or work permit they might need or whether they can extend their visa for Spain.

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