Visa requirements

EU members do not need a visa to enter Spain, but just a passport or an official ID in force. Non-EU foreigners, on the other hand, do need a visa to enter Spain, except if there exists an agreement between Spain and the foreign home country, by means of which the requirement of a visa is eliminated for citizens or residents of such countries, when they will be staying in Spain for up to 3 months within a 6 month period, or for a transit stay of maximum 5 days.


You may apply for a visa to the Spanish Consulate located in your home country before you leave. Visas are handled by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its consulate abroad.


There are different types of visas, which are issued depending on what is your purpose for entering Spain: studying, working, tourism, investment …. You should apply for your visa according to your needs. You cannot enter Spain on a tourist visa and then apply to stay as something else without returning to your home country and obtaining the appropriate visa first.


You will be required to produce some specific documentation, depending on the type of visa you need. Visas-process will take some weeks depending on each case.


In general terms, four types of visas exist:


.: Transit visa: There are two types: 



  • One given to individuals or groups of foreigners passing through Spanish ports or airports without entering the Spanish territory.
  • One that allows foreigners to pass through Spanish territory for a maximum of 5 days. 



.: Temporary stay visa: There are two types:

- Short-duration visa: issued for foreigners who wish to stay in Spain for up to 3 months within a 6-month time period. There exist different categories, among them:


  • Group visas for short stays (for no longer than 30 days).
  • Visas to study in Spain.
  • Multiple-stay visas: issued for multiple stays adding up to 90 days within six months during one year




- Residence visa: It should not be confused with the Residence permit, which is also necessary in most of the cases. This is initially granted for 1 year, and it may be renewed for an additional 2-years period, once it has expired, you may apply for permanent residency visa, which must be renewed every five years. There are specific categories:


  • For reuniting a family: It could be given to the spouse provided that his matrimony is valid; to the descendants of the principal, provided that they are not married and are under 18 years of age…
  • For working in Spain for at least one year without having criminal records when the foreigner needs a work permit or when the foreigner is a professional who does not need a work permit such as university professors, when professionals are hired by a Spanish university, or scientists, when they are hired by Spanish Government…
  • For asylum, this is issued for foreigners with refugee status.




- Courtesy visa: Visas for Diplomatic personnel or similar



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Iglesias & Asociados, lawyers on the Costa del Sol, Malaga, Fuengirola, Mijas, Marbella, Alhaurin el Grande & Coín