Visas: Coming to Spain as a Tourist

Thousands of people visit Spain every year. This isn't surprising - it is a beautiful region with beautiful climate and a great range of tourist accommodation.

So you'll be pleased to hear that Spain is very easy to visit!

Tourist visits to Spain

General rules

Citizens of any nationality can visit Spain as a tourist (meaning somebody who is visiting on a short-term basis and who is not coming to Spain to work).

Entry into Spain for stays not exceeding ninety days in any six-month period is subject to the conditions set out in Regulation (EC) Nº 562/2006 (see here in Spanish and here in English) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006.

You must have a valid passport or travel document. The document must be valid for the entirety of the intended stay. Citizens from any state of the European Union (or from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein), only need a valid national identity document or passport. Non-EU citizens need extra documentation. Exactly what documents you will need depends upon your nationality. See the Spanish Embassy website in your country for more details.

If a minor (child under the age of 18) is travelling alone with a national identity document, the latter must be accompanied by parental authorisation.

If you are from a country whose nationals must be in possession of a visa when crossing the EU’s external borders (see the list here in Spanish and here in English), you must obtain a short-term visa – unless you are in possession of a valid residence permit or a valid long-term visa issued by another EU Member State.

Foreigners holding a valid residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another Schengen State may move for a maximum of three months, during any six-month period, through the territory of the other Schengen States, provided:

  • That they are in possession of a valid passport or travel document
  • That they justify the purpose and conditions of the intended stay
  • That they have sufficient means of subsistence (see below) for the duration of the intended stay in Spain
  • That they are not considered a threat to the public health, public order, national security, or international relations of Spain or of other States with which Spain has agreements in this regard. Moreover, they shall be required not to appear on the national list of alerts of the Member State in question
  • That they have the required documents (see below) and ‘sufficient means of subsistence’. In order to accredit economic means, foreigners must prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence available in order to enter Spain

    As stated by Order PRE/1282/2007, of 10 May: the minimum amount that must be accredited is €64.53 per person per day, with a minimum total of €580.77 or its equivalent in foreign currency.

Coming to Spain to do business

People wishing to visit Spain merely to meet clients and/or discuss business are allowed to do so as tourists.

Extra documentation

Journeys to Spain as a tourist or for private reasons

If you are coming to Spain as a tourist, or for other private (non-business) reasons, submission of any of the following documents may be required:

  • A supporting document from the establishment providing accommodation or a letter of invitation from a private individual hosting the foreigner concerned in their home, issued by the Police Station of their place of residence. Important: under no circumstances shall the letter of invitation replace the foreigner’s other entry requirements (see above)
  • Confirmation of the booking of an organised trip, indicating the itinerary
  • A return or round-trip ticket

Journeys of a professional, political, scientific, sporting or religious nature (or other similar reasons)

Submission of any of the following documents may be required:

  • An invitation from a company or from an authority to participate in meetings, conferences, etc.
  • A document proving the existence of commercial or business relations
  • Access cards to trade fairs, congresses, conferences, etc
  • Invitations, entrance cards, bookings or programmes detailing (as far as possible) the name of the hosting organization and the duration of the stay

Journeys undertaken for the purposes of study or other types of training

Submission of any of the following documents may be required:

  • A certificate of enrolment at a school or college
  • Any other certificates regarding the courses attended

Other documents indicating the purpose of the visit may also be accepted.

Causes for refusing entry to Spain

The following are causes for refusing entry:

  • Having previously been expelled or deported by Spain or another Schengen State
  • Having been expressly denied entry for “activities contrary to the interests of Spain”, activities against human rights, or for notorious connections with criminal organisations
  • Being wanted internationally for criminal reasons
  • Being considered a threat to the public health, public order, national security, or international relations of Spain, or of other States with which Spain has agreements in this regard
  • Having already stayed in Spain for three months during a six-month period

How long does it take to get a tourist visa for Spain?

For citizens of EU countries, you merely need to turn up at the border with your passport or other travel document.

For other people, depending on the country you come from, the Spanish Consulate may take just a few days or up to about one month to deal with the paperwork.

Conclusion

Coming to Spain as a tourist is a nice, simple process –and if you can afford to stay the whole 90 days it is guaranteed that you will have a great experience. I hope you enjoy your trip!

You may also like to read:

Top 13 Things to do in Spain (Bookmundi) – Some ideas if you’re paralysed by choice! Assistant Editor Francine particularly loves Ronda (number 8 on the list), which is close to the Costa del Sol while still being authentically Spanish

Travel and tourism in Spain – Statistics & Facts (Statista) – Excellent for a free overview of tourism trends in the country; expensive if you want to pay for the premium data

Responsible Tourism in Spain (Responsible Travel) – Background information and tips for an ethical visit to Spain

 

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