The embassy or consulate or a specialist immigration company are the best sources for current, detailed requirements. Allow plenty of lead-time to obtain detailed information and prepare the requisite credentials. Passport and visa applications must be accompanied by documents – such as passport-size photos, birth certificates, and fees – which vary by country. Citizens of current EU member states need not worry about obtaining visas.
Depending on your country of origin, there may be more detailed requirements for your passport and visa than are described below. Prior to your departure, consult your nearest embassy or consulate for more information.
EU-member nationals and citizens of Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Switzerland may currently all enter Spain without passports, provided they are carrying valid national identification cards. Other foreign nationals, including those from North America and Australia, are required to have a passport valid 90 days after their scheduled stay. For example, those intending to visit Spain for three months must have a passport valid for six months from the date of departure.
With your passport or national ID card, you may visit for up to 90 days. If citizens of countries requiring passports for entry to Spain – such as Americans, Australians or Canadians – will be entering Spain from another Schengen country, they should note the aforementioned 90-day period starts the day they entered the first Schengen country, not the day they enter Spain. Schengen countries grant their citizens the right to travel freely in the entire Schengen region, for up to three months within a six month period, under the Schengen Agreement. This region currently includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
For visits of less than 90 days, many foreign nationals do not require a visa. However, if you wish to stay in Spain for more than 90 days, or if you wish to obtain work, non-EU member nationals are required to obtain a visa. Citizens of EU countries do not need a visa to work in Spain, but instead must apply for an EU residence card. Visas are required of US and other non-EU citizens in order to work or reside legally in Spain. Minors under 16 do not require a visa, if they are included on a parent’s passport. However, if a minor under 16 has his or her own passport, he or she would need to obtain his or her own visa.
Residence visas for employment in Spain can be obtained at a Spanish embassy or consulate; apply two to eight months in advance. Note that your employer must apply for your work permit first.
If visiting one Schengen country, the visa should be obtained at the nearest embassy or consulate of this country. If visiting a number of Schengen countries, but staying in a single country for a longer period than the others, the visa should be obtained from the main destination’s embassy or consulate. If visiting a number of Schengen countries without a main destination, the visa should be obtained at the embassy or the consulate of the first destination. Visitors can travel freely for a cumulative stay of six months between the participating countries.
All foreign visitors on short-term stays must also report to the local police within eight days of arrival. If you are staying in a hotel, the management usually handles this matter automatically.