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You are here: Home Moving to Getting Started Guide to the Spanish visa system
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05/11/2012Guide to the Spanish visa system

Guide to the Spanish visa system Organise your visa application with ease. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the different types of visas for Spain.

Entry Visa
As with most European countries, if you are a citizen of the EU, EEA (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) or Switzerland, you are free to enter Spain and stay for up to 3 months.

For Bulgarian and Romanian nationals however, the rules governing entry to Spain are different. Citizens of these countries require a work permit and a work contract before they can enter the country.

Citizens of a number of countries are able to enter Spain for the purposes of tourism without needing an entry visa. Upon arrival they are issued with a 90-day Schengen visa. These countries include:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • USA


A full list of countries can be found by following the link:
http://www.maec.es/subwebs/Consulados/Londres/en/MenuPpal/Servicios/Visados/Paginas/novisaenter_services.aspx

Citizens of other countries will need a visa to enter Spain, which should be applied for at the Spanish consulate in their home country before coming to Spain.

The entry visas available to non-European visitors are:

  • Residence visa: Different from a Residence permit, the Residence visa covers a stay of up to 1 year but can be renewed for an additional 2 years. Once this has expired you may apply for a permanent residence visa. The categories of Residence visa are: family reunification, working in Spain for longer than 1 year, working as a professional, scientist, for the Spanish Government or for those claiming asylum.
  • Diplomatic visa.

Applicants may be asked to produce evidence of accommodation, programme of events, return ticket, sufficient financial means for your visit (minimum of €577.26).


Staying longer?

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national and planning on staying for longer than 3 months you will need to register for a Residence Certificate at the Oficina de Extranjeros in the province in which you are living. Documents required are:
  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • 3 photographs
  • Medical certificate (in some cases)
  • Proof of family relationship (in cases of family reunification)
  • Proof of financial support, such as a pension, work contract etc.
  • Proof of private or public healthcare insurance

It is obligatory to carry your residence card with you as a form of identity card. If your stay is for more than 6 months, you must request a Foreigner’s Identification Card (TIE) within 1 month of arriving in Spain.

If you are a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen you will need a residence permit in order to live in the country for longer than 3 months. The different types of residence permit are:
  • Temporary residence permit: covering a period between 3 months and 5 years.
  • Permanent residency permit: available to those who have lived continuously in the country for 5 years.
  • Special circumstances: relating to special asylum cases authorized by the Spanish Ministry of Interior.
  • Family reunification: applicant must have lived in Spain for at least 1 year and already have permission for an additional year.
  • Student: Valid for up to 1 year but renewable as long as you continue to satisfy the visa conditions and are able to provide evidence of having passed the relevant exams.
  • Researcher: The duration of the permit is equal to that of the research project (3 months to a maximum of 5 years) and you must register with the Social Security system within a month of arrival. The permit can be renewed on a yearly basis.

You may apply for a permit at the Oficina de Extranjeros in the province in which you are living, presenting the following documentation:
  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • Photographs
  • Current residence visa
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of financial support, such as a pension, work contract etc.
  • Proof of private or public healthcare insurance
  • Proof of previous legal residence in Spain (e.g. long-term rental contract)
  • Certificate of criminal records check by the authorities of your home country
  • Marriage or divorce certificate
  • Admission or pre-registration letter from a recognised educational institution (for student visas)
  • Notarised authorisation from your parents or legal guardian to study abroad (for student visas if you are under 18)

It is obligatory to carry your residence card with you as a form of identity card. If your stay is for more than 6 months, you must apply for a Foreigner’s Identification Card (TIE) within 1 month of arriving in Spain.

Property
It is perfectly legal for foreigners to buy private property in Spain. This also often involves becoming a member of a Community of Owners, which comes with its own responsibilities and obligations and is regulated by the Law on Horizontal Ownership.

Nationality
Nationality is open to individuals in a number of situations including:
  • If one of your parents was Spanish and in some cases this includes you were adopted by a Spanish citizen;
  • After ten years residence;
  • After 5 years where a person has refugee status;
  • After 2 years residence if you are from an Ibero-American country: Portugal, Andorra, Philippines or Equatorial Guinea;
  • After 1 year where you have been married to a Spaniard for 1 year (including cases where the Spanish spouse has died).

Documentation required includes:
  • Passport
  • Local Census Registration Certificate (if appropriate)
  • Birth certificate (notarised and translated)
  • Criminal record certificate from the person’s home country (notarised and translated)

Applications must be submitted at the Civil Registry in the area where you are living.


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