If you’re a foreigner residing in Spain, you can apply for a Spanish passport if you acquire Spanish citizenship. This will entitle you to certain additional benefits such as being able to travel around the world as an EU citizen. Here’s a guide to the Spanish passport application process.
Welcome to Spain. Should you wish to stay here you might consider arranging citizenship. Once you have done this you may also be entitled to a Spanish passport, enabling you to travel the EU whether this is for business or pleasure. This guide will look at:
- Spanish passport benefits
- Spanish passport eligibility
- How to apply for a Spanish passport
- Renewing or replacing a Spanish passport
- Spanish passport costs
There is also a further information section at the end of the guide with links to useful websites and web pages with information on Spanish passports.
The Spanish passport
If you are a foreign resident in Spain with Spanish citizenship, you will be able to apply for a Spanish passport. Getting a Spanish passport will mean that you can travel abroad as an EU citizen and enjoy any benefits overseas that this may bring.
Spanish passports are issued by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperacion). In 2006, Spain began issuing biometric passports with an electronic chip containing the key personal information of the passport holder. The standard Spanish biometric passport is a 32-page burgundy booklet containing the holder’s photograph, signature, key personal information and unique passport number. Spanish passports issued today include the holder’s fingerprints.
There are 4 types of Spanish passport that can be issued:
- Standard Spanish passport (Pasaporte ordinario), a biometric passport issued to citizens for ordinary travel
- Collective Spanish passport (Pasaporte colectivo), a limited passport with a validity of three months issued for occasions such as pilgrimages where a reciprocal agreement with the destination country is in place
- Diplomatic Spanish passport (Pasaporte diplomatico), issued to government officials and Spanish diplomats
- Official and service passports (Pasaporte oficiales y de servico), issued to officials representing the Spanish government on official business
It is possible to become a Spanish citizen without getting a Spanish passport. All citizens in Spain can apply instead for an identity card known as the Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI). This acts as proof of nationality and will enable travel around the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland as well as short-term visits to most of the rest of Europe.
Spanish passport benefits
Spanish passport benefits include the ability to:
- freely leave and re-enter Spain as often as you wish as long as your passport is valid
- travel around the world as a Spanish and EU citizen
- travel to 156 countries either visa-free or visa on arrival. Spain is ranked 3rd in the world on the Passport Index
You will also be entitled to dual nationality and have two passports if you are from a Spanish-American country, Andorra, Equatorial Guinea, the Philippines or Portugal, or are of Sephardic Jewish descent. Nationals from other countries will have to renounce the citizenship of their home country in order to acquire Spanish citizenship and get a Spanish passport. See our guide to Spanish citizenship and permanent residence for more information.
Spanish passport eligibility is conditional on having Spanish citizenship. Ordinarily, you can apply for Spanish citizenship after 10 years of legal residence. There are certain circumstances (e.g. through marriage or having a parent with Spanish nationality) when the 10-year residency requirement is waived or reduced. To get Spanish citizenship, you will also need to meet other requirements such as being able to speak the Spanish language and having no serious criminal record.
See our guide to Spanish citizenship and permanent residence for more information.
You can apply for a Spanish passport through any of the following places:
- Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Your local Spanish police station
- Spanish embassy or consulate if you are abroad
In order to make a Spanish passport application, you will need to provide valid ID (e.g. DNI) plus your previous passport if you are applying to renew your Spanish passport. You will also need to provide a recent colour 36 x 22mm photograph. If applying within Spain, you need to make a prior appointment which you can do through this link.
Your Spanish passport will be issued to you at your appointment as soon as your documents have been processed if you are applying within Spain. The procedure if you apply through a Spanish embassy or consulate abroad will depend on the country you are applying from.
Spanish passports are valid for:
- Two years for children aged under 5
- Five years for those aged under 30 when the passport was issued
- Ten years for those aged 30 and above when the passport was issued
You can renew a Spanish passport when your existing passport has less than 12 months of validity left on it. The process you need to go through for Spanish passport renewal is the same as applying for a Spanish passport in general, except you will have to provide your old passport. If you have renewed your ID within the last two years, you won’t need to provide a new photograph of yourself.
If your Spanish passport gets lost or stolen, you need to contact the authorities immediately and apply for a replacement. A duplicate Spanish passport will normally be issued which will be valid for the same period that the lost/stolen passport was valid for. If the replacement passport is lost/stolen, any subsequent replacement passports issued may be limited to six months.
The current Spanish passport cost is €26 which is a standard fee for the first passport, renewal or replacement. This fee can be paid in cash at the office issuing your passport or through the telematic service (information available here in Spanish). Spanish passports are issued free of charge if you meet certain conditions and qualify for ‘beneficiary of large family status’.
- Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, which is responsible for Spanish citizenship and passports and has information about both on its website
- Spanish National Police Body, which issues both Spanish passports and ID cards (DNI)