A Guide for Traveling to Spain Part 1

Certified Translation

The Spanish Short-Term Visa System

 

Spain is a country with some of the most mesmerizing landscapes and buzzing metropolitan areas in Southern Europe, if not the world, and every year thousands of tourists and workers flock to Spain from all over. The European and North African artistry, architecture, food, and culture on display across Spain is simply indescribable for those who have yet to experience it.

 

As a testament to Spain's draw, people are constantly asking questions of us trying to find out how they too can travel there. To help answer these questions and provide you with a clear gameplan for meeting Spain's requirement for entry, we have put together a series of guides.

 

This is the first part of the series, and we will cover the necessary information regarding Spain's Visa system for tourists and other short-term travelers. After that, we will go into some of the requirements for working and living in the country long-term, and finally a piece on the culture and of living in Spain in general.
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In This Article:
• Spanish Short-Term Visa Overview
◦ The Schengen Visa
◦ The Documents Needed to Enter Spain as a Tourist
◦ ETIAS – The European Travel Information and Authorisation System
• Staying Long-Term: Preparing to Live and Work in Spain
• Common Questions About the Spanish Visa System and General Travel in Spain

In This Series:
• In part 2, we will go over the Spain visa requirements for long-term stays.
• In Part 3 we will go into some of the general considerations for living and working in Spain.
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Spanish Short-Term Visa Overview

 

Traveling to and from Spain and her surrounding countries has been relatively simple since the creation of the "Schengen Area" following the Schengen Agreement. Those from the participating countries who are members of the Schengen Agreement may cross each other's borders for up to 90 days with little difficulty. A holder of a Uniform Schengen visa can travel to all 26 member countries of the Schengen Area.

 

• The Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that lets citizens of member countries travel in a nation amongst the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for both tourism and business.
• The Spain tourist visa no longer exists and instead has been rolled up into the Schengen agreement.

 

Some countries, like the United States, have other diplomatic treaties that allow them to access the Schengen zone. For example, if you are from the United States (not a member of the Schengen Zone, but a country with diplomatic treaties allowing them easy access) and your stay is less than three months, you will need only a passport, sufficient funds, and proof of a return airline ticket. Also, something that is often overlooked, your passport needs to be valid for at least three months past the period you plan to stay.

 

If your country is not a member of the Schengen agreement or is not a country eligible for visa-free entry into Spain, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa before traveling to Spain.

 

• In part 2, we will go over the Spain visa requirements for long-term stays.

 

The Schengen Visa

 

The Schengen Area is a zone of European countries aiming for the free and unrestricted movement of people. The Schengen passport-free zone is the largest free travel area in the world. A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows members of the Schengen Area and those accepted to travel amongst the area to conduct stays up to 90 days. The Spain Schengen visa replaced the Spain tourist visa.

 

The Schengen Agreement was signed on June 14, 1985, and has grown to encompass 26 member countries, and multiple countries are allowed to participate through other diplomatic means. Mostly, all E.U. members participate, though Lichtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, and Norway are technically associate members, and Romania, Croatia, and Cyprus are seeking to join. The U.K. and Ireland do not belong to the Schengen area.

 

The Documents Needed to Enter Spain as a Tourist

 

While not a Schengen member country, The United States is one of the visa-exempt countries for Europe. This means that US citizens will only need a few necessary documents (This is based on a U.S. citizen cleared for travel):

 

A Valid US Passport
Not older than ten years and valid for at least three more months (beyond the date you return).

Reason for Entry
Be able to demonstrate your purpose for entry. Any travel plans or events you are attending.

• Proof of Sufficient Money for Your Stay
You will need “Documents which prove that the US traveler has the financial means to support themselves during their whole stay in Europe.” You will also need to show you have a return ticket.

 

These requirements are standard for most countries, though there are a number of exceptions. Always double-check the latest travel advice from the Spanish government.
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If you plan to study, work, or live in the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, you must apply for a national visa. The Spain Schengen visa only extends for those three months. Regardless of Visa, all documents will need to be translated into Spanish by a sworn or certified translator properly appointed by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

All documents issued in a language other than Spanish, such as your criminal background check and bank statements that will be submitted to Spanish Officials, must be translated into Spanish.

 

ETIAS – The European Travel Information and Authorisation System

 

The European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS, is an electronic system for tracking and policing visitors in the Schengen Zone. It is very similar to the ESTA. The system is expected to be launched on January 1, 2022, and obligatory for travelers by the end of 2022.

 

U.S. citizens and those from other visa-waiver countries will have to apply online for an ETIAS visa waiver. You will get the ETIAS travel authorization by completing an online form and answering some security questions. Currently, there are no further requirements than what you already need for the current process.

 

Staying Long-Term: Preparing to Live and Work in Spain

 

This article was just a brief overview of the Spanish short-term visa process, and luckily that process is quite simple for citizens of most countries. Those who wish to work and live in Spain for longer than ninety days will have more requirements and considerations. In fact, these topics are big enough to warrant their own articles.

 

Part 2 will go over the Spain visa application form, what you will need for the various types of Spain visa application forms, what Spain visa documents are required, as well as other general Spain travel visa requirements. We will explain how to get a Spain visa, and we will try and help you get set up to apply for a Spain visa.

 

The application visa for Spain isn't incredibly complicated, but it changes depending on your goals. Luckily with a bit of advice for getting a visa for Spain and how to apply for a tourist visa for Spain, it should be a snap.

 

• In part 2, we will go over the Spain visa requirements and steps to take for long-term stays in Spain.
• In Part 3, we will go into some of the general considerations for living and working in Spain.

 

The application visa for Spain isn't incredibly complicated, but it changes depending on your goals. Luckily, with a bit of advice for getting a visa for Spain and how to apply for a tourist visa for Spain, it should be a snap. The Spanish Group provides complete document translation, certification, and notarization services for every Visa process step.

 

Whether you need an apostille, authentication, translation, or certification, The Spanish Group will ensure you receive complete document services at the best possible pricing. It has never been easier or more affordable to have experienced experts on hand. If you have any further questions about documents that may be required and how to properly prepare them for submission to Spanish officials, reach out to our friendly staff today!

 

Common Questions About the Spanish Visa System and Travel in Spain

 

These are some of the questions we get most often. This is simply a quick recap of what we are covering in this Spanish Travel series.

• Do you need a Visa for Spain?
So, do you need a visa to enter Spain? As we covered, you will need to simply get a quick Schengen-visa for stays less than 90 days if you are from a participating country.

 

While not a Schengen member country, The United States is one of the visa-exempt countries for Europe. This means that U.S. citizens will only need a few necessary documents to be accepted into the country. You more or less simply need your passport, proof of financial security, and a valid reason for entry.

 

Other common forms of this question we get include:
• Do I need a visa to go to Spain?
• Do I need a visa to travel to Spain?
• Do you need a visa to go to Spain?”
• Is a visa needed for Spain?

• Do you need a visa to enter Spain if you are from the Schengen zone?

No, if you are a citizen of another Schengen zone country, you will not need to obtain a Visa.

• Do you need a visa for Spain from the UK?

Another common question is, "Do I need a visa for Spain when coming from the U.K.?"
For U.K. citizens, like U.S. citizens, you will simply need to show your U.K. passport as well as proof of financial security and travel plans.
Long-term visa requirements are specific to Spain, though, for those who lived in Spain before Brexit, the conditions are a bit different.

 

• Can I get a Spanish Visa? How do I apply for a Spain visa?

 

The answers for how to get a Spain Visa and the necessities for filling out the application for a visa for Spain will be covered in part 2, as well as the answers for how to get a Spain visa of various types. You can apply for a Spain visa from the USA or any country that has access to a Spanish embassy and the proper officials.

Other common forms of this question we get include:
• How to apply for a tourist visa for Spain?
• How do I get a visa for Spain?
• Do I need a visa to go to Spain?

• How long does it take to get a visa for Spain?
The average process for a visa can take over six weeks (though these times can vary drastically depending on the Visa and whether your documents were prepared correctly), so always plan in advance. You can apply up to 90 days before your date of departure.
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Continue reading in this series to learn how to get a long-term visa and what to expect as you travel and live in Spain.

 

The Spain Visa Series:

• In part 1, we go over the Spanish visa basics, as well as the Schengen Visa.
• In part 2, we go over the Spain visa requirements and steps to take for long-term stays in Spain.
• In Part 3, we will go into some of the general considerations for living and working in Spain.