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Law in Spain

Law in Spain is a dedicated Blog to advise British Expats living in Spain about their legal issues through the expertise of Abad Abogados lawyers. The main purpose of this blog is helping Expats to find useful and updated legal tips to deal with Spanish Bureaucracy.

General Information regarding Visas
25 October 2016

Do you need a Visa to travel to Spain?

People holding passports issued in the European Union*, Iceland, Liechtenstein,Norway or Switzerland do NOT require any type of Visa to visit Spain. This applies to visiting, living, working or studying in Spain. This is because of the Freedom of Movement Act.

 If they  plan to stay in Spain for more than three months, they would however need to apply for residency.

In addition, Spain allows entry to many other countries without a Visa, as long as their stay is for less than 90 days in any 180 day period. For example: Argentina, Australia  ,Brazil , Canada , Chile , Colombia, Japan , Mexico , New Zealand , Peru , and USA to name but a few.

A Visa is required for other visiting citizens from some South American countries (for example Bolivia), most parts of Africa (including Morocco),  Asia including China and India and Russia.

*Obviously, noone knows how ‘Brexit’ will affect the requirements for British citizens in the future, but as nothing has changed since the vote and won’t until the exit from Europe is underway ( if at all) then all information contained here applies equally to the UK.

Different Types of VISA.

There are three types of visa for entry into Spain:

  • Airport transit visa – this allows you into the international transit zone in a Spanish airport if a stopover is required. The airline should be able to advise you prior to travel of the requirements for this type of Visa.
  • Short-stay Schengen visa
  • Long-term visa

The Schengen Area/ Visa

In addition to free movement amongst EU/EEA member states, there is also an area known as ‘Schengen’ . The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel with external border controls for travellers entering and exiting the area, and common visas, but with no internal border controls. Spain is a member country of the Schengen Area.

A short-stay Schengen visa (visado de corta duración) allows you to stay in Spain – but not work – for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

The requirements for this type of VISA are quite extensive and can take anything between 2-4 weeks to obtain. So you should ensure that you allow yourself enough time before travelling to obtain one.

Long-term Visa (Visados de larga duración)

This type of Visa is required to live, work, study or carry out research in Spain.

Again, the requirements are extensive so obtaining the help of a legal advisor like Abad is highly recommended. Applications take approximately one month.

If your application is turned down, you can present an appeal within two months at the Court of Appeal in Madrid (Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid).

We at Abad can help you obtain the required Visa so please do not hesitate to contact us.



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