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Visa Requirements for Spain

With over 6,000 kilometers of beaches, Spain is one of Europe’s favorite vacation spots: no wonder that moving to Spain puts every expat in a good mood. InterNations provides you with basic information on Spain, including advice on visa requirements and public transportation.

Getting an Identity Number

Non-EU citizens and EU nationals both need to apply for the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros), an identity number for foreigners. Every expat, who wishes to buy or rent a property, open a bank account, or work in Spain needs to secure an NIE. It is important to know that an application for an NIE is also required for EU citizens moving to Spain for a period longer than three months. In order to apply for the NIE, you need to go either to the national police department or to the Extranjería (Department of Foreigners) in your city of residence, and, present the following documents:

  • the original application form and a copy thereof
  • your identity card or your passport and a copy of the information page
  • for non-EU residents, documents indicating the reason they need an NIE (e.g. purchasing a house, business purposes)
  • a fee of 9,45 EUR paid by money order

The process of obtaining an NIE, should take no longer than three weeks.

Living in Spain without a Visa There are different requirements for EU nationals and non-EU citizens moving to Spain. If you move to Spain as an EU citizen (or a national of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland), you only need a valid passport or national identity card. While non-EU citizens whose home country has entered into a special agreement with Spain may move and live there without applying for a visa for up to 90 days. It is important to note that visas are never issued within Spain, so be sure to apply for a visa in your home country before moving if you are planning on staying longer than three months.

The non-visa countries include many Latin American countries and more, such as Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States.

Visas for Non-EU Nationals

There are several different types of visas for Spain. Here is a brief overview for you to find out which one applies to you:

  • Family reunification visa (visado de reagrupación familiar): this visa applies to people who are married or related (sibling, child under 18, parent) to a Spanish citizen.
  • Work visa (visado de residencia y trabajo por cuenta ajena): it is recommended to contact the employer when applying for a working visa, as it will be necessary to supply an employment contract to the authorities.
  • Student visa (visado de estudiantes): this concerns people enrolled in a school or a university, or in an exchange program. Students’ stays may exceed 90 days.
  • Tourist visa (visado de turismo): non-EU citizens and foreign nationals whose country of origin does not have a special agreement with the Schengen countries (see above) need to apply for this visa, if they intend to enter Spain. It is valid only up to 90 days. A downloadable PDF version of the application form can be found on your consular service’s website.

Please be sure to contact the local Spanish embassy for exact details on the visa you need to apply for. Visit the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information.

Advanced Public Transportation in Spain

Spain has a very advanced system of public transportation. In fact, Barcelona’s tram, metro, and bus networks are well organized and together they get you to all parts of the city. As for Madrid, its metro system is extensive and caters to the entire city along with other forms of public transportation including buses and taxis, which are considered efficient and reliable.

As many Spanish people prefer to live outside the city and commute to work, buses and trains connecting larger cities and suburbs are widely used. The national train company RENFE connects all regions of the Spanish mainland, but commuting by car is also an option. Check out our guide to driving in Spain for more details on general regulations and importing vehicles.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

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"At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends. "

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