If you’re a non-EEA citizen and plan to visit Spain for purposes of residence, business, studies or professional or artistic activities and stay for over 90 days, you need a Schengen Visa. Since January 1st 2021, this applies to UK nationals as well.

The following section describes the Schengen Visa and answers some frequently asked questions about this type of short-stay visa in Spain.

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Schengen Visa for Tourism or Business

This visa allows a non-EEA national to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen zone and move freely within it.

Which countries form part of Schengen?

All EU countries except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Find out more about Schengen.

What are the requirements for a Schengen Visa?

  • Your passport (issued in the last ten years and valid for at least three months after the date of your return).
  • Planned travel itinerary including return flight ticket.
  • Reservation for accommodation or letter of invitation from a resident in Spain.
  • If you’re applying for business purposes, a letter of employment stating your job title, length of time in the post and annual salary; the dates and purpose of your trip. If you are self-employed, your last tax return.
  • Latest bank statement showing you have at least €1,000 in funds.
  • Proof of health and travel insurance coverage in the Schengen zone with a minimum coverage of €30,000

You can download the Schengen Visa application form.

Does my passport need a minimum validity?

Yes, it must have at least 90 days validity starting from the date of your entry into Schengen. Note that Spain will only accept visa applications accompanied by passports issued within the last ten years.

Where is the best place to apply for a Schengen Visa?

At the nearest Spanish consulate to you in your home country.

How long does it take to get a Schengen Visa to travel to Spain?

Applications take at least two weeks to process so plan ahead for your trip.

UK Nationals and Schengen Visa Conditions

Do UK nationals need a Schengen Visa to stay in Spain?

British passport holders travelling to Schengen countries for holidays, business or to visit family do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period, provided the visit is for non-lucrative activity. The 90 day period starts from the date they enter any of the Schengen countries, including Spain.

Since January 1st 2021, British citizens and their family members need a visa for trips to be for the purposes of residence, studies for a period larger than 90 days, work, professional, artistic or religious activities.

Find out more about getting a Schengen tourism or business visa in the UK.

Non-EEA national residents and Schengen Visa Conditions

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I am a non-EEA national resident in the UK and married to or the dependent of a UK citizen?

Yes, you need to apply for a Schengen Tourist Visa. However, if you hold a residency permit in other EEA member state issued before December 31st 2020 and can prove it,  you may apply for a free EEA Family Member Visa when travelling with the EU citizen or when meeting the EU citizen in the country of destination. This visa is free for most nationalities.

What do I need to apply for an EEA Family Member Visa?

You can read all the EAA family member visa requirements.

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I am a non-EEA national resident in the UK and married to or the dependent of an EEA citizen?

Yes, if your nationality is not exempt.

You may apply for a free EEA Family Member Visa when travelling with the EEA citizen or when meeting the EEA citizen in the country of destination. The EEA family member visa is free for most nationalities.

Find out what you need to apply for an EEA Family Member Visa.

EU Settlement or Pre-Settlement Status Residence card and Schengen

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I have an EU Settlement or Pre-Settlement Status Residence card?

Yes, because this card is not issued by the EU but by the UK for EEA nationals in the UK. It has nothing to do with Schengen.

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I have a Spouse/Partner residence card?

Yes, because this card is issued by the UK for EEA nationals in the UK. You need to apply for a Schengen Visa if you wish to travel to Spain.

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I am a holder of a Refugee Travel Document issued under the 1951 Refugee Convention?

Yes. You need to apply for a Schengen Visa or an EEA Family Member Visa (when travelling with an EEA family member or when meeting an EEA family member in the country of destination).

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I am a stateless person holding a travel document issued under the 1954 Convention?

Yes. You need to apply for a Schengen Visa or an EEA Family Member Visa (when travelling with an EEA family member or when meeting an EEA family member in the country of destination).

Can I apply for a Schengen Visa from the UK if I’m a tourist, visitor or student in the UK?

Only if you have a British Residence Permit (BRP) or a short-term student visa issued by the UK. If you do not have either of these documents, you must apply for a Schengen Visa to visit Spain via a Spanish Consulate in your home country.

Do children on a school trip need a Schengen Visa?

If they are under 18 and form part of an organised school trip with a teacher accompanying them, they are exempt from requiring a Schengen Visa. This exemption only applies to children at school.

Do I need a visa to travel to Spain if I have a NATO Travel Order?

Members of the armed forces with a NATO Travel Order and their military ID card do not need a visa.

What do I do if my Schengen Visa is refused?

You have the chance to appeal the decision within one month of notification.

You can appeal to the Visa Department at the Consulate where you made your application or to the Madrid High Court of Justice (if you choose this route, all documents need to be translated into Spanish).

You need to provide the following documentation:

  • A copy of the refusal decision.
  • A letter stating the grounds for your appeal.
  • Documents supporting your appeal.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • A copy of your residence permit.
  • Contact details including your current address, email and home telephone number.

The Consulate has one month to make a decision. If you do not receive a reply within one month, you can consider that your appeal has not been successful.

Transit Visa

Do I need a Transit Visa if I am travelling through an international area at a Spanish airport?

Only if you are a national of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, India, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Syria, Togo or Yemen. Or if you have a passport issued by the Palestinian Authority.

Find out the requirements for a Transit Visa in Spain.

Exemptions from a Transit Visa

If you are one of the following, you do not need a Transit Visa:

  • Holder of a valid uniform visa, national long-stay visa or residence permit issued by an EEA state.
  • Holder of a valid visa issued by Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Romania or the US.
    The exemption applies when you return from these countries having already used the visa. Your return trip must take place as soon as possible after the visa expires. This exemption also applies irrespective of whether you are travelling to the country that issued the visa or a third country. However, if your visa issued by one of these countries has expired and you are returning from a third country (ie not the one that issued the visa) you do need a Transit Visa.
  • Holders of a valid residence permit issued by Andorra, Canada, Ireland, Japan, San Marino or the US.
  • Family members of EEA nationals covered by Directive 2004/38/EC, irrespective of whether they are travelling alone, to accompany or join the EEA national.
  • Holders of diplomatic passports.
  • Flight crew members who are nationals of a country party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation.

Transit at Madrid Barajas Airport

If you transit at Madrid Barajas Airport from Terminals 1, 2 or 3 to Terminals 4 or 4S, you enter the Schengen zone and therefore need a valid Schengen tourist visa.

Visa to Work in the Arts

Do I need a visa to work in Spain for less than 90 days as an artist, model, actor or musician?

Yes, you need to apply for a C-type work visa or a D-type work visa, depending on how long your work will last in Spain.

C-type Work Visa

This visa is for you if you will perform/ work in Spain for no longer that 5 consecutive days or 20 performance days (rehearsals are not taken into account) within a period of up to 6 months, and intend to stay in Spain for a period of no longer than 90 days.

You are required to submit the same documents as for a Business visa and to provide a work contract/ invitation letter stating the exact number of days you are working/ performing in Spain.

D-type Work Visa

You need this visa if your work means you will be in Spain for longer than 90 days.

Read what’s required for this type of visa to work in Spain.

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