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.

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.

Seasonal or temporary work visa

If the company you work for wishes you to take up employment in Spain for a period of time, you may be eligible for a short-stay visa for seasonal work. Note that this visa is only available to non-EEA nationals and for stays of up to 9 months within 12 consecutive months.

What are the conditions for a short-stay visa for seasonal work?

You must fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must have no criminal record in Spain or the previous countries you have lived in.
  • You must be a stable resident in the country where your company is based.
  • You must have worked for at least one year in the country where your company is based and worked at the company for at least nine months.
  • You must have the skills and professional qualifications necessary to carry out the job.
  • You must commit to returning to your home country as soon as your employment contract comes to an end.

For its part, your company must fulfill the following conditions:

  1. Your company must guarantee you have the working conditions established in Law 45/1999.
  2. The employment position has been posted as vacant in regional and national employment agencies for at least 25 days to allow Spanish residents to apply for the job.
  3. The company is registered with the Spanish Social Security system and up to date with all its payments.
  4. The company must have sufficient economic and material means to meet its contractual obligations with you.
  5. The company must provide you with adequate housing that guarantees adequate accommodation conditions.
  6. The company must organise and pay for your travel to and from Spain and between your point of arrival (and departure) and housing.
  7. The company must have guaranteed workers’ return to their country in the past.

What documents do I need for this type of short-stay visa in Spain?

They include:

  • The completed visa form – you can download a copy here.
  • A full copy of your passport.
  • Copy of your contract and if necessary, proof you have the skills and/or qualifications necessary for the job.
  • A signed commitment to return to your home country once the employment contract has expired.
  • Proof that you have previously had a seasonal work permit for up to two years and returned to your home country, or proof that your company requires direct knowledge of the job.

What documents does my company need to provide?

The company transferring you to Spain must provide the following:

  • Proof of the company’s identification and tax address.
  • Employment contract for the foreign worker with the company.
  • Proof that you are part of the social security system in your home country.
  • Proof that you are legally resident in the country where the company is based.
  • Proof that your professional activity in the country is common.

What documents does the company in Spain need to provide?

  • Company identification (fiscal number for individuals or fiscal number and title deeds in the case of a company).
  • Notarised proof that the transfer is within the same company or group, or, a description of the job role, specifying its professional category, expected length of transfer and when it will take place.
  • Proof that the company has guaranteed solvency (income or company tax or VAT returns for the last three years).
  • Detailed description of the job role.
  • Proof of suitable accommodation for the employee.
  • Signed commitment to organising the employee’s arrival and departure from Spain and paying for the first trip and the cost of the journey between the arrival point and accommodation.
  • If necessary, proof that the company has previously guaranteed the return of employees to their home country.

What’s the application procedure for this type of visa?

  1. In the first instance, the employer must present the application at the Foreigners Office in the province where you will be working. The application must be made at least three months before you are due to start the job. 
  2. The authorities then have 45 days to make a decision. If after this period the employer has not received official notification, you must assume that the application has been turned down.
  1. If your employer receives a favourable answer, you must apply for a short-stay residence and work visa at a Spanish embassy or consulate within one month of the notification. You should include the following documentation with your visa application:
    • Your passport (with a minimum validity of four months).
    • Certificate of no criminal record issued by the authorities in the countries you have lived in during the previous five years.
    • Medical certificate.
    • A signed declaration that you will return to your home country as soon as your employment contract expires.
    • The embassy or consulate then has one month to make a decision on your application. If it is favourable, you must collect the visa in person within one month of the notification.
  1. The embassy or consulate then has one month to make a decision on your application. If it is favourable, you must collect the visa in person within one month of the notification.

What happens after I enter Spain?

The visa is valid from the date you enter Spain where you may now work and live for the duration of the permit. At the end of your employment contract, you must return to your home country and go to the Spanish embassy or consulate that issued your visa within one month. Failure to do so could result in the authorities turning down any future permit applications for the following three years.

Short-stay visas for audiovisual professionals

In November 2021, the Spanish government published a new set of conditions for short-stay visas for professionals in the audiovisual sector in Spain. It is designed to make the application process easier and quicker.

Note that this visa is for non-EEA nationals only.

Who can apply for this short-stay visa in Spain?

The following are eligible for this type of visa:

  • Foreign artists, technicians and professionals whose work in Spain will be in the audiovisual sector.
  • Artists performing in public or recording a performance for mass media and accompanying professionals.
  • Applicant’s spouse or registered partner.
  • Applicant’s children under 18 or those who are financially dependent.
  • Applicant’s financially dependent parents.
  • If the applicant is under 18, his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

How long is the visa for?

There are three types of visas for audiovisual professionals. The first allows you to stay in Spain for a maximum of 90 days within any period of 180 consecutive days. With the second, you can stay for longer than 90 days up to a maximum of 180. And the third allows you to stay in Spain for longer than 180 days.

What documentation do I need to stay up to 90 days?

You need your foreigner’s identity number (NIE) and to be registered with the Spanish social security unless your home country and Spain have a reciprocal agreement.

If you’re a national from a country that needs a visa to enter Spain, you also need to show you have the relevant visa. Find out if you need a visa to enter Spain.

What documentation do I need to stay for up to 180 days?

  • One photo and your passport.
  • Proof that you are resident in the country you apply for the visa.
  • Proof of your working or professional relationship with the company that is hiring you or transferring you to Spain.
  • Proof that Spain is part of a production project in the audiovisual sector.
  • State health insurance or a private policy if you are not covered by the Spanish health system.
  • Proof that the Spanish company hiring you is registered with the Spanish social security system.

Your relatives need to show:

  • Proof of their relationship with you.

What documentation do I need to stay for over 180 days?

  • The completed application form and proof you have paid the appropriate fees.
  • Your passport.
  • Proof of your working or professional relationship with the company that is hiring you or transferring you to Spain.
  • Proof that Spain is part of a production project in the audiovisual sector.
  • State health insurance or a private policy if you are not covered by the Spanish health system.
  • If the applicant is under 18, permission from his/her parents or guardians.

Your relatives need to show:

  • Proof of their relationship with you.

Do I need a Schengen visa as well?

If you need a visa to cross the Schengen borders and are staying for less than 90 days, you should apply for a Schengen visa. In the section detailing your reason for the visit, select ‘Otros’ and then ‘trabajo sector audiovisual’.

Do I need a Schengen visa for stays of over 90 days?

If you’re planning to stay for up to 90 days in 180, it’s best to apply for a long-stay visa for audiovisual professionals.

How do I apply for a long-stay audiovisual visa?

You must apply 30 days before you have been in Schengen for 90 days in total. You can apply online using the form ICT-nacional and pay the fee (around €74).

Am I allowed to leave and re-enter Spain with this type of short-stay visa?

Yes, you are.

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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