The visa regime in Spain

In this article we want to talk about the list of citizens of the countries that need visa to enter Spain, diverse types of visas and the exceptions from the obligation to have a visa.

To enter Spain for a period not exceeding ninety days within six months from the date of entry, it is necessary to comply with several requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European parliament and of the council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code).

Royal Decree 557/2011 of April 20, which approves Organic Law 4/2000 on the rights and freedoms of foreigners residing in Spain and their social integration, should also be considered.

Article 1 of this law establishes that entry into Spain must be made through the border controls, and Article 4 specifies the requirements that must be observed for the entry of an foreigner into the territory of Spain. In addition to the passport, a foreigner who intends to enter the territory of Spain must have a Spanish visa if he does not have a valid residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another EU Member State.

The following list, updated on June 11, 2017 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Spain, describes the countries whose citizens must enter the territory of Spain with a visa, as well as countries whose citizens have the right to visa-free entry. According to the ministry’s newsletter, the norm governing these cases is Council Regulation (EC) No. 539/2001 of 15 March 2001, which applies to all EU countries.

Since the citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are guaranteed free crossing of the Spanish border within the framework of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, these countries are not listed in the list. It should be noted that it is possible that in some cases the exemption from the visa requirement is subject to the possession of biometric passports, or that they fulfill other similar requirements. It is also possible that the exemption from the visa requirement will be applied provisionally from the day after the signing of a visa exemption agreement with the European Union.

If a foreigner intending to enter the territory of Spain is a holder of a residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another EU state, he/she has the right to travel to the countries of the Schengen zone if the following conditions are met:

  • Have a valid not expired international passport
  • Justify the purpose of the trip
  • Proof of the sufficiency of economic means during the period of permanence
  • Do not pose a danger to public health, public order, national security, etc.
  • Not appear on the national list of ineligible persons of the Member State concerned.

According to Article 25 of Organic Law 4/2000 of 11 January on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, the following types of visas exist:

  1. Transit visa: this is a visa that allows“transit through the international transit area of a Spanish airport or through Spanish territory.”
  2. Tourist visa: allows continuous or successive stay for 90 days within a period of 180 days from the date of entry. To control the number of days of a visa, the “Schengen calculator” can be used.
  3. strong>Resident’s visa: allows you to stay in Spain, but without a work permit.
  4. A resident visa with the right to work: as its name indicates, it allows you to live and work in Spain.
  5. Residency and seasonal work visa: allows residence with a work permit, but for a certain period of time.
  6. Educational (student) visa: enables you to reside within the country and carry out studies, courses, unpaid internships, etc.
  7. Investigation visa: allows to conduct research projects, if for this purpose there is an appropriate agreement.

In addition, we can mention very briefly, Law 14/2013, of September 27, of support for the entrepreneur, which has foreseen the so-called “Golden Visa”. Article 61 and in the following provide the conditions and procedures for obtaining a visa and residence permit for investors. However, investments must be very significant, and if the requirements established by law are met, a residence permit will be granted for an initial period of one year.

There are other types of visas and art. 25 bis of the Organic Law 4/2000, of January 11, on rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, establishes in its third paragraph that“statutorily, the diverse types of visas will be developed.”

Finally, the visa must be requested personally by the applicant or his/her authorized representative in the Consulate or Embassy of the country that will be visited. Usually, when applying for a visa, there is a mandatory non-refundable visa fee, which each applicant must pay, and the amount of this fee depends on the type of visa requested.

To sum up, there is a list of countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Spain. In other cases, it is necessary to request a specific type of visa, depending on the purpose of the trip and other relevant circumstances.

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