In Spain, travel visa requirements vary according to nationality, intended length of stay and purpose of the trip (tourism, studies and other). Check if you need a tourist visa to visit Spain before starting planning your trip.
Here is a list with the most frequently asked questions related to the Spanish travel visa.
How long can you stay with a Spain travel visa?
It allows you to stay for 90 days (3 months) over a period of 180 days (6 months). This 180 day rule is set up to prevent people from popping into a non-Schengen state for a few days to get an easy visa renewal.
The 90-day period starts upon the first entry into any country that is part of the Schengen Area. Moreover, the 90 days are cumulative and apply to travel within all countries of the Schengen Area.
How long does it take to process your tourist visa?
New immigration measures have been implemented in Spain as a consequence of the terrorist attacks carried out in Madrid on March 11th, 2004.
One of the measures is that all visa applications must be thoroughly studied by the Spanish Police and Security Forces before a visa is granted. As a result, the time that it takes to process a tourist visa has increased substantially and it will now take at least 4 weeks in most cases.
What documents do you need to apply for a Spain travel visa?
It will depend on your nationality. Please contact a Spanish Embassy or Consulate to get all the information.
What if you want to travel around and enter Spain several times?
It will depend on the destination of your trip. Once you enter the Schengen Area, you are free to travel anywhere. It means that you can enter and exit a Schengen Area country as many times as you want, within the limit of your 90-day visa.
However, if you decide to exit the Schengen Area (you plan to go to Morocco or the UK for example) you will need a multiple entry visa to re-enter Spain.
Can you study in Spain with a travel visa?
Yes you can, as long as you do it for less than 3 months. If you plan to stay longer, you may have to apply for a student visa.
Can you work in Spain with a travel visa?
No. If you want to work in Spain you’ll have to apply for a Spain work visa.
If you cannot work, how will you pay for your travel expenses?
When applying for a Spain tourist visa, you’ll need to submit proof of financial means throughout the length of your stay. You will be asked to present a bank statement so you’d better start saving for you next trip if you are planning on traveling to Spain!
You want to stay longer than 3 months. Can you ask for an extension?
There is no chance of extension beyond 90 days in order to stay in the Schengen zone for most EU countries; Spain is one of them.
Is it possible to travel to Spain for 90 days and then travel to another country (e.g. for a weekend) to reset the 90-days restriction and go back to Spain?
No. The Law clearly states that there is a maximum 90-day stay within a 180-day period beginning from the first day of entry. Provided a multiple-entry visa has been granted, one may leave and return a number of times within the 180-day period but the combined stay within the region must total no more than 90 days.
In other words, leaving the Schengen Area after 90 days and returning a few days later to get an automatic visa renewal is not an option. You can get a new tourist visa for all Schengen countries only after 90 days from your first entry into any Schengen Area country.
Nevertheless, the Schengen Area has a few loopholes that can help you to stay longer than 90 days… and just with your Schengen tourist visa. Dangerous but, are you curious enough?
You don’t care what the Law says. You are planning to overstay!
After 90 days of continuous stay in the Schengen Area, you must leave for another 91 days before you can re-enter. This means that if you overstay you can be fined or deported.
Now, with all that information, my recommendation is not messing around with the authorities. If they catch you with significant overstay, you will be banned from entering the Schengen territory for a certain amount of time. In very serious offenses (depending on how long you overstay) you could be sent to jail and get a lifelong ban.
This article is part of a complete tutorial about Spain visa requirements where you can read all the information you need to organize your road trip around the country.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. Do you need a visa for Spain?
2. Spain tourist visa requirements for foreign visitors
3. Spain travel visa FAQ
4. The Schengen countries
5. Schengen tourist visa: can you stay in Europe 90+ days with it?
6. Student visa: Spain welcomes you!
7. Spanish Embassies in the world