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Spain Short-Term Visas – Spanish Schengen Visa

If you wish to travel to Spain for pleasure, business, study, training, or visit, a Spanish Schengen visa may be a good route. You may require a visa to transit through the Spanish airport or seaport to get to your destination country.

Live chat with us for more information on Spain’s short-stay visas, or call us at (+44) 333 4149244 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.


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    Our Advice Package is the ideal option if you are looking for expert immigration legal advice. With this service, you will have an untimed one-on-one session with one of our immigration lawyers.

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    Overview of Spain Short-Term Schengen Visa

    Spain provides Schengen visa (short-stay visas) for foreign nationals from non-EU, non visa exempt countries who need to enter Spain to transit, visit, study, or attend to business affairs in Spain. The visas are necessary for a short stay in Spain of up to 90 days at most out of 180 days.

    Spain is a member country of the Schengen area, thus sharing border-free travel agreements with other countries in the Schengen area. As a result, Spain’s short-stay visa is under the regulation of the Schengen visa code. In other words, Schengen visas apply to Spanish short-stay immigration routes.

    However, as a ground rule, you must apply at a Spanish Embassy, Consulate, or Visa Application Centre since Spain is your destination country or main destination. Spain being your main destination means that you plan to spend most of your stay in Spain than in other Schengen countries you plan to visit. Or that your travel itinerary has an equal duration for each Schengen country on your travel plan, but Spain is your first entry point.

    Nationals of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland can enter Spain without a visa. You can transit, study, or visit without a visa as a foreign national under this category. Family members of visa-exempt nationals requiring visas due to their nationality are entitled to a special free-of-charge visa.

    What Are the Spanish Short-Stay Visas?

    There are two categories of short-stay visas for Spain, which are:

    1. Spanish Schengen visas.
    2. Spain National visas.

    The following is the list of Spanish Schengen short-stay visas:

    • Airport transit visa.
    • Business visa.
    • Friends and family visit visa.
    • Medical treatment visa.
    • Official visit visa.
    • Spanish Visa for Cultural, Sports, Religious, and Film Crews.
    • Study Visa.
    • Tourist/Visitor visa.
    • Transit visa for seamen.
    • Visa for family members of a citizen of the Union.

    The following are the Spain National visas:

    • Investor visa.
    • Spain Visa for Missing Residence Permit.

    Spain Schengen Visa Types

    Airport Transit Visa

    An airport transit visa enables you to travel through the borders of Spain to get to your country’s destination. The purpose of an airport transit visa is to legally travel through the international terminal of any Spanish airport to connect with a linking flight to your destination country outside the Schengen area.

    Nationals from Gambia, Cameroon, Cuba, Guinea, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, India, Togo, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Syria, and Yemen require an airport visa to transit through Spain. In addition, foreign nationals with Palestinian Authority passports.

    As a visa-required national, you may not need an airport visa if

    • You have a valid Schengen visa or an alternative visa.
    • You have a residence permit card. You must have gotten the it from any of the following:
      • EU/EEA State or Switzerland.
      • Andorra.
      • Canada.
      • Japan.
      • Kingdom of the Netherlands and its overseas countries.
      • San Marino.
      • United States of America.
    • You have a diplomatic passport.
    • You are a family member of an EU/EEA national.
    • You are a member of a flight crew of any of the International Civil Aviation Organization member states.

    An airport visa only permits entry into the Spanish airport terminal. It does not confer eligibility to enter Spanish territory. If you must go through border control, you will need to provide a Schengen visa.

    The validity duration of the airport transit visa is 24 hours. Your stay is limited to the international transit zone of the Spanish airport. If you need to go beyond the transit zone or stay longer than the stipulated 24 hours, you will need to provide a Schengen visa.

    Business Visa

    A business visa enables you to enter Spain for business affairs. You can apply for a business visa if your business-related events or activities, such as conferences, training, meetings, and the like in Spain.

    Only EU/EEA/ Swiss citizens and nationals of the Schengen visa-free States do not require a business visa to travel to Spain for business activities

    The business visa processing normally takes ten working days. However, it may take longer, depending on your circumstance.

    Friends and Family Visit Visa

    Friends and family visit visa enable foreign nationals to visit friends, family members, and relatives living in Spain. If you are from a Schengen visa-required country, you must apply for a Schengen visitor visa to visit Spain.

    The validity period of the Friends and family visit visa depends on the decision of the Spanish embassy or consulate that issued your visa. Your visa may be valid for 90 days within 180 days. The consulate will specify the validity of your visa on your passport. Your visa will indicate your number of entries, validity duration, and countries you can visit asides from your main destination – Spain.

    You can only stay in Spain for 90 days with a friends and family visit visa. If you need to stay beyond your validity period, you can extend your stay before it expires. You can apply for a visa extension under the conditions of important personal reasons, late entry, Force Majeure, or humanitarian purposes.

    The visa application processing time takes 15 calendar days under normal circumstances. However, it may extend beyond 15 calendar days, especially during holidays from June to August. It may extend to 30 calendar days due to specific cases or 60 days for exceptional situations. The embassy or consulate will inform you if you have to wait longer than 15 days to get your visa decision.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance on Spain Short-Term Visas.

    Medical Treatment Visa

    A medical treatment visa enables you to get medical attention in Spain. The visa requires a letter from a hospital or clinic in your home country stating your health condition, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. You will also require a letter from a Spanish hospital or clinic. It must affirm your invitation and appointment to treat the medical condition stated in the letter from your home country.

    The letter must also indicate your method of transportation and the persons accompanying you to Spain. If you want to travel with a patient as their companion, you must apply for a medical treatment visa separately. You must be able to provide proof of your relationship with the patient and documents demonstrating their necessity to visit Spain for medical treatment.

    Medical treatment application processing usually takes 15 days. It may be lesser depending on the level of need for medical attention or the nature of the medical condition.

    Seaman Transit Visa

    A Seamen transit visa is for seafarers or seamen who need to debark at a port in Spain to board a ship or boat for a non-Schengen country. The purpose of a seaman transit visa is to obtain permission to board a ship in a Spanish seaport or connect with another ship docked in the Spanish seaport that links to your destination country outside the Schengen area.

    It is also useful for situations demanding you debark from a vessel, such as illness or other health conditions, repatriation, holidays, and urgent family issues.

    The period of stay in the seaport is limited. You can stay in the seaport for five days before boarding the vessel out of the Spanish seaport.

    Seamen from third countries must apply for a seaman transit visa to gain entry into the Spanish seaport. The visa application processing takes about two weeks to get a decision. However, if there is a need for extra review or in cases of exceptional circumstances, the application processing may be extended to 30 or 60 calendar days.

    Spanish Visa for Cultural, Sports, Religious, and Film Crews

    Spanish Cultural, Sports, Religious, and Film crew visa enables foreign nationals to enter Spain for cultural, sports, or religious events and filmmaking or production. For cultural, sports and religious travel purposes, you must provide an invitation letter from the Spanish organisation hosting you. The letter must indicate your stay duration, travel purpose, and information on the event or activity you are attending in Spain.

    For a film crew Spanish visa, you must provide detailed information on the film production, shooting locations, and complete film crew members. You must have a letter from a Schengen film producer or agency confirming all the information you provided. You must also have a valid certificate of registration that authenticates you as a filmmaking staff. The certificate must be authorised by a relevant agency or authority responsible for registering local filmmakers in your home country.

    Study Visa

    A study visa under the Schengen visa category is a short-stay visa that enables nationals from third countries to undergo a study program or training for up to 90 days. The duration of this visa is 90 days. If your program or training is more than 90 days, you must apply for a study visa under the national visa category (long-stay visa). Citizens of third countries with a visa-free agreement with Schengen countries do not need to apply for a Schengen study visa.

    Asides from study programs and training, the visa is open for unpaid internships and volunteer work. You must be able to provide documentation proving your status or purpose of travel, such as your admission letter into an educational institution for your study program, proof of enrollment for a training program, internship contract, and membership or registration in a volunteer programme.

    The internship contract must have your signature, the host organisation’s signature, and that of the organisation from your home country.

    You must have been accepted or enrolled in an educational or training establishment and have paid all required fees before applying for the visa. Minors must provide details of persons who assisted with the required payments. The visa processing period is 15 calendar days, but you may get a decision in a lesser duration. Due to exceptional circumstances, it may take longer – 30 to 60 calendar days.

    Tourist/Visitor Visa

    The tourist/visitor visa is only to tour Spain. You only need a Schengen visa to enter Spain for tourism purposes. Spain does not have a visa program for tourists. You can enter and stay in Spain for 90 days with the Schengen Visa.

    Schengen tourist visa is mandatory for third-country citizens to enter and tour the Spanish territories. You must be able to demonstrate that your purpose of travel is only for pleasure. You do not need a Schengen visa if you are a citizen of one of the EU/EFTA States or visa-free countries. Also, if you are a legal resident of a Schengen country with a valid residence permit, you do not need to apply for a Schengen visa.

    Although you can apply for a Schengen visa in the embassy or consulate of any Schengen country, you will have to apply at a Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country. This is because Spain is your main destination. You will need to provide evidence of your status as a worker, student, self-employed, or retiree. You must also provide proof of sufficient funds to cover your expenses and needs during your stay in Spain.

    You can apply for a tourist visa two weeks before your intended travel period. The visa application processing usually takes ten working days. It may extend to 60 days, depending on your situation or other external cases.

    Official Visit Visa

    The Schengen Visa for Official Visits permits diplomats and representatives to enter Spain on official visits. The visa follows an official invitation from an organisation in Spain to attend consultations, exchange programs, negotiations, conferences, meetings, conventions, and other intergovernmental organisation programmes.

    Only citizens from visa-required countries need to apply for an official visit visa to enter Spain for official visits. You must be able to provide a letter of invitation from your host organisation. The letter must have the signature of the relevant authority or representative with other supporting documents.

    The letter should provide information on sponsorship or means of covering living expenses during your stay in Spain. It must provide details on the purpose of your visit to Spain and your travel itinerary. If you have people travelling with you, you must provide their details and passport numbers.

    The validity period of the Schengen Visa for Official Visits is usually 90 days within 180 days. However, it solely depends on the decision of the embassy or consulate that issued your visa. Your stay duration will be specified on your passport.

    Visas for Family Members of a Citizen of the Union

    The Schengen visa for family members of the Union citizens is a preferential visa for persons related to citizens of the European Union and European Economic Area member states. Beneficiaries of this visa type are citizens of countries that require a visa and valid passports to enter Spain.

    The visa is free, and you get to enjoy special consideration for your visa processing period if you apply to join or travel with a European Union citizen.

    You do not need to apply for a visa to enter Spain if you have a valid residence permit card issued by one of the European Union / European Economic Area member states. Also, if your passport has a residence stamp 4 EUFam, you do not need to get a visa to enter Spain.

    You are eligible for a visa for family members of a citizen of the Union if you meet the following criteria:

    • You are a spouse to an EU/EEA citizen without annulment or divorce.
    • You are a partner to an EU/EEA national. Your partnership must be registered in an EU/EEA/Swiss member state. It must be extant.
    • You are a direct descendant of an EU/EEA national, their partner or spouse under the age of 21 and old. The spouse or partner must either be disabled or a dependent. The marriage or partnership must be legally extant if you are a relative of the spouse or partner of an EU/EEA national. In other words, the marriage or partnership must not be annulled or terminated prior to or during application.
    • You are a direct ascendant in the direct line of the ascent of an EU/EEA citizen or their dependent spouse or partner. The marriage or partnership must be legally standing.
    • You live with an EU/EEA national as a family member, or you are their dependent in their home country.
    • You have a severe or exceptional health condition that requires you to be under the care of your family member, an EU/EEA national.
    • You have an ongoing unregistered partnership with an EU/EEA national. You should be able to prove a stable cohabitation for at least one year. If you and your partner have children in common, you must demonstrate stable cohabitation.

    If you have any questions about Spanish Schengen Visas, our team is happy to assist.

    Spain National Short-Stay Visas

    The following are the short-stay visas that are specific to Spain.

    Spain Visa for Missing Residence Permit

    A Spain visa for missing residence permit is an alternative for re-entry into Spain if you lose your residence permit during travel outside Spain. It is the short-stay visa that enables you to return to Spain and apply for a duplicate under the condition that you lose your residence permit card or get robbed during your stay outside Spain.

    Investor Visa

    The investor visa enables foreign nationals from non-EU countries to obtain residency in Spain through capital investment and purchase of real estate in Spain. To obtain an investor visa, you must first invest in Spain, purchase real estate, buy shares, or establish a business project that can significantly impact the Spanish economy.

    Investor visa provides benefits of visa-free access to other Schengen countries, travel with family, and eligibility for Spain citizenship. It is valid for one year.

    How Can IAS Help

    IAS can assist you in applying successfully and travelling to Spain and other Schengen countries. We have the expertise and experience to navigate the visa application process according to your eligibility status and the purpose of your travel.

    Our immigration lawyers have in-depth knowledge of Spanish Schengen immigration laws. We are a reliable source of immigration advice.

    We can assist you in gathering all the necessary documents and filling out the appropriate forms accurately.

    Send us a message via live chat or call us on (+44) 333 4149244 for immediate help and assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone, or online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Yes, you can stay in Spain for three months. The maximum duration of a short-stay visa in Spain is 90 days, equivalent to three months.

    If you are a national of a visa-required country, you will need to apply for a visa to stay in Spain.

    Overstaying your stipulated stay duration is a violation of Spain Immigration Law. You will be liable to a fine, expulsion, or ban from the Schengen zone.

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