It is possible that your country of origin does not require a visa to travel to Spain. While it is true that this makes the process much easier, it does not eliminate the need to comply with a series of other essential requirements.
Thus, in this article we are bout to explore the complete list of 6 requirements required to enter Spain without a visa, each of them essential if you want to avoid suffering a rejection upon your entry.
Besides, through section we will solve all the main questions foreigners typically have about this procedure.
When is a visa not required to enter Spain?
Before starting with the list of specific requirements, we must take into account in which situation they do actually apply.
As you may know, tourist visas allow you to stay in Spain (and throughout the European Union) for a maximum period of 90 days (3 months).
Depending on your country of origin, in order to be able to stay for these 3 months in the Spanish territory, you will have to (or not) apply for a visa.
Spain has double agreements with many countries, and those agreements facilitate the transit of people between both countries, eliminating the need to apply for this document. You can find the complete list of these visa-free countries here.
In case you want to stay longer in the country, you will have to apply for a residence permit, and this will be true no matter the fact you need a tourist visa or not. Find out all the details here.
But let’s go back to the subject of this post, the entry requirements for Spain without a visa.
Even if your country does not require a visa to enter Spain and is on the above list, this does not mean that you should not meet a number of requirements to enter the country.
That is to say, whether you have applied for a visa as a tourist or not, when you arrive at the Spanish border a police officer will stop you and ask you to demonstrate a series of requirements. If you do not meet them, you will have to take a plane back because your entry will have been rejected.
Let’s see, then, what these requirements are.
Requirements to enter Spain without a visa
Below we analyze the complete list of requirements that the immigration law has determined every foreigner must comply with.
However, it is entirely possible to find cases in which the foreigner arrives in Spain and is not asked to demonstrate them. The authorities cannot control 100% of the passengers of all planes landing, so there are certain occasions in which they might not ask you for the requirements (even though it is something quite unusual).
However, on a legal level, you MUST comply with the following, and our recommendation is that you do so carefully.
Bring with you a valid passport
First of all, as obvious as it may sound, you will need your identification element in the country. We are talking about the need to carry your biometric passport with you.
You must make sure that it is original, valid, and still in force by the time you travel to the country.
This last point is very important, as it is completely usual not to think about your passport until 1 week before your trip, to realize that it is expired and you must renew it (with almost no time to do it before the departure date).
So much so, that there is an extra requirement in relation to this passport. It will be essential that the expiration date is at least 3 months later than the date on which you will end your stay in Spain and leave the country.
That is to say, if you leave Spain on January the 1st, your passport must be valid at least until April the 1st.
Have travel medical insurance
Most probably this second point will not surprise you at all, as it is typical and known by all that wherever you travel you will need medical insurance with complete coverage in the country.
So much so that most airlines or travel agencies will offer it to you on their own platform.
The important thing is to take into account what requirements this medical insurance must meet.
In general, it should cover any eventuality you may suffer in Spain, guaranteeing medical attention and full hospitalization in case you need it.
As we have already mentioned, your tourist stay can last a maximum of 90 days.
To make sure that this is the case and that you do not exceed the 3 months allowed, the authorities require that, before entering the country, you have already purchased both the going and return flight tickets.
In other words, you cannot arrive in Spain with the idea of deciding how long you will stay and buy the return ticket afterwards.
The date of departure or return must be perfectly stipulated before starting your trip, and this is something that will be confirmed with the return ticket.
A return ticket that, following this argument, must always be within the 90 days allowed (and never later).
In addition, it will be important that your name appears on those flight tickets, even if you did not make the reservation.
Confirmed accommodation for all your nights
While having roundtrip tickets is one of the necessary ways to prove that you will not stay longer than the time allowed in Spain as a tourist, accommodation is another equally important one.
Thus, you must prove that you have confirmed accommodation for each and every one of the nights you are going to stay in the country (it is not possible, for example, to have a hotel reservation for the first few days with the idea of finding another one once you are in Spain).
And this applies both for the nights you stay in the Spanish territory and if you move across the EU during your stay as a tourist (you must also prove the nights in other countries).
How can you prove that you have confirmed accommodation? The answer depends on where you are staying:
- If you stay in a hotel, apartment, Airbnb, or similar, you must provide the booking reservation in this accommodation with the invoice payment. If you are staying in more than one hotel/apartment, it will be important to submit reservations for each of them. Again, it is key that these reservations are always in your name.
- On the other hand, you may be staying with a relative or friend. If this is the case, before traveling to Spain, this relative or friend must send you what is known as an invitation letter, legally stating that she accepts you each night at her residence. Here you can find an article with all the information for you to understand clearly how this letter of invitation works.
Having enough money with you
Another fundamental requirement to enter Spain without a visa is bringing enough money to support your living during your entire stay in the country.
How much money are we talking about exactly?
In general, 95€ per day in the country, and per person. That is, if you stay 10 days, you should bring, at least, 950€ (10 x 95).
But, for shorter stays, there is a monetary minimum. If the amount you get by multiplying the number of days you stay by 95 does not exceed 950€, you must bring at least 950€.
In short, the minimum you must bring with you will be the greater amount between 950 or 95 x the days you are in Spain.
And how do you prove it? It can be either in cash that you bring with you or money on a credit or debit card.
Passing a police interrogation
Once you land in the country, you will have to pass a police control. In this police control, you may be asked a series of questions (although it is not something that happens 100% of the time).
It is a completely normal and simple interrogation, through which the authorities try to understand what your real reasons for traveling are.
However, we must make a small caveat here.
Although it is something uncommon and does not usually happen, if the police still have doubts about whether you are going to stay longer than the time allowed (and even if you comply with the 5 requirements we have seen above), they could refuse your entry and you would have to return to your country of origin.
That is why in this part of the process it is always very useful to provide any kind of extra proof that allows you to demonstrate the reasons for your trip. We are talking about, for example, tickets for any activity you are going to do as a tourist in the country, reservations to events if you are coming for business reasons, etc.
Finally, it is important to mention an extra requirement that although it is not yet in force and you should not take into consideration today, in the very near future it will be a fundamental part of the entry process.
We are referring to the ETIAS form, a document issued at the European level that will come into force at the end of 2022.
From then on, any foreigner who intends to enter Spain without a visa will have to fill in its form to apply for it. This document will ensure that all entry requirements are met (those seen in this article) and will automatically reject or approve the application online.
One of the positive points of this new system is that if for any reason your application is rejected, you will have that answer before traveling, gaining time for you to correct and submit the missing requirements (unlike the current situation in which you discover that your entry is rejected once you have already landed in the Spanish territory).
This document will be requested by the airline with which you fly directly in your country of origin, so it will be essential to be able to board and travel.
Thus, and as a summary, for now, you only have to worry about the points seen at the beginning of this article, but keep in mind that very soon the process will change, and requesting the ETIAS form will be essential to ensure a successful entry.
And so far this is the complete list of requirements. Remember that if you have any doubts or need legal assistance, our immigration lawyers are here to help you: