Healthplan Spain


What Are The Legal Requirements For Minors Travelling Alone In Spain? Expat Tips

As a parent, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations governing minors travelling alone in Spain. The Spanish Constitution places great emphasis on the protection and well-being of minors, and there are specific laws in place to ensure that their best interests are prioritised.

Organic Law 1/1996 on the Legal Protection of Minors and Instruction 10/2019 of the Secretary of State for Security regulate the procedures and requirements for minors travelling outside of Spain. This includes the necessary travel documentation and permits required for minors travelling alone or accompanied by adults who do not exercise parental responsibility.

The Spanish Constitution, in enumerating the guiding principles of social and economic policy, mentions in the first place the obligation of the Public Authorities to ensure the social, economic, and legal protection of the family and, within this, with a singular character, that of minors. Organic Law 1/1996 on the Legal Protection of Minors, partially amending the Civil Code and the Civil Procedure Act, provides that the actors who must adopt measures concerning minors must consider that their best interests will prevail over any other legitimate interest that may occur.

To guarantee that minors travelling outside the country have the authorisation of the persons who hold their parental authority, specific requirements have been established to raise the standards of their integral protection. Instruction 10/2019, of 9 July, of the Secretary of State for Security, which regulates the procedure for granting the travel permit outside the national territory for minors, establishes the way to carry out this action by the State Security Forces and Bodies.
For minors travelling alone or accompanied by adults who do not exercise parental responsibility, border officers have the power to carry out a thorough inspection of travel documents and receipts. This measure aims to safeguard the safety and well-being of minors and ensure that their best interests are protected.

Spanish nationals

  • All Spanish minors must carry valid ID to travel outside the national territory within the European Union, the European Economic Area, and the Swiss Confederation.
  • If they travel outside these territories, they must carry a valid passport. Foreign minors in Spain who plan to leave the country must carry their passport or valid travel document.

For Spanish minors under 18 years of age who are travelling abroad without any of their legal representatives, they will require a signed declaration of travel permit outside the national territory, in addition to a valid DNI or passport.

Foreign nationals residing in Spain

The regulation regarding minors travelling outside of Spain does not extend to foreign children who are living in Spain and are governed by the laws of their country of origin, nor does it apply to non-resident foreign children who are visiting Spain.

Foreign minors residing in Spain must follow the regulations of their respective national legislation and visit their consular authorities to complete the appropriate documentation.

What about UK nationals?

Unless they are bound by a court order which specifies that written permission is necessary from those with parental responsibility, British children are not required to carry written permission to travel. However, if such a court order applies or in order to ensure that an unaccompanied child can leave Spain without any delay, it is necessary to obtain a certified authorisation from a public notary in Spain.

On the other hand, if you are a parent with parental responsibility for Spanish children residing in Spain, you can obtain a certified authorisation from a notary, a national police station (in Spanish), or the Guardia Civil (in Spanish).


Q. What is the procedure for Spanish minors who reside in Spain and have a contractual or personal obligation to leave the country on a regular basis? For instance, in cases where minors are part of sports teams and need to travel outside the country to participate in competitions, study abroad and return to Spain during breaks, or live in border areas of Spain and need to cross the border to attend their enrolled educational centres or go on excursions.

The purpose of the form is to address specific factual situations. However, some circumstances require minors to travel frequently over an extended period of time. In such cases, it is acceptable to issue an authorisation that covers the duration of the situation. An Annex attached to the authorisation should provide details on the contractual relationship, sports competitions, activities, and dates or deadlines for completion. Any supporting documents that verify the situation may also be requested.

The authorisation will only remain valid during the duration of the occasional or periodic displacement, such as during the work, competition, or academic period. Once the tasks that support such movements are completed, the authorisation will expire.

Q. How are Spanish minors who travel alone to Spain and are not resident in the country treated?

If Spanish minors who do not reside in Spain travel to the country unaccompanied by their parents or legal guardians, they won't need the authorisation mentioned earlier, as the regulation does not apply to them. However, to prove their residence outside of Spain when leaving the country, they will need to provide documentation that verifies their current address. This can include identity and nationality documents, as well as other documents issued by the authorities of their country of residence, such as a residence card or certificate of registration in the foreigners registry. They may also need documents issued by Spanish consular authorities, such as a certificate of residence, which can be obtained electronically.

Q. Do travel authorisations have a validity period?

The travel authorisations granted in compliance with this Instruction shall remain valid for a period of 90 days starting from their issuance date. Therefore, individuals are required to visit the National Police or the Civil Guard offices within 90 days before their departure date.

In situations where Spanish minors who usually live in Spain travel frequently outside the country for work, sports, academic, or other similar reasons, this duration shall be reckoned from their first departure.

Q. Does the minor need to be present at the police station when completing authorisation?

No. It is not necessary for the minor to be present at the police station, but the presence of a parent, legal representative or foster parents is mandatory.

Q. Is there a minimum age for a minor to travel?

As a general rule, most airlines will not permit any child under the age of 5 to travel alone.

Most airlines provide an unaccompanied minors service to look after young children both at the airport and during the flight. This service is often a requirement for those between 5 and 11 years and optional for 12-17 year olds. As an example, please check out the service provided by Iberia Airlines.


Overall, Spain has taken significant steps to ensure that minors travelling outside the country are safe and their best interests are protected. The government's efforts demonstrate a strong commitment to upholding the rights of minors and promoting their well-being.

By understanding these laws and regulations, parents can take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of their children when they travel outside of Spain.

Please note that this legislation pertains exclusively to minors leaving Spain and does not apply to minors entering the country. Moreover, foreign nationals are subject to the laws of their respective countries and not to Spanish legislation.

Any minor under the age of 18 attempting to leave Spain who does not possess the correct travel documents and/or authorisation from a parent will not be permitted to travel.