Visa Requirements for Short Stays of up to 90 Days
Spanish government regulations allow American citizens to enter Spain or Andorra visa-free for up to three months; however you may require a return or on-going ticket or proof of funds.
It is also worth noting that your passports must be valid for at least three months after your planned departure from the Schengen area.
Visa Requirements for Americans Working in Spain
Obtaining a work permit is a complicated process and with a few exceptions (scientists, academics) if you are to be employed in Spain you will require one.
American citizens who intend to work in Spain must obtain an appropriate visa from the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in their state/country of last residence. Once the visa has been supplied, you will have three months to apply for the corresponding work permit from the Spanish authorities in Spain.
However, in order to get a work permit, you must first find a job. Your would-be employer must then request the work permit for you. A work permit will be issued only if the job is listed as a Shortage Occupation or if the vacancy has been advertised and there are no other suitable candidates from Spain or the EU.
Once you have received the authorisation to work it is combined with your residence permit and you can apply for a visa.
While your employer submits the application for a work permit to the provincial office of the Ministry of Labour; you can send a copy of the application with the stamp from that office and file number to the Spanish embassy or consulate you are dealing with for your application for a work and residence visa.
The embassy then informs the regional labour office that it has your application and the labour office starts to process your application. You need to be organised and plan ahead because the whole process can take up to eight months. Your work permit will be valid for one year and can be renewed.
Check the Ministry of Interior's website for the latest updates. http://www.mir.es/
At the time of writing, the fee for a work visa is $190, but may be subject to change in the future.
If you are looking to become self-employed in Spain, the fee for the self-employed visa is currently $270.
Visa Requirements for Americans Studying in Spain
Any American citizen who intends to follow a programme of education that lasts longer than 90 days is required by Spanish law to obtain a student visa (apart from Winter Term and Summer Term students). You can obtain a student visa using the National Visa application. You will find the link to print the National Visa application with the Student Visa instructions on your consulate's website and the Student Visa instructions are usually found under the Consular Services link on the same website.
Once you have been accepted onto your programme of study in Spain, you should apply for your student visa immediately at the Spanish consulate for your jurisdiction. It's a good idea to check the Visa Information Packet to see which consulate you should use. Be warned: there are tight time restrictions on the student visa process and you may have to attend a visa interview. Make the appointment for the interview so that it takes place no later than 7-10 weeks before the start of your programme – otherwise you may find there are no appointments left. If you don't need to attend the interview at the consulate you should apply for your visa no later than 7-10 weeks before the start of your studies.
It usually takes 7-10 weeks to issue a visa once your application has been submitted. Check the consulate's website for the most up-to-date estimations on how long your visa will take to process and take local or Spanish holidays into consideration.
You will need to supply "proof of financial means" and "proof of health insurance". You therefore need a letter showing you have paid all of the fees for the programme of study you are pursuing and supply a copy of your program health insurance Information (HTH).
Remember to check your consulate website. Each Spanish consulate in the United States functions independently and makes its own rules, deadlines, and policies.
At the time of writing, the fee for a student visa is $160, but may be subject to change in the future.
Visa Requirements for Americans Living Permanently in Spain
Long-Term Visas entitle American citizens to reside, work, study or research in Spain. In order to obtain a long-term visa you will have to submit a completed application form (original and copy), which can be obtained at Spain's Diplomatic Missions or Consular Posts abroad. You must apply for the visa in person at the consulate in the jurisdiction where you legally reside, and you will usually pay a fee.
Visas are usually granted one month after application and must be collected personally from your relevant Diplomatic Mission or Consular Post unless you notify them of a duly authorized representative.
If your visa is refused, you will be notified of the reason and you will be given leave to appeal.
The current fee for a long-term residence visa is $160, but these prices may change in the future.
A Schengen visa is a visa that allows people to visit or travel in the Schengen Area. The Schengen Area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country. Of these 26 countries, 22 are part of the European Union and the other four are part of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association).
Processing of short-term (Schengen) visa applications is via Spain's Diplomatic Missions or Consular Posts abroad and is generally quite quick – just 15 calendar days after the application has been submitted although it can take longer where more detailed examination of your application is necessary.
The fee for the Schengen visa is generally €60.
American citizens that hold a valid US passport and are traveling for tourism or business can apply to enter the Schengen area without a visa for a period of three months within each six-month period. Once you have spent three months in the Schengen area during any six-month period, you will then have to wait another three months before you can apply to enter the Schengen area again.
The requirement that short-term tourism or business visitors' passports be valid for at least three months beyond the intended date of departure from the Schengen area is being rigorously enforced so your passport must be valid for at least six months, regardless of the duration of your stay. You may be refused boarding to an aircraft or transit if this is not the case. Immigration officials decide whether you qualify for entry into the Schengen area. Make sure that your passport is stamped upon entry and exit.
At the time of writing, the fee for the Schengen visa is $64, but may be subject to change in the future.
How Do I Renew My Visa from Spain?
If you decide that you would like to stay longer you will need to obtain an extension of stay from Spanish immigration authorities via a request at a police station. This must be made at least three weeks before your initial entry period runs out, but be aware that extensions are usually only granted in exceptional circumstances. If you overstay your permitted time you may be liable for a fine.
If you do decide you want to stay in Spain longer than three months, inquire firstly at a Spanish embassy or consulate near your place of residence or write directly to the Spanish National Police at Calle Moratin, 43, 28014 Madrid.
You should be aware that the Spanish government is increasingly strict about people who overstay their visas or their visa-free entry as per the Schengen Agreement. You could face immediate deportation or deportation after spending a number of days in detention.
If you are an American citizen and you wish to stay in Spain for longer than three months, or apply for residency in Spain, you will be required to supply local authorities with an official criminal records check from your state of residence or from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Criminal Justice Information Services office (CJIS).
Contact your local consular office or Embassy branch in the first instance to find out how to renew a visa from Spain. Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Embassy of Spain websites for the most current visa information.
You can find a full list of Spanish Consulates in the United States at the following page
Further detailed information on visa requirements for Americans entering Spain can be found at
February 16, 2012