SpainOfficial Name: Kingdom of Spain
Must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays less than 90 days in Spain. Not required for stays less than three months in Andorra.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Calle Serrano, 75
Telephone: +(34) (91) 587-2240
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(34) (91) 587-2200. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside business hours.
Fax: +(34) (91) 587-2303
Routine and emergency services for U.S. citizens are provided by the American Citizens Services section of the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy. Appointments are required for routine consular services. Additional information is available through the U.S. Citizen Services page on the Embassy’s website. To make an appointment, please visit the U.S. Embassy's online appointment system for U.S. Citizen Services.
U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23-25
08034 Barcelona, Spain
Telephone: +(34) (93) 280-2227
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(34) (91) 587-2200. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside business hours.
Fax: +(34) (93) 280-6175
The U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona provides many services for U.S. citizens, including emergency passport services. The American Citizens Services section’s assistance also includes, but is not limited to, routine passport services, notary services, and Consular Reports of Births Abroad. The Consulate General also assists in emergencies, including deaths, arrests and crisis situations. You need to make an online appointment for routine consular services. For assistance regarding Andorra, please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona.
U.S. Consular Agencies
There are five consular agencies in Spain, which provide limited services to U.S. citizens. Passport applications may be submitted at the agencies. However, the agencies are not authorized to issue passports and will forward the applications for processing. Anyone requesting service at one of the consular agencies should call ahead to verify that the service requested will be available on the day you expect to visit the agency. The agencies’ contact information is below. Please note that the emergency after-hours telephone number for all of Spain is: (34) 91 587 2200. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you call this number for emergency assistance outside business hours.
U.S. Consular Agency - Fuengirola (Málaga)
Avenida Juan Gómez "Juanito", 8
Edificio Lucía 1º-C
29640 Fuengirola (Málaga), Spain
Telephone: +(34) (95) 247-4891
Fax: +(34) (95) 246-5189
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
U.S. Consular Agency - Las Palmas
Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7
35007 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
Telephone: +(34) (92) 827-1259
Fax: +(34) (92) 822-5863
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
U.S. Consular Agency - Palma de Mallorca
Edificio Reina Constanza
Porto Pi, 8, 9-D
07015 Palma, Islas Baleares, Spai
Telephone: +(34) (97) 140-3707 or (34) (97) 140-3905
Fax: +(34) (97) 140-3971
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
U.S. Consular Agency - Seville
Plaza Nueva 8-8 duplicado
2nd Floor, Office E-2 No.4
41101 Sevilla, Spain
Telephone: +(34) (95) 421-8751
Fax: +(34) (95) 422-0791
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
U.S. Consular Agency - Valencia
Dr. Romagosa, 1, 2, J
46002, Valencia, Spain
Telephone: +(34) (96) 351-6973
Fax: +(34) (96) 352-9565
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Spain and Andorra are both advanced, stable democracies with modern economies. Spain is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Spain and Andorra for additional information.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Spain is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days in a six-month period for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. For additional details about traveling to and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact Sheet. For details regarding what is required for an official letter of invitation please visit the website of the Spanish Embassy in the U.S.
Spanish Immigration strictly enforces national immigration laws and regulations. You may be expected to present documentation related to the purpose of your trip, your return flight, hotel reservations or the letter of invitation, and proof that you have sufficient funds for your stay to the Spanish Immigration officer upon your entry into Spain. In recent years, an increased number of U.S. citizens have been refused entry because they failed to comply with and/or satisfy Spanish immigration laws, including because they overstayed on previous visits to Spain or other Schengen countries.
The Spanish government scrutinizes visitors who overstay their visas or their visa-free entry per the Schengen Agreement. Immediate deportation after spending a number of days in detention is not uncommon. You should leave Spain promptly at the end of the 90-day visa-free travel period, or at the end of the time stated on your visa.
U.S. citizens who wish to stay in Spain for longer than three months, or who wish to apply for residency in Spain, will also need to supply local authorities with an official criminal records check from their state of residence or from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Services office (CJIS). Both types of documents must carry the apostille from the state authority for state criminal records and by the Department of State for the FBI records.
Neither the Embassy nor the Consulate General takes fingerprints for the purpose of criminal records checks; rather, U.S. citizens can obtain a letter from the Embassy or Consulate General asking local police to take their fingerprints. To obtain the letter from the Embassy, individuals need to make an appointment for notarial services. To obtain the letter from the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, individuals should make an appointment for notarial services with this link.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Embassy of Spain website for the most current visa information. For more information concerning entry requirements for Spain, travelers should contact the Embassy of Spain at 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037, telephone (202) 452-0100 or (202) 728-2340, or the nearest Spanish Consulate in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, or San Juan. Additional information can be found from the Tourist Office of Spain which has offices in several U.S. cities.
Andorra does not have an airport; therefore, all visitors to Andorra must enter via a land border with either Spain or France. There are no visa requirements for entry into Andorra for stays of up to three months; however, the relevant regulations for France or Spain should be followed, depending on which country is transited to reach Andorra. Andorra is not part of the Schengen area. People entering Europe on a Schengen visa should therefore make sure that their visa entitles them to repeated visits to prevent them from being refused entry to Spain or France following a stay in Andorra.
For more information on entry requirements to Andorra, travelers should contact the Embassy of the Principality of Andorra to the United States of America, 2 U.N. Plaza, 25th floor, New York, NY 10018, telephone (212) 750-8064, email Andorra@un.int.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
HIV/AIDS RESTRICTIONS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Spain and Andorra.
Safety and Security
Spain and Andorra share with the rest of the world an increased threat of international terrorist incidents. Like other countries in the Schengen area, Spain's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity. Spain’s proximity to North Africa makes it vulnerable to attack from al-Qa’ida terrorists in the Maghreb region. We remind U.S. citizens to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution at all times.
In March 2004, Islamist extremists bombed four commuter trains entering Madrid, causing 191 deaths and over 1,400 injuries. Spanish authorities tried the suspected terrorists and their co-conspirators in February 2007 and they were convicted in October 2007.
In 2011, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization publicly announced a “definitive cessation of armed activity” and there have been no attacks attributed to ETA since. While recent arrests have seriously weakened the organization, and despite the announcement, ETA has not disarmed or disbanded. ETA has historically avoided targeting foreigners, instead directing their attacks against the police, military, local politicians, and Spanish government targets as well as towards disrupting transportation and daily life. However, foreigners have been killed or injured collaterally in ETA attacks, and the risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in event of an ETA action is a concern for foreign visitors and tourists. U.S. citizen tourists traveling to Spain should remain vigilant, exercise caution, monitor local developments, and avoid demonstrations and other potentially violent situations. Prior police approval is required for all public demonstrations in Spain, and police are present to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by. Nonetheless, spontaneous demonstrations do take place in Spain from time to time in response to world events or local developments. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become unpredictable and even violent; you should avoid them if at all possible. Be alert and aware of your surroundings, and pay attention to what the local news media have to say. In general, larger public demonstrations are announced on the Demonstrations page on the U.S. Embassy Madrid website.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook as well.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Spain on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States. and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Andorra has a low rate of crime. While most of Spain has a moderate rate of crime and most U.S. citizen who travel to Spain each year have trouble-free visits, street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas. Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of pickpocketing, mugging, and occasional violent attacks, some of which require the victim to seek medical attention. Criminals tend to frequent tourist areas and major attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, outdoor cafes, Internet cafes, hotel lobbies, beach resorts, city buses, subways, trains, train stations, airports, and ATMs.
In Madrid, incidents have been reported in all major tourist areas, including the area near the Prado Museum, near Atocha train station, in Retiro Park, in areas of old Madrid including near the Royal Palace, and in Plaza Mayor. There have been a number of passport and bag thefts reported at Barajas Airport, local hotels, as well as in El Rastro (Madrid’s flea market) and in the Metro.
In Barcelona, the largest number of incidents reported also occurred in major tourist areas--on Las Ramblas, El Prat Airport, Sants train station, inside Metro stations, in the Sagrada Familia area, in the Gothic Quarter, in Park Güell, in Plaza Reial, and along Barcelona’s beaches. There have been a number of thefts reported at the Port Olimpic Area and nearby beaches.
Travelers should remain alert to their personal security and exercise caution. We suggest that travelers carry limited cash, only one credit card, and a copy of their passport; leaving extra cash, extra credit cards, passports and personal documents in a safe location.
Be especially careful in crowds. Avoid placing passports, cash or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses. Pickpockets often use the cover of a crowd to rob unsuspecting tourists and visitors. Do not leave belongings unattended in public areas. Do not put purses on the floor or on the backs of chairs at restaurants. Keep valuable belongings within sight and within easy reach at all times in public areas to reduce the risk of theft.
Thieves often work in teams of two or more people. In many cases, one person distracts a victim while the accomplices perform the robbery. For example, someone might wave a map in your face and ask for directions, ”inadvertently” spill something on you, or help you clean up bird droppings thrown on you by a third unseen accomplice. While your attention is diverted, an accomplice makes off with your valuables. Thieves may drop coins or keys at your feet to distract you and try to take your belongings while you are trying to help. Physical assaults rarely happen. In the past, such attacks were initiated from behind, with the victim being grabbed around the neck and choked by one assailant while others rifle through or grab your belongings.
A group of assailants may surround the victim in a crowded popular tourist area or on public transportation, and only after the group has departed does the person discover he/she has been robbed. Purse snatchers may grab purses or wallets and run away, or immediately pass the stolen item to an accomplice. A passenger on a passing motorcycle sometimes robs pedestrians. There have been reports of thieves posing as plainclothes police officers, beckoning to pedestrians from cars and sometimes confronting them on the street asking for documents, or to inspect their cash for counterfeit bills, which they ultimately confiscate as “evidence.” The U.S. Embassy in Madrid has received reports of cars on limited access motorways being pulled over by supposed unmarked police cars. The Spanish police do not operate in this fashion. We encourage U.S. citizens to ask for a uniformed law enforcement officer if approached.
Theft from vehicles is also common. “Good Samaritan" scams are common, where a passing car or helpful stranger will attempt to divert the driver’s attention by indicating there is a flat tire or mechanical problem. When the driver stops to check the vehicle, the “Good Samaritan” will appear to help the driver and passengers while the accomplice steals from the unlocked car. Drivers should be cautious about accepting help from anyone other than a uniformed Spanish police officer or Civil Guard. Items high in value like luggage, cameras, laptop computers, or briefcases are often stolen from cars. We recommend that travelers not leave baggage in plain view inside parked cars, and keep doors locked, windows rolled up, and valuables out of sight when driving.
While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically very low, attacks do occur. We recommend that U.S. citizens remain aware of their surroundings at all times, and travel with a companion if possible, especially at night. Spanish authorities warn of the availability of so-called "date-rape" drugs and other drugs, including GHB and liquid ecstasy. U.S. citizens should not lower their personal security awareness because they are on vacation. Be cautious in bars and clubs where alcohol is served. Never leave your drink unattended and never accept an open drink from a stranger. Incidents have been reported of people falling victim to serious crime after having drugs slipped into their drinks.
A number of U.S. citizens have been victims of various scams in Spain. One scheme involves a U.S. citizen receiving an email or telephone call requesting money to assist a relative or acquaintance who has allegedly been arrested, detained, robbed, or injured in Spain. Often, it starts with a call impersonating a grandchild supposedly arrested in Spain, asking the grandparents not to inform the parents. If you receive such an email, we recommend that you not send money. Other scams include lottery or advance-fee scams in which a person is lured to Spain to finalize a financial transaction. Often the victims are initially contacted via Internet or fax and informed they have won the Spanish Lottery (El Gordo), inherited money from a distant relative, or are needed to assist in a major financial transaction from one country to another. For more information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web page on International Financial Scams.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
- The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Europe, including in Spain and Andorra, is 112.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Spain and Andorra, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and criminal penalties will vary from country to country. In Spain, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Spain and Andorra, your U.S. passport or citizenship won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
Persons violating the laws of Spain and Andorra, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Spain and Andorra are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona and the Balearic Islands regional government have banned the consumption of alcohol in the street, other than in registered street cafes and bars. Visitors to Madrid, Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca should be aware that failure to respect this law might result in the imposition of fines. Throughout Spain and Andorra, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
Spain takes illegal immigration seriously and police may stop people to ask for identification and proof of legal status. We recommend that you carry a copy of your U.S. passport at all times.
Arrest notifications in host country: While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, others may not. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Employment Issues: U.S. citizens participating in the Ministry of Education’s Cultural Ambassador Program (Auxiliares de Conversación) should be aware of reports regarding delayed payment for services rendered. For more information please review the notice on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
Women Travelers: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Spain, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Spain, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what you find in the United States. Spain has laws that prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, access to information technology and communication, including social media, and the provision of other state services. The law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities. While the government generally enforces these provisions, levels of assistance and accessibility differ between regions. Madrid, Barcelona, and many of the other major cities have made great strides in making public transportation, museums and other public buildings accessible to those with physical disabilities. Most buses have ramps to accommodate wheelchairs and many metro stations have elevators for the same purpose. Taxis that can accommodate wheelchairs are available, but must generally be called in advance. In historic areas and in some other areas, sidewalks can be narrow and have uneven surfaces. Tourists should take this into account when planning their visit.
Andorran law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of other state services. These nondiscrimination laws help to protect travelers with disabilities. In practice, persons with disabilities have easy access to public buildings. The government continues to adapt infrastructure to the needs of disabled persons to ensure accessibility to public transportation, museums, commerce, restaurants, and other buildings in the country.
Good medical care is available in both Spain and Andorra. Regulations regarding medications may vary from those in the United States. Spanish regulations do not permit the international shipment of medication, so please do not ship medication from the United States to Spain. U.S. citizens who plan a lengthy trip to Spain should bring their medication or obtain a prescription for that medication from a Spanish physician.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Spain and Andorra, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
Traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is faster paced than in U.S. cities and can be unnerving because of unfamiliar signs or motorbikes weaving between traffic lanes. Drivers should always obey the traffic light located at their stop line, as there are separate traffic lights for each side of the intersection. For example, the traffic light at the stop line of an intersection may be red, but across the intersection the light may be green, allowing for right/left hand turns only. An amber flashing light indicates that drivers must yield to pedestrians. Drivers should be alert when driving at night in urban areas because of the possibility of encountering drivers or pedestrians under the influence of alcohol. Night driving in isolated rural areas can be dangerous because of farm animals and poorly marked roads. Rural traffic is generally heavier in July and August as well as during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
Traffic regulations in effect in Spain include the prohibition on the use of a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving a car. There is a fine of €300 for violating this regulation including loss of driving privileges. In addition, all drivers and passengers are required to carry a reflective vest and put it on if they need to stop on the roadside. A reflective triangle warning sign for a vehicle stopped on the side of the road is also mandatory. Liability insurance, at a minimum, is also required to legally operate any car or motorcycle. Those renting vehicles are encouraged to check with the rental company about traffic regulations and safety equipment. U.S. citizen tourists must obtain International Driving Permits prior to their arrival if they plan to drive in Spain. Those permits are only valid for one year. You are not allowed to drive on your U.S. license. While rental car companies may rent a vehicle to you without the International Driving Permit, this is illegal and, if pulled over for a traffic violation, your rental car may be detained and towed to the nearest impound lot. Pedestrians should use designated crossing areas when crossing streets and obey traffic lights.
One of the facets of Spanish traffic laws that many U.S. citizens find troublesome is traffic stops by the Spanish National Police or the Guardia Civil. Unlike in the United States, where drivers receive traffic tickets and then pay the court via mail or in person, Spanish police authorities may levy fines on the spot and issue a receipt for the payment. This is done to ensure the traffic fine is paid by foreigners who rarely come back to Spain to pay the fine.
Public transportation in large Spanish cities is generally excellent. All major cities have metered taxis, in which extra charges must be posted in the vehicle. We advise travelers to use only clearly identified cabs and to ensure that taxi drivers always switch on the meter. A green light on the roof indicates that the taxi is available. If you have a problem or suspect you are being overcharged, ask for an official receipt. The license number for the taxi should be located in a metal plaque by the passenger window. This number identifies a specific taxi and can prove useful in the event of forgotten property or if you decide to file a complaint. Rail service is comfortable and reliable, but varies in quality and speed. Intercity buses are usually comfortable and inexpensive.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. For specific information concerning Spanish driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Spanish National Tourist Organization offices in New York. For information about driving in Andorra, refer to Andorra’s Office of Tourism.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Spain’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Spain’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.