Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

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Learn About Your Destination

Spain

Spain
Kingdom of Spain
Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Spain. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Demonstrations are common. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel in Spain.

If you decide to travel to Spain:

  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Spain.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
... [READ MORE]

Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your date of departure is required

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


None required for less than 90 days

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 91-587-2200
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200 
Fax: (34) 91-587-2303
E-mail: askacs@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
08034 Barcelona, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 93-280-2227
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200 
Fax: (34) 93-280-6175
E-mail: BarcelonaACS@state.gov

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
E-mail: malagaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Las Palmas
Edificio Arca
Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7
35007 Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 92-827-1259
Fax: (34) 92-822-5863
E-mail: canariasconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Palma de Mallorca
Edificio Reina Constanza
Porto Pi, 8, 9-D
07015 Palma, Islas Baleares, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 97-140-3707 
Fax: (34) 97-140-3971
E-mail: pmagency@state.gov

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
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 96-351-6973
Fax: (34) 96-352-9565
E-mail: valenciaconsagency@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Spain for information on U.S.-Spain relations.  

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

U.S. citizens traveling to Spain are not subject to any COVID-19 entry restrictions.

Spain is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You must have sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. Visit the Embassy of Spain website for the most current visa information.

Traveling Through Europe: If you are planning to visit, transit and/or travel through European countries, you should be familiar with the requirements of the Schengen Agreement. 

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. If you plan on transiting a Schengen country, review our U.S. Travelers in Europe page.    
  • You will need sufficient proof of funds and a return plane ticket.  
  • For additional information about visas for the Schengen area, see the Schengen Visa page.

Students and athletes: Students, prospective students, and athletes should visit the Embassy of Spain website for additional information on entry requirements. You should not travel to Spain as a student or for an athletic/study program without the appropriate Spanish visa. U.S. citizen students and athletes have been denied entry and held in immigration detention at Spanish airports awaiting return flights to the United States because they lacked the appropriate visa. If your coach or sponsoring program says that you do not require a visa to study, play for a sports team, or participate in a sports training program in Spain, you should confirm this information with the nearest Spanish consulate in the United States before you travel.

U.S. citizen minors living in Spain: Spanish law mandates that all Spanish minors traveling internationally without their parents or legal guardians must have written notarized permission from a parent or guardian. The law also applies to foreign, minor residents if their country of nationality also requires parental permission. While U.S. law does not require minors traveling without a parent/guardian to have the parents’/guardians’ written permission, Spanish authorities and airlines have occasionally misinterpreted the law and stopped U.S. citizens minors from departing the country. Therefore, parents/legal guardians should consider preparing a notarized, written permission for their U.S. citizen minor children to travel abroad unaccompanied or with a third party.

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.  

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on encouraging or conducting attacks worldwide, including within Europe. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to target crowds more effectively. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as: 

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists 
  • Places of worship 
  • Schools 
  • Parks 
  • Shopping malls and markets 
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)  

Spain’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility for terrorists to enter and exit the country anonymously. Additionally, Spain’s enclaves in Melilla and Ceuta on the North African coast allow for entry into Spain from the African continent. Spain has taken robust actions to guard against terrorist attacks, including arrests of suspected extremists allegedly involved in terrorist plots. Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue to plot potential attacks in Europe, including Spain.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.  

Crime: Pickpocketing and other minor crimes, such as theft, are very common in Spain including instances where the victim is purposefully distracted to facilitate the theft. Street crimes against U.S. citizens usually occur in  tourist areas, including airports, train stations, and both urban and beach destinations.

Violent crimes, including robberies, have also been reported. Some instances have required the victim to seek medical attention. Car break-ins are also frequent in Spain.

Use common sense, awareness and the same personal security measures you would normally use in any large city or tourist destination.

Keep track of your passport at all times, including on flights and other modes of transportation. There have been reports of passports being stolen on planes en route to Spain. Do not leave bags unattended. Keep them in sight and avoid placing passports, cash, cell phones, or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses on tables or floors, grounds in public places. Do not leave bags slung over the backs of chairs, on hotel or store counters, on top of your suitcase or travel bag, or out of your physical control in hotel lobbies, car rental locations, train stations, restaurants, and other public places. Avoid carrying your passport unless needed for travel, especially in tourist areas. Instead, carry a photocopy or photo of your passport’s biographical information page and consider leaving your passport in a secure location, such as a hotel safe. Your passport will be required to check in into any hotel in Spain and may be required for trains or tourist sites.

Sexual Assault: The U.S. Mission in Spain has received numerous reports of sexual assaults affecting U.S. citizens, especially younger travelers, students, and exchange teachers.

Navigating the Spanish criminal justice system after surviving a sexual assault has been difficult for many U.S. citizen victims, who report feeling judged and re-victimized throughout the very lengthy process.

Although it is not required, many U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault in Spain have found it helpful to hire a local attorney to be their advocate and defend their rights during any judicial process or use the help of the local Office of Victim’s Assistance. Information about the local victim’s assistance program is given out at the police station when the report is filed.

There have been numerous reports alleging sexual assaults against U.S. citizen students by Manuel Blanco Vela, a representative of a tour operator based in Seville, Spain. Conduct research online to determine who owns and operates tour companies to make informed choices.

Many sexual assaults occur at night or during the early morning hours. In most cases, assailants take advantage of alcohol or drugs to make victims more vulnerable.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should call the toll-free emergency number in Spain, 016, for assistance, and the U.S. Embassy in Madrid at (34) 91-587-2200 or U.S. Consulate General Barcelona at (+34) 93-280-2227. Note that the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other violent crimes are encouraged to report crimes to the local emergency services at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or consular agency for assistance. Note that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care  
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police 
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent 
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion 
  • Provide a list of local attorneys  
  • Provide information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution 
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home 
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport 

Demonstrations occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests  and demonstrations .  
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.   
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories. 

 

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Financial scams are prevalent in Spain. Beware of anyone asking for money, particularly people who establish a “romantic” relationship online or anyone who claims the Spanish authorities are asking them for money. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:   

  • People claiming to be U.S. military personnel
  • Romance/Online dating 
  • Money transfers 
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting 
  • Free Trip/Luggage 
  • Lotteries 
  • Inheritance notices 
  • Work permits/Job offers 

Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated, and rules [with regards to best practices and safety inspections] are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage, and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business. 

Furthermore, some violations of laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Spain are severe and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.

Most cities in Spain have banned the consumption of alcohol in the street, other than in registered street cafes and bars. You could be arrested or fined if you break the law.

Local police, sometimes dressed in plain clothes, can require you to produce identification to establish your identity upon request and detain you for further questioning. Carry a photocopy of your passport with you as proof of your identity. If you are stopped by someone who claims to be a plainclothes police officer, ask to see their law enforcement identification.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police to notify the U.S. Embassy Madrid or U.S. Consulate General Barcelona immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also have to pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information. 

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Spain. 

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.  

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Spain prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, and the law is enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. In general, public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure are accessible. Taxis that can accommodate wheelchairs are available, but usually must be booked in advance.

In historic areas and older areas, sidewalks can be narrow and have uneven surfaces. Take this into account when planning your visit.  There may be differences in small towns and villages, where accessibility may be more limited.

Rental, repair, replacement parts for aids/equipment/devices, or service providers, such as sign language interpreters or personal assistants are widely available in Spain.

Students: Follow the tips below and exercise caution and good judgment to make your study-abroad experience a positive and safe one. If you are coming to Spain to participate in a sports program, please check with the Embassy of Spain that you have the correct visa.

Do your research before contracting a tour operator or other service provider, including coaches and organizers of sports camps, schools, and training centers.

Exercise caution when agreeing to an internship or to serve as a recruiter for a specific organization or company. Most arrests, accidents, and violent crimes U.S. citizens suffer in Spain involve excessive alcohol. Drink in moderation and stay in a group of friends when in clubs, bars, or traveling.

See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: The U.S. Mission in Spain has received numerous reports of sexual assaults affecting U.S. citizens, especially younger travelers, students, and exchange teachers. Please see more information under Safety and Security.  See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Good medical care is available in Spain. However, regulations regarding medications vary from those in the United States. Spanish regulations do not permit the international shipment of medication. Do not ship medication from the United States to Spain. Spanish customs authorities will reject and return to the shipper medication mailed from the United States. This may cause a significant delay in receiving your medications. The U.S. Embassy cannot help you retrieve medications stopped by Spanish customs.

Medications requiring prescriptions in the United States also require a local doctor’s prescription in Spain. In some instances, a medicine prescribed in the United States will not have a local equivalent. It is important that travelers research this on the European Agency for Medication website prior to travel.

For emergency services in Spain, dial 112. You may ask for an English-speaking attendant.

Ambulance services are widely available. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. Medical care is not free in Spain. If you require medical attention, you will incur expenses, even if you are treated in a public healthcare facility. Lack of payment may bar future travel to Spain.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation. 

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Spain Medication Agency to ensure the medication is legal in Spain. 

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Health facilities in general:

  • Adequate health facilities are available throughout the country. Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance or funds before admitting a patient.  Medical staff may speak little or no English. Patients may be asked to bear costs for transfer to or between hospitals. 
  • Patients have to pay their medical treatment in public hospitals.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery.
  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.

Pharmaceuticals:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:
If you are considering traveling to Spain to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page

Surrogacy is illegal in Spain and subject to complex local regulation. 

Adventure Travel:
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions in Spain can differ significantly from those in the United States. Drivers and pedestrians should exercise increased caution as traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is often faster-paced than in the United States and can be unnerving because of unfamiliar signs and traffic lights and different driving habits, including motorbikes weaving between traffic lanes.

Obey the traffic light located at your stop line, as there are separate traffic lights for each side of the intersection. Be alert when driving at night in urban areas; you may encounter 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.

Emergency services, including roadside assistance, are plentiful, competent, and can be easily accessed by dialing 112 from any phone.

Traffic Laws: You must obtain an International Driving Permit prior to your arrival if you plan to drive in Spain. The permits are only valid for one year.

It is illegal to rent a vehicle if you don’t have an International Driving Permit. Your rental car may be impounded, and you will be required to pay a fine if stopped by the police.

It is against the law to use a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving. There is a €300 fine for violating this regulation, and you may also lose your license.

All drivers and passengers are required to buckle up (even in taxis and in the backseat) and wear a reflective vest if they need to stop on the roadside. A reflective triangle warning sign is also mandatory if you stop on the roadside.

You must have liability insurance to operate any car or motorcycle.

If you are stopped by the Spanish National Police or the Guardia Civil, they may levy fines on the spot and issue a receipt for payment. This ensures that foreigners pay their fines while still in Spain.

Public Transportation: Public transportation in large Spanish cities is generally excellent.

Only use clearly identified cabs, ensure that taxi drivers always switch on the meter (except for fixed-fare trips originating to and from the Madrid airport), and ask for a receipt.

Private transportation companies (such as Uberor Cabify) are often used in Madrid and Barcelona but check private transportation websites for operating status before arrival.

Official taxis to and from the Madrid airport to the city center charge a €30 flat rate.  Official taxis to and from the Barcelona airport to the cruise ship terminal charge a €39 flat rate.

Rail service is comfortable and reliable but varies in quality and speed. Intercity buses are usually comfortable and inexpensive.

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

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

 

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Spain should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Spain. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: August 9, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone
(34) 91-587-2200
Emergency
(34) 91-587-2200
Fax
(34) 91-587-2303

Spain Map