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International Travel

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Country Information

Spain

Country Information

Spain
Kingdom of Spain
Last Updated: December 28, 2016
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your departure is required. 

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays less than 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
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.
Facsimile: (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 
Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside business hours.
Facsimile: (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
Facsimile: (34) 95 246 5189
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 92 822 5863
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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 or (34) 97 140 3905
Facsimile: (34) 97 140 3971
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 95 422 0791
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
Telephone: (34) 96 351 6973
Facsimile: (34) 96 352 9565
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
E-mail: valenciaconsagency@state.gov

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Destination Description

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

 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Spain is a party to the Schengen Agreement.  Entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination requires that your passport be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure.  You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.  For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.  Visit the Embassy of Spain website for the most current visa and entry requirement information.

  • Passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your departure.
  • Students and prospective students should visit the Embassy of Spain website for additional information on entry requirements. 

Prospective residents or those wishing to stay in Spain longer than 90 days must obtain prior information about the procedures from the relevant bodies, namely the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.  You will need an official criminal records check from the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS).  These documents carry the Apostille of the Hague from the Department of State for the FBI records.  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 nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Spain’s open borders with its western European neighbors allow possible terrorist groups to enter and exit the country with anonymity.  Like other foreign governments, Spain has taken actions to guard against terrorist attacks, including arrests of suspected extremists allegedly involved in terrorist plots.  Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe.  All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.  U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security. 

Crime:  Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.  In particular, Madrid and Barcelona report frequent incidents of pickpocketing, mugging, as well as occasional violent attacks, some of which require the victim to seek medical attention.

  • Use common sense and the same personal security measures you would use normally. 
  • Do not leave bags unattended.  Keep them in your line of sight and avoid placing passports, cash, cell phones or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses, or on tables in public places.  
  • Be alert to criminal schemes.  Thieves may work in teams to distract your attention, while an accomplice makes off with your valuables.  If you are stopped by a plainclothes policeman while walking or driving, ask for a uniformed law enforcement officer.
  • Before sending any money to individuals you have never met in person, please visit the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on Internet financial scams and how to protect yourself.

Victims of Crime:  Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (34) 91 587 2240 or the Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91 587 2200.  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. 

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

We can:

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance. The emergency number 016 should be used in instances of domestic violence. For more information see http://www.violenciagenero.msssi.gob.es/

For further information:

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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.

Furthermore, some 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.

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

  • 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.
  • Driving under the influence could land you in jail.
  • Local police can require you to produce identification to establish your identity upon request and detain you for further questioning.
  • In some cases, a copy of your passport may serve as sufficient identification if you do not feel comfortable carrying your actual passport. If you choose to carry your passport with you, remember this also increases the risk that it could be lost or stolen.

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

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Spain.  Spain welcomes LGBTI travelers. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance.   Spanish law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities. 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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically low, attacks do occur.

  • Be aware of “date-rape” drugs. 
  • Be cautious in bars and clubs where alcohol is served, and do not leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from strangers, as they may have slipped drugs into the drink.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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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, so please do not ship medication from the United States to Spain.  Spanish customs authorities have the legal right to retain medication shipped from the United States.

  • We do not pay medical bills. 
  • Be aware that Medicare does not apply overseas.

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.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Spain to ensure the mediation is legal in Spain.  Always carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

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

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road conditions in Spain can differ significantly from those in the United States.  Traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is faster paced than in the United States and can be unnerving because of unfamiliar signs or 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 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.
  • 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.
  • It is against the law to use a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving.  There is a 300 Euros fine for violating this regulation, which may also cause you to lose your license.
  • All drivers and passengers are required to 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 the fine is paid by a foreigner who may not return to Spain to pay the fine.    

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 trips originating to and from the Madrid airport, and ask for a receipt.
  • Official taxis to and from the Madrid airport to the city center charge a €30 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.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Spain’s national tourist office  and national authority responsible for road safety.

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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
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.
Facsimile: (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 
Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside business hours.
Facsimile: (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
Facsimile: (34) 95 246 5189
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 92 822 5863
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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 or (34) 97 140 3905
Facsimile: (34) 97 140 3971
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 95 422 0791
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
Telephone: (34) 96 351 6973
Facsimile: (34) 96 352 9565
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
E-mail: valenciaconsagency@state.gov

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General Information

 

Spain and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1988.

For information concerning travel to Spain, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Spain. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

 

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

 

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Breau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Spain.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website


The Spanish Central Authority (SCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is in the Subdirecci's General de Cooperaci's Internacional in the Ministry of Justice.  The Spanish Central Authority has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  The SCA forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate State Attorney in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides.  The State Attorney brings the case before the court on behalf of the SCA.

The Spanish Central Authority can be reached at:

Subdireccion General de Cooperacion Juri­dica Internacional
Ministerio de Justicia
c/San Bernardo No. 62
Madrid
Tel.: +34 (91) 390 4437/+34 (91) 390 4273
Fax:  +34 (91) 390 2383
Internet

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Spain, the USCA encourages left-behind parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the SCA.  All documents written in English must be translated into Spanish.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the SCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Spanish Central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.   Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

 

 

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Spain.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Spain.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Convention application to a court in Spain. The SCA assigns State Attorneys to present a Hague case before the appropriate court. However, the State Attorney does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the application; instead, the State Attorney represents Spain and submits the request for return on behalf of the SCA. The State Attorney will have no direct contact with the left-behind parent.

Parents have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them. However, all attorney fees will be the applicant parent's responsibility. The SCA will withdraw from the Hague case if an applicant hires a private attorney; however, they will continue to provide information on the Hague Abduction Convention, if requested, and will monitor the progress of the case, if they are aware of it.

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The SCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the SCA recommends mediation, when possible, through International Social Services . Mediation is voluntary.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Spain is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Therefore all adoptions between Spain and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Spain is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption.  There are few children eligible for adoption, with a long waiting list of Spanish prospective adoptive parents.   Most intercountry adoptions in Spain are by legal residents of Spain who adopt in third countries.

While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Spanish orphan by foreigners is unlikely.  No Spanish orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years.  The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Spain, including adoptions of Spanish children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Spain. 

Note:  Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. 

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Spain is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Spain, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt. Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Spain also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must be legal residents of Spain and must remain in Spain throughout the adoption proceeding if it takes place in Spain.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: To be eligible to adopt any child, a prospective adoptive parent must be at least twenty-five years old and be at least fourteen years older than the adoptee. If a married couple wishes to adopt, at least one of the two must meet the twenty-five-year age requirement.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: To jointly adopt, a couple must be married or otherwise legally treated as a married couple under Spanish law However, a prospective adoptive parent does not need to be married to adopt. If only one spouse in a married couple applies to adopt, the consent of the other spouse is necessary.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: There are no specific income requirements related to adoption. The judge assesses all factors related to the welfare of the child before issuing an adoption order.

Note: Spain legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.

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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Spain is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Spain must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption.  For example, the Convention requires that Spain attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.  In addition to Spain’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment/Abandonment Requirements: A child is eligible for adoption if the biological parents have given their consent, are unknown, or have lost their parental rights.
  • Age Requirements: Under Spanish law, the prospective adoptee must be younger than eighteen years old. An exception can be made to these conditions when a child has lived with the prospective parent(s) continuously since before turning fourteen. It is important for American prospective adoptive families to note, however, that U.S. law required adoptive children to be under age 16 at the time of adoption except in special circumstances outlined in the law.
  • Marriage Requirements: No known marriage requirements
  • Income Requirements: No known marriage requirements
  • Other Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents may not adopt their own descendents or immediate blood relatives, and may not adopt second-degree relatives (i.e. niece, nephew) by blood or marriage, unless they are orphans.
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How to Adopt

SPAIN'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Each of the 17 Autonomous Communities in Spain is the Central Authority for its territory. The national-level Central Authority for transmission of communications, the Dirección General del Menor y Familia in Madrid, is the office responsible for transmitting requests from prospective adoptive parents to the Central Authority in the appropriate Autonomous Community.

THE PROCESS

Because Spain is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Spain must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE:  f you filed your I-600a with Spain before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption.  Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions Read about Transition Cases for more information.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Spain
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider: 

    The first step in adopting a child from Spain is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Spain. Learn more.
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Spain. Spain’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Spain’s law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Spain determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Spain may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.   

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Spain’s adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember:The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Spain::

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Spain, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Spain. 

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Spain generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Spain is divided in to 17 Autonomous Communities, each of which has its own governmental entity in charge of adoptions. 
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: The court will make the final judgment on the adoption application. A judge may authorize an adoption only with the approval of the local governmental authority in charge of adoptions.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION/ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Prospective adoptive parents must apply to the agency in the community in which they wish to adopt. When the application is complete, a team from the Autonomous Community adoption authority will carry out a psycho-social study of the prospective adoptive parent(s), assessing their ability to adopt, and will make a judgment on their capacity to be parents. To receive approval from the appropriate agency, that agency must find that the prospective parent(s) are capable of carrying out the duties of a parent. The parent(s) begin the process by filling out an application for adoption. Approval from the agency is not required in the following circumstances: if the child is an orphan and related to the parent(s) by blood or marriage, if the child is the child of a prospective parent's spouse, if the child has been kept by the prospective parent(s) legally in a pre-adoptive status or has been under the parent(s) care for more than one year, or if the child is underage but considered independent. Next, the agency will present its assessment along with the application, and accompanying documents, to the court with jurisdiction in the Autonomous Community.

      If a U.S. citizen residing in Spain wishes to bring a child adopted in another country to reside in Spain, and requires periodic monitoring of the adoption, a list of the officially accredited adoption agencies can be obtained through the Dirección General del Menor y Familia Servicio de Adopción Internacional y Acogimiento Familiar at C/ Agustín de Betancourt 4, 28003 Madrid, tel.: 91 363 2300. Americans residing in Spain who wish to adopt a child from another country should also refer to the Department of State adoption flyer for the child’s country of origin.

    • TIME FRAME: Approximately 15 months.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adoptive parents must apply to the agency in the community in which they wish to adopt. When the application is complete, a team from the Autonomous Community adoption authority will carry out a psycho-social study of the prospective adoptive parent(s), assessing their ability to adopt, and will make a judgment on their capacity to be parents. Next, the agency will present its assessment along with the application, and accompanying documents, to the court with jurisdiction in the Autonomous Community.
    • ADOPTION FEES: From 12,000 to 20,000 Euros.

      In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
      • birth certificate;
      • marriage certificate (if applicable);
      • police record;
      • medical certificate; and
      • bank statements.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents. 

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

      In Spain, the Judge who authorizes the adoption will issue an order to register the adoption at the Civil Registry, which records vital statistics. The adoption is annotated at the margin of the original birth record. Adopting parents may request the original birth record be cancelled and a new one will be created with the adoption information only.

    • Spanish Passport

      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Spain. 

      The adopting parents may apply for the Spanish passport using the new birth certificate.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Spain. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Spain, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Spain, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Spain require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Spain does have post adoption requirements. However, there are different requirements among the different 17 Autonomous Communities (regions), and you will need to contact the relevant regional authority to learn about the requirements for that region.

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Spain and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here is a good place to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents. 

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Spain
American Embassy Madrid
American Citizen Services
C./ Serrano, 75
Madrid
Tel: 011 34 91 587 2200
Fax: 011 34 91 587 2243
Email:  askacs@state.gov
Internet: http://es.usembassy.gov/

Spain's Adoption Authority 
Spain is divided in to 17 Autonomous Communities, each of which has its own governmental entity in charge of adoptions. 

Embassy of Spain
Address: 2375 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 202-728-2334; (from Spain): (1 202) 452 01 00; (1 202) 728 23 40
Fax (from Spain): (1 202) 833 56 70
E-mail: emb.washington@maec.es

*Spain also has consulates in: Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Boise, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Detroit, El Paso, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Pensacola, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan (PR), St. Louis, and Seattle.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
E-mail:  AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 12 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 60 Months
V-2 None Multiple 60 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 60 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

All public records are issued under the signature and seal of the competent authority, and usually bears stamps in the appropriate amount. Documents must be stamped in order to be valid in Spain, but are not always stamped when intended for use in a foreign country.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available. Birth certificate "Certificado de Nacimiento" may be obtained from the Juzgado Municipal of the district of birth. In the Madrid area contact the Registro Civil Unico, Calle Pradillo 66, Madrid 28002.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available. "Certificado de Matrimonio" may be obtained from the Juzgado Municipal of the district of residence. In the Madrid area contact the Registro Civil Unico, Calle Pradrillo 66, Madrid 28002.

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Spain since July 3, 2005.

Divorce Certificates

Available. "Certificado de Divorcio" may be obtained from the Juzgado Municipal of the district of residence. In the Madrid area contact the Registro Civil Unico, Calle Pradillo 66, Madrid 28002.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Record

Any individual over 18 years old can request a Spanish police certificate (Certificado de Antecedentes Penales).

For information about how to request the” Certificado de Antecedentes Penales” you can visit the following web pages:

  1. Information on requesting in person.
  2. Information on requesting by mail.
  3. Information on requesting online.

Military Records

Available. Every person who has performed military service should be in possession of a Libreta Militar (Military Booklet), issued by the Alcaldia (Mayor's Office) of his place of residence. Male applicants who are not in possession of the Libreta Militar may obtain evidence that their military status is in proper order in the form of a certificate from Capitana General of the Jefe de la Zona de Reclutamiento (Chief of the Recruiting Zone) or the Alcaldia of the place of residence of the applicant or from any other competent military authority.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Beginning April 10, 2000, the Spanish Government began issuing machine readable passports. Previously issued non-machine readable passports will remain valid until their expiration date.

Other Records

Civil Status Certificates

Available only to persons who are registered in a census (empadronamiento)." Certificado de Fe de Vida y Estado" is requested from the Registro Civil of the applicant's domicile. 

Visa Issuing Posts

Madrid, Spain (Embassy)

Mailing Address:
APO AE 09642-8500

Street Address:
Serrano 75 Madrid

Tel: (34) (91) 587-2200

Fax: (34) (91) 587-2303

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Spain and Andorra.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 452-0100 (202) 728-2330 (202) 728-2302

Boston, MA (617) 536-2506 (617) 536-2527 (617) 536-8512

Chicago, IL (312) 782-4589 (312) 782-4588(312) 782-1635

Houston, TX (713) 783-6200 (713) 783-6205 (713) 783-6214 (713) 783-6166

Los Angeles, CA (323) 938-0158 (323) 938-0166 (323) 938-2502

Miami, FL (305) 446-5511/5512/5513 (305) 446-0585

New York, NY (212) 355-4080 (212) 355-4081 (212) 355-4082 (212) 355-4085 (212) 355-4090 (212) 644-3751

San Francisco, CA (415) 922-2995/2996 (415) 931-9706

San Juan, PR (787) 758-6090/6142/6279 (787) 763-0190

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone
(34) 91-587-2240
Emergency
(34) 91-587-2200
Fax
(34) 91-587-2303
Spain Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Spain
Kingdom of Spain
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months recommended, 3 months beyond your departure is required. 

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays less than 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
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.
Facsimile: (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 
Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside business hours.
Facsimile: (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
Facsimile: (34) 95 246 5189
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 92 822 5863
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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 or (34) 97 140 3905
Facsimile: (34) 97 140 3971
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 95 422 0791
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
Telephone: (34) 96 351 6973
Facsimile: (34) 96 352 9565
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
E-mail: valenciaconsagency@state.gov

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Destination Description

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

 

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Spain is a party to the Schengen Agreement.  Entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination requires that your passport be valid for at least three months beyond your intended date of departure.  You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket.  For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen fact sheet.  Visit the Embassy of Spain website for the most current visa and entry requirement information.

  • Passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your departure.
  • Students and prospective students should visit the Embassy of Spain website for additional information on entry requirements. 

Prospective residents or those wishing to stay in Spain longer than 90 days must obtain prior information about the procedures from the relevant bodies, namely the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Employment and Social Security.  You will need an official criminal records check from the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS).  These documents carry the Apostille of the Hague from the Department of State for the FBI records.  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 nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Spain’s open borders with its western European neighbors allow possible terrorist groups to enter and exit the country with anonymity.  Like other foreign governments, Spain has taken actions to guard against terrorist attacks, including arrests of suspected extremists allegedly involved in terrorist plots.  Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe.  All European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.  U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security. 

Crime:  Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.  In particular, Madrid and Barcelona report frequent incidents of pickpocketing, mugging, as well as occasional violent attacks, some of which require the victim to seek medical attention.

  • Use common sense and the same personal security measures you would use normally. 
  • Do not leave bags unattended.  Keep them in your line of sight and avoid placing passports, cash, cell phones or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses, or on tables in public places.  
  • Be alert to criminal schemes.  Thieves may work in teams to distract your attention, while an accomplice makes off with your valuables.  If you are stopped by a plainclothes policeman while walking or driving, ask for a uniformed law enforcement officer.
  • Before sending any money to individuals you have never met in person, please visit the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on Internet financial scams and how to protect yourself.

Victims of Crime:  Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at (34) 91 587 2240 or the Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91 587 2200.  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. 

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

We can:

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance. The emergency number 016 should be used in instances of domestic violence. For more information see http://www.violenciagenero.msssi.gob.es/

For further information:

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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.

Furthermore, some 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.

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

  • 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.
  • Driving under the influence could land you in jail.
  • Local police can require you to produce identification to establish your identity upon request and detain you for further questioning.
  • In some cases, a copy of your passport may serve as sufficient identification if you do not feel comfortable carrying your actual passport. If you choose to carry your passport with you, remember this also increases the risk that it could be lost or stolen.

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

LGBTI Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Spain.  Spain welcomes LGBTI travelers. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance.   Spanish law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities. 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.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically low, attacks do occur.

  • Be aware of “date-rape” drugs. 
  • Be cautious in bars and clubs where alcohol is served, and do not leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from strangers, as they may have slipped drugs into the drink.

See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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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, so please do not ship medication from the United States to Spain.  Spanish customs authorities have the legal right to retain medication shipped from the United States.

  • We do not pay medical bills. 
  • Be aware that Medicare does not apply overseas.

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.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Spain to ensure the mediation is legal in Spain.  Always carry prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.

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

For further health information, go to:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road conditions in Spain can differ significantly from those in the United States.  Traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is faster paced than in the United States and can be unnerving because of unfamiliar signs or 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 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.
  • 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.
  • It is against the law to use a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving.  There is a 300 Euros fine for violating this regulation, which may also cause you to lose your license.
  • All drivers and passengers are required to 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 the fine is paid by a foreigner who may not return to Spain to pay the fine.    

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 trips originating to and from the Madrid airport, and ask for a receipt.
  • Official taxis to and from the Madrid airport to the city center charge a €30 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.  Also, we suggest that you visit the website of Spain’s national tourist office  and national authority responsible for road safety.

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.

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
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.
Facsimile: (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 
Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside business hours.
Facsimile: (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
Facsimile: (34) 95 246 5189
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 92 822 5863
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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 or (34) 97 140 3905
Facsimile: (34) 97 140 3971
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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
Facsimile: (34) 95 422 0791
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

U.S. Consular Agency Valencia
Doctor Romagosa 1, 2-J
46002 Valencia, Spain
Telephone: (34) 96 351 6973
Facsimile: (34) 96 352 9565
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
E-mail: valenciaconsagency@state.gov

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General Information

 

Spain and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since July 1, 1988.

For information concerning travel to Spain, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Spain. 

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

 

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

 

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department's Breau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Spain.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
CA/OCS/CI
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website


The Spanish Central Authority (SCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is in the Subdirecci's General de Cooperaci's Internacional in the Ministry of Justice.  The Spanish Central Authority has an administrative role in processing Hague Abduction Convention applications.  The SCA forwards completed Hague applications to the appropriate State Attorney in the jurisdiction where the defendant resides.  The State Attorney brings the case before the court on behalf of the SCA.

The Spanish Central Authority can be reached at:

Subdireccion General de Cooperacion Juri­dica Internacional
Ministerio de Justicia
c/San Bernardo No. 62
Madrid
Tel.: +34 (91) 390 4437/+34 (91) 390 4273
Fax:  +34 (91) 390 2383
Internet

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Spain, the USCA encourages left-behind parents to review the eligibility criteria and instructions for completing the Hague application form located at the Department of State website and contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the SCA.  All documents written in English must be translated into Spanish.  Please note, however, that certified translations are not necessary.  Any competent person or organization may translate the documents.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the SCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Spanish Central authorities.  Attorney fees, if necessary, are the responsibility of the applicant parent.   Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

 

 

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in, Spain.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Spain.  The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required in order to submit a Hague Convention application to a court in Spain. The SCA assigns State Attorneys to present a Hague case before the appropriate court. However, the State Attorney does not represent the left-behind parent who submitted the application; instead, the State Attorney represents Spain and submits the request for return on behalf of the SCA. The State Attorney will have no direct contact with the left-behind parent.

Parents have the option to hire a private attorney to represent them. However, all attorney fees will be the applicant parent's responsibility. The SCA will withdraw from the Hague case if an applicant hires a private attorney; however, they will continue to provide information on the Hague Abduction Convention, if requested, and will monitor the progress of the case, if they are aware of it.

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, posts a list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

Mediation may be available for both abduction and access cases. The SCA does not provide mediation services directly; however, the SCA recommends mediation, when possible, through International Social Services . Mediation is voluntary.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

Spain is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Therefore all adoptions between Spain and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Spain is not considered a country of origin in intercountry adoption.  There are few children eligible for adoption, with a long waiting list of Spanish prospective adoptive parents.   Most intercountry adoptions in Spain are by legal residents of Spain who adopt in third countries.

While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Spanish orphan by foreigners is unlikely.  No Spanish orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas in the past five fiscal years.  The information provided is intended primarily to assist in rare adoption cases from Spain, including adoptions of Spanish children by relatives in the United States, as well as adoptions from third countries by Americans living in Spain. 

Note:  Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008. 

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Spain is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Spain, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt. Learn more.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Spain also has the following requirements for prospective adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must be legal residents of Spain and must remain in Spain throughout the adoption proceeding if it takes place in Spain.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: To be eligible to adopt any child, a prospective adoptive parent must be at least twenty-five years old and be at least fourteen years older than the adoptee. If a married couple wishes to adopt, at least one of the two must meet the twenty-five-year age requirement.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: To jointly adopt, a couple must be married or otherwise legally treated as a married couple under Spanish law However, a prospective adoptive parent does not need to be married to adopt. If only one spouse in a married couple applies to adopt, the consent of the other spouse is necessary.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: There are no specific income requirements related to adoption. The judge assesses all factors related to the welfare of the child before issuing an adoption order.

Note: Spain legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.

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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Spain is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Spain must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption.  For example, the Convention requires that Spain attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.  In addition to Spain’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adopteefor you to bring him or her back to the United States.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Relinquishment/Abandonment Requirements: A child is eligible for adoption if the biological parents have given their consent, are unknown, or have lost their parental rights.
  • Age Requirements: Under Spanish law, the prospective adoptee must be younger than eighteen years old. An exception can be made to these conditions when a child has lived with the prospective parent(s) continuously since before turning fourteen. It is important for American prospective adoptive families to note, however, that U.S. law required adoptive children to be under age 16 at the time of adoption except in special circumstances outlined in the law.
  • Marriage Requirements: No known marriage requirements
  • Income Requirements: No known marriage requirements
  • Other Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents may not adopt their own descendents or immediate blood relatives, and may not adopt second-degree relatives (i.e. niece, nephew) by blood or marriage, unless they are orphans.
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How to Adopt

SPAIN'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Each of the 17 Autonomous Communities in Spain is the Central Authority for its territory. The national-level Central Authority for transmission of communications, the Dirección General del Menor y Familia in Madrid, is the office responsible for transmitting requests from prospective adoptive parents to the Central Authority in the appropriate Autonomous Community.

THE PROCESS

Because Spain is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Spain must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention’s requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE:  f you filed your I-600a with Spain before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption.  Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions Read about Transition Cases for more information.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Spain
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider: 

    The first step in adopting a child from Spain is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Spain. Learn more.
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more about Eligibility Requirements.

    Once the U.S. government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Spain. Spain’s adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Spain’s law.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Spain determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Spain may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.   

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child’s information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Spain’s adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember:The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Spain::

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Spain, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Spain. 

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Spain generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: Spain is divided in to 17 Autonomous Communities, each of which has its own governmental entity in charge of adoptions. 
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: The court will make the final judgment on the adoption application. A judge may authorize an adoption only with the approval of the local governmental authority in charge of adoptions.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION/ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES: Prospective adoptive parents must apply to the agency in the community in which they wish to adopt. When the application is complete, a team from the Autonomous Community adoption authority will carry out a psycho-social study of the prospective adoptive parent(s), assessing their ability to adopt, and will make a judgment on their capacity to be parents. To receive approval from the appropriate agency, that agency must find that the prospective parent(s) are capable of carrying out the duties of a parent. The parent(s) begin the process by filling out an application for adoption. Approval from the agency is not required in the following circumstances: if the child is an orphan and related to the parent(s) by blood or marriage, if the child is the child of a prospective parent's spouse, if the child has been kept by the prospective parent(s) legally in a pre-adoptive status or has been under the parent(s) care for more than one year, or if the child is underage but considered independent. Next, the agency will present its assessment along with the application, and accompanying documents, to the court with jurisdiction in the Autonomous Community.

      If a U.S. citizen residing in Spain wishes to bring a child adopted in another country to reside in Spain, and requires periodic monitoring of the adoption, a list of the officially accredited adoption agencies can be obtained through the Dirección General del Menor y Familia Servicio de Adopción Internacional y Acogimiento Familiar at C/ Agustín de Betancourt 4, 28003 Madrid, tel.: 91 363 2300. Americans residing in Spain who wish to adopt a child from another country should also refer to the Department of State adoption flyer for the child’s country of origin.

    • TIME FRAME: Approximately 15 months.
    • ADOPTION APPLICATION: Prospective adoptive parents must apply to the agency in the community in which they wish to adopt. When the application is complete, a team from the Autonomous Community adoption authority will carry out a psycho-social study of the prospective adoptive parent(s), assessing their ability to adopt, and will make a judgment on their capacity to be parents. Next, the agency will present its assessment along with the application, and accompanying documents, to the court with jurisdiction in the Autonomous Community.
    • ADOPTION FEES: From 12,000 to 20,000 Euros.

      In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

    • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:
      • birth certificate;
      • marriage certificate (if applicable);
      • police record;
      • medical certificate; and
      • bank statements.

      NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. You may be asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic. Read more on Traveling Abroad to learn about Authenticating U.S. Documents. 

  6. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

      In Spain, the Judge who authorizes the adoption will issue an order to register the adoption at the Civil Registry, which records vital statistics. The adoption is annotated at the margin of the original birth record. Adopting parents may request the original birth record be cancelled and a new one will be created with the adoption information only.

    • Spanish Passport

      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Spain. 

      The adopting parents may apply for the Spanish passport using the new birth certificate.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Embassy for your child.  After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S Embassy for final review and approval of the child’s I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the “Panel Physician’s” medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage. Read more about the Medical Examination.

CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents. 

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. 

Read more about the Child Citizenship Act of 2000

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Spain. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print—all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you may also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Spain, see the Department of State’s Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability. 

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there’s a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Spain, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Spain require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Spain does have post adoption requirements. However, there are different requirements among the different 17 Autonomous Communities (regions), and you will need to contact the relevant regional authority to learn about the requirements for that region.

We strongly urge you to comply with the wish of Spain and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process.  Your cooperation will contribute to that country’s history of positive experiences with American parents.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption.  Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it’s another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here is a good place to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents. 

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Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Spain
American Embassy Madrid
American Citizen Services
C./ Serrano, 75
Madrid
Tel: 011 34 91 587 2200
Fax: 011 34 91 587 2243
Email:  askacs@state.gov
Internet: http://es.usembassy.gov/

Spain's Adoption Authority 
Spain is divided in to 17 Autonomous Communities, each of which has its own governmental entity in charge of adoptions. 

Embassy of Spain
Address: 2375 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 202-728-2334; (from Spain): (1 202) 452 01 00; (1 202) 728 23 40
Fax (from Spain): (1 202) 833 56 70
E-mail: emb.washington@maec.es

*Spain also has consulates in: Albuquerque, Anchorage, Atlanta, Boise, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Detroit, El Paso, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York, Newark, Pensacola, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan (PR), St. Louis, and Seattle.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel:  1-888-407-4747
E-mail:  AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 12 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
CW-1 11 None Multiple 12 Months
CW-2 11 None Multiple 12 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2 2 None Multiple 60 Months
E-2C 12 None Multiple 24 Months
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 12 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-6 10 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO-7 1 None Multiple 12 Months
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 60 Months
V-2 None Multiple 60 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 60 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

All public records are issued under the signature and seal of the competent authority, and usually bears stamps in the appropriate amount. Documents must be stamped in order to be valid in Spain, but are not always stamped when intended for use in a foreign country.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth Certificates

Available. Birth certificate "Certificado de Nacimiento" may be obtained from the Juzgado Municipal of the district of birth. In the Madrid area contact the Registro Civil Unico, Calle Pradillo 66, Madrid 28002.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available. "Certificado de Matrimonio" may be obtained from the Juzgado Municipal of the district of residence. In the Madrid area contact the Registro Civil Unico, Calle Pradrillo 66, Madrid 28002.

Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Spain since July 3, 2005.

Divorce Certificates

Available. "Certificado de Divorcio" may be obtained from the Juzgado Municipal of the district of residence. In the Madrid area contact the Registro Civil Unico, Calle Pradillo 66, Madrid 28002.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

Please check back for update.

Police, Court, Prison Records

Police Record

Any individual over 18 years old can request a Spanish police certificate (Certificado de Antecedentes Penales).

For information about how to request the” Certificado de Antecedentes Penales” you can visit the following web pages:

  1. Information on requesting in person.
  2. Information on requesting by mail.
  3. Information on requesting online.

Military Records

Available. Every person who has performed military service should be in possession of a Libreta Militar (Military Booklet), issued by the Alcaldia (Mayor's Office) of his place of residence. Male applicants who are not in possession of the Libreta Militar may obtain evidence that their military status is in proper order in the form of a certificate from Capitana General of the Jefe de la Zona de Reclutamiento (Chief of the Recruiting Zone) or the Alcaldia of the place of residence of the applicant or from any other competent military authority.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

Beginning April 10, 2000, the Spanish Government began issuing machine readable passports. Previously issued non-machine readable passports will remain valid until their expiration date.

Other Records

Civil Status Certificates

Available only to persons who are registered in a census (empadronamiento)." Certificado de Fe de Vida y Estado" is requested from the Registro Civil of the applicant's domicile. 

Visa Issuing Posts

Madrid, Spain (Embassy)

Mailing Address:
APO AE 09642-8500

Street Address:
Serrano 75 Madrid

Tel: (34) (91) 587-2200

Fax: (34) (91) 587-2303

Visa Services

All visa categories for all of Spain and Andorra.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Washington, DC (202) 452-0100 (202) 728-2330 (202) 728-2302

Boston, MA (617) 536-2506 (617) 536-2527 (617) 536-8512

Chicago, IL (312) 782-4589 (312) 782-4588(312) 782-1635

Houston, TX (713) 783-6200 (713) 783-6205 (713) 783-6214 (713) 783-6166

Los Angeles, CA (323) 938-0158 (323) 938-0166 (323) 938-2502

Miami, FL (305) 446-5511/5512/5513 (305) 446-0585

New York, NY (212) 355-4080 (212) 355-4081 (212) 355-4082 (212) 355-4085 (212) 355-4090 (212) 644-3751

San Francisco, CA (415) 922-2995/2996 (415) 931-9706

San Juan, PR (787) 758-6090/6142/6279 (787) 763-0190

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone
(34) 91-587-2240
Emergency
(34) 91-587-2200
Fax
(34) 91-587-2303
Spain Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.