International Travel

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Country Information

Spain

Spain
Kingdom of Spain
Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism.

Exercise increased caution in Spain due to terrorism.

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

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Spain:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Spain.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review without changes.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


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

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


1 page per stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays less than 90 days

VACCINATIONS:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


None

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 91-5872-200
Emergency after-hours telephone: (34) 91-587-2200 
Fax: (34) 91-587-2303
E-mail: askacs@state.gov

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

U.S. Consular Agency Fuengirola (Málaga)
Avenida Juan Gómez "Juanito", 8
Edificio Lucía 1º-C
29640 Fuengirola (Málaga), Spain
Telephone:
(34) 95-247-4891
Fax: (34) 95-246-5189
E-mail: malagaconsagency@state.gov

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

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

U.S. Consular Agency Seville
Plaza Nueva 8-8 duplicado
2nd Floor, Office E-2 No.4
41101 Sevilla, Spain
Telephone:
(34) 95-421-8751
Fax: (34) 95-422-0791
E-mail: sevillaconsagency@state.gov

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

Destination Description

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

 

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

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

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

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. 

Follow these links to find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations.

Safety and Security

Spain’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility for terrorists to enter and exit the country anonymously. Additionally, Spain’s enclaves in Melilla and Ceuta on the North African coast allow for entry into Spain from the African continent. Spain has taken robust actions to guard against terrorist attacks, including arrests of suspected extremists allegedly involved in terrorist plots. Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue to plot potential attacks in Europe, including Spain. All European countries remain vulnerable to attacks with little or no warning from transnational terrorist organizations or individuals inspired by extremist ideology. U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security.

Demonstrations: Large, public demonstrations related to a variety of political and economic issues take place regularly throughout Spain.

  • Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays.
  • Demonstration organizers must obtain prior police approval, and police routinely oversee participants.
  • Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. 
  • Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.
  • Information regarding demonstrations is posted weekly on the U.S. Mission’s website.

Crime: Street crimes against U.S. citizens usually occur in the principal tourist areas across Spain. In particular, Madrid and Barcelona report frequent pickpocketing and theft, as well as occasional violent attacks, some of which have required the victim to seek medical attention.

  • Use common sense and the same personal security measures you would normally use in a large U.S. city or tourist destination. 
  • Do not leave bags unattended. Keep them in sight, and avoid placing passports, cash, cell phones, or other valuables in the outer pockets of backpacks or purses or on tables in public places. Do not leave bags slung over the backs of chairs, on hotel or store counters, on top of your suitcase or larger travel bag, or out of your physical control in hotel lobbies, car rental locations, train stations, restaurants, and other public places. Avoid carrying your passport unless needed for travel, especially in tourist areas. Instead, carry a photocopy or photo of your passport’s biographical information page and consider leaving your passport in a secure location, such as a hotel safe.
    • Be alert to criminal schemes. Thieves may work in teams to distract your attention. For example, someone may ask you for directions, ask whether you have dropped cash on the ground, offer to help clean liquid off of you, or inform you that your car has a flat tire. While you are engaged in conversation, an accomplice makes off with your valuables. If you are stopped by someone who appears to be a plainclothes policeman while walking or driving, ask to see their law enforcement identification.
  • Do not send any money to individuals you have never met in person. Please visit the Department of State and the FBI webpages for information on Internet financial scams and how to protect yourself.
  • Sexual Assault: The U.S. Mission in Spain often receives reports of sexual assaults affecting U.S. citizens. There have been numerous reports alleging sexual assaults against U.S. citizen students by a representative of a tour operator based in Seville, Spain. Exercise the same caution as you would in any unfamiliar area or with unfamiliar people.
  • 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.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of crimes, including sexual assault, should contact the local police at 112 immediately, and the U.S. Embassy at (34) 91-587-2200. Remember that the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care;
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police;
  • with written consent, contact your relatives or friends;
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms;
  • provide a list of local attorneys;
  • provide information on victims compensation programs in the United States;
  • help you contact the Spanish government Office of Victims Assistance for more information;
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution;
  • help you find emergency accommodation and arrange flights home;
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence should call the toll-free emergency number in Spain, 016, for assistance, and the U.S. Embassy in Madrid at (34) 91-587-2200. Remember that the local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. For more information, see http://www.violenciagenero.msssi.gob.es/en/home.htm.

For further information:

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 also are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. See our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website for examples.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General 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, sometimes dressed in plain clothes, 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.

Students and Athletes: We want you to stay safe during your study abroad in Spain. There have been reports alleging sexual assaults by a representative of a tour operator based in Seville. According to media reports, this tour operator offered U.S. citizen students tours within and outside Spain and also recruited students to serve as interns to recruit other tour participants. Follow the tips below and exercise caution and good judgment to make your study-abroad experience a positive and safe one. If you are coming to Spain to participate in a sports program, please check with the Embassy of Spain that you have the correct visa to remain in the country during your program.

  • Do your research before contracting a tour operator or other service provider, including coaches and organizers of sports camps, schools, and training centers.
    • If you plan to travel with a company, request the names of the guides for your specific tour, conduct online research about the company and individual guides, and ask what kind of background checks the tour company conducts on its employees.
    • If you are joining an athletic program, conduct online research about the coaches, the hotel or other accommodation being provided, and requirements for driving and obtaining insurance in Spain, especially if you are asked to drive yourself or other student athletes to practices and elsewhere as part of your program.
  • Exercise caution when agreeing to an internship or to serve as a recruiter for a specific organization or company, especially if the position has not been organized as part of your official study-abroad program.
  • Be safe online. If someone you don’t know contacts you via social media concerning your upcoming study-abroad program, talk to your program coordinator before you decide whether to respond.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile.
  • Drink responsibly and in moderation. Stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.
  • The majority of arrests, accidents, and violent crimes suffered by U.S. citizens in Spain involve excessive alcohol. Stay in a group of friends who have your safety in mind when in clubs, bars, or when traveling.
  • If you have questions or want to report an incident, contact the nearest U.S. consular office in Spain for assistance.

For more information, see our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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

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

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Spanish law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities. The Spanish government generally enforces these provisions; levels of assistance and accessibility vary across Spain.

  • Madrid, Barcelona, and many 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; taxis that can accommodate wheelchairs are available, but generally must be booked in advance.
  • In historic areas and in some other areas, sidewalks can be narrow and have uneven surfaces. Take this into account when planning your visit.

Health

Good medical care is available in Spain, however; regulations regarding medications vary from those in the United States. Spanish regulations do not permit the international shipment of medication; do not ship medication from the United States to Spain. Spanish customs authorities will reject and return to the shipper medication mailed from the United States. This may cause a significant delay in receiving your medications.

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

Responsive and reliable emergency services can be contacted using the emergency services phone number, 112. Ambulances and other emergency vehicles are equipped with life support equipment.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas and you will need to secure private health coverage.

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 (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Embassy of Spain or the nearest Spanish consulate prior to your travel to ensure the medication is legal in Spain. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

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

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

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

  • Obey the traffic light located at your stop line, as there are separate traffic lights for each   side of the intersection. Be alert when driving at night in urban areas; you may encounter drivers or pedestrians under the influence of alcohol.
  • Night driving in isolated rural areas can be dangerous because of farm animals and poorly marked roads.
  • Rural traffic is generally heavier in July and August as well as during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
  • Emergency services, including roadside assistance, are plentiful, competent, and can be easily accessed by dialing 112 from any phone.

Traffic Laws:

  • You must obtain an International Driving Permit prior to your arrival if you plan to drive in Spain. The permits are only valid for one year.
  • It is illegal to rent a vehicle if you don’t have an International Driving Permit. Your rental car may be impounded, and you will be required to pay a fine if stopped by the police.
  • It is against the law to use a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving. There is a 300 Euro fine for violating this regulation, and you may also 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 foreigners pay their fines while still in Spain.

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

  • Only use clearly identified cabs, ensure that taxi drivers always switch on the meter (except for fixed-fare trips originating to and from the Madrid airport), and ask for a receipt.
  •  Private transportation companies (such as Uber or Cabify) are often used in Madrid and Barcelona, but check private transportation websites for operating status before arrival.
  • Official taxis to and from the Madrid airport to the city center charge a €30 flat rate.
  • 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. 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 Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Spain’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Spain should check U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted on the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and on the NGA broadcast warnings website where you can view “broadcast warnings.”

International Parental Child Abduction

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

Last Updated: March 19, 2019

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

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

Spain Map