How to apply for a Schengen visa for Spain?

NAME: Axel Strauss 
DATE: 21/02/2024

With dozens of millions of tourist arrivals a year, Spain is one of the most visited countries on the planet. And with good reason. It’s home to the first modern novel (aka Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”). The oldest restaurant in the world (aka Madrid’s Casa Botín). The fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (aka 49). And — among many, many other wonderful things — the biggest food fight in the world (aka Bunol’s La Tomatina, where 20,000+ people gather annually to throw 150,000+ tomatoes at each other). 

And if you’re planning a trip to the magical land that is España too — whether it be to throw some tomatoes, just see the sights, or both — you might need a visa. In which case, AXA has all you need to know below. 

 

Spain Visa

 

Do I need a visa to visit Spain?

Maybe. And that’s because ever since June 1991, Spain has been one of the 27 countries currently in the Schengen Zone. As such, it requires most of its millions of visitors to apply for a Schengen Visa for stays of up to 90 days. But whether that applies to you depends on where you’re coming from.

Which travelers don’t need a Schengen visa to come to Spain (for stays of less than 90 days)?

You don’t need a Schengen Visa if you are a: 

  1. National of the Schengen area and/or European Union member countries. 2- Traveler who already has a visa issued by one of the member countries of the Schengen area (under the condition that their stay in the Schengen area does not exceed 90 days per period of 180 days). 
     
  2. Citizen* of non-EU countries and territories that have signed visa exemption agreements with the EU — such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, Mexico, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S., and roughly 50 more. 

*If you’re a national of one or any of the countries above, you can travel to Spain visa-free for short stays. You’re only required to present a biometric passport (issued no more than 10 years prior to and valid for at least 90 days after the planned date of departure from the Schengen zone).

Which travelers are required to apply for a visa to Spain?

You will, however, need a Schengen visa to come to Spain if you’re a citizen of one or more countries that don’t have a visa waiver agreement with the EU. 

This includes nearly a hundred countries — i.e., all of Africa, most of Asia and the Middle East, China, India, Russia, and so on. 

PRO-TIP 1: You can see the and that need a visa courtesy of the European Commission. 

PRO-TIP 2: If that’s too much hassle, AXA can also tell you which European countries you don’t need a Schengen visa for.

What type of visa do I need to visit Spain?

That depends on the nature of your trip. For example, the short-stay (aka Type C or “tourist”) visa is the most common Schengen visa. It allows travel to Spain — and between all 27 Schengen countries — for up to 90 days (in any 180-day period from the date of entry into the Schengen zone). 

To stay in Spain (and/or the Schengen zone) for more than 90 days, you’ll need a national (or Type D) visa. 

PRO-TIPS 3 and 4: AXA can help you both figure out whether you need a visa for Spain or not and — if you do — understand which visa best suits your needs in no time.

How do I apply for a visa to go to Spain?

If you do need a visa (and know which kind of visa you need), there are a few ways to apply. First and foremost, you’ll need the proper paperwork.

What documents are required to obtain a Schengen visa for Spain?

While your specific paperwork may vary depending on your situation, you should (at the very least) have: 

  • Your passport (issued within the last 10 years, with a validity of more than 3 months after the planned date of exit from the Schengen area) 
  • A Spanish Schengen visa application form (duly completed and signed). 
  • Two recent passport photos 
  • Your itinerary 
  • Travel insurance (NOTE: Travel insurance is mandatory and must meet several criteria in order to be accepted with your visa application — but more on that below) 
  • Proof of sufficient funds* (if applicable) 
  • Proof of the purpose of the trip such as a letter of invitation (if applicable) 
  • Your residence permit and/or resident card (if applicable) 
  • Proof of accommodation (if applicable) 
  • Proof of socio-economic and professional stability (if applicable) 
  • For minors — certified parental or guardian authorization 

And if you’re traveling for business, you might also need: 

  • a schedule of your stay with your business contacts and/or a signed letter of invitation from a German company (if applicable) 
  • documentation linked to your business operations (if applicable)

How much money do I need to come to Spain?

This part is actually kind of tricky. Because when it comes to your means of subsistence in Spain — strangely, there seems to be no real consensus between the Spanish Government and the EU (let alone the internet at large). 

For example, according to Spain’s official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website in early 2024, “the minimum amount required is 90 euros per person per day.” They add, “In any case, and regardless of the length of stay, the traveler must have at least 810 euros or its equivalent in foreign currency.” However, this information appears to not have been updated since 2020. 

Meanwhile, the European Union’s official Handbook on Home Affairs section on Spain states that “foreigners who intend to enter the national territory must continue to prove that they have a minimum amount of 100 euros per person per day,” and “those they intend to stay in Spain with a minimum of 900 euros or its legal equivalent in foreign currency.” And while the EU’s grammar is a bit off, its Handbook on Home Affairs seems to have been published in early 2024. 

So we would go with the latter — but it wouldn’t hurt to also check with an actual human when applying. Just to be on the safe side.

When, where, and how do I apply for a Type C Schengen visa to Spain?

Your visa application should be submitted no earlier than 6 months and no later than 2 to 3 weeks before your departure date. And while you can start the process online, you will eventually need to come in in person — with all the paperwork above — for biometric data collection. Depending on where you are and where you’re from originally, there are generally two ways* to apply. 

The first (traditional) method is through your nearest Spanish embassy or consulate. Fortunately, Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs does provide a fairly updated full list of Spanish embassies and consulates around the world — in alphabetical order, and complete with the relevant, respective websites and contact info. They can also help you with the application process in general — including booking an appointment

Spain also currently outsources its Schengen Visa application process through the company BLS. This means that you can also apply via a BLS center. These are located in nearly 50 countries around the globe — including the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, Belarus, and so on. And you can find a center near you via the link above. 

*NOTE: While you will need to be physically present at some point, the EU does plan to bring the whole Schengen Visa application process online eventually. However, the exact date the change will take place has yet to be announced. AXA’s fingers, in the meantime, are crossed. 

PRO-TIP 5: AXA always strives to bring you the latest info regarding Schengen Visa requirements for travelers near and far. However, you should always double-check with the official sources above — as well as the European Commission’s official visa website — to make sure you don’t miss anything.

How much does a Schengen visa for Spain cost?

A Schengen visa to Spain will cost you €80 (as the costs of the Schengen Visa are universal). 

For children between the ages of six and twelve, the fee is €40. 
And kids under the age of six can get a Schengen visa for free*. 

*In certain cases, the visa fee may also be waived for: 
-participants in certain seminars, conferences, sporting, cultural, and/or educational events (25yo or under); 
-students/teachers on study and/or training trips; 
-certain professionals traveling for the purpose of scientific research. 

NOTE: You will also likely have to pay some extra administrative and/or service fees associated with your visa center and/or the respective officials. Visa fees are not reimbursed if your visa is refused.

What about ETIAS and EES?

The European Information and Authorization System is another thing the EU seems to be working on for some time now. In a nutshell, ETIAS will be a new, mostly digital system of requirements for entering Europe designed to make both travelers’ lives easier and the EU generally safer. 

According to the EU’s official website, ETIAS is set to go into effect in “mid-2025.” However, it can’t really do that until its counterpart the Entry/Exit System (aka EES) goes into effect. 

EES is yet another new process intended to replace traditional passport stamping. It has also been in the works since the last decade, and — according to the EU — it’s set to go into effect “starting in the second half of 2024.” The internet, meanwhile, speculates that that’ll be around October 2024. 

And AXA, meanwhile, recommends you check back with the official source above for any developments — regarding both ETIAS and EES — and hope for the best.

How can AXA help you obtain a Schengen visa for Spain?

Anchor 5 And while Spain and the rest of the EU are working out the challenges regarding new travel requirements to Europe, AXA continues to ensure that millions of Spain’s visitors secure their Schengen Visas and — most importantly — have a safe journey there and back. How? By providing affordable, top-quality, instant Schengen Travel insurance. 

Because not only are you required to have travel insurance to be granted a Schengen visa for Spain — but your plan must also meet the following criteria:

  • Guarantee minimum coverage for at least €30,000 in medical expenses 
  • Cover any expenses that might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons 
  • Cover you in all member states of the Schengen Area (not just Spain) 
  • Cover you during the entire duration of your trip and stay in the Schengen Zone. 

And all three AXA plans (Low-Cost, Europe Travel, and Multi-Trip) meet the necessary requirements above. Moreover, if your Schengen visa for Spain is denied, AXA’s plans are refundable in most cases. We’ll only ask that you provide the appropriate documentation (i.e., an official explanation as to why your visa was refused by the relevant embassy, consulate, or visa application center). 

Our plans also cover you in the rest of the 27 Schengen territories (and beyond).  Plus getting an AXA travel insurance plan is quick and easy. In fact, unlike the Schengen visa itself (for now, at least), our plans can be purchased online in just a few minutes. And your travel insurance certificate — accepted by all Spanish (and other Schengen) embassies and consulates — can then be downloaded (and printed) online instantly too. 

So learn more about and compare our 3 comprehensive plans today. Because whatever changes are in store for Europe and the Schengen Zone in the coming years, an AXA plan is guaranteed to make your Schengen visa application process — and your future trip to Spain — that much smoother, safer, and more worry-free.

How to apply for a Schengen visa for other countries

And, finally, if you’re looking to apply for a visa for any of Spain’s 26 Schengen neighbors, AXA has compiled comprehensive step-by-step guides on each one — in alphabetical order — below:

Austria visaBelgium visaCzech Republic visaDenmark visa
Estonia visaFinland visaFrance visaGermany visa
Greece visaHungary visaIceland visaItaly Visa
Latvia visaLiechtenstein visaLithuania visaLuxembourg visa
Malta visaNetherlands visaNorway visaPoland visa
Portugal visaSlovakia visaSlovenia visaSpain Visa
Sweden visaSwitzerland visaCroatia visa 

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Frequently asked questions about obtaining Spain Schengen visas

What should I do if my Spain Visa is denied?

If your visa is refused you have the right to appeal to the authorities in the Schengen member state where you applied.

How long does it take to process a Schengen visa?

In general, the wait time is at least 15 days. However, in some cases, embassies can take between a month or two to process a visa. It will depend on your particular situation.

Can I travel to Spain if I have obtained a Schengen Visa from another country?

Yes. A Schengen Visa allows you to travel to Spain — and throughout all 27 Schengen countries — no matter which country you got it from.

What should I do if my Spanish visa is refused?

If your visa is rejected, you usually have two options — apply again, or write a letter of appeal. You can learn more in the EU’s Article 32(3) of the Visa Code of the Schengen Agreement. The outcome of your appeal will ultimately depend on the Spanish authorities.

Are there any COVID restrictions for entering Spain?

No. All travel restrictions implemented to control the spread of COVID-19 have been lifted in the EU — including for Spain.

Can I work or study in Spain with a tourist visa?

No. While the tourist (or Type C) allows visitors to enter Spain for a short business trip, a holiday, and/or to visit family members, it cannot be converted into a work or study permit (AXA can tell you more about that).

What happens if I overstay my Schengen visa?

The consequences of overstaying your visa range from paying a fine, deportation, jail time, or even being banned from the country. And AXA is happy to help you avoid all of them.