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Spain at a Glance

Visa Requirements for Spain

With over 8,000 kilometers of beaches, Spain is one of Europe’s favorite vacation spots: no wonder that moving to Spain puts every expat in a good mood. InterNations provides you with basic information on Spain, including advice on visa requirements and public transportation.

Getting an Identity Number

There are different requirements for EU nationals and non-EU citizens moving to Spain. If you move to Spain as an EU citizen (or a national of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland), you only need a valid passport or national identity card. An application for an identity number for foreigners — an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) — is also required for EU citizens moving to Spain for a period longer than three months. If you are contemplating buying or renting property, opening a bank account, and working, you will need an NIE. To apply for the NIE, you need to go either to the national police department or to the Extranjería (Department of Foreigners) in your city of residence. Once there, you must present the following documents:

The process of obtaining an NIE, which needs to be completed by both EU nationals and non-EU citizens, should take no longer than three weeks.

Three Months in Spain without a Visa? 

Non-EU citizens whose home country has entered into a special agreement with Spain may move to Spain and live there without applying for a visa for up to 90 days. It is important to note that visas are never issued within Spain, so be sure to apply for a visa in your home country before moving to Spain if you are planning on staying longer than three months.

The aforementioned non-visa countries include many Latin American countries and more, such as Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States.

Visas for Non-EU Nationals 

There are several different types of visas for Spain. Here is a brief overview for you to determine which one applies to you:

Please be sure to contact the local Spanish embassy for further information and exact details on the visa you need to apply for. Visit the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more information.

Public Transportation — One Thing You Don’t Have to Worry About

Generally speaking, Spain has a very advanced system of public transportation. Barcelona’s tram, metro, and bus networks are well organized and together they get you to all parts of the city. As for Madrid, its metro system is extensive and caters to the entire city aided by other forms of public transportation such as buses. Also, there are also plenty of taxis. Contrary to some other European countries, you usually do not need to be afraid of fraud as most taxis are metered or a fixed price is agreed upon beforehand. For more detailed information on these two popular cities among expats, check out our guides on living in Madrid and moving to Barcelona.

As many Spanish people prefer to live outside the city and commute to work, buses and trains connecting larger cities and suburbs are widely used. The national train company RENFE connects all regions of the Spanish mainland. If you prefer being behind the wheel yourself, commuting by car is, of course, also an option. Check out our guide to driving in Spain for more details on general regulations and importing vehicles. Several ferry companies offer passenger services from the mainland to the Canary Islands and the Baleares.


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InterNations Expat Magazine