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Living in Spain, from France

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Spain at a Glance

Visa Requirements for Spain

No wonder that moving to Spain brightens every expat’s mood: With over 8,000 kilometers of beaches, Spain is one of Europe’s preferred vacation spots. 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 a NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros), an identity number for foreigners, 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 Oficina de Extranjeros (Department of Foreigners) in your city of residence. There, you must present the following documents:


The application process, which needs to be completed by both EU nationals and non-EU citizens, may take from one up to five weeks until you finally receive your NIE.

Visa Requirements for Non-EU Nationals 

Non-EU citizens whose home country has 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 the following: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, Uruguay, the Vatican, and Venezuela.

Visa Categories 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 Transport

Generally speaking, Spain has a very advanced system of public transportation. Larger cities such as Madrid or Barcelona offer a well thought-out subway network and bus system. 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.

Buses and trains connecting larger cities and suburbs are the rule, as many Spanish people prefer to live outside the city and commute to work. The national train company RENFE connects all regions of the Spanish mainland. Several ferry companies offer passenger services from the mainland to the Canary Islands and the Baleares.

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