It’s a country that has it all: from sun-soaked beaches to world-class museums and gastronomy. With stunning landscapes and charming cities that bring postcards to life while still surprising you at every turn, it’s no wonder that this Mediterranean country is one of the most visited destinations in the world.
Whether you’re traveling as a student hoping to improve your language skills or on a stop as part of a larger European adventure, it’s important to have your documents in order. So, is it necessary to request a Spanish visa for US citizens?
No, fortunately, at the time of writing it is not necessary to request a visa to Spain from the US. However, as of late 2022, you must acquire the new ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) travel waiver.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the must-know information on the steps to apply for the ETIAS and how to request a visa to Spain for US citizens for long-term travel.
Let us take care of some of your most important questions so that you can make the most out of your trip!
- 1 Do US Citizens Need a Tourist Visa for Spain?
- 2 What is the ETIAS for Spain?
- 3 Spain Visa On Arrival (VoA) for US Citizens vs E-Visa
- 4 Do US Citizens Need a Visa for Spain for Long-Term Stays?
- 5 Can I Change My Visa at the US Embassy in Spain?
- 6 Can US Citizens Work in Spain?
- 7 Traveling to Spain as an American
- 8 Spanish Travel FAQs for Americans
- 9 More Information About Visiting Spain
Do US Citizens Need a Tourist Visa for Spain?
No, a visa for Spain for US citizens is not required when visiting for less than 90 days for tourism, business or medical purposes.
However, by the end of 2022, Americans planning to visit any of the 26 countries within Europe’s Schengen Zone will need to request an ETIAS waiver prior to their travel.
What is the ETIAS for Spain?
The ETIAS is an electronic entry waiver that citizens from countries formerly exempt from visas – among them the United States – must present in order to enter countries in the Schengen Area.
This travel waiver allows you to visit any country in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days in a 6-month period and can be requested as follows:
- Check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months past your planned travel date and has at least 3 blank pages.
- Click ‘Apply for ETIAS’ and enter your personal and passport details.
- Choose between our Standard, Rapid and Highly Rapid processing speeds.
- Click ‘Submit’ and your authorization will be sent directly to your inbox.
Spain Visa On Arrival (VoA) for US Citizens vs E-Visa
As American travellers were previously allowed visa-free entry to the Schengen Zone, no VoA or e-Visa systems are in place. All you need is a valid US passport – and as of 2022 an approved ETIAS – to enjoy your visit.
The same goes for a Spain transit visa for US citizens. Once the ETIAS System goes live, you will be expected to present this travel waiver, even on a layover.
Do US Citizens Need a Visa for Spain for Long-Term Stays?
Yes, to request a Spain visa for US citizens for more than 3 months you will need to request a long-term visa for US citizens at your corresponding embassy or consulate.
For example, requirements for Americans traveling as students include a valid passport, a letter of acceptance as a full-time student (to be provided by your university or exchange programme), as well as proof of health insurance and financial means.
To request a visa to Spain for US permanent residents you must provide evidence of your migratory status such as your ‘Alien Registration Card,’ allowing your return to the US.
Can I Change My Visa at the US Embassy in Spain?
No, any long-term permit must be issued by your corresponding Spanish consulate in the United States prior to arrival.
The United States is represented by the American embassy in Madrid, the Consulate General of the United States in Barcelona and 5 consular agencies in Fuengirola (Málaga), Seville, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, and Las Palmas.
The embassy and consulate are closed on Spanish and American holidays. In case of an emergency, they can be contacted at the numbers below:
US Embassy Madrid
Calle de Serrano, 75
Phone: (+34) 91-587-2200
US Consulate General Barcelona
Paseo Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
Phone: (+34) 93 280 22 27
You can find further details on our Spanish Embassies in the USA page.
Can US Citizens Work in Spain?
A work visa for US citizens traveling to Spain must be requested with the support of your company.
Alternatively, there are many programmes that sponsor Spain visas for US citizens interested in working as Language and Culture Assistants in Spanish schools. In this position, you can travel from the US to Spain on a student visa to work anywhere between 16 and 24 hours a week in exchange for a modest monthly stipend.
Traveling to Spain as an American
In 2017, this Southern European country welcomed 82 million visitors, coming in globally as the second most visited tourist destination in the world. Among these visitors, 82% arrived by air. If traveling from the United States, it’s likely that you’ll be part of this group.
Luckily, the majority of Spanish airports are located less than 15 miles from the city centre and are linked to an extensive transport network, connecting you to your final designation by train, taxi, bus or subway.
As part of the Eurozone, the main currency is the euro. US dollars are not widely used and most businesses will require you change to euros before making a purchase. Major credit cards are accepted in many venues as well.
In 2019, tourism made up over 14% of the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the government has invested greatly in diversifying its tourism offering. Whether you’re interested in discovering the taste of original regional dishes or exploring medieval castles, you’re sure to find something that suits you.
Spanish Travel FAQs for Americans
Here’s some additional information that may help you plan your trip.
Can All Americans Travel Here?
Yes, as long as you have a valid passport with at least 6 months’ validity from your planned arrival date.
Is it Safe for Americans to Travel Here?
Yes, this well-established tourist destination is safe for all travelers. That being said, be sure to exercise common sense and keep a close eye on your belongings, as pickpocketing can occur in larger cities.
What Else Do I Need to Know Before Traveling?
Most Spanish cities are very accommodating to tourists’ needs. In larger cities, it’s quite easy to find English-speaking locals. However, if you wander off the beaten path, it’s helpful to speak at least some basic Spanish!
More Information About Visiting Spain
We hope that you’ve found this article helpful to apply for your ‘US to Spain visa’! To learn more about traveling to this top Mediterranean destination ahead of your trip, head to our Visit Spain page and our Spain ETIAS page.