Spain is a member of the 2000 Schengen Convention, an agreement whereby all European Union (EU) member countries (except Ireland and the UK) plus Norway and Iceland abolished checks at internal borders. EU, Icelandic, and Norwegian nationals do not need visa, regardless of the purpose or length of their visit to Spain. But they need to register with the police if their stay exceeded 90 days.
Nationals of other countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, and Switzerland do not need tourist visa for visits of up to 90 days in Spain. Nationals of Schengen countries who wish to study or work in Spain may need a visa. The standard tourist visa issued by Spanish consulates is the Schengen visa, which is valid for up to 90 days. They cannot be extended.
People of other nationalities who want to stay in Spain longer than 90 days must get a residence card (tarjeta de residencia). You can also apply for residency if you are a non-EU spouse of an EU citizen residing in Spain. If this is the case, you are obliged to make the formal application in your country of residence. The process is lengthy so start the process in advance. Those who need to travel to Barcelona, Spain in the meantime who would normally need a visa could ask for a visa exemption (exención de visado)
If you need a visa, you must apply personally at your country’s consulate. You may need to provide hotel bookings or an itinerary, return tickets, proof of sufficient funds, and a letter of recommendation from your host in Spain.
Here are other points to consider when applying for a visa to visit Barcelona:
- Visa application process usually takes at least six weeks – thus, you should have had this done at least 2 months before your scheduled visit.
- A tourist visa, which is valid for 90 days, does not allow you to study in Barcelona or the whole Spain in general. This also goes to say that you cannot apply for a student resident permit (NIE) in the city in order to extend your stay for more than 90 days.
- Requirements for the application vary from country to country so directly get in touch to the Spanish Consulate.