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Entry Visa in Spain – Differences between “Entry” and “Stay”

I.-  Which are the differences between “stay” and “residence” in Spain? 

What does  “Stay” or “Estancia” mean in Spain?

We understand “stay” in Spanish territory to mean that a person “stays”, when it is for a period of less than 90 DAYS.

It can be understood that the intention of the person who “is” in Spain is not to “stay” or “reside” for a long time in Spain, but rather to “visit” Spain for different reasons, and then return to his or her country. of origin or residence.

However, “residence” implies the intention in Espala to “stay” and not “visit”, for a long period of years.

II.-  Entry/Stay permit or Tourist-Student Visa

For what purpose of stay can a Stay Visa in Spain be obtained?

Legal stay in Spain can be granted for any of the three permitted stays:

  •  Tourism (maximum 90 days) – Tourist Visa
  •  Student (Maximum 1 year, except for those who obtain a long-term student card) – Student Visa
  • Volunteering

An important issue to highlight is that the stay in Spain as a STUDENT does not count in Spain to obtain 100% Permanent Residence or Nationality, but only 50% of the time that you have actually resided in Spanish territory.

How do you obtain the “Stay” or “Entry” permit?

Well, it depends on whether the visitor is a resident and citizen of the European Union or, on the contrary, is a resident of another country outside the European Union.

• In  case of an EU citizen: The visitor does not need any type of permit or visa to come to visit Spain or to stay in our country for a period of no more than 90 days.

This is due to the right of free movement of people recognized for all EU citizens, which allows the transit and stay of any of them in any EU country and Iceland, and Norway, and what we know as the Schengen Area. .

The only requirement that will be asked of the EU citizen who visits us will be the passport or identity card of the EU country from which he or she comes.

• Citizens from outside the European Union

Here we have to distinguish between two types of countries of origin:

– Countries that DO NOT need a tourist visa to come to Spain, and which are:

• Mexico
• Colombia
• Japan
• Chile
• Argentina

The sole requirement that will be asked of tourists from these countries will be their passport, which must be valid for more than 3 months from the date of return to their state of origin.

However, for these countries and for some of the countries that are not visa-exempt, starting in 2024-2025 the electronic registration and entry authorization system “ETIAS” will apply, as we will explain below in this article. section.

• The rest of the non-EU countries must apply for a visa to come to Spain.

With this visa, the tourist will be able to circulate throughout the Schengen territory for a maximum period of 90 days in a maximum period of 6 months.

How do you obtain a tourist visa to come to Spain?

If you need a tourist visa for Spain, these are the requirements to obtain it:

  • Fill out the application form
  • Make an appointment at the consulate or embassy (and bring proof to enter)
  • Passport size photograph
  • Valid and current passport. The validity must be greater than 3 months from the date of departure from the country.
  • Schengen visa insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 that guarantees medical care in the event of any emergency and repatriation in the event of death.
  • Round-trip ticket
  • Proof of accommodation: hotel reservation, invitation letter from an individual, tourist rental reservation.
  • Have liquidity to cover the expenses of your stay in Europe. In the case of Spain, the minimum amount required is €108 per person per day. In any case, and regardless of the number of days of stay, a minimum amount of 972 euros or its equivalent in another currency will be required.

The Schengen visa application must be submitted between 6 months and 15 days before the planned date of travel.

Can the tourist visa in Spain be extended beyond 90 days?

Yes, you can, in exceptional circumstances. But for this the extension must be argued and justified.
The procedure and requirements are included on the administration’s official website.



Starting in 2024, for non-EU countries, the entry visa to Spain and the entire Schengen Area will be replaced by an authorization called ETIAS to go to Europe.

What exactly does the ETIAS mean?

It is known as ETIAS (“European Travel Information and Authorization System”), a digital registration and authorization procedure that will be necessary for the entry of all citizens from countries outside the Schengen Area.

Its application is expected at the beginning of 2025.

How is the ETIAS be obtained?

This is a completely ONLINE procedure in which, most likely, the same documents and requirements demanded for the stay or visit visa will be requested.

The advantage of this procedure is precisely that it can be managed in minutes and from home, a process that previously involved a considerable loss of time.

To do this, you just have to enter the official ETIAS website, clicking here.

You can carry out the registration process yourself, or authorize someone to do it, such as a family member or a travel agency.

They will ask you for the following information:

• Personal information.
• Passport
• Level of education and professional information
• Destination country and accommodation
• Penal and criminal information

Remember that you will need the  TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE that covers your stay in Spain with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR.

The ETIAS will be valid for 3 YEARS, so you will not need to complete the complete registration procedure every time you come to Spain.

What countries does it apply to?

The ETIAS will be required for all citizens who wish to visit Spain or the Schengen area for a stay of less than 90 days, with whom Europe has reached a visit agreement.

This is a closed list of countries with an agreement, which are the following:

• Albania
• Antigua y Barbuda
• Argentina
• Australia
• Bahamas
• Barbados
• Bosnia and Herzegovina
• Brazil
• Brunei
• Canada
• Chili
• Colombia
• Costa Rica
• South Korea
• Dominica
• The Savior
• United Arab Emirates
• Georgia
• Grenade
• Guatemala
• Honduras
• Hong Kong
• Israel
• Japan
• Kiribati
• North Macedonia
• Macau
• Malaysia
• Islands
• Mauricio
• Mexico
• Micronesia
• Moldova
• Montenegro
• New Zealand
• Nicaragua
• Palau
• Panama
• Paraguay
• Peru
• United Kingdom
• Saint Kitts and Nevis
• St. Lucia
• St. Vincent and the Grenadines
• Samoa
• Serbia
• Seychelles
• Singapore
• Solomon Islands
• Timor-Leste
• Tonga
• Trinidad and Tobago
• Tuvalu
• Ukraine
• Uruguay
• Venezuela

What happens to countries not included in the ETIAS?  Do the still need an Entry Visa to Spain?

For those countries that have not reached an agreement with the Schengen Area regarding entry permits and visas, such as Russia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Morocco or China, they will need the traditionally requested entry visa.

But, remember, the ETIAS is an ENTRY PERMIT for 90 days, just as the TOURIST VISA implies, so it in no way implies or allows a stay or residence in Spain for a period of more than 90 days.