Documentation required to travel to Spain
The documentation required to travel to Spain varies according to the country of origin.
If you are a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein: you will need a valid passport or ID card. Additionally, in the case of a minor travelling with an ID document, this must be accompanied by written permission from the parents.
If you come from another country:
The maximum stay in Spain is 90 days. There are a number of countries whose citizens are required to have a valid current visa in order to enter Spain. You can find a list of these countries. Citizens of these countries can also travel to Spain if they have a residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another country in the European Union (with the exception of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.
Citizens of all other countries must be in possession of documents which justify the object and the conditions of their stay, and be in possession of sufficient economic resources for their maintenance throughout the period they are intending to remain in Spain. The documents they are required to present will vary according to the motive of the trip. You can check these on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation .
It is advisable to take out travel insurance for your trip.
What is the weather like in Spain?
Spain, one of the warmest countries in Europe:
Spain has a predominantly warm Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and winters with balanced temperatures. Here you can enjoy more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. It is no surprise, then, that this is one of the warmest parts of Europe.
Nevertheless, variety is the main characteristic of the climate here, due to Spain’s immense geographical diversity.
So that if you travel to the north, to the Cantabrian coast, you will find a mild climate with high rainfall. Winters are mild and in summer temperatures rarely exceed 25oC.
However, in the higher parts of the country, the climate is harsher and it is common to see snow from the beginning of winter to the end of spring. This is the case of the Pyrenees, the mountains of Sierra Nevada, the Central and Iberian ranges, and the Cantabrian Mountains, amongst others.
Health and Safety
The Spanish National Health Service has an extensive network of health centres andhospitals throughout the country.
The health centres offer primary health care services (family/GP services, paediatrics and nursing, with availability of midwives, physiotherapists and social workers). They are usually located within 15 minutes of any place of residence. If circumstances require, medical attention can be provided in the patient’s home.
Also, in rural areas and in small villages there are local surgeries open on certain days with visits from healthcare staff from the region.
Hospitals offer specialised attention, with access via referral from primary healthcare services. There are also accident and emergency services available at hospitals and some health centres. You can check hospitals and health centres in Spain at the Ministry of Health website.
What you should know about medical care if you come from an EU member state.
You are entitled to free medical and hospital care:
Having shown your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will be seen by a GP at a local health centre or at your accommodation if you are unable to make the journey. If you need to see a specialist or go into hospital, the GP will give you the relevant medical certificate or referral. Accident and Emergency services are available at hospitals.
You will require your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):
With the European Health Insurance Card you will receive the same temporary healthcare services as any other Spanish citizen. The expiry date can be found on the European Health Insurance Card and it is valid in EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Private doctors and hospitals in Spain do not accept the European Health Insurance Card. If you require private healthcare you must settle your own bills or take out an insurance policy that covers it. Find out where to get your European Health Insurance Card here: European Health Insurance Card
If you forget your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):
You will have to pay any hospital, medical or pharmaceutical bills in advance, and then seek reimbursement from the relevant organisation in your country of origin, providing all receipts.
Remember that the European Health Insurance Card is not valid if you have travelled to Spain in order to receive specific medical treatment. The same applies to all other EU countries.
Some countries do not use the European Health Insurance Card yet. If this is the case, you should travel with the relevant document from your country, which has been designated valid until the new card is introduced. In any case, you should contact the relevant office in your country of origin for full details regarding current requirements to receive medical care in Spain.
Where to buy medications?
In Spain, medications are obtained at pharmacies. They are all marked with a green cross. You will get your prescriptions from your doctor. If you come from a country in the European Union, or your country has health agreements with Spain, you will have the same prescription drug benefits as Spanish citizens.
Where to call in the event of an emergency?
Dial 112 free of charge (valid throughout Spain). Service is provided in Spanish, and also in English, French and German in some tourist areas.
Is Spain a safe country?
In general terms, Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe for visiting tourists.
As in any country, there are basic security measures to bear in mind…
Try not to walk around empty streets or poorly-lit areas, and avoid street gambling stalls. Try to carry only the money you need for any one excursion. Take care of your possessions in crowded places such as public transport or department stores. When relaxing in public places, keep valuable objects like mobile phones and cameras out of view.
If you need help you can contact the Police on 112.
Driving in Spain
Drivers from all non-EU countries except Switzerland must hold a Green Card with the insurance policy covering the cost of assistance in case of accident. This is always included when renting a car in a legal car rental company.
What documentation is required to drive in Spain?
To drive in Spain you must be aged 18 or over. To rent a vehicle you must be 21 or over. Many companies also require you to have held your driver’s license for a minimum of one or two years. Remember that you will also require a credit card to rent a vehicle.
A valid driver’s license:
If you are the citizen of an EU member state, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein: you only require your valid driver’s license. If you are from another country you will require an International Driver’s License.
What are the safety measures you should know about in Spain?
Road safety regulations: there are a series of road safety regulations you must be aware of when driving in Spain. They are as follows: – Talking on a mobile phone is prohibited while driving, unless you use a hands-free system. – Car radios and mobile phones must be switched off while re-fuelling. – A reflective jacket must be used when getting out of the car on the road or the hard shoulder. – Warning triangles must be deployed if the vehicle has stopped on the road or hard shoulder. – The installation and use of devices designed to elude surveillance by traffic police is strictly prohibited. – Overtaking can only be done on the left side of the car which you wish to pass. – It is advisable to use your lights during the day in order to improve your visibility.
Furthermore: – Established speed limits must be obeyed: 120 km/h on dual carriageways and motorways, 100 km/h on conventional roads, 90 km/h on all other roads and 50 km/h in built- up areas. – Alcohol levels in the bloodstream must not exceed 0.5 g/l (0.25 mg/l in exhaled air). – Seatbelts must be worn by driver and all passengers, in front and back seats. – Helmets must be worn on motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles. – Parking in public thoroughfares is not always permitted or free. In many cities the parking areas are regulated and subject to payment. Normally these can be identified by the presence of parking meters in the vicinity.
Where to buy stamps, bus tickets and telephone cards
In Spain the easiest way to buy stamps, bus/metro tickets and telephone cards are through the small shops known as “Estancos” (although the door sign says “Tabacos”). The “Estancos”also sell tobacco products and can be found on every street throughout the country. It is also possible to buy stamps in the post office and some paper shops and bus/metro tickets in most of the bus/metro stations.
The opening hours for most shops throughout the country are from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday. On Saturdays many small shops (i.e. the majority of “Estancos”) are only open to 2 p.m. Major shopping malls, department stores and supermarkets stay open continuously from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. or in some cases until 10 p.m.
Restaurants start serving lunch from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. In small restaurants and bars it is normally possible to get served a fixed number of menus at any time of the day.
The currency in Spain is the euro, the same as in other European Union countries.
Where can you change foreign currency?
Visitors can change foreign currency at any bank branch or foreign exchange bureau in major cities. This service is also available in most hotels and travel agencies.
Is tipping mandatory?
No; in every single establishment in Spain, service is included with the price of the meal or drink. However, tipping is a common practice at bars and restaurants, hotels, and taxis, depending on the total price for the service, and on the generosity of the client. It is usually around five to ten percent of the total price.
Can you request reimbursement of your Value Added Tax (I.V.A.)?
If the purchaser’s residence is outside the European Union, then you can claim back the tax on any purchases totalling over €90.15. In order to do so, you must ask for the Tax Free check in the shop or business.
There are various companies in Spain authorised to process the reimbursement of I.V.A. (Value Added Tax) for tourists. This is a very simple procedure. You need only follow the steps below to obtain your refund:
- Request the tax-free invoice and show accreditation of your place of residence (passport).
- Show your purchases and have the tax-free invoices stamped at customs. (Receipts must be stamped within 3 months of purchase.)
- Claim the amount due from the company processing the claim. They all have I.V.A. reimbursement points at the main Spanish airports and borders, for payment in cash. You can also have the I.V.A. repaid to your credit card, by bank transfer or international cheque.
Banks are open from 8.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Monday to Friday, exempt from October to April where banks also are open Saturday from 9a.m. to 1 p.m.
The majority of public services (i.e. the city hall, health centres) are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday.
How do electrical appliances work in Spain?
Electricity supply in Spain is AC 220 volts, 50 Hertz. Sockets meet European regulations and use the round pin system. However, most hotels have adaptors for different plugs. Make sure that the electrical appliances you are going to use (computers, mobile phone chargers, shavers…) work at this voltage.
Embassies and consulates of other countries in Spain
For general information about Spain and Travel trips we recommend the official Tourism Website.
Even though you have information on Seville in our Website, you will find the best and most complete information in the Sevilla Congress and Convention Bureau . In their complete Website you will find detailed information on venues, Locations and maps, climate, history, communications, Monuments and Leisure.