The procedures and conditions for granting short-stay visas are defined in Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which establishes a Community Code for this type of visa.

The application for a short-stay visa must be submitted on an official application form, duly completed (original and copy). You can download the application form here or obtain it from any of Spain's diplomatic missions or consular offices abroad.

You must always apply for the visa in person at the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office corresponding to the area where you legally reside. However, if there is no Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office in your country of residence, then you may apply at the diplomatic mission or consular office that represents Spain in that country.

At the time of submitting the application for a short-stay visa, you must pay the corresponding fee, which will never be refunded in the event of a refusal. See list of fees. However, in certain cases, which you must consult beforehand at the nearest Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office, the regulations in force provide for a reduction or exemption of the fee.

Depending on the purpose of your trip, the uniform Schengen visa applies to both categories, "A" and "C".

Category "A" refers to the airport transit visa, which would allow you to travel through the international area of the Schengen Area without entering the area of the Schengen country. The airport transit visa is compulsory for citizens travelling from a state included in the following lists: List I and List II which do not belong to the Schengen Area.

Category 'C' is a short-stay visa that would allow residence in Spain or a country in the Schengen Area for a certain period of time depending on the validity of the visa. This particular category and, depending on the purpose of the journey, can be obtained in the form of:

  • The single-entry visa allows its holder to enter a country of the Schengen Area only once during a certain period of time. The validity of the visa expires once the holder leaves the country of the Schengen Area which he entered, even if the period of time allowed to stay in the country has not yet expired.
  • The double-entry visa applies the same policy as mentioned above, but you are allowed to enter the Schengen Area country twice, so during the period of time allowed by your visa you can enter the Schengen Area country, leave and re-enter again without any problems. The visa expires once you are out of the country for the second time.
  • The multiple-entry visa allows its holder to enter and leave the country of the Schengen Area at any time. However, this visa allows the holder to stay in a Schengen area country for a maximum period of 90 days within half a year, starting from the day on which the first entry into the Schengen area is made.

The maximum period for resolving short-stay visa application files is 15 calendar days from the date of submission of the application. This period could be extended to a maximum of 30 calendar days for certain circumstances. Exceptionally, in cases where additional documentation needs to be submitted, this period may be extended to a maximum of 60 calendar days. 

The visa issued must be collected in person from the relevant diplomatic mission or consular post within one month of notification of the granting of the visa.

However, if your visa is refused, the Spanish authorities will notify you by means of a standard form indicating the reason for the refusal. In this case, you may lodge an appeal with the Madrid High Court of Justice within two months of the date of notification. Alternatively, you can also file an appeal for reversal with the same diplomatic mission or consular office within 1 month from the date of notification of the refusal.

Visas for family members of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

The beneficiaries of the Community regime are all those nationals of third States who are family members of Community citizens, provided that they comply with the provisions of Articles 2 and 2a of Royal Decree 240/2007 and that they accompany or join the Community citizen.

El procedimiento y condiciones para la expedición de visados de corta duración de entrada en régimen comunitario se recogen en la Directiva 2004/38/CE del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo, de 29 de abril de 2004, y en el Real Decreto 240/2007, de 16 de febrero, sobre entrada, libre circulación y residencia en España de ciudadanos de los Estados miembros de la UE y de otros Estados parte en el Acuerdo sobre el Espacio Económico Europeo.

The procedure and conditions for issuing short term visas for entry into the Community regime are set forth in Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 29 April 2004, and in Royal Decree 240/2007, of 16 February, on the entry, free movement and residence in Spain of citizens of EU member states and other states that are parties to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

These visas are generally preferential and will be issued free of charge.

In those consular representations where there is an external service provider, you may choose to submit the application directly to the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office, or to the offices of the said provider, in which case you will always have to pay the fee for the corresponding service.

Links of interest

Visa procedures are not easy, so getting advice can guide you through the whole process to make it easier and less tedious. You may also be interested in the following resources:

Get an expert evaluation!

Book a 60-minute online consultation for your short-stay visa case and get helpful advice on how to get the best chance of success.

Book your consultation now