Visiting Spain: Guide to ETIAS Visa Waiver Application

Guide to Visa Requirements to Visit Spain in 2020 and Beyond


If you’re planning to visit Spain, you may be wondering what authorisation you need before you arrive. Fortunately, as Spain is part of the Schengen Zone, all nationals of European Union countries can move freely in and out of Spain.

That said, with Brexit underway and Europe revising its visa protocol for other visitors coming from outside the EU, visa requirements are set to change. Furthermore, a visa waiver system called the ETIAS will be introduced in late 2022.

Read on to learn more about what’s set to change and how it affects you! In addition, you can check your visa requirements and apply for the travel authorisation you need with an online visa provider like Byevisa.

Changes for UK Travellers After the Brexit Transition Period

The UK began its Brexit transition phase on January 31st 2020, and, during the transition period, which is likely to last until the end of 2020, British citizens remain exempt from needing a visa to Spain. Then, from 2021 onwards, UK nationals travelling to Spain can expect to see some changes to certain documents required for travel.

Most importantly, UK passports will need to have at least 6 months remaining until their expiration date. While you can continue to use your EU passport until it expires, after that you’ll have to obtain a regular UK passport.

Also, whereas before UK citizens could stay in Spain for an indefinite time period, from January 2021 British citizens will be allowed to stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. If you’re from the UK, you won’t need a visa for those first 3 months, but if you plan to study or work, say, as an English teacher, you will most likely require a visa.

Spain’s healthcare system is public and easy to use, but before travelling you should check your travel health insurance coverage. It’s possible that if you need to see a Spanish doctor, your European Health Insurance Card may not be valid after 31 December 2020.

Introducing the ETIAS

Visitors from around 60 countries outside the European Union, including the US, Australia and Canada, are currently able to enter Spain visa-free for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This will continue to be the case for the next couple of years.

However, EU authorities are putting a new system in place called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) for visitors from all visa-exempt countries. The ETIAS is in the process of being rolled out and will likely take effect starting in late 2022 and will be mandatory from 2023 onward.

The UK will be included in the list of countries required to complete an ETIAS application, along with the other visa-exempt countries mentioned above, plus others such as Japan too. The good news is that the application will be simple and straightforward and only takes a few minutes to fill out.

The idea behind the ETIAS is to speed up the entry process and modernise the whole border control procedure. The aim is also to protect against identity fraud, ultimately reducing the number of refusals at the border by checking travellers’ data in advance.

This small step will save you time when you arrive and help you have a smooth entry and a pleasant stay in Spain. In fact, once your data is checked in the system, you could potentially be authorised for up to 3 years, saving you time on future trips.

What Will I Need to Complete an ETIAS Application?

The online application will require some passport data, travel details and will ask you a few security and medical questions. Your passport must have at least 6 months’ validity left from the date you plan to arrive in Spain.

The application will cost only EUR 7.00, payable by credit or debit card. For children under 18 years of age and those over 70, there’s no fee required. Once your data is checked, you’ll receive your approval by email shortly after.

What Happens When I Arrive in Spain With the ETIAS?

When you arrive by air from a non-Schengen country, you will fill out a short form that asks you for a valid address where you’re staying in Spain. When you pass through the border control, you’ll present your passport and your valid ETIAS waiver that you applied for before travelling.

Many Brits and people from around the world gravitate toward Spain for its relaxed pace of life, excellent food and wine, and its wide variety of breathtaking landscapes, and many decide to stay for an extended period. With the information here about the visa requirements for 2020 and beyond, you’ll be able to further enjoy la vida española after Brexit and once the ETIAS waiver is introduced!









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