Red Tape And Visas
Citizens of most EU countries (and of Norway and Iceland) need only a valid
national identity card to enter Spain for up to six months. Since Britain has no
identity card system, however, British citizens have to take a passport. US,
Canadian, Australian and New Zealand citizens do not need a visa for stays of up
to ninety days, but this must be for tourism purposes only and not for work or
study. Visa requirements do change and it is always advisable to check the
current situation before leaving home.
To stay longer , EU nationals (and citizens of Norway and Iceland) can apply for
a permiso de residencia (EU residence permit) once in Spain. A temporary
residency permit is valid for up to a year, and you'll need an extension after
that (valid for up to five years). Applications need to be made at the Oficina
de Extranjeros in the main cities or at the police station nearest to where
you'll be taking up residency. You'll either need to produce proof that you have
sufficient funds (officially around €35 a day) to be able to support yourself
without working - easiest done by keeping bank exchange forms every time you
change money - or you'll need to have a contract of employment ( contrato de
trabajo ) or become self-employed (for example as a teacher), which involves
registering at the tax office.
US citizens can apply for one ninety-day extension, showing proof of funds, but
this must be done from outside Spain. Other nationalities will need to get a
special visa from a Spanish consulate before departure.