It was written on 09 May 2016. The law and practice in Spain change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.
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This guide is about visiting the Costa del Sol as a tourist.
Thousands of people visit the Costa del Sol every year. This isn't surprising - it is a beautiful region with a great range of tourist accommodation.
So you'll be pleased to hear that the Costa del Sol is very easy to visit!
Citizens of any nationality can visit Spain as a tourist (meaning somebody who is visiting on a short-term basis and who is not coming to Spain to work).
Entry into Spain for stays not exceeding ninety days in any six-month period is subject to the conditions set forth in Regulation (EC) Nº 562/2006 (see here in Spanish and here in English) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006.
You must have a valid passport or travel document. The document must be valid for the entirety of the intended stay. Citizens from any state of the European Union (or from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein), only need a valid national identity document or passport.
If a minor (child under the age of 18) is travelling alone with a national identity document, the latter must be accompanied by parental authorization.
If you are from a country whose nationals must be in possession of a visa when crossing the EU's external borders (see the list here in Spanish and here in English), you must obtain a short-term visa - unless you are in possession of a valid residence permit or a valid long-term visa issued by another EU Member State.
Foreigners holding a valid residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another Schengen State may move for a maximum of three months, during any six-month period, through the territory of the other Schengen States, provided:
That they are in possession of a valid passport or travel document
That they justify the purpose and conditions of the intended stay
That they have sufficient means of subsistence (see below) for the duration of the intended stay in Spain
That they are not considered a threat to the public health, public order, national security, or international relations of Spain or of other States with which Spain has agreements in this regard. Moreover, they shall be required not to appear on the national list of alerts of the Member State in question
That they have the required documents (see below) and 'sufficient means of subsistence'.
In order to accredit economic means, foreigners must prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence available in order to enter Spain.
As stated by Order PRE/1282/2007, of 10 May: the minimum amount that must be accredited is €64.53 per person per day, with a minimum total of €580.77 or its equivalent in foreign currency.
If you are coming to the Costa del Sol as a tourist, or for other private (non-business) reasons, submission of any of the following documents may be required:
A supporting document from the establishment providing accommodation or a letter of invitation from a private individual hosting the foreigner concerned in their home, issued by the Police Station of their place of residence.
IMPORTANT: under no circumstances shall the letter of invitation replace the foreigner's other entry requirements (see above).
Confirmation of the booking of an organised trip, indicating the itinerary.
A return or round-trip ticket.
Submission of any of the following documents may be required:
An invitation from a company or from an authority to participate in meetings, conferences, etc
A document proving the existence of commercial or business relations
Access cards to trade fairs, congresses, conferences, etc
Invitations, entrance cards, bookings or programmes detailing (as far as possible) the name of the hosting organization and the duration of the stay
Submission of any of the following documents may be required:
A certificate of enrolment at a school or college
Any other certificates regarding the courses attended
Other documents indicating the purpose of the visit may also be accepted.
For the purposes of this guide, by “work”, we mean working in paid employment on the Costa del Sol. This does not include coming to Spain for business purposes (e.g. meeting clients or to discuss business opportunities). For that, see below.
To come to Spain for short-term employment (less than one year) you need a short term work visa.
This must be obtained, in advance, from the Consulate of Spain nearest to where you live.
To apply for a visa you must have a written offer of employment (such as short term contract, training contract, or management contract).
Whether it is easy or impossible to obtain such a visa depends upon what you want to do by way of work.
It is relatively easy to obtain short-term visas to work in areas where there is a labour shortage. This includes harvesting olives during the short harvest period, from mid-September to mid-October.
Short-term visas for office work in Spain are extremely hard to obtain.
The national employment must allow for the foreign worker to be hired, or there must be proof of the worker being in certain circumstances. See this web page (in English) for more details.
People wishing to visit Spain to meet clients and/or discuss business are allowed to do so as tourists.
The following are causes for refusing entry:
Having previously been expelled or deported by Spain or another Schengen State
Having been expressly denied entry for "activities contrary to the interests of Spain", activities against human rights, or for notorious connections with criminal organizations
Being wanted internationally for criminal reasons
Being considered a threat to the public health, public order, national security, or international relations of Spain, or of other States with which Spain has agreements in this regard
Having already stayed in Spain for three months during a six-month period
Depending on the country you come from, the Spanish Consulate may take just a few days or up to about one month.
Have you got experience visiting the Costa del Sol? Tell us about it by emailing email@example.com.
Coming to the Costa del Sol as a tourist is a nice, simple process –and if you can afford to stay the whole 90 days it is guaranteed that you will have a great experience. I hope you enjoy your trip!
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We hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact us.Manzanares Abogados S.L. 09 May 2016