Common Questions and Issues

Before contacting the Consulate, please look for answers to your questions here. Be aware that the Visa Department does not manage phone calls.

 
 

 
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS MY VISA?
 
Your visa application process begins when we receive your application at your appointment. Every visa is different and has a distinct approval resolution process. Since several approvals and authorizations are out of the Visa Department's control, we do not guarantee a specific time frame to finish a visa. This guide may help you decide when to make an appointment and when to plan on traveling. Remember that we keep your passport at the Consulate until there is a resolution. Applications will not be accepted more than 90 days in advance (with the exception of student visas) to your date of departure.
 
Schengen Visa
1-4 weeks
Student Visa
​2-4 weeks
Work Visa
​1-6 weeks
​Residence Visa
​2-6 weeks
 
 *These are average resolution times and do not guarantee that the visa will be completed before the legal time-frame, which is 90 days.
 
WHAT IS THE STATUS OF MY VISA?
 
We do not give updated statuses of visa application by phone or email. You will only be notified once there is a resolution.
 
I AM A U.S. CITIZEN. DO I NEED A VISA TO GO TO SPAIN?
 
If the duration of your stay is less than 90 days, you do NOT need a visa. If the duration of your stay is greater than 90 days, you will need a visa.
 
I AM IN THE U.S. WITH A TOURIST (B1/B2) VISA. CAN I APPLY FOR A VISA TO SPAIN IN LOS ANGELES?
 
No. Applications from holders of a B1-B2 type visas will not be accepted.  You must return to your place of residence to apply for a visa.
 
YOUR CONSULATE IS THE MOST CONVINIENT. CAN I APPLY FOR A VISA THERE?
 
Only if you reside in our jurisdiction. Every consulate has its own jurisdiction. We can only take applications from people who are residents in Southern California (Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties), Colorado, Utah, and Arizona (map). You may apply for a visa at this Consulate if you are a student at a university within our jurisdiction.
 
I AM A LEGAL RESIDENT OF THE U.S. AND A GREENCARD HOLDER. DO I NEED A VISA TO GO TO SPAIN?
 
If your nationality is found on the list of countries that require a visa and the duration of your stay is less than 90 days, you will need a Schengen or short stay Visa. If the duration of your stay is more than 90 days, you will need another type of visa.
 
I AM A NON-CITIZEN WITH A U.S. ISSUED TRAVEL DOCUMENT. DO I NEED A VISA?
 
Yes. You will need a visa to enter Spain.
 
MY SPOUSE IS A U.S. CITIZEN. DO I NEED A VISA TO VISIT SPAIN?
 
It depends on YOUR nationality. If your nationality requires a visa, you need a visa.
 
MY SPOUSE IS A SPANISH CITIZEN. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO APPLY FOR A VISA TO SPAIN?
 
It depends. You will have to provide recent proof that your marriage is registered in the country of your European partner (If not already in Spanish or English, a translation through a certified translator will be requested), along with copies of your passports. 
 
If your nationality requires a visa to enter Spain, you should apply for the Entry Visa for Family Members of Citizens of the E.U. Instructions are here.
 
If your nationality does not require a visa to enter Spain, you should refer to the guidelines of the European Union to register yourself as a spouse of an EU citizen.
 

 
WHERE IS THE CONSULATE?
 
Our address is 5055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 860. Los Angeles, CA 90036
 
WHAT HOURS ARE YOU OPEN TO THE PUBLIC?
 
The Consulate is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Please, check here for calendar for holiday dates.
 
IS THERE PARKING CLOSE TO THE CONSULATE?
 
There is a parking garage in the same building (the consulate does not validate parking). You may also park for free in several of the neighboring streets.
 

 
DO I HAVE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO APPLY FOR A VISA?
 
Yes. It is absolutely necessary to make an appointment to submit your visa application. You can only make appointments on our website.
 
ALL OF THE APPOINTMENTS ARE FULL. WHAT CAN I DO?
 
You should continue checking our availability online. There are always cancellations, which open up time slots. Those that find new appointment times, normally refresh the schedule once or twice a day. It can take a week or two to find an opening. Because of the extremely high Student Visa volume, we are not able to give earlier appointments to those applying for a Student Visa. Remember that the Visa Department does not manage any phone calls, even to schedule an appointment. 
 
HOW MANY APPOINTMENTS SHOULD I BOOK?
 
You need to book one appointment per person. All applications are processed separately so families need to be sure to book an appointment for each family member. There is no such thing as "applying together". Also, make sure each person has their own copy of every applicable document.
 
I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. CAN I SHOW UP WITHOUT ONE?
 
No. Only applications with appointments will be accepted.
 

 
DO I HAVE TO APPLY FOR MY VISA IN PERSON?
 
(Schengen Visa)
Yes. Applications by mail will not be accepted. The application should be presented in person because biometrical data must be recorded.
 
(Residence Visa, Work Visa)
Yes. Minors must also come to the Consulate in person. Everyone must apply in person and pick up their finished visa in person.
 
(Student Visa)
The application must be presented in person or through a legal representative (only parents or guardians).  Study Abroad Program Directors and/or Coordinators may request authorization from this Consulate to act as legal representatives for a group of students. Applications will not be accepted by mail.
 
DO I HAVE TO LEAVE MY PASSPORT AT THE CONSULATE?
 
Yes. We keep the passport from the day of your appointment until the visa is issued. Please plan your travels accordingly.
 

 
HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY VISA IS FINISHED?
 
Applicants will be notified via email when their visas are issued and ready to pick up. The visa will be issued in your passport.
 
HOW DO I PICK UP MY VISA?
 
Once you are notified that your visa is finished, you may return to the Consulate any work day between 9am and 1pm to pick up your passport (check our holiday calendar). The visa will be attached to your passport. Come to an open Visa window, with your ID and tell the officer that you are picking up your finished visa. We ask that you are patient if all of the visa windows are occupied. Plan on waiting no more than 10 minutes. No appointment is necessary to pick up a visa. (Refer to the Arriving for the Interview video)
 
DO I NEED TO PICK UP MY VISA IN PERSON WHEN IT IS FINISHED?
 
Yes. Visa applicants must return to the Consulate in Los Angeles to pick up their visas during our open hours (9am-1pm). Please, check here for calendar for holiday dates.
 

 
HOW MUCH IS MY VISA FEE?
 
The fees vary depending on the type of visa, your nationality and the type of passport you use. Click here to see the Visa fees. We only accept certified funds (money order or cashier's check). Personal checks, credit cards and debit cards will NOT be accepted. Make the funds payable to the "General Consulate of Spain Los Angeles".
 
WHEN AND WHERE SHOULD I PAY THE VISA FEE?
 
You must pay the application fee when you are at the visa window on the day of your appointment. We only accept certified funds (money order or cashier's check). Personal checks, credit cards and debit cards will NOT be accepted.
 
HOW DO I MAKE OUT A MONEY ORDER?
 
There are many types of money orders, but they follow the same pattern. You will always be the "sender/drawer/remitter/from". The Consulate is the "receiver/payee/pay to". Make the funds payable to the "General Consulate of Spain Los Angeles". Make sure to keep your receipt for the money order.
 
money order.png 
 

 
WHAT IS THE APOSTILLE OF THE HAGUE?
 
The Apostille Convention is an international treaty which was drafted in The Hague, Netherlands in 1961. The treaty outlines requirements and procedures for legalizing documents so that they are valid in all of the countries from the Convention of The Hague. An Apostille is a seal which contains information about the document it legalizes. It is attached to your original document to certify that it is legitimate and authentic, which enables you to use it in other participating countries (like Spain).
 
In the United States, the Secretary of State of each state is able to issue an Apostille. FBI documents are Apostilled through the Secretary’s office in Washington DC (details). An Apostille can take anywhere between 1 day and 3 weeks to be issued.
 
WHICH DOCUMENTS NEED TO BE APOSTILLED?
 
Any document issued by a government authority needs to be Apostilled in order to be used in a visa application. These documents include: background checks, marriage certificates, birth certificates etc.
 
WHY DO MY DOCUMENTS NEED TO BE APOSTILLED?
 
A document is not valid in anther country unless it is properly legalized. The Apostille of The Hague certifies that your document is legitimate and authentic for other participating countries (like Spain).
 
HOW DO I APOSTILLE MY DOCUMENTS?
 
Your document must be Apostilled through the country or state where it was issued. In the United States, the Secretary of State of each state is able to issue an Apostille. FBI documents are Apostilled through the Secretary’s office in Washington DC (details). You should contact the corresponding Secretary of State's office for specific instructions. An Apostille can take anywhere between 1 day and 3 weeks to be issued.
 

 
HOW DO I DO THE BACKGROUND CHECK AND THE APOSTILLE OF THE HAGUE?
 
Those planning on being in Spain for more than 6 months (180 days) and are more than 18 years old, need to obtain a criminal background check. It should be formatted as a “signed official letter” that indicates that your criminal records were verified by fingerprint comparison. We require that you obtain a background check from every state or country where you have resided for more than 6 months over the last 5 years. Please note that we cannot accept a background check that was issued over 3 months ago. We will only accept documents from:

•A national authority. (For those in the United States, it would be the F.B.I./approved F.B.I. Channeler)

OR
•A statewide authority (like the State Department of Justice)
 
background check.png 
 
Once you have an official letter, it must be legalized with the Apostille of The Hague. Your document must be Apostilled through the country or state where it was issued. An F.B.I background check is Apostilled through the US Department of State in Washington DC and a statewide background check must be Apostilled through the Secretary of State from that specific state (more information).
Once your background check is Apostilled, you should have a two page document. The first page will be the Apostille and the second page will be the official letter from your background check. Do not detach the documents for any reason.
 
Apostille with bcgrd.png 
 
The background check with the Apostille already attached should be translated into Spanish by a Spanish Sworn Translator (from Spain). Other translation services may not be accepted by the Police in Spain. The list of Spanish Sworn Translators can be found in this link. Translators residing in the United States can be found beginning on page 611.
 
By the time of your visa appointment, you will need four items:
1.) The original background check with the Apostille attached.
2.) Spanish translations of the background check and Apostille.
3.) A photocopy of the background check and Apostille.
4.) A photocopy of the Spanish translations.
 
We will seal and return your original documents so that you can later present them in Spain. We will keep the photocopies to process your visa.
 
CAN I GET A BACKGROUND CHECK FROM THE COUNTY/CITY?
 
Absolutely not. You need to aquire at least a state-level background check.
 
HOW DO I NOTARIZE THE BACKGROUND CHECK SO THAT IT CAN BE APOSTILLED?
 
Do not get your background check notarized. You need to specifically ask for an "official letter". This can be easily acquired after the initial background check is completed. The "official letter" is able to be Apostilled without any extra notarization.
 
DO I NEED A BACKGROUND CHECK IF I HAVE LIVED OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES?
 
Yes. You need a background check from all countries where you have lived for more than 6 months during the last 5 years. Each background check will need to be Apostilled by the country where it was issued. Please contact the embassy of that country for instructions.
 
I MOVE A LOT. DO I NEED A BACKGROUND CHECK FROM EVERY U.S. STATE I HAVE LIVED IN?
 
Not necessarily. The F.B.I. background check is all-inclusive so you only need one F.B.I. background check, no matter how many states you have lived in. However, you are also able to obtain a separate state-level background check from every state where you have resided for more than 6 months over the last 5 years. Each background check needs to be Apostilled by the state where it was issued.
 

 
WHAT IS THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE?
 
The International Health Regulations of 2005 (IHR) were made to prevent and respond to health risks that could travel across borders. The IHR requires countries to report outbreaks of certain diseases to the World Health Organization (WHO). The Medical Certificate for your visa is signed by a Medical Doctor (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) to certify that you presently do not suffer from an illness that would pose a threat to public health. A sample of the Medical Certificate is here.
 
HOW DO I GET THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE?
 
First, you should see a doctor (MD or DO) and they will determine if you are of good health according to the International Health Regulations (2005). The doctor should then print out, sign, date (no more than 3 months before your appointment) and stamp the Medical Certificate. We have saved a sample Medical Certificate as a PDF file that can be electronically sent to a doctor so that it can be printed out on their letterhead. The doctor may also use the sample Medical Certificate as a guide to write their own certificate. Remember that it must specifically mention the International Health Regulations (2005). Make sure your name is filled out in both the English and Spanish portions. If your doctor is only comfortable signing in English, you will need to have the document translated into Spanish. If your doctor is only comfortable signing in Spanish, no further translation is necessary. You must make a photocopy of the finished certificate. We will seal and return your original document so that you can later present it in Spain. We will keep the photocopy to process your visa.
 
carta medica pic.png
DOES THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE NEED TO BE APOSTILLED?
 
No. This document does not and cannot be Apostilled.
 
DOES THE MEDICAL CERTIFICATE NEED TO BE TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH?
 
It depends.
 
•If your doctor will sign and stamp the Medical Certificate in both English and Spanish, no further translation is necessary.
 
•If your doctor is only comfortable signing and stamping in English, you will need to have the document translated into Spanish.
 
•If your doctor is only comfortable signing and stamping in Spanish, no further translation is necessary.
 

 
WHO CAN TRANSLATE MY VISA APPLICATION DOCUMENTS INTO SPANISH?
 
All translations into Spanish should be performed by a Sworn Translator (from Spain). The list of Spanish Sworn Translators can be found in this link. Sworn Translators residing in the United States can be found beginning on page 611.
 

 
WHAT KIND OF INSURANCE DO I NEED?
 
The type of insurance you are required to purchase depends on the type of visa for which you are applying.
 
Less than 90 days: Those who will be staying in Spain for less than 90 days (Schengen Visas) need Travel Insurance. Many companies offer travel plans that fail to meet the requirements for a Schengen Visa so please review the details of your policy before buying insurance (click here to see examples of acceptable providers). All of the following requirements must be clearly stated in the document you submit for your visa application:
•Total coverage of sanitary assistance, accidents, emergencies and repatriation for medical purposes and/or death
•No deductible ($0) and no co-payments
•Medical coverage has to be at least 30,000 EUR (thirty thousand euros) or its equivalent in USD
•Valid in all the Schengen States
 
More than 90 days: Those who will be staying in Spain for more than 90 days (Student Visas, Resident Visas, Work Visas) need Health Insurance. Travel Insurance will not be accepted. The Health Insurance that is required comes from a Spanish company that is authorized to operate in Spain (click here to see examples of acceptable providers). It should be a plan that allows you to go to the doctor for check-ups, minor illnesses and emergencies. It can seem difficult to find and purchase a policy (a lot of the information will be in Spanish), but it is necessary in order to process your visa. Some schools and employers already provide insurance. They should send you proof of insurance from the provider that it satisfies our requirements.
 

 
CAN I STAY IN SPAIN OR OTHER SCHENGEN COUNTRIES AS A TOURIST AFTER MY CLASSES? (U.S. Students)
 
You can stay in the Schengen area for 90 days in a period of 180 days before your Student Visa begins or after it ends.  Make sure that you contact the police in immigration to have your Visa stamped when entering or leaving Spain, so that you start or end your stay with your Student Visa.
 
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DECIDE TO STAY IN SPAIN LONGER THAN I AM ALLOWED TO BE THERE?
 
If you decide to go over the time period that you are allowed to stay in Spain (or the EU) you will be there illegally. There can be grave consequences.
 
CAN I LEAVE SPAIN (OR OTHER SCHENGEN COUNTRIES) AFTER 90 DAYS AND RE-ENTER TO STAY ANOTHER 90 DAYS?
 
No. You are only allowed a maximum of 90 days within a 6 month period. This period begins on the date that you first enter Schengen area.
 
IF I DON’T WORK OR AM FINANCIALLY DEPENDENT OF ANOTHER PERSON, WHAT DOCUMENTS SHOULD I PROVIDE?
 
Provide the latest three bank statements of the person who is covering the expenses (only parents, spouses and children will be accepted) and a sworn statement before a Notary stating that this person will be covering all expenses during your travels.
 
WHAT DOES “MULTIPLE ENTRIES” MEAN?
 
‘’Multiple entries’’ means that you can enter and leave more than once, as long as the visa is valid.
 
MY FAMILY MEMBER WILL ACCOMPANY ME WHILE I STUDY IN SPAIN. WHAT TYPE OF VISA DO THEY NEED?
 
If you have been accepted to study in an accredited school in Spain, you may be accompanied by your spouse and/or children during your studies. Your family members will need a Family Member of Student Visa.  The documentation required for this Visa is the same as yours, with the addition of a Marriage Certificate (for spouses) or a Birth Certificate (for children) that is legalized by the Apostille of The Hague.
 
I AM TRAVELING WITH A MINOR. WHAT KIND OF DOCUMENTS SHOULD I PROVIDE?
 
In the case that the minor does not travel with both parents, you must provide a travel authorization, signed before a Notary by both parents or legal guardians.
 
WHAT IS A SCHENGEN VISA?
 
Schengen Visa is a generic name given to the Visas issued by any of the countries within the Schengen area. This Visa allows you to travel through Spain and the Schengen area for up to 90 days. This is the type of Visa for short trips or business.
 
I HAVE AN E-TICKET. CAN I APPLY WITH A CONFIRMATION OF MY ITINERARY?
 
Yes. Electronic reservations and itineraries are sufficient proof of travel. However the name of the person travelling and the reservation number must appear on the document.
 

 
CAN I JUST TALK TO A REAL PERSON?
 
With an appointment, you are welcome to talk to someone in the Visa Department at the Consulate for 10-15 minutes. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the visa application process. The Visa Department does not manage phone calls, but our email is cog.losangeles.vis@maec.es




SHOULD I APPLY FOR A “NON-LUCRATIVE RESIDENCE VISA” IF I WANT TO RESIDE IN SPAIN AND WORK REMOTELY FOR AN AMERICAN COMPANY OR IF I WANT TO CONTINUE MY PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES THROUGH INTERNET? 

NO, in these cases a “Non-Lucrative Residence Visa” is not appropriate. According to Article 48 of Royal Decree 557/2011, only “foreigners who wish to reside in Spain without performing professional or business activities” will be eligible to apply for non-lucrative visas. 

IT IS ALLOWED, FOR A “NON-LUCRATIVE RESIDENCE VISA” HOLDER, TO WORK REMOTELY IN SPAIN?
 
No, Non-Lucrative Visa holders cannot be involved in any type of professional or lucrative activities, even if these activities are going to be performed remotely.

I STILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VISA PROCESS. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
 
You can send any additional questions to our email cog.losangeles.vis@maec.es or ask us in person with an appointment.
 
 
Visa Department
General Consulate of Spain
5055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 860
Los Angeles, CA 90036
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