Spain And Andorra - Tips

Spain and Andorra Spain and Andorra Consular Information Sheet June 07, 2007 COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Spain and Andorra are both highly developed and stable democracies with modern economies. Spain is a member of NATO and the European Union. For additional information see the Department of State Background Notes on Spain and Andorra. ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for entry into both countries. U.S. citizens can stay without a visa for a tourist/business stay of up to 90 days. That period begins when you enter any of the Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Individuals who enter Spain or Andorra without a visa are not authorized to work. American citizens planning to study in Spain should be aware that Spanish immigration regulations require applications for student visas to be submitted 60 days before anticipated travel to Spain. In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure. For further information concerning entry requirements for Spain, travelers should contact the Embassy of Spain at 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, telephone (202) 452-0100, or the nearest Spanish Consulate in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, or San Juan. Spanish government websites with information about entry requirements (in Spanish) can be found at and Additional information may be obtained from the Tourist Office of Spain in New York, telephone (212) 265-8822, or via the Internet at For further information on entry requirements to Andorra, travelers should contact the Andorran Mission to the UN, 2 U.N. Plaza, 25th floor, New York, NY 10018, telephone (212) 750-8064 or via the Internet at See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Spain and Andorra and other countries. Visit the Embassy of Spain and Andorra web sites for the most current visa information. See Entry and Exit Requirements for more information pertaining to dual nationality and the prevention of international child abduction. Please refer to our Customs Information to learn more about customs regulations. SAFETY AND SECURITY: Spain and Andorra share with the rest of the world an increased threat of international terrorist incidents. Like other countries in the Schengen area, Spain’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution. In the deadliest terrorist attack in recent European history, on March 11, 2004, Islamic extremists bombed four commuter trains entering Madrid, causing 191 deaths and over 1,400 injuries.The suspected terrorists and their co-conspirators are being tried in 2007. The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization remains active in Spain. ETA declared a ceasefire on March 22, 2006, but on December 30, 2006 bombed one of the parking buildings at Madrid airport killing two people. On June 5, 2007, ETA officially declared an end to the ceasefire as of June 6, 2007. ETA has historically avoided targeting foreigners, directing their attacks against the police, military, local politicians, and Spanish government targets as well as attempts to disrupt transportation and daily life. In addition, bombs have been used as part of criminal extortion of businesses, particularly in the Basque region. However, the risk of being in the “wrong place at the wrong time” in event of an ETA action is a concern for foreign visitors and tourists. U.S. tourists traveling to Spain should remain vigilant, exercise caution, monitor local developments, and avoid demonstrations and other potentially violent situations. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphletA Safe Trip Abroad . CRIME: While most of Spain has a moderate rate of crime and most of the estimated one million American tourists have trouble free visits to Spain each year, street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas. Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of mugging and violent attacks, some of which require that the victim to seek medical attention. Although crimes occur at all times of day and night and to people of all ages, older tourists and Asian Americans seem to be particularly at risk. Criminals frequent tourist areas and major attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, outdoor cafes, Internet cafes, hotel lobbies, beach resorts, city buses, subways, trains, train stations, airports, and ATM machines. In Madrid, incidents have been reported in all major tourist areas, including the area near the Prado Museum, near Atocha train station, in Retiro Park, in areas of old Madrid including near the Royal Palace and in Plaza Mayor.There has been an increase in the number of passport and bag thefts reported at Madrid’s Barajas Airport, as well as in El Rastro, Madrid’s flea market and in the Metro. In Barcelona, the largest number of incidents reported also occurred in major tourist areas, on Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s El Prat airport, Sants train station, and metro stations, in the Sagrada Familia Area, in the Gothic Quarter, in Parc Güell, in Plaza Real, and along Barcelona’s beaches. There has been a rise in the number of thefts reported at the Port Olimpic Area and nearby beaches. Travelers should remain alert to their personal security and exercise caution. Travelers are encouraged to carry limited cash, only one credit card, and a copy of their passport; leaving extra cash, extra credit cards, passports and personal documents in a safe location. When carrying documents, credit cards or cash, you are encouraged to secure them in a hard-to-reach place and not to carry all valuables together in a purse or backpack. Thieves often work in teams or pairs. In many cases, one person distracts a victim while the accomplice performs the robbery. For example, someone might wave a map in your face and ask for directions, “inadvertently” spill something on you, or help you clean-up “bird droppings” thrown on by a third unseen accomplice. While your attention is diverted, an accomplice makes off with the valuables. Thieves may drop coins or keys at your feet to distract you and try to take your belongings while you are trying to help. Attacks are sometimes initiated from behind, with the victim being grabbed around the neck and choked by one assailant while others rifle through or grab the belongings. A group of assailants may surround the victim in a crowded popular tourist area or on public transportation, and only after the group has departed does the person discover he/she has been robbed. Purse-snatchers may grab purses or wallets and run away, or immediately pass the stolen item to an accomplice. A passenger on a passing motorcycle sometimes robs pedestrians. There have been increasing reports of thieves posing as plainclothes police officers, beckoning to pedestrians from cars and sometimes confronting them on the street and asking for documents or to inspect their cash for counterfeit bills, which they ultimately “confiscate” as evidence. The U.S. Embassy in Madrid has received several reports of cars on limited access motorways being pulled over by supposed unmarked police cars. The Spanish police do not operate in this fashion. American citizens are encouraged to ask for a uniformed law enforcement officer if approached. Theft from vehicles is also common. “Good Samaritan" scams are unfortunately common, where a passing car or “helpful” stranger will attempt to divert the driver’s attention by indicating there is a flat tire or mechanical problem. When the driver stops to check the vehicle, the “Good Samaritan” will appear to help the driver and passengers while the accomplice steals from the unlocked car. Drivers should be cautious about accepting help from anyone other than a uniformed Spanish police officer or Civil Guard. Items high in value like luggage, cameras, laptop computers, or briefcases are often stolen from cars. Travelers are advised not to leave valuables in parked cars, and to keep doors locked, windows rolled up and valuables out of sight when driving. While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically very low, attacks do occur. Spanish authorities have warned of availability of so-called "date-rape" drugs and other drugs, including "GBH" and liquid ecstasy. Americans should not lower their personal security awareness because they are on vacation. A number of American citizens have been victims of lottery or advance fee scams in which a person is lured to Spain to finalize a financial transaction. Often the victims are initially contacted via internet or fax and informed they have won the Spanish Lottery (El Gordo), inherited money from a distant relative, or are needed to assist in a major financial transaction from one country to another. For more information, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Advance Fee Business Scams. Andorra has a low rate of crime. INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, Consular Officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Consular Staff are prepared to assist victims of crime in anyway they can. See our information on Victims of Crime. MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Good medical care is available in both Spain and Andorra. Regulations regarding medications may vary from those in the U.S.; Americans with need for specific medications are encouraged to bring a supply sufficient for their anticipated period of stay as the medication may not be available and customs regulations prohibit medications to be mailed from the United States to Spain or Andorra. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance companies prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans may not cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations. When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have found it to be life saving when a medical emergency has occurred. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at Further health information for travelers is available at MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas. TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Spain and Andorra is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. Traffic in Madrid and Barcelona is faster-paced than in U.S. cities and can be unnerving due to unfamiliar signs or motorbikes weaving between traffic lanes. Drivers should always obey the closest traffic light, as there are separate pedestrian lights in the city. Drivers should be alert when driving at night in urban areas, due to the possibility of encountering drivers or pedestrians under the influence of alcohol. Night driving in isolated rural areas can be dangerous, because of farm animals and poorly marked roads. Rural traffic is generally heavier in July and August as well as during the Christmas and Easter seasons. Traffic regulations in effect in Spain include the prohibition on the use of a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving a car. There is a fine of 300 euros for violation of this regulation and loss of driving privileges. In addition, all drivers are required to carry a reflective vest and to put it on if they need to stop on the roadside and to use a reflective triangle warning sign for a vehicle stopped on the side of the road. Those renting vehicles are encouraged to check with the rental company about traffic regulations and safety equipment. U.S. Citizens using U.S. issued drivers licenses must obtain International Driving Permits if they plan to drive in Spain. Pedestrians should use designated crossing areas when crossing streets and obey traffic lights. Public transportation in large cities is generally excellent. All major cities have metered taxis, and extra charges must be posted in the vehicle. Travelers are advised to use only clearly identified cabs and to ensure that taxi drivers always switch on the meter. A green light on the roof indicates that the taxi is available. Rail service is comfortable and reliable, but varies in quality and speed. Intercity buses are usually comfortable and inexpensive. Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. For specific information concerning Spanish driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Spanish National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at For information about driving in Andorra refer to the Andorran website at AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government ofSpain’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Spain’s air carrier operations. As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Andorra, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Andorra’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., or one of Spain’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Spain’s customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to, or visit for details. Please see our information on Customs Regulations. CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Spain or Andorra’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Spain and Andorra are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona and The Balearics Regional Government have banned the consumption of alcohol in the street, other than in registered street cafes and bars. Visitors to Madrid, Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca should be aware that failure to respect this law might result in the imposition of fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties. CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see our web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction. REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or traveling in Spain or Andorra are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website to obtain updated information on travel and security within Spain or Andorra. Americans withoutInternet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Serrano 75; telephone (34)(91) 587-2200, and fax (34)(91) 587-2303. U.S. citizens who register in the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy, Consulate General, or one of the Consular Agencies listed below can obtain updated information on travel and security within Spain or Andorra. Additional information is available through the U.S. Embassy’s Internet homepage at The U.S. Consulate in Barcelona is located at Paseo Reina Elisenda 23-25; telephone (34)(93) 280-2227 and fax (34)(93) 205-5206. Visitors to Barcelona can access additional information from the Consulate General’s web page at There are six consular agencies in Spain, which provide limited services to American citizens, but are not authorized to issue passports. Anyone requesting service at one of the consular agencies should call ahead to verify that the service requested will be available on the day you expect to visit the agency. Fuengirola (in Malaga Province), at Avenida Juan Gomez Juanito #8, Edificio Lucia 1C, Fuengirola 29640 Spain, telephone (34)(952) 474-891 and fax (34)(952) 465-189, hours 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. La Coruna, at Canton Grande 6, La Coruna 15003 Spain. Telephone (34)(981) 213-233 and fax (34)(981 22 28 08). Hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Las Palmas, at Edificio Arca, Calle Los Martinez de Escobar 3, Oficina 7, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria 35007 Spain. Telephone (34)(928) 222-552 and fax (34)(928) 225-863. Hours 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Palma de Mallorca, Edificio Reina Constanza, Porto Pi, 8, 9-D, 07015 Palma de Mallorca 07015 Spain. Telephone (34)(971) 40-3707 or 40-3905 and fax (34)(971) 40-3971. Hours 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Seville, at Plaza Nueva 8-8 duplicado, 2nd Floor, Office E-2 No.4, Sevilla, 41101 Spain. NOTE: THIS IS A NEW LOCATION AS OF MARCH 1, 2006. Telephone: (34)(65) 422-8751 and fax (34)(91) 422-0791. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Valencia, at Doctor Romagosa #1, 2-J, 46002, Valencia 46002 Spain. Telephone (34)(96)-351-6973 and fax (34)(96) 352-9565. Hours 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For Andorra, please contact the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona. * * * This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 16, 2007, to update sections on Safety and Security and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions. *********************************************************** See for State Department Travel Warnings ******************************************************************************** To change your subscription, go to Spain and Andorra


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