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
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 http://www.mae.es and www.mir.es. Additional information may be
obtained from the Tourist Office of Spain in New York, telephone (212) 265-8822,
or via the Internet at http://www.spain.info/.
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 http://www.andorra.ad. See our
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, Spainâ€™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 â€œwrong place at the wrong timeâ€ 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 Stateâ€™s pamphletA Safe Trip
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 Madridâ€™s Barajas Airport, as well as in El Rastro, Madridâ€™s flea
market and in the Metro.
In Barcelona, the largest number of incidents reported also occurred in major
tourist areas, on Las Ramblas, Barcelonaâ€™s El Prat airport, Sants train station,
and metro stations, in the Sagrada Familia Area, in the Gothic Quarter, in Parc
GÃ¼ell, in Plaza Real, and along Barcelonaâ€™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
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,
â€œinadvertentlyâ€ spill something on you, or help you clean-up â€œbird droppingsâ€
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 â€œconfiscateâ€ 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. â€œGood Samaritan" scams are
unfortunately common, where a passing car or â€œhelpfulâ€ stranger will attempt to
divert the driverâ€™s attention by indicating there is a flat tire or mechanical
problem. When the driver stops to check the vehicle, the â€œGood Samaritanâ€
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
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
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
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 Preventionâ€™s hotline for international travelers
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDCâ€™s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For
information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World
Health Organizationâ€™s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health
information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
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
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 www.okspain.org. For
information about driving in Andorra refer to the Andorran website at http://www.andorra.ad.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government ofSpainâ€™s Civil
Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Spainâ€™s air
As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and
Andorra, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed
Andorraâ€™s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO aviation safety
For more information, travelers may visit the FAAâ€™s Internet web site at www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: It is advisable to contact the
Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C., or one of Spainâ€™s consulates in the United
States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Spainâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details. Please
see our information on Customs
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 Andorraâ€™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
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 Departmentâ€™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. Embassyâ€™s Internet homepage
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 Generalâ€™s web
page at http://madrid.usembassy.gov/barcelonaen.html.
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
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
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
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.
http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel
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Spain and Andorra