Visas, Customs and Tax Refunds
If you are from a European country you do not need a visa for Spain. Visitors from other English-speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, Australia and New Zealand need a visa if they are staying for more than 90 days.
The good news is that non- EU visitors can claim back the tax on their purchases. The bad news for fellow Europeans, is that you can't.
Visa requirements can change so check with your relevant embassy for the latest information.
At the moment, European citizens do not need a visa for Spain.
People from outside the EU, such as Australia, USA, New Zealand and Canada do not need a visa if they are only visiting Spain for less than 90 days. After 90 days, you will need to go to the local government office called the Gobierno Civil, for an extension to their stay. You will need to prove that you are in employment or have enough money to support yourself.
It is wise to contact your nearest Spanish embassy well in advance of your trip if you intend to stay for a long time. The paperwork can be slow, so it is best to allow plenty of time, possibly several months.
USA residents can apply for a visa to Spain online, which could save time. Visit http://spain.visahq.com for details.
Customs and Excise
If you are travelling within the EU there is no limit to the amount of cigarettes and alcohol you can bring into or out of Spain. If you are flying, you will need to make sure that you keep within your baggage allowance or it could cost more to fly with excess baggage than your booze is worth.
If you are bringing cigarettes or alcohol into Spain, check the prices. Spanish cigarettes are still cheaper than many other EU countries and alcohol such as wine and beer are much cheaper.
Check with your airline or travel agent for up-to-date information as they may have their own restrictions.
If you are not an EU citizen, you can claim the tax back on items bought in shops where you see a sign saying Tax Free For Tourists. You will need to spend more than €90 to be able to claim a refund but it is worth the hassle. Tax on many items is 18% so this is a huge saving and means you have more money to spend on Spanish souvenirs.
You need to ask for a tax exemption form in the shop. Collect them all. When you go to the airport to leave Spain, head for customs before checking in your bags. They will stamp your tax-free cheques and you can cash them in at the bureau de change in any currency. At Alicante airport, you will need to go to the Global Exchange desk at departures. Alternatively you can get the amount credited to your bank account.
For further information, visit www.spainrefund.com