Immigration and customs checks usually involve a minimum of fuss, although there are exceptions. Spanish customs look for contraband duty-free products designed for illegal resale in Spain, in particular from people arriving from Morocco. Expect long delays at this border, especially in summer.
Duty-free allowances for travellers entering Spain from outside the EU include 2L of wine (or 1L of wine and 1L of spirits), and 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
There are no restrictions on the import of duty-paid items into Spain from other EU countries for personal use. You can buy VAT-free articles at airport shops when travelling between EU countries.
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days, and not required for members of EU or Schengen countries; some nationalities need a Schengen-zone visa.
Spain is one of 26 member countries of the Schengen Agreement, under which 22 EU countries (all but Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK) plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have abolished checks at common borders. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are all legally obliged to become a part of the Schengen Area in the near future.
The visa situation for entering Spain is as follows:
- For citizens or residents of EU and Schengen countries, no visa is required.
- For citizens or residents of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and the USA, no visa is required for tourist visits of up to 90 days.
- For other countries, check with a Spanish embassy or consulate.
- To work or study in Spain a special visa may be required; contact a Spanish embassy or consulate before travel.
- Remember that Gibraltar is not part of Schengen and if you do not have permission to enter the UK, you may not enter Gibraltar.