When planning a trip abroad, several points should be taken into account, such as: the reason for the trip, practical information on the destination country, documentation you must take, if you are travelling with minors and what to do in an emergency, among others.
Before travelling: Recommendations of interest
After deciding on the destination country, it is important to know specific information about it, such as the documents you will need, entry requirements, the health situation, safety conditions, the language, climate, currency, communications and time zones.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has a section on its website with useful information for preparing for trips abroad, with specific information by countries. We recommend reading it to prepare for your trip and to be aware of the destination country's situation and requirements.
Identification document and visas
The basic identification document abroad is the passport. Although your Spanish ID card is enough for travel in European Union countries or countries that have signed the Schengen agreement.
Your passport and Spanish ID must be valid when you start your trip and not expire during the trip. Some countries also require that the passport is in force for three or six months after the end of the trip.
In the travel recommendations by countries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the required documentation is detailed.
In addition, the portal Your Europe has a section on the documents you need to travel to a European Union country, with specific indications for EU citizens and non-EU family members and citizens.
If you need to renew your passport:
- You do this in a Spanish ID and/or passport office
- You need to book an appointment:
- by internet
- by ringing 902 247 364
In addition to your passport, some countries also require a visa or travel authorisation before travelling, which is the case of the United States.
Visas and authorisations are obtained at embassies or consulates of the destination country.
In the The travel recommendations by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation set out visa and general authorisation requirements for every country, as well as specific authorisations to visit different regions.
It also details the addresses and contact data for applying for and obtaining visas.
To drive or rent a vehicle abroad, your Spanish driving license should be valid. Some countries may also require an international driving license.
In European Union countries and those countries that have adopted the license model set out in the Geneva or Vienna conventions, your Spanish driving license is enough. An international driving license is required for all other countries.
If you are going to travel in the European Union, the Your Europe portal provides information on driving licenses in different EU countries.
International driving license
The international driving license has these characteristics:
- Valid for one year
- Valid for driving abroad
- It is not valid for driving in Spain
This license is issued at offices of the Directorate General of Traffic by appointment only and you must have a valid driving license in force.
The documentation you need for the application is:
- Application form
- Original Spanish ID card, passport or residency card in force.
- 32 x 26 mm photo
- Payment of fee
You can obtain more information on international driving licenses at the e-Office of the Directorate-General of Traffic.
Healthcare and vaccinations
Health and healthcare conditions abroad may not have the same conditions or covers as healthcare in Spain.
Depending on which country you are visiting, visiting a doctor or a specialised centre for medicine for travellers before your trip may be wise, if this is recommended by the Ministry of Healthcare, Social Services and Equality in its 'Advice for travellers'.
Healthcare in every country is different. Services that are free in one country may not be free in another.
To travel in the European Union you must obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that gives you access to European national healthcare systems.
To travel to other destinations, consult healthcare conditions. If healthcare is expensive and health risks are high, it could be advisable to take out medical insurance before your trip that covers any activities you will be doing.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The European Health Insurance Card is free and lets you access public healthcare during a temporary stay in any EU member country, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
It gives you access to healthcare under the same conditions and same cost (if care is not free) as citizens in the destination country.
The EHIC is valid for two years.
Applying for or renewing the EHIC can be done:
- at internet the e-Office of the Social Security Institute.
- Of in person at National Social Security Institute Help and Information Centres (CAISS). At the Help and Information Centres, you can book an appointment to avoid waiting. This appointment can be made via internet or by ringing 901 10 65 70.
In both cases, the EHIC is not received immediately. It is sent by post to your address on record at Social Security within 10 days.
If it is not possible to issue the EHIC under specific conditions, you can apply for a Replacement Provisional Certificate (CPS).
There are countries for which a series of vaccinations are compulsory before being able to enter. You can find out which ones have these requirements at international vaccination centres or at your health centre.
The Ministry of Health Care, Social Services and Equality provides information on the necessary vaccinations and anti-malaria treatment on its website, and offers a list of all the international vaccination centres, both those forming part of Government Delegations and those belonging to other autonomous or local government bodies. Users can also request an appointment.
- Health advice for travelers
- Search for Social Security Institute offices
- Make appointment at Social Security Service Centres (CAISS)
- Application for European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Appointments at international vaccination centres
- List of international vaccination centres
- Information about vaccination for foreign travellers