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American Citizen Services

General travel questions for Spain

Q: How do I renew my U.S. passport? Where do I find the form?
What should I do if my passport/property is lost or stolen?

A: See Documenting American Citizen Services page

Q: How do I renew my child’s passport?

A: If your child is under 16 years of age, you must bring the following:

  • Form DS-11 completed – do not sign the application.
  • Both parents must appear in person with the child before the authorized consular personnel. 
  • Child’s original birth certificate showing the parents names.
  • Parent’s valid photo identification documents (passport or Spanish DNI or resident card).

If your child is between the ages of 16 and 18, you must bring the following:

Q: I am American and I would like to get married in Spain…

A: See our information on marriage formalities in Spain at our Embassy web page

Q. I need my criminal records from Spain, How do I get them?

A: If you are no longer living in Spain and need criminal records from Spain, consult the following web page for instructions. There is an option for the page to be read in English. You must complete the following actions:

  • Complete form 790 (consists of three pages).
  • Notarize a copy of your passport at a Spanish Consulate in the U.S.
  • Supply a notarized authorization for U.S. Embassy to act on your behalf, which you can obtain from a Spanish Consulate in the United States.
  • Pay the required fee (see bank account information on Spanish Ministry website).

Once you have all the above documents, send them to:

US Embassy Madrid
C/ Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid
Attn: CONS/ACS

Q: Can I file a Spanish police report in English?

A: Yes, by dialing 902102112. You can then go pick it up at any police station with a reference number. Do not forget to sign the police report. You may also file a report by going to directly to C/ Leganitos # 19 (near Plaza de España).

Q. Do I need a visa to travel to other countries?

A: Please go to the following link which contains Country Specific Information Sheets and the entry requirements for specific countries

Q. Medical Insurance for my trip to Spain.

A. 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. See the following link: Medical Insurance Overseas.

Q. I would like to bring my cat/dog into the United States, what do I need?

A. For cats and dogs: a certificate of good health issued by a veterinarian, dated within 10 days of travel and stating the pet has all vaccinations up to date. Dogs must have been vaccinated for rabies within the year, but not within the last month. This requirement does not apply to puppies less than 3 months of age; puppies up to three months must be confined at the owner’s expense, then immunized and confined for an additional 30 days. Certificates should be in English or accompanied by a translation (does not need to be an official translation).

Also check with the airline the pet will be traveling with in case they have any additional requirements that you need to comply with. This information has been obtained from U.S department websites. Because regulations may change over time, please verify the below websites for the latest update:

Q. Can I bring my medicine into the United States?

A. If you take medicines containing habit-forming drugs or narcotics (e.g. cough medicine, diuretics, heat drugs, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, depressants, stimulants, etc.) you should have all drugs, medicine and similar products properly identified and in their original containers. Carry only the quantity that might normally be used by an individual having a health problem requiring such drugs or medicine; obtain either a prescription or written statement from your personal physician that the medicine is being used under a doctor’s direction and is necessary for your physical well-being while traveling. Declare such drugs or medications to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. An English translation (does not need to be official) is recommended.

Narcotics and dangerous drugs are prohibited entry. There are severe civil and/or criminal penalties if imported. Cannabis in any form, even if prescribed as medication is prohibited.

Q. What Foods/Beverages can I bring into the United States?

A. Don’t bring any food into the United States without first checking to see if it is permitted. Read the “Know Before You Go” before traveling

Q. What can I take on the plane?

A. See Transportation Security Administration page.

Q. How many bottles of Wine/Alcoholic Beverages can I bring into the United States?

A. Nonresidents who are at least 21 years old may bring in, free of duty and internal revenue tax, up to one liter of alcoholic beverage – beer, wine, liquor – for personal use. Quantities above the one-liter limitation are subject to duty and internal revenue tax. Please see the “Know Before You Go” pamphlet before traveling.

Q. Can I bring meats like jamon serrano or other cold cuts into the United States?

A. No. Meats, livestock, poultry, and other products are either prohibited or restricted from entering the United States. Read the “Know Before You Go” before traveling.

Q. How do I legalize my U.S. documents/obtain the Apostille Of The Hague for my documents issued in the United States? (e.g., birth, divorce, marriage or death certificate?)

A: Below please find the series of steps to take in order to legalize your U.S. document:

1. Obtain the original and official documents from the County Clerk’s office where the document was issued (you may also request government issued documents online via http://www.vitalcheck.com/ but please note this is a privately owned company that is not part of the Government).

2. Contact the corresponding authentication unit in each state and arrange for the documents to be authenticated with the Hague Apostille either in person or by mail. You may find contact information by state from this link provided.

3. Once you obtain the duly authenticated documents (with the Hague Apostille) from the Secretary of State, you must have these documents translated in Spain by a sworn translator (“traductor jurado”). An updated list of sworn translators may be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Q. What are U.S. Customs, Agriculture Department and Fish and Wildlife Service requirements about bringing articles, food and animals back to the United States from overseas?

A. See the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go and Pets, Wildlife, U.S. Customs, for useful information about restrictions and prohibited merchandise, medications/drugs, etc. See the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Travelers’ Tips On Bringing Food, Plant, and Animal Products Into the United States. See also the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publications, Facts About Federal Wildlife Laws and Buyer Beware Guide.

Q: How do I find an official translator/lawyer in Spain?

A: Please take a look at

If you need a lawyer in the Barcelona district:

Q: I have a legal document issued by a court in the United States. What do I need to do make it legally binding in Spain?

A: You should consult a lawyer. See the following web page for a list of English speaking lawyers.

List of attorneys in the Consular District of Barcelona (PDF - 962K)

Q: How do I obtain a U. S. Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Certificate?

A: Go to Vitalchek

Q. How do I legalize my Spanish document I need to present in the United States?

A. Legal or notarized documents and academic records or certificates such as birth, death or marriage issued by Spanish authorities will need the Apostille of the Hague (Apostilla de la Haya) to be used in the United States. The competent authority to execute the “Apostilla de la Haya” on notarized documents would be the “Colegio Notarial” of the area (in Madrid,

Colegio Notarial de Madrid
C/ Ruiz de Alarcón 3, Bajo Izquierda
Tel: 912 130 000
Web page 

If the document is a judicial document or one issued by the “Registro Civil’ it must be taken to the Secretaria de Gobierno del Tribunal Superior de Justicia of the area in Madrid, C/ General Castaños 1, planta 0, Tel: 914-934-034. The Registro General del Ministerio de Justicia will execute the Apostille on all other official or academic documents in Madrid, C/ San Bernardo, 45, using the entrance located at C/ Manzana 2, Tel: 913 902 011.

Check the following Spanish Ministry of Justice website for more information.

Q: Can I drive with my U.S. driver’s license in Spain?

A: U.S. citizens visiting Spain who want to drive in Spain must obtain an international driving permit prior to their arrival in Spain. An international driving permit (IDP) translates your state-issued driver’s license into 10 languages so you can show it to officials in foreign countries to help them interpret your driver’s license. The IDP is not valid by itself and must be carried with your driver’s license. More information on driving overseas.

U.S. citizens who are residents of Spain must obtain a valid Spanish driver’s license. At this time, there is no agreement between the United States and Spain for the validation of a U.S. driver’s license; therefore, holders of a U.S. license must attend a Spanish driving school and take the Spanish exam. You can find more information on the Spanish Minister of the Interior’s website.

Q. Can I validate my U.S. Drivers’ License in Spain?

A. No. You will need to request a Spanish Driver’s License.

Q. How can I obtain a Spanish Drivers License?

A. To obtain a Spanish driver’s license, you will have to sign up at a local driving school and take the required exams. Tests can be taken in English – inquire about this at the driving school. For more information, contact Spanish Traffic Authorities: 900 123 505.

Q. My U.S. driver’s license has expired, is lost or stolen...

A. You must contact the Department of Motor Vehicle Office in the state where your driver’s license was issued for instructions on renewal. See Dmv.  

Q: How can I extend my stay/work/study here in Spain?

A: Contact the Spanish Embassy or Consulate nearest your residence in the United States. 

If you have traveled under the Visa Waiver Program, you cannot stay for more than 90 days. Under very exceptional circumstances will Spanish Authorities extend your stay. For additional information, call the Spanish Ministry of the Interior at 060.

Q: How do I vote in the next election?

A: The following link will take you to the official U.S. website for the Federal Voter Assistance Program

Q. I need an English-speaking doctor in the Madrid area.

A. See Medical information.

If you require a doctor outside the Madrid area, contact any of our Consular Agencies throughout Spain

Q. Searching for People in the United States.

A. Tracing people in the United States can be a lengthy and time consuming process.

The internet has many resources and freely accessible.

Q. Where can a U.S. traveler get help with a tourist complaint involving a foreign country?

A. For assistance with tourism complaints, contact the foreign embassy or consulate in the United States. It may also be useful to contact the foreign country’s tourism office in the United States. In case of serious problems, contact the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of American Citizen Services and Crisis Management at (202) 647 5225 or the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Q. Will the U.S. Government pay for my legal expenses?

A. The U.S. Governments is not authorized to pay for legal expenses of U.S. citizens abroad. Some foreign countries have legal aid available, primarily for criminal matters.

This topic may be discussed in the U.S. embassy list of attorneys. For additional information, contact the local bar association, Ministry of Justice, legal attaché or consular section at the foreign embassy in Washington, D.C.

If you did not find an answer to your question in this FAQ,
Please send an email to: AskACS@state.gov