The United States of America accepted Spain into its Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in 1991. It immediately affected short term tourism since a visa was no longer required if specific requirements were met. The VWP-program has since then been modernized, and in 2009 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security introduced the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, better known as ESTA. Through an ESTA application, that can only be submitted online, Spanish citizens could apply for a stay in the U.S., for up to 90 days without a visa for the purpose of business, tourism (including medical purposes) and for attending non-credit study programs.
The ESTA is valid for two years and can be used on multiple entries to the U.S. in the two-year time period. After two years has passed, a new ESTA application must be made. Since ESTA is not a visa, you should know that if you are traveling to the U.S. for a stay that exceeds 90 days, or travel for other purposes than those stated earlier, then a tourist visa must be obtained. Getting a tourist visa will take more time to complete as a visit to a U.S. Embassy will be required.
- The total amount of visitors from Spain: 1 143 548
- Approved ESTA applications: 1 015 528
- Students and exchange visitors: 40 985
- Temporary workers and family-related applications: 52 226
- Diplomats and other official representatives: 9 415
- Other types of visitor categories: 2 886
Almost every province in Spain offers international flights, which makes traveling to the United States from Spain quite convenient. Taking a plane from Spain to the United States is not a short trip. Depending on your destination city in the United States, the flight time is approximately eight to twenty hours. When booking your flight, keep in mind that Spain's time is eight hours ahead of the United States. If it’s a non-stop flight you are seeking, the following airlines are available:
- American Airlines
- Air France
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- Lufthansa German Airlines
- United Airlines
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Air Europa
There are approximately twenty-five airports in Spain offering flights to the United States with destinations to 43 of the 50 states within North America, offered. Other available flights include destinations in Hawaii and Alaska.
Following are six of the largest and most popular airports in Spain offering international flights to the US:
- Barcelona–El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport – located in Barcelona, on the eastern coast of Spain, Josep Tarradellas el Prat airport offers flights to the east coast of the United States and a few destinations on the west coast.
- Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport also known as Barajas, is a significant gateway is located in Central Spain, Madrid-Barajas Airport offers flights to the west, east and central United States. This international airport is the largest and busiest in the country and is ranked the eleventh busiest globally.
- Seville Airport – located in the southwest portion of Spain, Seville Airport offers many flight options to the east coast of the US, two destinations on the west coast, Chicago and Texas.
- Malaga Airport - located in the southern portion of Spain, this airport offers many flights with destinations throughout central United States.
- Valencia Airport - located in eastern Spain, Valencia Airport offers limited flight destinations to the United States with flights to New York, Florida, California, and Nevada.
- Bilbao Airport – located in northern Spain, Bilbao Airport offers international flights to Florida, California, Nevada and New York.
Flights from Spain are not too costly. You can generally find an airline flight ranging in price from $450 to $800, depending on how many stops your flight offers, as well as the flight duration. The less expensive the price, the longer the flight will take.
The simplest way to compare available flights and pricing is to research available travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, and CheapOair. Of course, there are many other available sites to utilize when booking your flight from Spain to the United States, but these sites offer comprehensive travel planning including flights, hotels, and car rentals.
Due to the many airports offering international flights in Spain, no matter where you reside, catching a plane to the United States will not be difficult.
Get all travel documents in order in good time is always sound advice. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has made sure everyone who wants to visit the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program applies for an ESTA at least 72 hours before flying off to the United States of America. It became mandatory in December 2018.
Last minute ESTA applications that get denied makes it almost impossible to travel to the U.S. The reason is that a visit to the nearest U.S. Embassy will be required to apply for a tourist visa. So, make sure to apply as soon as you know you are traveling to the U.S. - there is no real reason to wait. You can read more about the ESTA application here.
Spaniards can apply for ESTA online
The ESTA is valid for 2 years for visitors from Spain
Spaniards can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days with an approved ESTA
Spain’s overstay rate is only: 1.12%