Law

Visiting other states, countries, and continents for work or travel purposes has been a norm for people for many decades. In most cases, the person traveling from one continent to another needs to undergo prolonged legal procedures to ensure safe and smooth travel. However, traveling from Spain to the US is more of an easy ride, thanks to the Visa Waiver Program that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imposed on Spanish citizens.

Besides that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are travel restrictions all around the world, including the US. Therefore, Spanish citizens that are currently planning to move to the USA for work or travel purposes need to abide by certain administrative guidelines and laws. This article will focus on the specific laws Spanish citizens need to know in the USA.

Which Laws Should Spanish Citizens Need to Know in the USA?

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United States Visa Waiver Program

Visa Waiver Program is the United States Department of Homeland Security (USDHS) administered travel permit that allows citizens from 38 nations worldwide to travel to the US and stay there for a span of 90 days without undergoing a visa application process. The list of the said 38 nations mentions a set of European countries, including Spain. Therefore, Spanish citizens can avail themselves of the advantage of this program.

What It Stands for

The Visa Waiver Program began in 1986 as a comprehensive partnership between the US and some of its allies like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, the Czech Republic, etc., to further strengthen the border security.

ESTA

All it needs for a Spanish citizen is a simple registration with the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). It is an automated entry gateway introduced in 2009 that offers an online application form for eligible citizens. They can fill this form and travel to the United States without undergoing prolonged visa application procedures.

ESTA Features

  • The registration stays valid for two years from the day of registration.
  • It allows Spanish citizens to stay in the US for up to 90 days.
  • It is a travel gateway for multiple eligible citizens.
  • It stays valid for entries into the US through airline or sea.
  • Spanish citizens that are traveling to the US for business or tourism can only apply.

ESTA Requirements

The Spanish citizen who wants to travel to the US needs to fulfill the following requirements in order to be able to apply for ESTA.

  1. A valid passport of the Spanish citizen.
  2. An authentic email address.
  3. A valid debit or credit card.

Spanish citizens can refer to the official website of the US Customs and Border Protection to gain a thorough knowledge of this Visa Waiver Program. Apart from that, Spanish nationals can also refer to the free legal database to fetch information regarding this act.

How to Apply for ESTA Visa Waiver for the US

For a Spanish citizen, applying for ESTA Visa Waiver for the US involves the following three easy steps.

  1. Application
  2. Payment
  3. Getting the Approval

Here is a thorough guideline on the complete processing of the ESTA system for an eligible Spanish applicant to avail of the US Visa Waiver Program.

Application

The online application process is quite easy, and it only takes about 15 minutes to complete. The first step involves providing the basic biographic information of the applicant’s Spanish citizen. Following is the information the citizen must provide.

  • First and last name of the applicant
  • Permanent Spanish residential address
  • Email address
  • Contact number
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Passport information
  • Current passport number
  • Passport issue date
  • Passport expiry date

The application form also includes security-related queries and whether the applicant has any past criminal records or not.

Payment of the Charges

In order to apply for ESTA USA, Spanish citizens need to pay certain application and processing charges. For these payments, the basic requirement is a valid debit or credit card. Any other form of payment does not work here.

During the submission of the online ESTA application form, the applicant will have to put in the necessary credit or debit card information and confirm the payment.

ESTA Approval

In general, the approval of the ESTA Visa Waiver takes a span of 24 hours, but in some cases, it might take up to three business days. Once the applicant receives the approval, the ESTA links with the passport electronically. Now, he/she can board flights to the US and show the ESTA approval at the border.

Immigration Laws

For Spanish citizens who want to stay in the US for more than 90 days and are here for long-term work or study purposes need to comply with the US immigration laws. In such cases, the Spanish citizen also needs to apply for immigrant visas.

Types of Immigrant Visas

There are mainly five types of immigrant visas available for Spanish citizens to move to the US. However, the trick to applying for immigrant visas for a citizen from another continent is to seek sponsorship from a lawful US citizen or permanent resident.

Family Immigration Visa

Such an immigrant visa application requires the foreign citizen to have a family member who is at least 21-year old and a citizen of the US or a lawful permanent resident.

Fiancé Visa

A Spanish citizen who wants to move to the US can also apply for a fiancé visa if he/she is marrying a citizen of the US.

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program

This is a special electronic visa application program that becomes available for a limited period of time every year. Spanish citizens can learn about this program from their official website.

Employment Immigrant Visa

This is the most common type of immigrant visa that citizens from outside of the US can apply for if they want to move here for employment purposes. Spanish citizens can refer to the official website of the US Department of State Consular Office.

Returning Resident Visa

This type of immigrant visa is for those who have been residing outside of the US for more than a year, and their visa validity has expired. If they want to come back to the US, they must file a renewal immigrant visa application.

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Conclusion

Besides all these, if a Spanish citizen wants to enter the US right now, they must be fully vaccinated and abide by all the COVID laws imposed on the travelers. These are the laws that Spanish citizens must know in the USA.

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