Is proof of accommodation REALLY required for a US citizen to enter Spain as a tourist?
December 6, 2012 7:24 PM Subscribe
US citizen visiting SO's family in Spain for Christmas: will I be asked to show proof of accommodation?
Do I really
need a letter of invitation to pass customs?
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total)
I am a US citizen, boyfriend is a Spanish citizen who is in the US with a J1 visa. We are traveling to Spain for three weeks over Christmas, and we will be staying with his family. I have zero intention of overstaying, trying to get married, looking for work, etc, basically I want to go, meet the folks, see the sights, and come back.
Unfortunately I didn't do my homework, and now I am reading on the US embassy website:
"Spain is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds, evidence of hotel reservations or an official letter of invitation if you will stay with family or friends, and a return airline ticket. For additional details about travel into and within Schengen countries, please see our Schengen Fact Sheet."
Funds, return ticket, valid passport, etc. are no problem, but I don't have a letter of invitation from SO's family. And what's worse, it seems that the invitation letter is only valid when it's completed and notarized at a Spanish Police Station, and can take up to two weeks to be issued. Given that my trip is in less than two weeks, there is pretty much no way this letter could be made and mailed to me here in the US in time.
However, searching other unofficial sources of information, like the Lonely Planet forums, seems to indicate that non-visa tourists are rarely if ever asked for proof of accommodation, and that I should be able to with only my passport.
So globe-trotting Mefites, please share your experience with Spanish customs! Were you asked to provide proof of accommodation for a non-visa tourist stay? Will I be OK with just the names and addresses of my hosts, or should I make a fake hotel reservation to cancel once I get there, just to be on the safe side? Will they be more suspicious if I let on that I am travelling with a SO rather than just a friend? Thanks everyone!