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Can I travel to Spain if my passport has expired?

The Local Spain
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Can I travel to Spain if my passport has expired?
Passport checks at Spanish customs. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

What happens when you want to travel to Spain, but your passport has expired? Are you still able to enter with an ID document or similar? We take a look at the situation for Spanish citizens, EU citizens, non-EU residents in Spain and third-country tourists.


Picture this, you plan to visit Spain or are returning home to Spain, but when you check your passport, you realise it's out of date.

You don't have time to renew it, so is there any way that you can still enter Spain on an expired passport? Is it possible to use an ID card or residency document instead? 


Read on to find out the rules, depending on your particular situation. 

Spanish nationals

If you are a Spanish national and want to come back home, but your passport has expired, you may still be able to do so by entering with your DNI card instead.

The Spanish government website states that: “A Spanish citizen may enter Spain with an expired passport or ID card once the border control authorities have checked the authenticity of the document and that the identity and nationality of the person match the data appearing on the document they are carrying”.

The Spanish government also stresses that for Spanish citizens under the Spanish legal system, entering Spain with an expired passport or ID card (DNI) is not an offence.

EU nationals (residents and visitors)

Let’s look at the situation for EU citizens, who are either residing in Spain or just visiting. 

The Spanish government states that in accordance with current legislation (Article 4 of RD 240/2007 on the entry, free movement and residence in Spain of citizens from EU Member States and EEA States), to enter Spanish territory, a valid passport or ID card is required”.

This means that EU citizens, as well as citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, may enter Spain with their national identity card if their passport has expired, as long as it is valid.

The Spanish government specifies that those with passports from Belgium, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Netherlands and Portugal can enter on their valid ID card if their passport expired up to five years ago. 

While those from Germany and Hungary can enter Spain with their ID card on a passport which expired up to one year ago. 


Non-EU nationals who are residents in Spain

What if you’re not an EU or Spanish citizen, but you have Spanish residency? Is it then possible to enter with an expired passport and use your residency card such as a TIE instead?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Your TIE or other Spanish residency card is not valid for travel, it only serves as proof that you have the right to live in Spain. Therefore, if your passport is not in date, then you cannot use your residency card instead.

The same goes for family members who are not nationals of the EU or of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland. They too may only enter on a valid passport.

READ ALSO: Passport stamp or scan? What foreigners at Spain’s borders should expect

Non-EU tourists

As a tourist from a non-EU country, you are not able to travel to Spain if your passport has expired.

The Spanish government says that you must provide a valid passport or travel document, such as an emergency travel document issued by your embassy or consulate abroad if your passport was lost or stolen. 

They state that “the document must be valid until three months after the planned date of departure from the Schengen territory, and must have been issued during the ten years immediately before the date of entry”.

Certain nationalities may also require a visa to enter Spain. Before travelling, it’s best to check with your local Spanish consulate to enquire whether you’ll need a visa or not.


UK passports

Be aware that there has been a lot of confusion surrounding passport expiry dates for British people since Brexit. It particularly affects those who had renewed their passport early before it expired. Before Brexit, if you renewed your passport early, the authorities would simply add on the extra amount of time to your new passport. So, if you renewed it three months early, your new passport would be valid for 10 years and three months, but since Brexit, the UK government has been saying that this extra amount of time is no longer valid. 

There was even more confusion because some EU countries are saying the extra time is still valid. 

In a bid to resolve all the doubts, on April 26th 2022 the European Commission said that British holidaymakers in this situation should not be prevented from flying, adding that "based on the experience gathered in implementing these rules", it is "now clear that a more generous interpretation of the rules is possible and we have therefore updated our advice".

Now the rules have been made clear and there's a distinction between UK passport holders who reside in Spain and have WA rights and those Britons who are visiting Spain.

The UK government state on their website that for Brits visiting Spain:

Your passport must be:

  • issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

"Check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date," the UK government adds.

On April 28th 2022, the Spanish Embassy in Madrid posted further clarification for British residents in Spain when saying: "If you are a British resident in Spain with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit Spain with a valid UK passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.

Otherwise, normal third country rules apply, so you will need to have a passport that is valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave the Schengen Area, and is less than 10 years old".

UK authorities confirmed this when stating: "If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit Spain with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling."


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