Almost 380,000 visas were issued by Spain in 2020

Image: La Moncloa

Almost 380,000 visas for Spain were issued in 2020, 73 per cent of them short-stay visas.

In 2020, almost 380,000 visas were issued at Spanish consular offices, according to statistics published by the Permanent Immigration Observatory (OPI) of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.

Of these, 276,852 were short-term visas – 73 per cent of the total – while long-term visas accounted for 27 per cent (102,856). The split between long and short term represents a substantial change from previous years when short term never reached 10 per cent of the total.

The number of visas processed has fallen by 80 per cent compared to 2019, with a greater drop in short-term visas, 83 per cent, compared to a 42 per cent drop in long-term visas. The sharp decline in visas issued is directly related to border closures and the decrease in international travellers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This decrease in short and long-term visas has been across all nationalities. Taking into account the country of origin, the statistics show that the highest percentage of visas processed is concentrated among people from Morocco, Russia, China and Algeria, and between them they account for half of the total number of visas granted.

By age, those from Pakistan (26 years old), Colombia and the United States (31 years old) are the youngest on average, while at the other extreme are those from Cuba with an average age of 40. By sex, the groups with the highest proportion of visas issued to women are those from Russia, Morocco, the United States and Cuba, and those with the lowest are Egypt, India and the Philippines.

Women accounted for 47 per cent of all short-stay visas issued, while they accounted for 60 per cent of long-stay visas. Moreover, the average age of foreigners who have been issued a short-stay visa is 37, compared to an average of 28 for long-stay visas.

Visas by type and purpose

Last year, 133,649 short-stay visas (48 per cent of the total) were issued to cover tourism and travel situations; 15,842 (six per cent) were for authorised stays for family members of EU citizens, and only 448 were issued for work. Of the 102,856 long-term residents, 27 per cent of the total, 34 per cent (35,557) were issued for family reasons, 32 per cent (32,832) for study purposes, 22 per cent (22,274) for work purposes, 10 per cent (10,417) exclusively for residence.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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