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Old Sep 8, 08, 1:06 am   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Spanish Immigration / Invitation Letter

Hey guys!

Does anybody have any experience with the Spanish "Invitation Letter"? It's supposedly a document needed to enter Spain when you're not booking a hotel (staying with friends).

I'm basically entering Europe, staying one day in Spain, then another in France and then going for a week to Africa, on my return I would be arriving again in Spain. The first entry shouldn't be a problem because I have all the bookings for hotels, trains etc. (Also my arriving flight is from the US, meaning I have a US visa that should tell them if I hadn't emigrated illegally to the US, why would I want to do it in Spain) But for the second I'm staying with friends for some days before moving to elsewhere in Europe.

I know maybe Americans don't get this requisite asked by Spanish authorities, but I have a Mexican passport and they are known nowadays for deporting tons of Mexicans even though they have means to prove they are bona fide tourists. I heard the letters cost something between 75 and 200 euros and I won't make my friends get me one, I don't want to be an annoyance. What do you recommend?
  • Make a reservation in a hostel, not going and getting charged the first night (Although I'm afraid when I'm exiting the EU (not from Spain) they get the news I didn't stayed in the hostel and tell me something)
  • Fly from africa to another country, France or Italy, where I speak their languages and they can see I'm a backpacker and not avoid being asses like the Spanish; And then go to Spain.
  • Risk it without the immigration letter and going directly to Spain.

Just for the record, I've never had any questioning in any border longer than 2 minutes and I've visited the US (a lot of times), CAN, JPN, KOR, UK, GER and even Spain before while backpacking, geez, I remember even going to Canada as a minor, unaccompanied (meaning I require a notarized letter to enter Canada) to backpack and they just asked me 2 questions and let me in. But I have a bad feeling about entering in Spain, I'm more worried than if I had to enter the US :P.

So what do you think? I'm worrying too much or I have reasons to be worried? What would you do?

Last edited by Aldoman; Sep 8, 08 at 1:09 am Reason: typos
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Old Sep 8, 08, 10:36 pm   #2
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: LAX...Ex MAD Ex SJC Ex ORD
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It is unlikely you will have any difficulties entering Spain, but I suppose entering from Africa on a Mexican passport would be worth worrying about.

Why not just book a reservation at a real hotel. Find one which can be canceled "until 6pm on the date of arrival" and just cancel after your arrival. Better yet, make the reservation, print out the confirmation, and cancel it before you ever go. There is almost zero chance that this would pose a problem.

I have entered Spain as a non EU resident many, many, many times and I have never seen authorities questioning arriving passengers. Granted, I have never arrived from Africa but I have arrived with Latin Americans (all without cartas de invitación) and they have not had any difficulties.

Your onward train-plane tickets to elsewhere in Europe would probably be sufficient as well to prove that you were not planning on taking up permanent residency in España.

When I lived in Madrid, I jumped through a lot of beaurocratic hoops to get a "DNI" (docmuento nacional de identidad) so I can understand your concerns. I am now positive that it was completely unnecessary to get the DNI at all. I truly think that the Spanish are not worried about who is there unless an extranjero is trying to lean on the resources of the state. I think you are worrying too much.
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Old Feb 17, 09, 8:09 am   #3
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vienna, Austria
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A Nicaraguan friend of my sisters' was just apprehended at Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain despite possessing the ticket for a connecting flight to Vienna, Austria. Apparently he not only needs a letter but it has to be confirmed by a solicitor and submitted to the responsible authority (we haven't found out which yet) in advance ... sending a fax or offering to bring it to Madrid personally won't do him any good and he's likely to get deported back to Costa Rica where he boarded the flight (one of those circumventing the US in order to save trouble)

Update: no intervention was possible, even a friend in Madrid offering to sign the Carta and bring forth the money couldn't save him from being deported. (Of course it's a win-win situation for the airline since he's not likely to take advantage of his original return ticket)

Apparently it's all described at http://www.parainmigrantes.info/, but the Austrian websites were less than clear in bringing across the point that "no visa necessary" wasn't a good thing.

Last edited by aoe; Feb 18, 09 at 9:33 am
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