With the Spanish border currently closed to the United States, Americans must meet certain criteria to travel to Spain. At 32 weeks pregnant with twins, I was determined to get my parents (who live in Florida) into Spanish territory for the birth of their grandchildren. Because my pregnancy was considered high risk, they could apply for a travel permit under the “People traveling for duly accredited family reasons” criteria.
Celebrating at our ‘Independence Day’ themed baby shower
I emailed the Miami Spanish consulate (the closest consulate to my parents) to ask what was required in order to review our case. The consulate swiftly replied with a list of documents they needed. I spent the next few weeks making doctor’s appointments and tracking down paperwork to submit for review.
Keep in mind the consulate stressed the fact that I needed to prove “why” there was a justifiable need for my parents to travel to Spain. Having a high-risk pregnancy alone wasn’t going to cut it; I needed medical reports to prove I had a high-risk pregnancy, horrible symptoms reducing my mobility, and explain that I didn’t have anyone around to help take care of me during gestacion and postpartum (ex. husband has to work, no other family members nearby, etc.)…basically without my parents I would be bedridden and unable to take care of myself or the babies. The medical reports provided by my doctors specifically called out the need for a caregiver (preferably a family member) and explained in detail the severity of my symptoms.
Getting permission to visit Spain
These are the steps you can take to apply for entry into Spain during the pandemic:
1) Contact the Spanish consulate: Contact the Spanish consulate in the U.S. state closest to your family. My parents live in Florida, so we contacted the consulate in Miami.
2) Submit paperwork: The consulate requested scanned copies of following documents in order to review my case based on the “People traveling for duly accredited family reasons” criteria. The required documents will likely differ depending on your specific situation.
- My passport
- My immigration status in Spain and DNI (if possible)
- My Spanish marriage certificate
- My birth certificate
- Parents’ passports
- Health certificate(s) demonstrating the utmost importance of my parents’ visit due to my present condition
3) Get case approved: Keep in mind I initially sent one doctor’s note (health certificate) stating the importance of my parents’ presence due to my condition and my request was rejected. I emailed the consulate back with 4 reports (informes) from 4 different doctors/specialists explaining the severity of my symptoms and the importance of having a family member to care for me. My second appeal was approved. Both times I sent the documents for review I heard back within 3 business days on whether my case was approved or not. Also, I originally contacted the consulate in English, but by the time I sent the second round of medical reports I wrote to them in Spanish—I’m not sure if it makes a difference, but personally I’d contact them in Spanish if you’re able.
3) Notify the consulate of travel dates: The consulate emailed me back to confirm my request was approved and they would allow both parents to travel to Spain. The next step was to contact them with my parents’ flight details/reservation 5 days before their flight so the consulate could notify the National Police (border control) and secure the appropriate paperwork for my parents to use during their journey.
Grandma with baby Noa
Flying to Spain during COVID-19
It seems each country has its own ‘requirements’ for travelers at the moment—for example, Portugal requires a PCR test to pass through their airport to other EU countries while the Netherlands simply requires travelers to fill out a form. If you’re flying to Europe and have a layover I would recommend contacting the consulate of every country you’ll pass through to confirm what’s required.
- My parents flew with Delta and had a layover in Amsterdam on their way to Madrid. They weren’t able to check-in to their flights ahead of time. Once they reached the airport they had to wait 30 minutes while the Delta team verified their travel permit before checking them in for their flights.
- In Amsterdam they were pulled aside for another 30 minutes while passing through the EU border checkpoint to verify all the paperwork again.
- In Madrid my parents needed a QR code (along with all other travelers) to get through the security checkpoints before exiting the airport.
Keep in mind the consulate advised my parents to bring the official travel permit they provided as well as all of the other documents I originally sent to get my case approved (i.e. my doctor reports, marriage certificate, etc.). My parents confirmed customs officers reviewed every single document in Amsterdam so it was absolutely necessary to bring everything.
Visiting the twins in NICU
In the end, Leo and Noa were born 6 weeks early and the consulate helped us to get the travel permits sooner than planned. All in all the journey was long and stressful, but it was definitely worth the hassle to have my parents with us when the babies came home from the hospital.
If you find yourself in a similar situation I hope my personal story can help you. If you have any questions let me know in the comments below. 😀