Spanish visa via BLS in London: can you keep your passport?


I am being told by London BLS that keeping your passports is no longer an option when applying for a Spanish visa, no matter what. We don’t even live in England (but London is still our consulate district) and so now we will have to stay in hotels for who knows how long until visa is processed and get our passports back.


These are the answers of some Facebook group members:

”You apply from where you live”

”Not sure who told you that but I went yesterday and they asked me if I wanted to keep my passport or leave it with them”

”We had the option a few weeks ago, went to london BLS , may have changed since”

”Tell them you need to go to Spain to buy a property. I did and they gave me my passport back”

”We were there on 16th October 2023. Were told that we could keep passports if we had copies of every page. We didn’t and were told we could do it there. Decided not to bother as didn’t need passports before visa”

”I understand that the passports are held by the consulate. In Manchester you can apply to go to consulate and collect them. This is a real pain as we will gave to travel 2 hours each way to get them back. Our appointment is on Tuesday and I gave emailed the Manchester consulate to request permission in advance to keep them”

”We went Friday 13th October 2023! The final day before the change to BLS and also worried about the possible issues that the transition may cause. Nothing to do but wait though and trust people to do their thing”

”Both ourselves & our immigration lawyer asked if we could keep our passports at the London office so that we could sign contacts for our property purchase but to no avail. We waited almost 2 months for our visa but It seems they’re only taking around 2 weeks at present. Hope this helps”

Spanish visa via BLS in London: can you keep your passport?

“Depends on the consulate, some keep your passport”

“Edinburgh let us keep ours yesterday (June 4 2024) – We will have to send them in to them when Visas are approved and they stamp the Visa inside. We asked if we have to go back and collect but they said if you pay £5 or so, they courier them to you home address in the UK, in our case. They were so helpful and they checked all requested paperwork and said “all of this appears in order” and kept the colour photo copies of tbe Passports.”

“I picked up the visas for my family of 4. The main applicant needs to pick up the visas. Make sure you bring all of their passports with you. I left them with colored copies and informed them i needed the passport for travel purposes. Then confirmed that I could pick all of them up. I was told the main applicant had to. Boston consulate.


In conclusion, according to Spainguru Facebook group members, applicants seem to have varying experiences regarding passport retention during visa processing. Some were given the option to keep their passports by providing copies of every page, while others were asked to leave their passports with the consulate.

There’s mention of specific strategies, like mentioning travel needs, and some inconvenience due to changes in processing systems. Overall, it appears to differ based on the consulate or processing center, and there’s a mix of outcomes among applicants