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TRAVEL NEWS

Can I travel to Spain if my passport has expired?

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 foreigners with residency in Spain and third-country tourists.

passport security
Passport checks at Spanish customs. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

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this, you plan to visit Spain or are returning home to Spain, but when you check your passport, you realise it’s out of date.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

But 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.

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

The UK government state on their website: “We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022. Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date”. 
 
In a bid to resolve all the doubts, on April 26th 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”.
 
More recently on April 28th, the Spanish Embassy in Madrid posted further clarification 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”.

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MONEY

How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

Spain's government recently confirmed it will slash the cost of public transport tickets to help people deal with rising inflation. Here's how much bus, train and metro tickets are likely to cost you in some of Spain's main cities from September 2022.

How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

Spain’s annual inflation rate reached 10.2 percent in June, the highest since April 1985, according to a statement released by the Spanish authorities on Wednesday. 

To help its citizens and residents save money and make ends meet at a time of rising inflation, the Spanish government recently announced a 50 percent discount on the cost of multi-journey tickets on RENFE services such as Cercanías, Media Distancia and Avant. 

A 30 percent discount will also be applied to the cost of passes and multi-trip tickets for regional and local transport services, including city metro, bus and tram systems, bought between September 1st and December 31st 2022.

So far it hasn’t been revealed exactly how the reduction will work and it is up to each region to decide on how they want to implement it.

For example, they could just reduce the cost of the tickets or ask people to apply for money back on the tickets they’ve bought over the four months.

Some cities and regional authorities have also said that they will reduce the cost of transport tickets further by applying an extra 20 percent discount on top of the central government’s 30 percent, taking it to 50 percent.

In order to finance the new measure, the government has confirmed that €221 million will be allocated to regional governments and transport authorities across the country. 

Here are the savings you’ll be able to make on transport tickets in Spain’s major cities:

Barcelona

The regional government of Catalonia has announced that it will aim to add further deductions by applying a total 50 percent discount for services run by the Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (ATM ), which includes Barcelona city and the metropolitan area.  

The mobility councillor for Barcelona City Council Laia Bonet said ATM is “aiming to guarantee a 50 percent reduction”. 

This means that if the 50 percent discount is applied, the T-Usual ticket, which allows you unlimited journeys over 30 days, will go from costing €40 to just €20 and the T-Casual ticket which gives you 10 journeys will go from €11.35 to €5.67.  

Madrid

Madrid has not yet confirmed if it will apply more than the 30 percent discount announced by Pedro Sánchez’s government, as public transport tickets there are already subsidised by 60 percent. Authorities in the capital have also said that they still don’t know how much of the €221 million they will receive.

If the national government’s 30 percent reduction is applied, the standard 30-day metro season ticket for zone A will be reduced from €54.60 to €38.22 and the regional pass all the way to Toledo will drop from €131.60 to €92.12.

Seville

Seville City Council also hasn’t yet decided if they will apply a 50 percent discount on transport passes to stick with the 30 percent. However, IU-Podemos has requested that they apply the 50 percent reduction. 

Currently, TUSSAM, the body responsible for urban transport in Seville, has set the price for a 30-day bus pass at €35.50.

With a 30 percent deduction, this will drop to €24.71 and with a 50 percent discount, the cost will go down to €17.65.

With regards to the Seville metro system, a 30-day Bono Plus 45 ticket which allows you to make 45 journeys of a similar type, costs between €30 and €50, depending on how many zones you jump through.

With the 30 percent reduction, a simple pass without jumping through zones will cost €21, while the one-jump pass will cost €29.40.

Valencia

As of yet, there is no concrete information on the reductions that will be applied to transport tickets in Valencia city, but based on the national government’s discount a 30-day SUMA ticket pass for the metro, bus and local train services for zones A and B will go from €35 down to €24.50.  

Málaga

Like Seville, no decision has been made yet in Malaga as to any further reductions other than the government’s 30 percent. Based on this, an unlimited monthly bus pass will be reduced from €39.95 to €27.96.

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