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What Britons could be asked to prove when visiting Spain

Anne Hernández of Brexpats in Spain has been in conversation with UK authorities about the €100-a-day rule and other requirements that British visitors and tourists entering Spain can in theory be asked for by border officials.

What Britons could be asked to prove when visiting Spain
If you're a third-country national, Spanish border officials are quite entitled to ask ‘What is your purpose for visiting Spain?' 'How long do you intend to stay in Spain?'(Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Although Spain has not yet implemented this nationally, recently some foot passengers have been surprised at the information being asked for by Spanish immigration officials at the border from Gibraltar and would be positively shocked if they were refused entry into Spain. 

As a non EU member and not from one of the 26 Member States of the Schengen area, Britons entering Spain could well have certain requirements with which to comply:

– A valid passport or travel document. Your passport must be less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’) and valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the expiry date). Also, check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Spain as a visitor

– A visa if you are subject to the Spanish visa regime

– Proof of accommodation. A document that shows where you will be staying during your time in Spain

– A return or round-trip ticket or proof of onward travel if you do not plan to return to your home country at the end of your stay in Spain

– Documents proving your purpose of entry

The 90 days in 180 days Schengen rule applies to third country nationals whether they are travelling for tourism purposes, visiting friends or family, in transit, on business, for medical reasons, for study or for cultural reasons, sports and film crews.

The border officials are quite entitled to ask: ‘What is your purpose for visiting Spain? How long do you intend to stay in Spain? Where are you going to stay in Spain? How are you going to financially support yourself during your time here in Spain?’ So, these questions have to be satisfied with proof.

There is no indication of specific criteria immigration officials use to determine whether to ask third-country nationals for this extra proof and seems to be at the discretion of each individual border official.

As stated earlier, these requirements have only been requested recently from some third-country foot passengers entering Spain via the Gibraltar border, but under the Schengen Border Code, Spain is entitled to implement these measures at any time.

What documents British tourists can in theory be asked prove when visiting Spain

    1) Round-trip flight Itinerary. A document that shows you have a booked flight, to enter and leave Spain. This document should specify flight numbers, dates, and your details

    2) Proof of accommodation by means of a hotel reservation 

    3) Proof of sufficient financial means. A foreigner who seeks to enter the territory of Spain needs to attest to  having at least €100 per day, with a minimum of €900 per person regardless of the intended duration of the stay

    4) A personal letter of invitation which explains why you are visiting, with whom you are staying and for how long

As a tourist you will have proof of hotel/self catering accommodation booked and as a visitor to a friend or family member you might be asked for the letter of invitation but this depends on your reasons for visiting.

Some questions that remain are whether the €900 minimum per person applies also to minors or what proof of accommodation British tourists travelling in motorhomes would be asked to produce. 

How can you prove your financial sufficiency?

– A personal bank statement indicating your financial movements (for at least the last 3 months)

– Credit card

– Cash

– Traveller’s cheques

– Payslips

– Proof of employment

– Supporting document to attest sponsor’s readiness to cover your expenses during your stay

– Proof of prepaid accommodation

– Document about private accommodation 

– Proof of prepaid transport

Means of subsistence, is regulated by the Regulation (Ec) No 810/2009 of The European Parliament and of The Council of 13 July 2009, establishing a Community Code on Visas also known as “Visa Code” Article 14(c).

Why is it €100 a day per day for tourists in Spain?

According to Article 5(3) of the Schengen Border Code: “means of subsistence shall be assessed in accordance with the duration and the purpose of the stay and by reference to average prices in the Member State(s)concerned for board and lodging in budget accommodation, multiplied by the number of days stayed.”

Invitation letter

If you are staying with a friend or family member that person will effectively be responsible for you financially and will guarantee that you do not overstay the 90 days and must invite you in writing to stay with them for a given duration.

Overstaying

Should you be tempted to stay longer than the permitted 90 days in any 180 days it could mean a fine will be imposed, you could be deported or even banned from entering the Schengen Zone for a specific amount of time.

There is not a common policy for all Schengen Member States and Spain has not, as yet, imposed such penalties but could do so at any time. Germany imposes the strictest immigration laws and Greece applies the highest fines for overstaying.

Short-stay Schengen visa extensions are permitted by the regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EC) No. 810/2009 of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Journal of Laws of the EU of 2009 L243/1) but you must have a strong valid reason. 

According to the Schengen visa policy, acceptable reasons to extend a Schengen short-stay visa are only the following – Late Entry, Humanitarian Reasons, Force Majeure, Important Personal Reasons.

There are differences in requirements between the reasons for entering and Brexpats in Spain International can help you with all these requirements – visas, competitive quotes for approved insurance via one of our sponsors, letters of invitation and visa extensions.

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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