Spain tightens visa requirement for Senegalese citizens

AFP - [email protected]
Spain tightens visa requirement for Senegalese citizens
Barajas has seen a rise of Senegalese and other third country nationals on route to other countries using their layover in Madrid to enter Spain and the EU. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Spain said Wednesday that as of next month Senegalese nationals who wish to travel though a Spanish airport must have a transit visa, as Barajas struggles with a surge in asylum seekers using Madrid's airport as a layover loophole to get into the EU.


The measure will come into effect on February 19th, Spain's embassy in Senegal said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

It comes after Spain on Saturday began requiring transit visas for Kenyan nationals passing through Spanish airports.

Madrid airport, Spain's busiest, has since August 2023 experienced an "exponential rise" in the number of asylum seekers.


That has left the holding areas for those seeking protection overflowing, according to the Spanish Commission for Aid to Refugees, a non-governmental organisation also known by its Spanish acronym CEAR.

"The overcrowding and unsanitary conditions have reached critical levels, causing outbreaks of bedbugs, garbage to accumulate and a shortage of towels for personal hygiene," it said in a statement.

The group also complained about delays in processing asylum claims.

Of the 390 people stuck in “undignified” conditions at the airport, around 182 of them have not been able to formalise their claims, mostly from Senegal, Morocco, Somalia, Venezuela, and Colombia, the CEAR statement said.

Police unions have for weeks complained that many Senegalese passport holders who were supposedly on their way to Brazil have requested asylum while on a layover in Madrid.


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