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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

EXPLAINED: Spain’s new rules for unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Unvaccinated third-country nationals such as Americans and Britons are now allowed to go on holiday to Spain. Here are the requirements, documentation needed and other important information they should know before booking their flights to Spain. 

EXPLAINED: Spain's new rules for unvaccinated non-EU tourists

What’s the latest?

Spain has opened up to unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists for the first time in more than two years.

Previously it was not possible for third-country nationals to visit Spain for non-essential reasons such as a holiday, seeing family or spending time in a second home in Spain unless they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (plus booster after 9 months) or recovered from the illness in the past six months. 

From May 21st 2022, unvaccinated tourists and other visitors from outside of the EU can travel to Spain if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, the Spanish government confirmed on Saturday. These are the same rules that apply to EU nationals and residents.

Spain’s testing requirements for non-EU/Schengen tourists apply to those aged 12 and older, children under that age are exempt from having to prove testing, vaccination or recovery.

What kind of Covid test do I need to get done to travel to Spain?

In scientific terms, Spain wants a diagnostic test that’s either a NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test, such as an RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA) or a RAT (rapid antigen test).

In layman’s terms, that’s either a PCR test, which must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain, or an antigen test, 24 hours prior to departure.

Covid tests accepted are those authorised by the European Commission and must have been performed by healthcare professionals, therefore self-tests are not valid. 

What do I need to show to travel to Spain if I’m unvaccinated?

You need to show an official certificate or supporting document which shows the negative result of your Covid test. Your country may have a system in place that allows you to upload your negative result to an app. 

The document must be the original, in Spanish, English, French or German, and may be shown in paper or electronic format. If you can’t get it in these languages, it must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish by an official body.

The document that accredits the diagnostic test has to include the date the sample was taken, identification and contact details of the centre performing the analysis, technique used and negative result.

Spanish authorities recognise the UK’s NHS Covid Pass and others that fulfil the above criteria. 

Do I need to fill out a health control form?

This depends. Currently, 40 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, based on EU equivalence decisions. 

That means that people from these nations who have a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate issued by the competent authorities of their country do not need to fill in Spain’s Travel Health form.

The countries with EU Digital Covid Certificate equivalence are Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Indonesia, Israel, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Uruguay, The Vatican and Vietnam.You can also double-check here in case more countries are added.

If your non-EU country isn’t on the list then you have to fill in the SPTH form and upload your test certificate, which gives you a QR Code you’ll be asked for at the airport. 

READ MORE: A step-by-step guide on how to fill out Spain’s Health Control Form

Do I have to wear a mask on the plane?

Yes, you will most likely be required to wear a mask on the planes to and from Spain, although you don’t have to wear one inside Spanish airports anymore.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s mask rules for travel?

Is there any other travel rule I need to know about?

If you’re not an EU citizen or resident, then you should check if you require a Schengen visa to travel to Spain, as this will depend on your nationality.

Keep in mind that you will also have to abide by other Schengen rules, such as not being able to spend more than 90 out of 180 days in Spain and other Schengen countries.

Does Spain still have domestic Covid-19 rules?

Spain has lifted the vast majority of its Covid-19 rules, so there are no longer curfews, forced closures, limits on the number of people per shop or restaurant or Covid pass requirements to gain entry to buildings. 

Masks are no longer required outdoors and there is no face covering mandate for the majority of indoor public settings, except for on public transport, in hospitals, pharmacies, other health clinics and care homes.

READ MORE: What happens when tourists get Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain?

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