An estimated 83.7 million UK tourists will pay a visit to Spain this year. However, many of those British passport holders could be caught out by the post-Brexit rules on passports, insurance, and visas.
Since Brexit came into force at the start of 2021, following the transition period, the European Union has changed the way it deals with UK tourists. The UK is now classed as a third country, meaning Brits do not have freedom of movement across the EU.
What are the passport requirements for UK citizens entering Spain after Brexit?
Spain has adopted the Schengen passport rules for British passport holders. This means that your passport must be:
It’s no longer as simple as checking that your passport is in date. So be sure to double check all of your travel party’s passports before you book, especially if they have a burgundy red passport which is likely to be older.
Do UK citizens need a visa to enter Spain after Brexit?
No, you can visit Spain visa-free for 90 days within a 180-day period. However, trips you’ve made to other Schengen countries within the past 180-days will count towards this 90-day total.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice states: “If you are travelling to Spain and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.”
If you think you may exceed this total you’ll need to apply for a visa. The FCO advises contacting the Spanish Consulate in the UK before travelling to determine what visa you’ll need.
Do UK citizens need to get their passports stamped on entry to Spain?
Yes, you will need to get your passport stamped when entering and leaving Spain. This is to prove that you’ve not outstayed the 90-day visa-free limit.
British nationals can use the EU e-gates at some Spanish airports. However, the FCO has warned that Brits will still need to have their passport stamped by a manned booth at border control.
The FCO warns: “Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.”
Do UK citizens need travel insurance to enter Spain?
The FCO does not have travel insurance listed as a mandatory requirement for entering Spain. However, the UK Government advises that you take out private medical travel insurance before travelling internationally.
Falling and breaking your leg in Spain could cost around £15,000 for treatment and flights, the UK Government estimates. Not all conditions and mishaps will be covered by the European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) or the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
Following Brexit EHICs are still valid until they expire. If your EHIC has expired you will need to apply for a GHIC, which will replace the EHIC. Neither of these act as a replacement for medical travel insurance, the UK government has warned.
What documents do British citizens need at the Spanish border?
At Spanish border control, British nationals can be asked to produce additional documents to prove where they’re planning to stay, how much they’ve got to spend, and proof of a return or onward ticket. If visiting family or friends they will need “an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party”, the FCO states.
Brits will be required to have a minimum of £85 (€100) to spend on each day of their holiday. They may also have to prove that they have living funds beyond this, of £767 (€900).
Additionally, Brits must prove their Covid-19 status before entering Spain. They can show this with a full vaccination pass, a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure. They can also show a medical certificate or recovery record to prove they’ve recovered from Covid in the past six months.