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British expat alert: Spain could turn back UK holidaymakers at border, warns expert


Moira Carmenate runs The Expat Centre which advises people how to get the most out of life abroad. But the differing rules currently adopted by the British and Spanish governments are creating an “ongoing headache” which needs to be resolved, she said.

Following the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, Boris Johnson is set to allow foreign holidays to resume from May 17.

Whereas Spain’s foolhardy rollout efforts, hampered by bumbling Europhiles, has forced it to place restrictions on who can enter the country.

This means even if travellers have a reasonable excuse to leave the UK, they may be turned back at the border.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Carmenate urged the two governments to talk before holidaymakers lose out.

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“Common sense would suggest that it could be resolved if both governments would get their heads together and come to an agreement both on protocols and also on implementation at the borders.

“At the end of the day – it’s the travellers who suffer.”

The Spanish government recently relaxed restrictions imposed on UK travellers in December due to fears of a Covid variant first found in Kent.

From March 30, anyone arriving from the UK will be required to show proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours before departure.

But it is yet to add foreign holidays on its list of valid reasons for entry.

This led the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) to warn that travellers may be turned away if they don’t meet other criteria – even if they legally leave the UK.

It said: “Passenger travel from the UK to Spain is restricted to EU and Schengen associated state citizens, those who are legally resident in the EU or in Schengen associated states, or those passengers who can demonstrate that their journey is essential (including on compassionate grounds).”

The FCDO details a long list of the permitted reasons to enter Spain.

It added: “All of the circumstances above must be justified by documentary evidence.

“You should be aware that you may be questioned on arrival by Spanish border authorities to ensure you meet the entry requirements.

“Spanish border authorities will only grant entry if they are satisfied that your journey to Spain is essential and reserve the right to deny passage.”

Moira Carmenate, who lives in Costa Blanca South, previously she was “surprised” Spain hadn’t dropped its requirement for pensioners to prove an annual earning of more than £21,000.

And with the UK’s state pension being just over £6,500 a year, many British pensioners could be forced to return home if the rules are not relaxed, she said.

There is no indication from Spain’s government that it will lower the threshold, despite the invaluable contribution the 108,000 UK pensioners make to its economy.

“We kind of expected them to have changed the rules by now, but then who knows what they’re thinking?

“I’d be surprised if they don’t change it but you can’t second guess what they’re thinking.

“Maybe they want to attract younger people.

“But that’s the requirement at the moment and it’s not something that a lot of pensioners will be able to achieve.

“If it stays it will undoubtedly change the landscape of who will apply.”


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