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DOCUMENTARY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS that left countless UK-based Spanish residents stranded abroad since Christmas have been relaxed, giving many expatriates new hope that they will be able to return to their homes in Spain.

The Spanish Government suspended all flights from the UK on 22nd December last year to contain the public health threat posed by the newly discovered COVID-19 variant of concern emerging in the United Kingdom.

The rules prohibited entry to Spain by air and sea for all UK nationals (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), permitting entry only by Spanish nationals and legally documented international Spanish residents.

With the Christmas season well underway, many British citizens that live permanently in Spain had travelled back to the UK to visit friends and family over the festive period. The travel restrictions effectively stranded some expatriates who had left Spain without their residency documentation.

But last night the official UK Government website announced that Spanish authorities had confirmed acceptance of additional documentation to prove entitlement to residency, for those who had left the country without their TIE or official residency document.

UK travel restrictions, new entry requirements for Spanish residents

Travel restrictions, accepted documents for UK nationals resident in Spain

A statement on the GOV.UK site reads “The Spanish government has formally confirmed to the UK Government that UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before 1st January 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can use any of the following documents to prove their residence status when entering Spain”.

  • Residency card issued under Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement (the TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero).
  • Temporary or permanent EU residency certificate (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadanos de la Unión).
  • Receipt of application for the TIE (Resgaurdo de presentación de la solicitud de la tarjeta de residencia).
  • Confirmation of the positive outcome of your residence application (Resolución favorable por la que se concede la tarjeta de residencia).
  • In the absence of any of the above documents, other documents that credibly evidence your legal residence in Spain before 1st January 2021, such as a padrón certificate (issued by your town hall), a work contract, a rental contract, or proof of a property purchase in Spain.
  • In the case of students, documentation that demonstrates enrolment in an on-site or in-person course and proof of accommodation

You must also show a valid passport when you travel and comply with the other documentation and travel restrictions, such as the presentation of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

UK travel restrictions, new entry requirements for Spanish residents

Hope for British citizens with residency in Spain

The new list of accepted documentation has also been communicated to airlines and other travel operators, to enable Spanish and UK nationals with residency in Spain to board flights to the peninsular.

The change in the documentation required for entry into Spain does not represent a change to the existing temporary prohibition of travel from the UK originally introduced on 22nd December 2020, and It is our understanding that Spanish authorities will accept the types of documentation specified above for travel originating in the UK from:

  • Spanish citizens.
  • Legally documented Spanish residents.
  • Persons who have submitted but not yet completed an application for residency in Spain (applications in process).
  • Persons who were residing in Spain legally before 1st January 2021, and who have not yet acquired permanent residence rights or are protected beneficiaries of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement.

Returning residents are reminded that there is no quarantine requirement on entering Spain, but all travellers are urged to install and activate the Radar COVID health protection app on their mobile device.

The official Spanish Government app is available for Android and Apple devices. It´s a contact tracing app designed to help the fight against Coronavirus by identifying potential outbreaks and breaking the chain of contagion.

Radar COVID uses anonymous identifier codes and automated contact tracing, requires no registration or login, doesn´t ask for any personal information, and does not use geolocation to track app users.

Looking for holiday ideas and inspiration for summer 2021? Find out more about our favourite recommended things to do on the Orihuela Costa or join the La Zenia community Facebook group and find out what´s going on in the local area.

Photo credit: LaZenia.com

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