Travel: PCR test scrap to save families '£200' says expert
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Passport stamps show the entry and exit date of British nationals and enable border guards to keep track of tourists. However, some guards are reportedly unsure about the new rules as the status of Britons in the EU changed so recently.
Linda, a British citizen, was travelling to Spain from Gibraltar with her daughter recently. She told The Local that border guards suspected she had overstayed in Spain.
She claimed: “I was denied entry to Spain on September 26 due to my passport not being stamped on exit on a previous one-week visit to Spain which started on June 4.
“The guards initially stamped my passport to enter, then they noticed I had no exit stamp from that one-week visit in June, thereby classing me as an overstayer and subsequently marked the entry stamp with the letter F and two lines.
“Even though I have proof of returning to the UK via banking activity as well as the test and trace Covid app, the border guards would not accept or look at any proof nor let me speak to anyone that could help.
“My son, who speaks Spanish, tried to explain that I had other proof of returning to the UK but the guards would not accept or even consider looking at it.
“They just kept insisting that I had no stamp, that I had overstayed and would be arrested as illegal.”
Non-resident Britons, particularly those with second homes in Spain who visit the country regularly, will need to check their passports are correctly stamped.
Linda said her situation had not been resolved, even a month after the initial incident in September.
She said: “It would seem there is no solution, the Spanish consulate in the UK will only accept my original boarding cards as proof of exit, and as flights were booked online, I obviously don’t have them.
“They will not accept screenshots or copies of any other proof I have. I have contacted my MP but was just directed back to the consulate thereby going round in circles.
“It’s frustrating as I feel I’m being held responsible for something I had no jurisdiction over, in other words the guard’s failure to stamp my passport.
“As I still have no exit stamp, I’m worried I will be denied entry again on further visits.
“My main concern is that as I cannot prove exit, I will be prevented from visiting my son indefinitely which is why I need to find any way I can resolve this.”
Spain’s Interior Ministry told Express.co.uk: “We cannot enter into the assessment of specific cases in border control. The National Police are at all times in complicance with current legislation.”
British tourists can now stay 90 out of every 180 days in the Schengen Area. Most EU countries, including Spain and France are included in Schengen.
Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania are not included in the Schengen zone despite being in the EU.
British people who travel to Spain to spend the winter in the sun could face problems if they do not have Spanish residency.
Diego Echavarria, a Marbella based lawyer, told Express.co.uk that Spain was getting “tough” on British expats who hadn’t applied for residency.
He said he was not aware of any British citizens being arrested for overstaying the 90 day period but warned it could happen in future.
Spain’s immigration bill has varying punishments for overstaying from €500 fines to a temporary ban on visiting Spain.
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