Passport stamps show the date of entry and exit of UK nationals and allow border guards to track tourists. However, some guards would be unsure of the new rules as the status of Britons in the EU has changed so recently.
Linda, a British citizen, recently traveled to Spain from Gibraltar with her daughter. She told The Local that border guards suspected she had been in Spain for too long.
She said: âI was refused entry into Spain on September 26 because my passport had not been stamped on exit during a previous week-long visit to Spain which began on June 4.
âThe guards first stamped my passport to enter, then they noticed that I did not have an exit stamp from this week-long visit in June, thus classifying me as an over-stay person and then marked the input buffer with the letter F and two lines.
âEven though I have proof of my return to the UK via banking activity as well as the Covid test and traceability app, border guards would not accept or view any evidence or let me speak to anyone. could help me.
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âMy son, who speaks Spanish, tried to explain that I had other evidence of my return to the UK, but the guards did not agree or even consider watching it.
“They kept insisting that I did not have a tampon, that I was over the stay and that I would be arrested as illegal.”
Non-resident Britons, especially those with a second home in Spain who regularly visit the country, will need to check that their passports are properly stamped.
Linda said her situation had not been resolved even a month after the initial incident in September.
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She said: âIt looks like there is no solution, the Spanish Consulate in the UK will only accept my original boarding passes as proof of exit, and as the flights have been booked online, I obviously don’t have them.
“They will not accept screenshots or copies of any other evidence I have. I contacted my MP but just got redirected to the consulate and so I am going in circles.
âIt’s frustrating because I feel like I’m being held responsible for something over which I had no jurisdiction, in other words the guard not stamping my passport.
âAs I still do not have an exit stamp, I fear that I will be refused entry again on subsequent visits.
“My main concern is that since I cannot prove the exit, I will be barred from visiting my son indefinitely, which is why I have to find a way to fix this.”
Spain’s Home Office told Express.co.uk: “We cannot go into the assessment of specific cases in border control. The national police comply with applicable law at all times.”
British tourists can now stay 90 days out of 180 in the Schengen area. Most EU countries, including Spain and France, are included in Schengen.
Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania are not part of the Schengen area although they are part of the EU.
Brits who travel to Spain to spend the winter in the sun could face problems if they do not have a Spanish residence.
Diego Echavarria, a lawyer based in Marbella, said Express.co.uk that Spain was getting “tough” with British expatriates who had not applied for residency.
He said he was not aware of any UK citizens arrested for going over the 90-day period, but warned that could happen in the future.
Spain’s immigration bill provides for various penalties for exceeding it, ranging from fines of â¬ 500 to a temporary ban on travel to Spain.