Spain’s Secretary of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Industry, Fernando Valdés, wants to scrap the rule that bars British tourists, as well as tourists from other countries, from staying in Spain for just 90 days in a period of 180 days, in an attempt to further boost the tourism sector in this country.
In an interview for iNews, Secretary Valdés said Spain would like to end the rule that allows non-EU travelers from visa-free countries to stay in the Schengen area for just 90 days in a six-month period. , in order to allow travellers, including UK holidaymakers, to remain in Spain indefinitely, when visiting for tourist purposes.
Yet, for such a thing to happen, the decision would have to be taken at the level of Brussels, because Spain alone cannot change anything in this regard, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“Unfortunately, this is not something that Spain has established on its own or can shake off. It is true that after Brexit there were some issues with people wanting to stay longer,” Secretary Valdés told iNews.
According to the news site, the existing rule is disadvantageous for Spain, whose tourism industry accounts for 12% of its GDP. As a result, the authorities of this country are already putting pressure on Brussels to change the rule.
“It is in our interest to lobby and convince [the EU] we can try to work an exception with them. But the solution must come from them“, also added Secretary Valdés.
Since the UK officially left the EU on December 31, 2020, British nationals are subject to entry rules that apply to all third country citizens. Which means that, among other things, UK citizens must follow the rules listed below when traveling to any of the Schengen countries:
- They must hold a passport issued within the last ten years, including at least one free page for border stamps.
- They can stay in the Schengen territory for a total of 90 days out of 180 days. Those who stay longer may face consequences for an extended stay.
- UK travelers may also have to wait longer at EU borders and they are going through different procedures than they were used to until the end of 2020.
- They cannot work in the EU without a work visa, even for short periods.
Post-Brexit rules for traveling to the EU have affected millions of British tourists, especially those with second homes in one of the EU countries, many of them in Spain. These British citizens, before Brexit, spent much of the year in Spain, from early spring until autumn, which they can no longer do.
According to a previous report by SchegnenVisaInfo.com, the number of UK citizens who own a home somewhere in Spain is between 800,000 and 1 million.