British nationals holding Gibraltar civil registration blue cards have their passports stamped when crossing the border after a “change of position” by Spanish authorities following the introduction of new UK immigration controls for citizens of the United Kingdom. ‘EU, the Gibraltar government said on Wednesday.
The government and the GSD said they had received complaints after holders of civil registration blue cards had their passports stamped by Spanish authorities at the border in recent days.
Blue cards are held by UK nationals and EU citizens who resided in Gibraltar as of December 31, 2020. Until recently, they allowed holders to cross without their passport being stamped.
But the UK’s decision to require EU nationals to carry a passport when entering the UK appears to have triggered the change in position of the Spanish authorities.
“This change [in the UK] was followed by the systematic stamping of the blue card holding British nationals seeking to enter the EU via Gibraltar, âthe government of Gibraltar said.
“The position is that once Gibraltar has left the European Union, normally all third country passports would be susceptible to being stamped upon entering and leaving Schengen.”
“While a new treaty is being negotiated, the transitional measures unilaterally extended by Spain meant that the passports of holders of a Gibraltar red identity card or Gibraltar civil registration blue card did not were not stamped. ”
“However, on October 1, the UK introduced new rules under which EU nationals can no longer enter the UK with their ID only and instead need a passport.”
“This change was followed by the systematic stamping of blue card holders of British nationals seeking to enter the EU via Gibraltar.”
British nationals living in Gibraltar with a Blue Card will need to ensure their passports are stamped on the way to Spain and on their return to Gibraltar, otherwise the accumulated days will count towards their right to 90 days in 180 days without a visa.
“This unfortunately means that any entry and exit in Spain will count for at least one day of those 90,” the government said.
“The government has raised the issue with the UK and Spain and understands different options are being explored.”
âWe will continue to work to provide solutions where possible. ”
EU nationals residing in Gibraltar with a Blue Card are advised to ensure that they take their EU passports when crossing the border to avoid any stamps. EU citizens retain the right to cross Schengen borders with minimal controls.
Meanwhile, those with magenta civil registration cards – issued to UK nationals who became residents of Gibraltar after the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020 – will also have their passports stamped by the Spanish authorities upon check-in. entering and leaving the Schengen zone.
The GSD yesterday called on the government to take measures to prevent British nationals residing in Gibraltar from being “discriminated against” when having their passports stamped because of the color of the civil registration card.
The opposition said that when it last raised the issue in June this year, the government assured that the practice would be abandoned by Spain after its representations.
“However, it is clear from several reports to the opposition that this is happening again and appears to be a widespread practice,” the GSD said.
âThe GSD once again calls on the government to ensure that all Gibraltar residents can enjoy normal mobility as promised while awaiting negotiations on a future treaty. ”
âHolders of an identity card or civil registration of any color whatsoever reside in Gibraltar. ”
âSurely if it comes to monitoring travel to Spain by British residents, the Spanish authorities should stamp the passports of people without Gibraltar identity cards or civil registration cards of any color. ”
For his part, Opposition Leader Keith Azopardi said: “People had been led to believe that border bridging measures would be in place until the end of treaty negotiations with the EU and in awaiting agreement on a future relationship. ”
“But some British residents of Gibraltar face discrimination when it is clear that they reside here.”
“There is no good reason for this and the government had assured them that it would not happen again while awaiting negotiations.”
“What is the government doing about this and to protect the rights of British residents of Gibraltar?” ”
âWe have been asking them to ensure their protection for months.