PORTUGAL is hoping to steal a march on Spain by scrapping post-Brexit security checks for Brits arriving at its airports.
UK visitors to the country will be treated the same as EU nationals and will be able to use fast-track automatic gates.
Portugal’s Foreigners and Border Service (SEF) has opened four new-generation e-gates at Lisbon Airport with similar facilities at Faro, Porto and Funchal airports.
The new regulations mean that UK citizens will not have to go through time-consuming manual passport controls when they arrive at the airport.
Since Brexit, UK arrivals into EU nations have had to be treated as third-country nationals, according to EU legislation. But each member state is free to introduce its own regulations – and Portugal is the first to do so for British citizens.
It has also extended the same fast track system to citizens of Australia, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand.
It is being seen as a way of encouraging British tourism this summer – possibly at the expense of Spain.
Meanwhile, the Olive Press continues to get reports of British travellers entering Spain via Gibraltar being asked for evidence they have €100 a day to spend.
Some have also been asked for evidence of hotel or accommodation bookings.
Ken Broomfield approached the Olive Press to explain: “My wife and I , both UK nationals, are in Gibraltar and occasionally visit Spain. Today my wife had great trouble in entering Spain to do some shopping as she was asked to provide evidence of her journey.
“We asked the immigration official what would happen if we wanted to visit friends in Spain and were told we would need a written invitation.
“This treatment is totally unacceptable and indicates to me that British people are not welcome in Spain. The immigration official exceptionally allowed my wife to enter.”
A spokesperson at the British Embassy in Madrid said that ‘the authorities in Spain set and enforce entry rules’.
They reminded travellers that those entering the Schengen zone at Spanish border control may need to ‘show a return or onward ticket, show you have enough money for your stay, show proof of accommodation for your stay, for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home), or an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family’.
However, such rules are supposed to be suspended at Gibraltar’s border with Spain while negotiations for a post-Brexit agreement regarding the future of the Rock are ongoing.
- Concerns raised after Spain tightens checks on Brit travellers crossing border from Gibraltar
- Disgrace as Spanish border police stop Ukrainian refugee shipment of 1,500 fleeces and demand 25% tax