23 Jun, 2024 @ 13:34
3 mins read

British tourists report being refused entry into Spain for failing to show this document at the border – including a couple visiting their OWN home

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BRITISH tourists have taken to social media to warn fellow travellers of ramped up checks at the Spanish border.

Specifically, two different travelling parties warned on Facebook that they were refused entry for failing to show a so-called ‘letter of invitation’.

The document is designed for holidaymakers who are staying at a property belonging to family or friends during their stay in Spain.

The letter must be arranged by the host by going to their local police station, filling out some forms and paying a fee of between €70 and €80.

Once the document is obtained and stamped, the visiting guests can carry a copy with them to be able to show at the border.

While it is extremely rare for border guards to ask for the letter of invitation, it has happened to at least two families over the past month.

A British homeowner in Spain claimed his friends were refused entry at the Gib border for failing to show a ‘letter of invitation’ (Stock image of Gibraltar border)

Writing in an expat Facebook group this month, Spanish property owner Peter Griffiths said: “Just a warning everyone. We came into Spain via Gibraltar yesterday and they were checking documents for proof of ownership, and return flight.

“Our friends with us were refused entry initially as they didn’t have the official letter of invitation. But we got them in by booking a stay on Airbnb in one of our little casitas.”

He added: “Really painful process that we’d not experienced in almost 20 years of using this entry route… other people were refused entry too.

“Not sure if this is a Gibraltar border thing or more widespread, but be prepared if you’re coming to Spain soon!”

Meanwhile, in Mallorca, one British couple claimed they were refused entry for failing to show the letter of invitation to their own property.

The woman in the couple wrote in a Facebook post that she and her partner were enjoying a cruise that terminated in Barcelona.

However as they had a property in Mallorca, they requested to disembark early to ‘enjoy a couple of weeks at our home.’

She continued: “We submitted our passports as requested three days prior to arriving in Palma. The day we were due to leave the ship we were told we could not disembark, we were told we needed a letter of invitation, a booked return flight and proof of funds.

“We explained we would stay in our home… not accepted, we explained we did not have a return date as planned… we were still refused, we had to go all the way to Barcelona, got our passports stamped for the very first time since leaving home and got a very expensive flight back to Palma where we passed through the airport without even producing our passports.

“In a nutshell we were refused entry to Mallorca.”

It comes after travel expert Simon Calder this week warned Brits they could face holiday headaches at the Spanish border this summer.

Travel expert Simon Calder

Writing in the Independent, Calder pointed out that stringent post-Brexit rules mean that Brits may be asked to provide complex paperwork at the Spanish border.

The list of onerous documentation border staff might ask for includes proof of a return or onward ticket as well as travel insurance .

They may also demand you prove you have enough money for your stay in the country, which for Spain means a minimum of €1,020.60 (£862) for a nine day stay – or €113.40 per day.

A family of four holidaying for two weeks in Spain may need to show proof of €6,343 (£5,364).

Cash, traveller’s cheques, or credit cards with accompanying bank statements are accepted as proof, but online bank statements are a no-go.

If you are staying at your own property you must bring proof of ownership and if in a hotel a booking confirmation.

But the most loathed demand is that if you will be staying with a third party – eg. friends or family – the border police may require a Letter of Invitation.

The dreaded Carta de Invitación costs around £70 and takes weeks to obtain and requires the host to navigate a bureaucratic maze.

They must download a Spanish-only form, complete it, and submit it to the local police station. Additionally, they need to prove their relationship with the guest and ownership of the property, along with providing specific dates of the stay.

Interviews with the host by authorities are also a possibility.

However it is worth noting that Spanish border police have not been enforcing the rules for the overwhelming number of British tourists who arrive at airports.

Laurence Dollimore

Laurence has a BA and MA in International Relations and a Gold Standard diploma in Multi-Media journalism from News Associates in London. He has almost a decade of experience and previously worked as a senior reporter for the Mail Online in London.

GOT A STORY? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 Twitter: @olivepress

1 Comment

  1. We recently had our granddaughter visiting us in Spain for 2 weeks. We tried everything to get the carta de invitación, to no avail. The local police had never heard of it, they sent us to another police who said we had to go to the police at the Provincia. We contacted them, and they had no idea either. Very frustrating.

    We took our chanced, had all the rest of the info ready just in case, and no one asked for anything. I do realize this can change, depending on who is working and what airport you are flying into. In this case it was Barcelona airport.

    Location : Alcossebre, Castellon

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