The end of the Brexit transition period is rapidly drawing near and there are a number of changes for non-resident British citizens visiting Fuerteventura.
Whilst there are a number of things which still need ‘ironing’ out, the main change is of course that British citizens are longer be part of the EU and at the end of the transion period, EU Third Country status will apply. The biggest loss is freedom of movement within the EU and Schengen areas. Because of this it will be much harder (and more expensive!) to buy a property or become a resident here in Fuerteventura. It will also hit hard those who like to spend between 4-6 months of the year here (affectionately known as ‘Swallows’), who will no longer be able to do so (see below), unless some agreement can be made between Spain and the UK.
From 1st January 2021
The first thing that British people must ensure before arriving here, is that they have a minimum of 6 months left on their passports. However, the way they calculate the 6 months is not always straight forward and may be confusing. We therefore suggest that you use this passport checker just to be safe! Don’t forget that for traveling here you should select Spain! This rule does not apply to those who had their residencia prior to 1st January 2021, as they are covered under the Withdrawal Agreement; however, you may need 6 months on your passport if traveling elsewhere within the EU or Schengen area.
When flying into any EU country, British Citizens will be required to go through the lane for Non-EU citizens, or third countries. Our airport at Fuerteventura is only small though and only HAS two lanes, neither of which are currently marked. I doubt that this will change, but just be aware and look for indications.
90 Day Rule
The second change that will affect many of the British, is the length of time you are allowed to stay here. One thing that has been agreed is the the British will not require a visa for entry into the country. But, at the end of the transition period any person who is not a legal resident in Spain will no longer be able to spend more than 90 days in any 180 day rolling period here. It is important to note that your 90 days ‘clock’ starts as soon as you step foot into one of the Schengen countries. So if you are travelling here by car it will start as soon as you enter France. Or if you spend a 2-week holiday in Italy, go back to the UK and then come to Fuerteventura for 2-weeks your clock started on the first day of your holiday in Italy. To help you calculate your allowance you can use this EU Schengen calculator.
Although the 90 days can be taken all at once, it does not have to be, and can be split up. The important thing is how many days in 180 you have been in the Schengen area.
If you are here prior to 31st December 2020, and your holiday continues over into 2021, your ‘clock’ starts from 1st January; you do not need to include any time spent here in 2020. However, of course your passport will not have been stamped on your entry, and it is currently unknown how Spanish Authorities will handle that.
As it currently stands, this rule applies to EVERYBODY who does not have residencia, even if you own a property here and/or have a NIE.
Sadly, some people have said they will simply ignore the rule, as it would be impossible to know how long they’re here for. On arrival at the border of any Schengen country, your passport should be stamped to record your arrival date. Furthermore, a new electronic system, ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System), is currently being created, that will keep track of visitors. This system is due to be implemented in 2022. I would strongly discourage anybody from even considering breaking the law.
So, what about those who have their residencia or TIE and are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement? First of all you should always carry your TIE, or residencia, with you and show it the same time as your passport. When you show your residencia they will not need to stamp your passport when traveling within or to Spain. Whilst the 90-day rule will not apply to you within Spain, it will if you travel to other countries within the Schengen area. So if you travel to, say, Italy, you can only stay there for up to 90 days in 180 days.
The Schengen Area
The 26 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Whilst there are visas available for third country citizens to enable them to stay longer than the 90-180 days, the requirements depend upon a number of things, and at this current time the requirement for British Citizens has not yet been agreed. However, the general information regarding visas for Spain can be read here.
Those who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will still be entitled to a UK issued EHIC when traveling to other EU countries. Holders of S1 are entitled to any necessary medical treatments whilst in England. However, the rules may differ for other parts of the UK. EHIC doesn’t cover everything and therefore insurance is also necessary.
If you are here in 2020 and your stay continues into 2021, your EHIC card will cover you until you return to the UK. Otherwise, for those travelling after 1st January 2021, it is very doubtful that EHIC will be available.