Until now, UK citizens have been able to enter Spain using just a valid passport, travellers should, therefore, familiarise themselves with the new ETIAS procedure.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System will be implemented towards the end of 2022 and become mandatory shortly after.
The new programme is being introduced to boost security across the Schengen Area by pre-screening visitors from outside the European Union before they cross the border. ETIAS will make Spain even safer for tourists from 2022.
Travelling to Spain from the United Kingdom with ETIAS
The United Kingdom will be one of several non-EU nations whose citizens will need an ETIAS for Spain.
Once the visa waiver becomes mandatory, British travellers will only be able to cross the border if they have an approved ETIAS Spain for UK citizens linked to their passport.
To be eligible, UK nationals must meet all the ETIAS requirements for Spain, details of which can be found below. The application is 100% online and can be completed in minutes.
UK passport holders with an approved ETIAS permit are welcome to stay in Spain for up to 90 days in a 180 day period. ETIAS is valid for 3 years or until the associated passport expires, whichever happens first.
Another advantage is that the same authorisation can be used for all 26 ETIAS countries. As there are no internal borders within the Schengen travel zone, tourists can move freely from one nation to another without applying for separate ETIAS visa waivers.
ETIAS is valid for tourism and business trips to Spain, as well as for transiting through a Spanish airport.
ETIAS Application for UK Citizens
UK citizens travelling to Spain will soon need to register online for ETIAS. British tourists should complete the ETIAS application form with a few personal details and passport information, including:
- Full name as it appears on the UK passport
- Date of birth
- Passport number, expiry date, and issue date
There are also some questions regarding the purpose and duration of the stay in Spain.
To finalize the request, the ETIAS fees are paid using a debit or credit card and the application is submitted for review.
At this point, the traveller’s information is automatically cross-checked against the Schengen security systems including international databases such as Interpol, EURODAC, and ECRIS.
It is expected that the vast majority of applications will be approved at this point, the ETIAS is linked electronically to the passport and, from this point, travel from the UK to Spain is possible.
On the rare occasion that there is a hit in the ETIAS system, the information will be reviewed manually before a decision on whether to allow the individual to enter Spain is made.
Only individuals considered a risk to the public in Spain will receive an ETIAS rejection.
Passport and Documents Needed
A valid biometric passport is needed to meet the ETIAS Spain requirements for UK citizens. The UK government has been issuing biometric passports since 2010 which means that most people are eligible.
The passport must be valid for the entire duration of the stay in Spain, or any of the other ETIAS countries to be visited on the trip.
In the majority of cases, no additional supporting documents are necessary. Just a credit or debit card is needed to pay the fees and an email address to which notifications will be sent.
Should the British passport expire whilst the ETIAS remains valid, a new travel authorisation must be obtained using the renewed passport before going to Spain. ETIAS is linked to the electronic chip and cannot be transferred from one passport to another.
For the same reason, UK nationals applying for ETIAS Spain with dual citizenship are reminded to use the same passport to request the permit and enter Spain.
UK Embassy and Consulates in Spain
As the ETIAS process is fully online, UK citizens should not need to attend a British diplomatic mission. Nevertheless, it is useful to know the location of the nearest UK embassy or consulate in Spain.
The British Embassy is located in Madrid, the Spanish capital. There are British consulates in Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Travellers from the UK who require assistance or wish to obtain a visa for Spain, residency permit, or other document can contact a British high commission for assistance.
Spanish Embassy and Consulates in the United Kingdom
The Spanish Embassy is in London and there are also consulates in Edinburgh in Scotland and Manchester in the North of England.
There is no need to attend a consulate or embassy when applying for ETIAS, the entire process can be completed from home 24 hours a day.