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UK tourists visiting Spain

You might not realize it, but since Brexit if you hold a British Passport and you are visiting Spain you are now a tourist. So what? Well actually it is a big difference - you are actually entering Spain on a tourist visa*, you might not physically hold one but the fact remains you are now subject to the tourist visa requirements.

* It is even a bit more complicated - the visa is part of a visa waiver scheme, but to all intent and purposes you must meet the visa requirements.

Spain's tourist visa

To comply with the visa requirements you MUST hold the following - note these things might be checked or asked for at passport control when you enter Spain.

  • A valid return ticket to your place of origin.
  • A valid accommodation contract - eg a hotel reservation, or a valid holiday contract if you are staying in private rental accommodation.
  • If you are visiting friends or family (they must be Spanish residents) you must have in your possession an official invitation document issued by the police.
  • Evidence of health insurance*.
  • Evidence that you have sufficient funds for your stay.
  • You must also ensure that your passport is valid on the date you intend to depart from Spain - check the UK Government website for latest details.


ETIAS - European Travel Information and Authorisation Scheme

The ETIAS is not a visa, it is a visa waiver program and should be fully in place across the whole of the EU by November 2023. This of course includes Spain. British Passport holders will need to apply for this before they travel into the EU.

The ETIAS is applied for on-line and the process will not take long. It is designed to improve security and also improve entry into the Schengen area. It will control the 90 day rule for example.

For Spain, ETIAS waivers will be valid for a period of up to three years. You will need to meet the requirments of the scheme and pay for the application process using a cedit or debit card. The ETIAS will be sent by email and you will need to carry this with you when you enter Spain.

The points that refer to the tourist visa still apply.

You can find our the latest regarding the ETIAS scheme by clicking here

We agree that this is a rather confusing situation. To reamin confident that your travel plans are not disrupted make sure you are able to satisfy all the points in the tourist visa section in case you are asked, and look out for updates regarding the new ETIAS. This is bound to appear widely in various news channels in early 2023.

UK Drivers

If you are planning to drive in Spain we strongly recommend that you be in posession of an International Driving Permit. Your UK license is valid to drive in EU states, but it is fair to say there is a lot of local confusion.  If you are stopped you could be liable for a fine up to €1,000 and while you may be able to get this back, the process is complicated.  International Driving Permits are available on-line, via the AA and RAC, and also from major Post Offices in the UK.

If you hire a car locally your UK license should be accepted. The majority of issues seem to apply to people who drive into Spain using their UK registered vehicle. Remember that vehicle can only be in Spain/the EU for a maximum of 90 days and must display the new UK sticker.

Holiday contract - for visa purposes

If you have booked a stay in a property managed by BonaSOL you will have received a valid holiday confirmation and also a valid holiday contract. You should carry this with you along with your travel documents in case you are asked to present it at passport control.

Health insurance

*If you are a UK national and you have an accident whilst in Spain - for example you get knocked down by a vehicle whilst crossing the road. You will be taken to hospital by ambulance, and you will be treated. However, you will also receive a bill for all your treatment. We strongly advise all UK nationals to apply for the free GHIC health insurance card, available from UK Government - this provides essential cover. We also recommend comprehensive holiday insurance in addition to this basic cover.

You can apply for your free GHIC card by clicking here.