MADRID – The Spanish authorities have returned dozens of Britons who had flown by plane to the coastal city of Alicante. Brits living in Alicante and throughout Spain need a special residence document. This is the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE), due to Brexit. At the airport, according to expat newspaper Olive Press, there was a sign with the inscription “No Tie. No access.”
According to the Daily Mail, Spanish border officials refused entry to dozens of Britons and sent them back to Manchester on the same plane despite them having post-Brexit residency.
Forty passengers were left angry and confused after they were turned away from Alicante on Monday and sent home, with their luggage stuck in Spain until Friday.
Immigration officials in Alicante had written to the Britons asking them to collect their new residency permits or TIE Cards. The passengers left the UK despite the current ban on foreign travel because people who are resident abroad are not subject to the £5,000 fine for leaving Britain. The UK government says paperwork proving a successful residency application should be enough to enter Spain.
However, according to the British, it is a catch 22 situation. They must enter the country to get a TIE, but to enter the country, they first need a TIE.
The fact that the return flight to England was subsequently delayed made the British even more angry. Travellers were also told that their luggage would not be sent until days later. The British Embassy in Spain said it was aware of the problems.
Spain has restricted international travel due to the corona crisis. Therefore, the British had to prove that they live in the country.
When making plans to travel from the UK to Spain, a UK national must ensure they meet both the requirements to leave the UK and those to enter Spain, bearing in mind that they are not the same.
From March 31, entry to Spain will only be granted to passengers who can prove that their journey is essential or that they are legal residents.
The embassy spokesman added: ‘Ultimately, the decision on whether to grant entry into Spain is made by Spanish border officials.’