Spain is slowly starting to lift its travel restrictions and since Monday, May 24, British citizens have been allowed to visit the country once again for their holidays.
However, when the Brexit transition period came to an end on December 31, the whole process of living in and travelling to Spain got a little bit more complicated for Brits.
Something which has been raising concern online is the suggestion that UK nationals holidaying in Spain must now provide an ‘Invitation Letter’ or what the Spanish refer to as a ‘Carta de Invitación’.
Below we outline what we know about the Carta de Invitación and why it is important for certain travellers to produce one on entry to Spain. We will also provide you with the resources you need to learn more and how to apply.
What is a Carta de Invitación?
The Carta de Invitación is a document that must be obtained by someone living in Spain who is hosting a non-EU national. The host can then send this to their guest who can show the document to border officials. This serves to prove that they have a legitimate place to stay while visiting Spain.
Anyone considered to be a Non-EU national can potentially be asked to present it on entry.
According to the Spanish Foreign Office website, the document can be requested by border force agents and entry into Spain may be denied if the traveller cannot provide it.
It is worth noting that the document does not replace existing travel documentation such as a passport or a health control form which is currently required due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Who does it affect?
This will only affect those from outside of the EU who are visiting Spain for up to 90 days and who may be staying with a friend or relative.
This will now of course apply to British nationals as, since January 1, they are considered to be third-country nationals with the UK and no longer a member of the European Union.
The Carta de Invitación will not need to be presented by those who are legally resident in Spain, second homeowners or those who are staying in holiday accommodation that has been booked via a tour operator.
However, regardless of your personal circumstances, you are advised to make sure you carry proof of accommodation when entering Spain to avoid being denied entry. This can be in the form of a hotel/holiday booking confirmation, rental contract or property deeds if you own a property in Spain.
It is important to note that the requirement is not only for UK citizens, it applies to all those from outside of the EU visiting Spain. The requirement is just new for UK citizens as the country is no longer an EU member.
What other proof will need to be shown?
A return ticket may also be necessary as proof of sufficient financial means which would equate to €95 for every day they are in Spain.
Although it is possible that travellers will not be asked for this document on arrival, the British government has confirmed that it is currently a requirement and may be requested at any time.
Via their Facebook page the British Embassy in Madrid said:-
“At Spanish border control, visitors may need to:
· show a return or onward ticket
· show you have enough money for your stay
· show proof of accommodation for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home), or an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family.
“The Spanish Government has clarified that the “carta de invitation” is one of the options available to prove that you have accommodation if staying with friends or family.”
Who is not affected?
The invitation letter is not required by the following people.
What does it cost?
The current cost to process the form is €74.31. There is also a further fee of €6.48 for the invitation letter and another €1.08 for each additional document related to the process.
You should allow up to one month for the whole process to be completed. It is therefore advisable to start the process at least a month prior to your guests arriving.
You will be informed when the process is complete and will need to make payment prior to collection.
How do I apply?
The application will need to be done by the host and not the guest.
It is important to note that you will need to make the application and obtain a new Carta de Invitación for each stay.
As you will need to apply at least one month in advance of your guests visiting, surprise visits by those from the UK may be a thing of the past.
To apply you will need to provide the following.
The information above will need to be provided for each of your guests.
You can see the official information from the Spanish government on the Carta de Invitación here. http://www.interior.gob.es/es/web/servicios-al-ciudadano/extranjeria/regimen-general/carta-de-invitacion
The official page from the UK government on entry requirements into Spain can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements
The form can be downloaded at the following official addresses.