Healthplan Spain


Passengers queuing at an airport waiting to check in. Which Line Should British Passport Holders Queue In At Spain’s Airports? Expat Tips

With Brexit came confusion.

This was then compounded by the Coronavirus pandemic which brought its own set of restrictions, adding further stress for travellers.

It’s safe to say that over the last couple of years, travel for British passport holders has become especially difficult.

In recent weeks, the problems for travellers have continued with hundreds of thousands of Brits stuck in long queues at airports with many missing their flights and having their holidays cancelled.

So why have there been so many queues?

There have been a number of reasons for this including cancellations from Easyjet and British Airways which are two of the UK’s biggest airlines.

Then there is the recent surge in demand for holidays due to the lifting of the Covid restrictions which had been in place since early 2020.

It is also believed that the lack of airport personnel has also played a part with many aviation professionals having recently left the industry.

With Ryanair cabin crew announcing that they will be holding six days of strikes causing further travel chaos, many will be naturally wondering whether they can avoid the long queues and fast-track themselves onto the plane.

So which lanes should you be using post-Brexit? EU or non-EU.

Which queue should I use at the airport?

Many people are unsure whether the queue they line up in is determined by where they live or the passport that they hold.

If you are a UK resident and just visiting Spain, you should use the non-EU lane.

If you are a British resident living in Spain, you may think that you can simply queue in the EU line, but this would be wrong. Your status as a resident in Spain makes no difference.

If you are a British passport holder, you are a British citizen and not an EU citizen. You should therefore be queuing in the non-EU line.

What about my TIE card - Surely the rules are different for me?

Unfortunately not. The TIE or old-style A4 residency certificates merely demonstrate that you have legal residency in Spain and can stay for more than 90 days at a time unlike those who are not residents.

Residency documents also do not provide you with citizenship. This is an entirely different process and one you can read more about via our Citizenship Spain page.

So the simple takeaway is, that if you hold a British passport, you should queue in the non-EU line.

Passport Stamps

There have been lots of stories recently in the news of British nationals not being permitted entry into Spain due to issues with passport stamps.


If you are not resident in Spain and just visiting, you must have your passport stamped by border guards.

If the relevant exit stamps are not placed on your passport, you will have issues trying to enter Spain again as the authorities will believe that you have not complied with the 90-day visa-free rule.

Holidaymakers visiting Spain and the Schengen area can only stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.

If you can provide proof to the border guards of where you entered and exited with relevant documents such as tickets and boarding passes, they should be fine with updating your passport and adding a stamp. If not, you may have issues entering the country.

When entering Spain, you may also have to show the following documents:-

  • A return on onward ticket
  • Show you have enough money for your stay
  • Proof of accommodation or a Carta de Invitacion if you are staying with a friend or relative.
  • Proof of address if you are visiting your own holiday accommodation.
  • British nationals resident in Spain

The passport stamping rules are different for British nationals resident in Spain.

If you are legally resident in Spain, you should NOT have your passport stamped.

Instead, you should provide proof that you are a resident and show a relevant document such as your TIE card or residency certificate.