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Spain’s Carta de Invitacion: Simon Calder warns that without these documents you could be turned away

Brexit and beyond

After the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, negotiators in Brussels acquiesced to our insistence that we should be “third-country nationals”. Brexit means British travellers face much higher hurdles for any trip to the EU and wider Schengen Area.

On arrival at a Schengen frontier, each British passport must be examined and stamped. Officials need to ensure the traveller has not spent too much time in the EU recently (a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days).

They must also be satisfied that the traveller has sufficient financial resources and will return to the UK (or continue to a non-EU country) after a short visit.

Each European Union nation can choose its own subsistence criteria for admitting British travellers – and also impose requirements on accommodation. Spain requires anyone staying with friends or family to obtain a Carta de Invitación (Letter of Invitation). The process can take weeks, and the official document costs over £70. But without it you may be turned away at the border.

What are the Spanish rules?

Spain is the most popular holiday destination for UK travellers. The authorities demand evidence of a booking for hotel or other commercial accommodation. The Foreign Office says: “At Spanish border control, you may need to show:

  • a return or onward ticket
  • proof of your travel insurance
  • you have enough money for your stay – the amount varies depending on your accommodation
  • a hotel booking confirmation or proof of address if you’re staying at your own property
  • an invitation or proof of address if staying with a third party, friends or family, such as a ‘carta de invitación’ completed by your hosts.”

How does my host get a Carta de Invitación?

They should first download the form (in Spanish only) and complete it.. They can then apply at the local police station in Spain for a carta de invitación.

Besides full details of the invitee and the exact relación o vínculo (“relationship or bond”) the property owner has with the guest, they must produce the title deeds to the property and specify the dates when the guest will be staying. In addition, “the applicant may be summoned to hold a personal interview in order to verify his or her identity”.

Once the letter is ready, several weeks later, the host can collect it on payment of a fee of around £70.

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