Britons reacted furiously to the news that new rules would require them to show proof of spending money and return tickets upon entry into Spain. However, a travel expert has said, in reality, the change will mean little for holidaymakers.
The rules would see Spain able to check that travellers had at least €100 (£85) spending money per day as well as extra cash set aside. They would also see Spanish authorities able to check Brits’ accommodations and return tickets.
However, the rules are not exactly new, although they are new for British Citizens. As a result of Brexit, Britain has become a third country and now these existing rules will apply to British citizens.
Writing for The Telegraph, travel expert Nick Trend said: “This is not some kind of Spanish revenge for Brexit.
“Now we are no longer in the EU, we have simply reverted to the same immigration rules for visitors from non-EU countries.”
He added that the rules are not even a Spanish specific requirement, any national from outside of the EU or Schengen area could be subject to these checks.
Britain actually has similar requirements for those visiting the country. The Government website says that tourists must “sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to [their] visit”.
The US, under its 90 day visa waiver scheme valid for some countries including the UK, requires travellers to show an onward ticket before they are allowed entry.
How often countries actually enforce the rules is another matter. Mr Trend said that the rules are unlikely to affect most travellers.
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Its unlikely the new rule change will be enforced regularly, apart from maybe the occasional spot check.
Spain gets the majority of its tourism from the UK, and with most world economies feeling the squeeze of inflation or even recession, it’s unlikely Spain would want to harm the steady stream of income it receives from British tourists – especially over the summer.
Mr Trend said: “I’ve crossed the EU border lots of times since then and never has a single question been raised.
“All of which demonstrates that a chasm often exists between the small print in the rulebook and what is actually applied in practice.”