After the start of the Brexit process in 2016 and now that the transitional period has ended, as of 1 January 2021, the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union is based on the “Trade and Cooperation Agreement". To develop the provisions contained in this Agreement at a national level, the Government of Spain approved a Royal Decree-law on 29 December 2020, with the aim of adequately protecting the interests of citizens and economic operators. With regard to this latest Royal Decree-law, an Agreement was approved on 23 June 2021 by which the measures related to healthcare, driving licences and the recognition, declaration of equivalence and validation of degrees and studies, have been extended for a period of four months (until 31 October 2021).
How is tourism affected by the end of the transition period?
The following information is intended to answer the main questions that may arise on the topic.
It is necessary to have a visa to travel to Spain from the United Kingdom?
No. As of 1 January 2021, UK nationals remain exempt from the requirement to be in possession of visas when crossing the European Union's external borders for short-term stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period). This visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the Union and is subject to the reciprocity mechanism applying to third countries.
Will there be any border controls?
As of 1 January 2021, UK nationals travelling to the European Union and the Schengen area are treated as third-country nationals, and therefore subject to thorough checks at the Schengen area border. This means that intended stays in the territory of EU Member States cannot have a duration of more than 90 days in any 180-day period, and UK nationals will have to meet the entry conditions for third-country nationals.
What about if I travel with pets?
If you travel with pets you can continue to do so, but you will need the British health authorities to issue the corresponding animal health certificate and they will be required to enter the country at one of the airports or ports authorised to this effect. For more information, visit the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food website.
Will my British driving licence be recognised in Spain?
In Spain, driving licences issued by the UK authorities that are valid and up to date will enable their holders to drive in our country until 31 October 2021. After this period, the arrangements for licences issued in other non-member countries shall apply, in accordance with the rules in force concerning traffic, unless Spain and the United Kingdom reach a bilateral agreement recognising the exchange of their driving licences.
Will I have access to the Spanish healthcare system?
Yes, the social security coordination protocol of the Trade and Cooperation agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, for one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, for the other, envisaged the health cover of British tourists during their stay in Spain. British citizens should contact the British institution to find out which document supporting their rights they are going to be issued with.