Since leaving the EU, British travelers can now stay in the Schengen area for 90 days out of 180. Photo / 123rf
A British woman has been refused entry to Spain due to an unusual passport error.
Linda was planning to travel from Gibraltar to Spain to visit her son, but was arrested by border officials when they could not find a Spanish exit stamp in her passport during a visit in June.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, UK travelers are now required to have their passports stamped when entering or leaving a Schengen country and can only stay 90 days out of 180.
According to local Spanish media, Linda said passport officials did not stamp her documents on her last departure and was subsequently considered an “over-stay person”.
“I was refused entry to Spain on September 26 because my passport had not been stamped on the exit during a previous week-long visit to Spain which started on June 4,” Linda said. at The Local.
“The guards first stamped my passport to enter, then they noticed that I did not have an exit stamp from this week-long visit in June, thus classifying me as an overrun and then marked the input buffer with letter F and two lines.
“Even though I have proof of my return to the UK via banking activity as well as the Covid test and traceability app, border guards would not accept or view any evidence or let me speak to anyone could help me.
“My son, who speaks Spanish, tried to explain that I had other evidence of my return to the UK, but the guards did not agree or even consider watching it.
The British traveler said authorities had insisted that since she had no postage she was past 90 days and would be arrested.
After contacting her MP and the consulate, Linda still had not found a solution and feared that she would not be able to travel to Spain until the issue was resolved.
“The Spanish Consulate in the UK will only accept my original boarding passes as proof of exit, and since the flights were booked online I obviously didn’t have them,” she said.
“They won’t accept screenshots or copies of any other evidence I have. I contacted my MP but was simply sent back to the consulate, circling around.
“It’s frustrating because I feel like I’m being held responsible for something over which I had no jurisdiction, in other words the guard not stamping my passport.
“Since I still do not have an exit stamp, I am afraid that I will be refused entry again on further visits.”
Spain’s Home Office was “aware of the current legislation relating to UK nationals, residents and non-residents”, but was unable to provide The Local with a comment on Linda’s situation.
Human error in stamping will soon be a thing of the past as the EU begins to implement a new system called ESS (Entry / Exit System). This will replace passport stamping with a digital scan that verifies a person’s biometric information, name, date and place of entry and exit.