Spain confirms that it may – or may not – demand the invitation letter from Brits to prove their accommodation really is with friends or family

The FCDO has advised that those entering Spain need to use non-EU/EEA/Swiss lanes in airports because we are now third-country nationals (third-country is just the name the EU gives to non-EU nations, nothing to do with “third world”). In addition, the FCDO says, passports may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay
  • show proof of accommodation for your stay, for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home), or an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family.

The Spanish Government has stated that the “carta de invitación” is one of the options available to prove that you have accommodation if staying with friends or family. This letter costs money and takes time to arrange because it is officially issued: more information is available from the Ministerio de Interior HERE, but key points are that this “letter of invitation” system is routinely used in the EU for non-EU nationals so this is not a Spanish thing, nor a “punishment for Brexit”, and as the FCDO has now said, it may be used for British nationals now that the UK is a third-country. Its use or otherwise may be connected to the treatment of EU/Spanish nationals in the UK but whatever the reasoning, if it is applied to British nationals they will have to be legally resident in Spain in order to acquire a letter to give their guests since, by definition, they will be claiming to live here with accommodation that someone is coming to stay in.

This could have significant implications for some British nationals who bought a property with one of the 100% mortgages that Spanish banks were throwing at people a few years ago. Often they wholly intended to finance those mortgages with holiday lets that they used regularly to be assured were “technically illegal but the Governmment doesn’t do anything about it”, or “technically illegal but can be got around by inviting friends and family. This would no longer be possible because all guests, whether close family or complete stranger, would need to be carrying a specific and dedicated letter of invitation that a non-resident owner would be unable to acquire. 

There are separate requirements for guests who are already resident in Spain. If you are resident in Spain, you should carry proof of legal residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. Until this post is updated, the uncertainty over whether Spain will actually demand an invitation letter for visitors coming from the UK is unresolved.