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 clarified 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 because it is officially issued: more information is available from the Ministerio de Interior HERE.

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” thing, 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 depend somewhat on how the UK responds to EU requests for its own nationals to be treated respectfully if arriving in the UK without the requisite documentation, but British nationals should be in no doubt that if Spain does decide that the carta system should be applied to them, they will need to be legally resident in Spain in order to acquire one.

This would have huge implications for those 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 were most often assured were “technically illegal but the Governmment doesn’t do anything about it”, or that they knew were illegal but intended to get around by inviting “friends and family”. This will no longer be possible because those “friends and family” would need a letter of invitation provided by the owner before their departure, but which the owner, resident in the UK, would simply be unable to acquire. 

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Spain. If you are resident in Spain, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel.