politics

Brit expats who live in Spain refused boarding on flights home in Brexit mix-up


A group of British expats were stopped from boarding flights home to Spain amid post-Brexit confusion.

The travellers were barred from boarding their flight to Madrid at Heathrow Airport.

The left “distressed” after being told by airlines that they did not have the correct proof of residency.

The UK Government says officials are “working closely” with Spanish authorities to resolve issues over post-Brexit residency documentation following the saga.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said Spanish authorities had confirmed that both green residence certificates and the new documentation (TIE), along with valid passports, would be sufficient to travel back to Spain.

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UK authorities are in talks with Spanish counterparts about Brits’ proof of residency

But that didn’t stop confusion at the border in the days following the UK’s exit from the EU.

In an interview posted on Twitter by journalist Max Duncan, passengers on an Iberia airline flight said that they were “absolutely gutted” to be stopped at the airport, after being told that they would be allowed to travel.

“Brit residents of Spain distressed as can’t fly home from @HeathrowAirport under £covid19 restrictions as @Iberia-en said their green residence certificate is not valid post-Brexit even though.

“Spain’s @inclusiongob and @FCDOGovUK say it is. Need clarity,” he wrote.

Responding to the post, the British embassy in Madrid said: “This should not be happening.

“The Spanish authorities have reconfirmed again this evening that the green residency document will be valid for travel to return to Spain as stated in our travel advice.”

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The Spanish embassy in London also acknowledged there had been “problems for British nationals resident in Spain”, but also reiterated that both forms of documentation could be used.

Iberia airlines said they had “consulted with the department in charge” and were awaiting further information.

An FCDO spokesperson said: “We have worked closely with the Spanish government to resolve these issues.

“The Spanish Embassy in London has re-confirmed today that both the green residence certificate and the new residence TIE card are equally valid in terms of proving residence in Spain, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.”

The mix-up comes just days after Boris Johnson’s Government secured a controversial withdrawal agreement with the EU.

It followed weeks of tension as Brits braced for the possibility of crashing out with no trade deal.





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