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Britons must check their passport has been stamped when they leave Spain, according to new advice from the UK Government. If their passport is not stamped they could be denied entry on a future visit.
The Foreign Office advice said: “Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Spain as a visitor.
“Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day-visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area.
“If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
“You can show evidence of when and where you exited or entered the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.”
Since the Brexit transition period ended, British tourists are only allowed to stay in the Schengen area for 90 out of 180 days.
The Schengen area includes the majority of EU countries such as Spain, France, Portugal and Greece.
Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Ireland are in the EU but are not within the Schengen area.
British tourists will need to check that their passport has been stamped when they leave the Schengen area or they could be refused entry on another visit.
The British Embassy in Spain also posted a stamp warning on their official Facebook page, ‘Brits in Spain’.
It posted: “We’ve been contacted by a number of you recently who, when visiting Spain, have received a passport stamp on entering, but not when you left.
“Understandably, this is causing concern, particularly for those of you who are second homeowners and are worried that it might appear that you have overstayed the 90-day visa-free limit.
“We continue to raise the issue of incorrect passport stamping with the Spanish authorities, but in the meantime here is the guidance on what to do if you did not receive a stamp when you should have.
“When you next enter Spain, you should show evidence of when and where you previously entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location to your passport.
“Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets. If you wish you can also contact the Spanish Interior Ministry to confirm what evidence will be considered acceptable and/or to complain about your lack of passport stamp.”
In one recent case, a British woman claimed that her passport had not been stamped when she left Spain.
She said she was then refused entry when she tried to return after leaving the country as guards suspected she had overstayed.
The Spanish Interior Ministry told the Express at the time that all border guards were aware of stamping procedures.
British tourists will also need to be careful to get their passport stamped when they leave any of the other Schengen zone countries.
Penalties for overstaying the 90 day limit in a Schengen zone country vary,ranging from deportation to fines.
Tourists could even be banned from entering the Schengen zone for three years or more in serious cases.
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