Can Spain change Schengen rules?

The very busy World Travel Market Credit: WTM

Héctor Gómez, Spanish caretaker Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism has just attended one of Europe’s premier travel shows, World Travel Market in London.

Having made it clear in a statement that “tourism adds almost three million workers and creates one in four new jobs in the economy” it has become apparent that the British market is still of major importance despite Brexit.

There is a large body of opinion which believes that action needs to be taken to redress the problems caused by the 90/180 restrictions on visiting Schengen countries by non-EU passport holders and already the French Senate is considering a bill which would grant long stay visas to British (and other) second home owners without the usual problems of red tape delays.

It is reported that Minister Gómez took the opportunity whilst in London to visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (formerly known as the FCO) to discuss the very problem of restrictions on visits by UK residents to Spain in an effort to try to find a solution.

At the moment, the UK allows Spanish citizens to spend up to six months per visit and this is what campaigners such as the 180 Days in Spain group believes should be the norm for British visitors to Spain or other parts of the European Union.

Spain still holds the Presidency of the EU until the end of this year and even with a caretaker government still has more chance of gaining traction for a change in the rules whilst in this position, especially as it won’t see the Presidency return for around 13 years.

Although all members of the EU are supposed to be united, there is little doubt that each member wants to generate as much money as possible for its own economy and in the Spanish case, it will at some stage need to repay the not inconsiderable Pandemic loans.

The argument up to now has been made that Schengen rules can’t be changed for just one or two countries, but with the French precedent already set, this may be the right time for Spain to make its own bid for special treatment.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page


    • John Baxter-Smith

      12 November 2023 • 13:20

      Obviously the best option would be a return of FOM but that is in the hands of UK government to eat humble pie.

      • Tony

        16 November 2023 • 09:51

        You misunderstand.FOM is up to the EU Britain already allow 180 days unlike the EU that allow half ie 90 days..

    • Mark

      13 November 2023 • 10:52

      Cash is THE holy grail. Simultaneously, the “save the planet” press are increasingly questioning the impact of tourism as a contributor to CO2 gasses, pointing fingers at tourism air travel!

    • Dave

      13 November 2023 • 13:19

      Clearly the income from the UK is not sufficient with the applied restrictions. Andalusia will spin numbers being greater than blah blah but it’s money that counts and if “visitors’ aren’t here they ain’t spending here.

    • Phill

      13 November 2023 • 18:49

      90 days but I pay 365 days got to change

      • Bryan colling

        14 November 2023 • 09:02

        I agree and suggest it may be illegal to be charged for services you are not legally allowed to use

      • Tony

        16 November 2023 • 09:52

        90 days in 180 so in a year it’s 180 days.

        • Trudi Lubiewski

          20 November 2023 • 21:32

          Sabes two Long journeys and expense if you have to drive as we do with dogs

    • Alan Whitehouse

      14 November 2023 • 08:46

      Got change the 90 day rule to 180 days as it is in the UK

    • Mark Brindley

      14 November 2023 • 13:04

      The 90/180 rule is so unfair! We are being treated like second rate citizens, all the other EU citizens (except for the UK ) can travel freely and are not subject too a time limit and prison if over staying !!

      • Rafael

        18 November 2023 • 17:39

        I’m afraid that you forgot that you are no longer EU citizens as you voted for leaving the Union.

    • PeterMac

      14 November 2023 • 13:05

      Arrive by dinghy and none of the rules apply to you

    • Keith Lott

      14 November 2023 • 13:24

      Unfortunately many people in the UK wanted to exit the EU..They were fed misleading information about many aspects of this..I agree with the idea to change to 180 days but at the same time it smacks of that ‘ special treatment ‘ that the UK seemed to be constantly pushing for when they were members of the EU.. 180 days,yes, after that don’t try for anything more is my view..the UK left and it has to get over many things that will change over time..

      • Tony

        16 November 2023 • 09:46

        If you read the article correctly it is the EU countries that want the change because they need the extra income that the Brits generate. not the British.

    • Margaret Atkins

      14 November 2023 • 15:32

      Second home owners have invested in the country and even while they are not in their second home using resources, they continue to pay – council tax, imputed tax (on imputed income should you rent your home even if you dont), standing charges on utilities which are not being consumed, service charges on any urbanisation or resort the second home might happen to be located on. lt is outrageous to lump second home owners in with tourists and l hope the Spanush government/EU sees sense soon!!

    • Jan Kowalski

      14 November 2023 • 18:43

      Stays over 90 days are outside the purview of the Schengen Agreement. It is up to each Schengen member state to decide whom to allow to stay for over 90 days on the basis of their national law. Nothing in the Schengen Agreement forbids France and Spain to allow British citizens to stay longer than 90 days. Spain could, for example, create a simplified procedure for British citizens to get a Spanish national visa which would allow them to stay for over 90 days in Spain.

    • Liam

      14 November 2023 • 18:44

      This is an ok idea for the retired …People who work don’t come anywhere near the 90 day rule …Who has 90 days holiday anyway ??

    • Pauline

      14 November 2023 • 21:43

      If you are a UK citizen you are not EU citizen. This rule applies to all non EU citizen. Im Australian citizen and the 90/180 applies to all citizens that are not EU members. This is what you wanted that why you did Brexit. If you overstay you are an illegal immigrant and if you overstay you should get fined and if you overstay in australia you also get banned for 5 years and fined. I think youvwill find that all countries in the world have simillar rules. And you get locked up in detention until you are removed and are charged for your return flight

    • Kevin burns

      15 November 2023 • 07:43

      90 day rule is killing Brit tourism, people now going other destinations as getting complicated here in Spain, I’ve been here 35 years in business , I couldn’t believe Brexit the damage it’s done and doing, the vote was a disgrace as Brits were totally misinformed and now paying the price of freedom, a majority vote would have been more realistic for such an important decision. I would love to see a re vote out of interest all the tourists I’ve asked would definitely vote different. Spanish economic dependence is hugely affected by tourism, someone get their act together.

    • Tony

      16 November 2023 • 09:57

      Brexit is over 6years old. ex Pat Brits need to move on.. Most of the rest of the world is not in the EU and not dictated to by Brussels. The sooner you move on from Brexit the happier you will be. !!

    • Maurice Lovell

      22 November 2023 • 09:50

      I don’t necessarily want to spend the entire 180 days in our Spanish home. I am just fed up with having to spend 90 days in the UK after a visit. It would be nice to come and go when it suits me.

    • Geoff Yull

      24 November 2023 • 17:10

      When it comes to the implementation of rules, tariffs and restrictions etc. from the EU, why is it our politicians can’t understand or want to understand the meaning of the word reciprocal.

    Comments are closed.