What is a ‘Carta de Invitacion’ and How Could It Impact Your Family and Friends Visiting This Summer?

The UK’s decision to leave the EU has impacted many aspects of being a Briton living in Spain, and one of the things that is different about living in Spain after Brexit is how your friends and family can (officially) visit you in your private residence.

Travel between the UK and Spain is now back on the cards; from the 24th May, Spain has opened up its borders to Britons without quarantine, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or tested for coronavirus. However as the borders has opened, talk in the ex pat community has turned to la carta de invitación and whether or not their visitors will need one to come and stay with them this summer. Here’s everything we know so far:

What is la carta de invitación?

la carta de invitación is not a new thing: it is a document that non-EU nationals (which the UK is, since Brexit) have always had to show if they are entering Spain to stay in a private residence. This document does not apply if you are staying in a hotel or registered accomodation, and it does not apply if you are visiting Spain from another EU country. Third country nationals have been using la carta de invitación to enter Spain for years.

Effectively, la carta de invitación proves that you have a legitimate place to stay in Spain, and that you have been invited to stay by the residents of that address. According to the Spanish foreign office, whilst it is not a legal requirement to have la carta de invitación, “police controls can deny entry” for those on private or tourist trips if they can’t produce “proof of lodgings or an invitation letter from an individual, if you’re staying at their address”.

When Would I Need A la carta de invitación?

If you’re visiting Spain for less than 90 days (using the visa waiver programme) and are staying with friends and family, then this change applies to you. It does not apply if you’re visiting Spain for a holiday and staying in a hotel or rented accommodation. It also doesn’t apply to second homeowners. If you are a second home owner though, you should carry proof of your address with you when you enter Spain, so that you don’t fall foul of this new policy, and can prove you have somewhere to stay in Spain.

What Else Do I Have to Demonstrate?

As a non-EU national, as well as being able to demonstrate that you have somewhere to stay, either via a hotel booking or property deeds, or with a la carta de invitación if you’re staying with friends and family in the country, you may also be asked to demonstrate that you have sufficient means to support yourself during your time in Spain. This is currently 95 euros for every day that you are in Spain. You should also be able to demonstrate that you have either a return ticket or proof of an onwards journey out of Spain within 90 days of your arrival.

Is a la carta de invitación Really Necessary?

According to a Facebook post shared by the UK Embassy,  “At Spanish border control, visitors may need to:

· show a return or onward ticket
· show you have enough money for your stay
· show proof of accommodation 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”.

That doesn’t mean that la carta de invitación will always be required: that information simply hasn’t been shared yet, and we do know that Spain is doing everything it can to boost and promote tourism between the country and the UK. But from a strictly legal point of view at this point, it seems that applying for a la carta de invitación for each visit to a private residence in Spain is the safest way to proceed.

How do I apply for a carta de invitación?

If you are visiting family and friends in Spain then it is actually your hosts that apply for la carta de invitación: the application must come from someone that lives in Spain.

This application must be completed at the local police station well in advance, making spontaneous visits a thing of the past.

To apply for la carta de invitación you will need to complete the following information for each guest:

ID – Passport, TIE or similar

Your address

Your willingness to invite your guest into your home

Your property deeds or rental lease for where your guest will be staying

Your relationship with the guest

Name, place and date of birth, nationality and passport number of your guest

To specify the dates of your guest’s stay

How Much Does Getting la carta de invitación Cost?

To process the form it will cost you €74 per guest. You will then pay a further €6.48 for the actual invitation letter, plus €1.08 for each extra document related to the application process. The whole process can take up to one month, and each la carta de invitación is only valid for one visit.

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