As you may already be aware, the European Union (EU) is expected to
introduce a new border control scheme that will affect all non-EU citizens, including British nationals, who enter an EU country for a short stay. It’s known as the Entry/Exit Scheme (EES) and is due to launch
in October, although this date is subject to change and we will inform you when we have more details around the exact timings and processes for its introduction.

The EES will require all British passport holders to register via an automated system before they cross an EU border, replacing the manual stamping of passports. Biometric data will be taken (fingerprints and facial
images) and travellers will also need to provide their name, passport details and place of entry and exit in the EU. It is very similar to the ESTA system currently in place in the US.

What does this mean for British people, either living in Spain or visiting for holidays?

Impact on Residents

British residents in Spain will be exempt from registering with EES provided they can produce a valid uniform-format biometric card, which in Spain, is the TIE.

Fortunately, most British people living in Spain already have a TIE, having abandoned the formerly issued Green Certificate in recent years. However,
as you know, we believe that many people are still using their Green Certificate. This non-biometric document, though a valid residency document in Spain, was issued prior to EU Exit and therefore, does not feature in the Withdrawal Agreement or in Annex 22
of the Schengen Border Guard Handbook document. As a result, we expect that Green Certificate holders may face delays and difficulties at the border once EES comes into force.

We are therefore asking all British people living in Spain to urgently get the TIE, if they haven’t already done so, and would like your help spreading this message please.

At the same time, we are speaking with the Spanish Government to highlight the urgent need for TIE appointments in the areas of Spain where most British people reside. If you become aware of any issues with appointments
or other barriers affecting your members/contacts, please let your local Consulate know.

Impact on Tourists

As for British people visiting Spain as tourists, they will need to register with the EES upon arrival at the border. As a result, there may be delays to their travel and longer queues in ports and airports. However,
this should subside over time as traveller details will be held on file for three years, meaning repeat / regular visitors will not have to go through the same registration process each time. We are in contact with the Spanish authorities to try and minimise
disruption and the British Government will launch a communication campaign in summer to inform the British public. We have updated our Living in Guide and started sharing social media posts. We would be very grateful for your amplification of these messages.

Thank you in advance for your help with this and I hope that, by working together, we can avoid too much disruption for British people in Spain.

Best wishes,


Hugh Elliott | Embajador Británico en España | Ambaixador Britànic a Andorra | British Ambassador to Spain and Andorra