On 1 January 2021, the Brexit transition period of the UK leaving the EU ended. From this date, different rules apply to all UK citizens entering EU countries, including Tenerife.
As non-EU citizens, you will notice differences going through the border on arrival at Tenerife airport. Signs will direct UK passport holders to non-EU entry gates, where a machine will scan your passport and fingerprints and take your photograph. Therefore, the Spanish authorities can track when you enter and leave the island..
New European Travel Security System (ETIAS)
From late 2023, citizens from more than 60 countries not requiring visas to enter the EU Schengen Area, including the UK, will need European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) Authorisation. British citizens fall into this category and must apply for ETIAS Authorization to enter any EU Schengen Area country. As Spain is an EU Schengen Area county, UK citizens entering Tenerife will require ETIAS Authorisation when it is implemented. The new charge will apply to anyone aged 18 to 70, meaning visitors must pay an extra €7.
The ETIAS authorisation is not a visa. Instead, the system monitors authorised entry into the Schengen Area of non-EU travellers. The ETIAS travel authorisation will be mandatory to enter the Schengen States.
Below are essential points for UK passport holders entering Tenerife.
- UK passport holders previously, as EU citizens, had the automatic right to enter Tenerife; this no longer applies.
- UK citizens are only allowed to spend a maximum of 90 days in Tenerife (or any other EU country) in any period of 180 days without a visa.
- Suppose you spend the maximum permitted time on Tenerife of 90 days. You will not then be allowed to return to the island (or any other EU country) for another 90 days.
- Your passport must be less than 10 years old and be valid for more than six months, or you may be refused entry into Tenerife.
- You cannot take meat, milk, or products containing them into Tenerife.
- Hotels are legally required to register tourists' passport details at check-in. Hotel staff will document and photocopy your passport on arrival.
- You must provide a photo ID if requested by a police officer, including the Guardia Civil and national, regional and local police forces. The police have the right to hold you at a police station until your identity is confirmed.
- Ignoring direct requests by or challenging a police officer may be considered 'disobedience', which is a criminal offence.
At the border in Tenerife, you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
On entry and exit to Tenerife, officials will stamp your passport.
Healthcare: You should always have travel insurance with healthcare coverage before going abroad. The UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid if it is in date.
Driving: You do not need an International Driving Permit to drive in Tenerife while on holiday if you have a photocard driving licence issued in the UK.
Mobile Phone Roaming: From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU will end. Check with your phone operator for any roaming charges.
Pet travel From 1 January 2021, you cannot use the existing pet passport scheme. Instead, you will need your pet's animal health certificate (AHC). Allow at least one month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations.
Read about Covid-19 Requirements To Enter Tenerife.
Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe have changed since 1 January 2021:
- You can travel to Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180 days without a visa for purposes such as tourism in a rolling 180-day period.
- If you travel to Spain, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your travel date will count against the 90-day limit.
- If you are travelling visa-free to Spain and other countries in the Schengen area, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit.
- To stay longer, working or studying, or on business travel, you must meet the entry requirements required by Spain, meaning applying for a visa or work permit. You should check with the Spanish Embassy which type of visa is required.
- Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit do not count against the 90-day limit.