On 1st January 2021, the Brexit transition period of the UK leaving the EU will have ended. From this date, different rules apply to all UK citizens entering EU countries, including Tenerife.
Due to Brexit, British citizens who have been on Tenerife since 1st January and are not legal residents or do not have a valid visa must leave the island by 31st March. You must leave Tenerife by this date and cannot return for a further 90 days to Tenerife or any country in the EU Schengen area without a visa. Flights are returning to the UK, so there would be no excuse for the Spanish authorities to extend your stay. Failure to do so jeopardises your returning to Tenerife and many parts of the EU.
As non-EU citizens, you will notice on arrival at Tenerife airport differences going through the border. Signs will direct UK passport holders to non-EU entry gates where a machine will scan your passport and fingerprints and will also take your photograph. The Spanish authorities can now track when you enter and leave the island.
New European Travel Security System
From 1st January 2022, citizens from countries not requiring a visa to enter the EU Schengen Zone 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 Zone country. As Spain is an EU Schengen Zone county, UK citizens entering Tenerife will require ETIAS Authorisation from 1st January 2022. The system is to monitor authorised entry into the Schengen Zone of non-EU travellers.
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 on 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 valid for more than six months, and be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left) or you may be refused entry into Tenerife.
- You cannot take meat, milk, or products containing them into Tenerife from 1 January 2021.
- 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 viewed as ‘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 may stamp your passport.
Healthcare: You should always have travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad. The UK issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid from 1st January 2021 if it is in date.
Driving: You do not need an International Driving Permit to drive on Tenerife for periods up to 6 months.
Mobile Phone Roaming: From 1st January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU will end. Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1st January 2021.
Pet travel From 1st January 2021, you can not use the existing pet passport scheme. You will need an animal health certificate (AHC) for your pet instead. 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 will change from 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.
- Therefore, if you are travelling to Spain, previous visits to the Schengen area within the 180 days before your date of travel would 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 for 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 what type of visa is required.
- Periods of stay authorised under a visa or permit will not count against the 90-day limit.
The European Commission has not set out how the 90 days visa-free travel will be implemented for those who are already travelling in the EU or Schengen Area on 31 December 2020.
If you are travelling to Spain before 31 December 2020 and staying until 1 January 2021 or later, you should check with the Spanish Embassy for information on how the 90-day visa-free limit will apply. If your stay includes travel to other Schengen area countries, this also applies.