With national lockdowns and border closures on the increase, international travel is again becoming more complicated. While seafarers are generally exempt from restrictions designed to curtail tourism, carrying a travel letter from a licensed ‘consignatario’, setting out your reason for travel, can be helpful when boarding flights and crossing borders. For more information or to request your travel letter, please get in touch. Equally, when stamping off your boat and re-entering the Schengen zone, we can assist with the documentation required by Spain’s immigration police. firstname.lastname@example.org
Any non-European crew requiring a visa in order to fly in and join a yacht will know that Spain has not been the optimal Schengen zone country to arrive in first. Spanish authorities have in the past offered only Transit Visas with two-day validity to travel through the zone. However, this changed earlier this year… While there was no fanfare at the time, the introduction of a new Schengen Visa Code in February meant that Spain joined other Schengen members in issuing 90-day, multi-entry Schengen visas! No longer must you plan to arrive first in France, Germany or elsewhere for your 90-day ‘golden’ visa, to enjoy the freedom to move freely around Europe or leave and re-enter in your time off. Another change the new code brought in is that you can now apply SIX MONTHS in advance of your intended arrival, compared with three months previously. This means that you can start planning your 2021 season already and get your visa in place. (The latest you can apply for it is 15 calendar days before your trip) For assistance with your 90-day Schengen visa application and to obtain the required invitation letter, please contact us at email@example.com
Spanish police issue new guidance for issuance of transit visas Spanish immigration police have issued new guidelines for the issuance of Schengen transit visas to seafarers departing the zone or travelling to join another vessel within the territory. Stipulations requiring a negative PCR test result prior to being admitted at destination country has been leaving crew in visa limbo in recent weeks. Having presented at Spanish airports for departure with transit visa in hand but without the requisite PCR test, crew can be denied boarding of their flight. The result is that crew are being left stranded in Spain illegally, unable to return to their boat and unable to travel onwards. To prevent this from happening, immigration officials have instructed authorised port agents to verify each crew member’s itinerary and the need, or not, for a PCR test at hand, PRIOR to applying for a transit visa. If you intend to fly home, or to any destination that requires a PCR test, you will be unable to obtain a transit visa from Spanish authorities without producing a test result that meets the requirements of your destination country. Compliance must be verified by an authorised consignatory port agent.
We are receiving many queries from non-EU crew with expired visas, or with limited time remaining. The initial guidance in March from local immigration police was that days remaining would “no longer be counted”, suggesting that visitor visas would be frozen in time. Immigration officials now clarify that this is not the case, but that those leaving Spain on an expired visa will not be penalised. Visa expiry dates remain valid, in other words. In order to leave a boat and travel out of Spain on an expired visa, you will require a transit visa, as normal. If you have any specific queries about your or your crew’s visa status, please get in touch and we will consult the authorities on a case-by-case basis.