Brit expats who live in Spain refused boarding on flights home in Brexit mix-up

A group of British expats were prevented from fleeing to Spain after Brexit.

The travelers were banned from flying to Madrid at Heathrow Airport.

The left “desperate” after learning from the airlines that they did not have proper proof of residence.

The UK government says officials are “working closely” with Spanish authorities to resolve post-Brexit post-saga documentation issues.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the Spanish authorities had confirmed that both green residence certificates and new documentation (TIE) along with valid passports would be sufficient to return to Spain.

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But that didn’t stop the confusion at the border in the days after Britain left the EU.

In an interview posted by journalist Max Duncan on Twitter, passengers on an Iberia airline flight said they were “utterly disappointed” at being stopped at the airport after being told they could travel.

“UK residents of Spain are desperate because they cannot fly home from @HeathrowAirport under £ covid19 restrictions as @ Iberia-en said their post-Brexit green residency certificate is not valid, though.

“Spain’s @inclusiongob and @FCDOGovUK say it does. Need clarity,” he wrote.

The British Embassy in Madrid replied to the post: “This should not be done.

“The Spanish authorities confirmed again tonight that the green residence document will be valid for returning to Spain, as stated in our travel advice.”

The Spanish Embassy in London also acknowledged that there had been “problems for UK nationals residing in Spain” but reiterated that either type of documentation could be used.

Iberia airlines said they had “consulted the relevant department” and were waiting for more information.

An FCDO spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the Spanish government to resolve these issues.

“The Spanish Embassy in London today confirmed once again that both the Green Residence Certificate and the new TIE card are equally valid for residents of Spain to prove residency in Spain as stipulated in the Withdrawal Agreement.”

The mix-up comes just days after the Boris Johnson administration signed a controversial withdrawal agreement with the EU.

Weeks of tension ensued as the British prepared for the possibility of collapsing without a trade deal.


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