British Airways and Iberia are facing a storm of critism for not allowing British nationals who are legally resident in Spain from boarding Madrid and Barcelona bound flights, telling the horrified passengers that their residency certificates and TIE cards were invalid following Brexit.
Nine passengers, all British expats living in Spain, were prevented from boarding the Iberia/British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Madrid on Saturday night. Airline staff told the group that their residency papers had become invalid following Brexit, despite assurances from both the UK embassy in Madrid and the Spanish embassy in Londong that the NIE certificates are valid.
Brit residents of Spain distressed as can't fly home from @HeathrowAirport under #covid19 restrictions as @Iberia_en said their green residence certificate not valid post-#Brexit even tho Spain's @inclusiongob and @FCDOGovUK say it is. Need clarity https://t.co/dLWW0pMBFO pic.twitter.com/ZXAwmRHIAV
— Max Duncan (@maximduncan) January 2, 2021
Among the passengers was Max Duncan, a Madrid based British journalist and photographer who took to Twitter to report on the confusion. Despite possessing the green residency certificate ( A4 form) and new TIE card ), airline staff apparently told him that they were not valid documents for entry to Spain.
There appears to have been some confusion as to the present Covid-19 restrictions for entry requirements to Spain and the post Brexit requirements.
Spain recently extended the Covid- 19 restrictions until the 19th January allowing entry to Spanish nationals and legally resident foreigners only.
The British Embassy in Madrid responded to Duncan’s tweets, saying: “This should not be happening” and the Spanish embassy in London also reconfirmed that the A4 green residency document is a valid document for return travel to Spain.