Saturday, January 28

Visa, driving time and Gibraltar problems

Don’t expect to see UK indie bands live in Spain anytime soon

The downsides of Brexit for UK music lovers in Spain became apparent recently when two independent groups, Squid and Black Country, canceled their shows at the end of October in Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian.

According to the groups and organizers of Primera Sound Tours, “bureaucratic problems derived from Brexit” are the reason for the cancellations, although attempts are being made to reschedule.

For months, the music industry has been warning of visa problems that awaited UK bands performing in Europe. On the other hand, EU performers do not need a visa to perform in the UK.

Most EU nations have signed bilateral agreements with the British government to alleviate the consequences of the UK’s departure from the bloc, but unfortunately Spain, along with Croatia and Bulgaria, are the only three countries that do not have an agreement. alternative.

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that “it is true that the United Kingdom does not require a visa, but Spanish legislation does.

“As there is no absolute equivalence between the immigration laws of Spain and those of the United Kingdom, it is not always possible to apply equivalent measures.”

The visas required by the Squid and Black Country band members each cost around € 400, which when the road crew, technicians and other sound personnel are included, makes their gigs financially unviable.

Add to this the slow and complex bureaucracy that accompanies this visa process (Spain has lost several big Hollywood deals as a result) and it all gets pretty unappealing, especially for smaller bands that don’t have the manpower or the resources. means.

On the rock

Negotiations on the Gibraltar situation after Brexit between the European Commission (EC) and the United Kingdom began on Monday, October 11 in Brussels, almost a year after Madrid and London reached a provisional agreement on the Rock.

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It is one of the three scheduled meetings to be held between October and December and to be held alternately in Brussels and London.

Gibraltar was not included in the trade and cooperation pact that the UK and the EU reached at the end of 2020, so it is now necessary to reach a separate agreement.

Spain and the United Kingdom already reached a draft agreement on New Year’s Eve last year, allowing free movement between the British overseas territory and much of the EU.

A pigeon flies over the Rock of Gibraltar near the border crossing between Spain and Gibraltar.
Will the EU and the UK be able to agree on the future of Gibraltar? Photo: Jorge Guerrero / AFP

But this depends on the agreement that the European Commission and the British Government reach on Gibraltar in the coming months.

After the publication of the EC proposal in July, the British government considered it in conflict with the framework agreement reached with Spain on New Year’s Eve.

Gibraltar also expressed its opposition because it understood that the draft mandate left the control of its borders at the port and the airport in the hands of Spain, and not of the European Frontex agents, as reflected in the draft agreement reached as of the December 31st.

The mandate proposed by the European Commission for its part established that the control and surveillance of the external borders would be carried out in the port, the airport and the waters of Gibraltar “by Spain”, without initially mentioning Frontex.

In subsequent documents, it has confirmed that Spain “has expressed its intention to request the help of Frontex” for the control of external borders during the first four years in which the Peñón pact is applied.

The validity of UK driving licenses in Spain ends at the end of October 2021

UK driving licenses will only be valid in Spain for the next few weeks, until October 31. In June 2021, the Spanish government announced that it would extend the validity of UK driving licenses in Spain after Brexit until October 31, 2021 instead of the previous deadline of June 30.

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If you registered your intention to exchange your license with the DGT before December 30, 2020, then you were able to change your license to a Spanish one. However, if you didn’t, you will need to follow the DGT process for non-EU citizens, which includes taking a driving test.

You can read more about this here, but as it stands, there is no official announcement from the UK or Spanish authorities on a bilateral agreement or an extension of the validity period after October 31, 2021.

READ ALSO – Spanish driving license: the essential language to pass your practical test

Support for residency application will end at the end of 2021

The UK government has announced that the additional support provided by the UK Nationals Support Fund to UK citizens completing their residency applications for Spain or attempting to obtain a Foreigner Identity Card (TIE), will end on December 31, 2021.

They say you should contact the UK Nationals Support Fund implementing partners before this date if you need additional support. If you are already being assisted by one of your implementing partners, they will continue to assist you until you have submitted your application. You can find out more about this. here.

Postal service between Spain and the United Kingdom at Christmas

Christmas may still be two and a half months away, but you may need to start thinking about the Christmas packages and gifts you will send and receive this year, as Brexit has changed the process slightly.

All types of packages, whether commercial or private, are now affected by the rule changes that took effect when the UK left the EU.

This means that it costs more to send and receive gifts between Spain and the UK. It also takes longer and certain items are prohibited.

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Gifts sent from the UK to the EU also need an additional customs declaration form attached, which includes a detailed description of what’s inside, meaning the surprise Christmas presents have gone out the window.

The strict EU phytosanitary regulations also mean that all imports of products that come from animals are now not allowed or need a veterinary certificate. This means that it is technically no longer allowed to send a box of milk chocolates by post to Spain.

If you are sending a gift from Spain to the UK, import VAT normally only applies to products worth more than £ 39 or the equivalent in euros. Customs duties must only be paid if the value of the goods exceeds £ 135.

READ ALSO: How Brexit will affect the postal service between Spain and the United Kingdom during Christmas

Spain begins to see the benefits of post-Brexit tax-free purchases

Since the UK left the EU, British tourists have been able to enjoy duty-free shopping in Spain. This is good news for Spain as well, which has now begun to reap the rewards of British tourists who spend more on their shopping trips.

From January to September 2021, British tourists who deducted VAT spent an average of € 1,337 (£ 1,139) on their purchases, more than any other non-EU nationality and well above the 2019 annual average of € 357.

British tourists and visitors to Spain can now claim VAT of up to 21 percent on the products they buy during their travels. This applies to fashion items, cosmetics, jewelry, technology, and some food and beverages, but does not apply to services. This means that you cannot get VAT back on your restaurant bills, car rental, theater tickets, flights or train tickets.

ALSO READ: Spain begins to reap the rewards of a Brexit benefit

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