At last some good news for British tourists: Spain FINALLY gives green light for UK travellers to use fast-track eGates raising hopes of an end to hours-long passport control queues
British travellers headed to Spain have finally received some positive news after the Spanish Tourist Board announced several airports will fast track UK passports.
Any Brits flying to the Balearics, Barcelona, Madrid or other parts of Spain, will now be able to use the automated border control eGates.
The change comes in an effort to ease huge queues building up in terminals such as in Palma, due to a lack of airport staff.
Spain is the most popular travel destination for holidaymakers from the UK, but this summer thousands of tourists have encountered enormous delays or had their flights cancelled at the last minute.
Airlines have been advising customers to arrive three hours ahead of time rather than the usual two to navigate hours-long security queues.
Until now, UK travellers have had to stand in the non-EU line to have their passports stamped at the understaffed border control.
UK travellers will now be able to go through eGates at passport control at several Spanish airports, as the country tries to speed up long waits at its border (Pictured: Queue at Malaga-Costa del Sol Airport)
The automated border control eGate system works based on facial recognition. UK travellers holders may still need to get their passport stamped afterwards
The new rule change will mean holidaymakers will be able to join other EU passports holders and simply scan their passports through the automated checks.
Although it has been indicated that UK passports will have to be stamped at a separate desk once through.
Spain’s tourist board, Turespaña, in the UK tweeted: ‘British citizens can now use the Automated Border Control eGates for Schengen passport holders at selected Spanish Airports: Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Girona, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madrid, Málaga, Mallorca, Minorca, Valencia, Fuerteventura, Sevilla, Tenerife Sur.’
The latest advice on travelling to Spain from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) states: ‘Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Spain as a visitor.
‘Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
‘You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.’
Passport control has also been an issue for some flyers on their way back to the UK.
In recent months travellers have taken to social media to complain about the ‘absolutely ludicrous’ lack of staff on passport control at British airports.
Some have tweeted about the passport machines not working in Stanstead and being forced to queue for two hours.
A holidaymaker said: ‘One border officer at the desk for hundreds of families. #Heathrow should be ashamed & embarrassed.’