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Are pre-purchased onward flights out of Spain - are they mandatory?

2020 Camino Guides

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgo (2019), SJPdP (2023?).
I have an Australian passport and a British one and in the past I would arrive in Spain using by British passport. However, with Brexit in the wings I believe by British passport will be of little or no use in getting into Spain.

So I will have to depend upon my Aussie one.

Given I have no idea when I will finish I would like to know if I have to buy a ticket out from Spain before I arrive?

Any help would be very much appreciated.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@Lance Chambers if, when and until the UK leaves the EC no one knows what the impact on British passport holders travelling into or out of the Schengen zone will be. Such arrangements have not yet been discussed in any detail let alone agreed.

Travelling on your Australian passport the Schengen rules apply subject to any waiver arrangements agreed between Australia and the Schengen member(s).
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
However, with Brexit in the wings I believe by British passport will be of little or no use in getting into Spain.
It seems that things might not change that much for UK passport holders. Even in the event of a "No Deal", the EU has agreed that UK citizens can visit visa-free for 90 days in any 6-month period (although there might be a few additional requirements, for example, passports will need to be valid longer - info here).

According to the EU Commission, post Brexit, from 2021 onwards, UK citizens will (hopefully) be able to apply for a "visa waiver", which involves an online application and a small fee (currently €7). More info here. [Edit: but as Kathar1na (below) notes, this will only apply in the event of a reciprocal agreement with the UK - and whether this will happen, is anyone's guess!]
 
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Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
Lance you do not need to have a flight booked to leave Spain to enter the country. All the authorities are interested in is if you are able to support yourself during your intended stay and are not likely to overstay. The authorities will understand that walking the Camino is a flexible thing and will not be too bothered about return flights. In any case if you start at SJPDP you will not encounter any customs officials when you enter Spain.:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
G'Day Lance, I am not and do not profess to be an expert on Spanish/EU immigration laws. But from what I experienced on arrival in 2013/15/17 I am in agreement with Kathar1na and Lindsay53. If you get asked about a departure date or the ability to support yourself just tell the truth.
As for which passport - well it will depend upon what goes with BREXIT and then possibly which passport as the later expiry date. Under Schengen you get 90 days in any 180 days. So just be prepared to depart the Schengen area within 90 days (if you are there continuously). Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
In probably 20 trips over the past few years from America to Europe, I've only been asked once or twice to see my return ticket.

I guess if you want to be entirely safe, just buy a ticket that is fully refundable. You never know whether some border guard might be overzealous. Just make sure you cancel it before the date of travel. It may seem like a lot of money but you'll get it all back.

Another alternative would be to book the ticket with miles (most airlines allow a complete refund of the miles up to the date of travel - some may charge a small processing fee in addition).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Here is a cut and paste from a post I previously wrote:

As for one way tickets:
Countries fine airlines that send over visitors that the governments will not allow in and the airlines also have to send them back at their own cost. So the airlines use their International Air Transport Association to keep track of the entry requirements. IATA publishes the information as a book called Travel Information Manual (TIM) and they also have it computerized as Travel Information Manual Automatic (TIMATIC.)
TIMATIC can be accessed via the web url https://www.iatatravelcentre.com but the following site provides a somewhat easier interface (but likely not as good for general use): https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/vendors/default.aspx?i=TIMATIC
See also:
The English language version of the EU's Schengen Borders Code can be found at:
REGULATION (EU) 2016/399 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code)

Article 6 is the section for "Entry conditions for third-country nationals" and it does not require a return ticket to enter the Schengen Area. Paragraph 1(c) does state though:
they justify the purpose and conditions of the intended stay, and they have sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to their country of origin or transit to a third country into which they are certain to be admitted, or are in a position to acquire such means lawfully;
IATA checks whether you are allowed to fly and has access to a database to determine that. That is because Annex V, Part A, Paragraph 2 of the Schengen Borders Code mentions that a carrier has to transport someone that is refused entry into the zone.
2. If a third-country national who has been refused entry is brought to the border by a carrier, the authority responsible locally shall: (a) order the carrier to take charge of the third-country national and transport him or her without delay to the third country from which he or she was brought, to the third country which issued the document authorising him or her to cross the border, or to any other third country where he or she is guaranteed admittance, or to find means of onward transportation in accordance with Article 26 of the Schengen Convention and Council Directive 2001/51/EC (1);

For other versions and languages for the Schengen Borders Code see:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014); Madrid, Salvador (2018)
I have an Australian passport and a British one and in the past I would arrive in Spain using by British passport. However, with Brexit in the wings I believe by British passport will be of little or no use in getting into Spain.

So I will have to depend upon my Aussie one.

Given I have no idea when I will finish I would like to know if I have to buy a ticket out from Spain before I arrive?

Any help would be very much appreciated.

Those of us travelling into the Schengen zone (includes Spain) from outside may want to have a look at the new ETIAS requirements that will go into effect by 2021. Here is the link for Australians. You can find a drop down menu that shows which countries are affected by this.

 

jimmyc

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
I am an Australian and I have walked four Caminos. From SJPP and Portugal there was no passport control. Twice I flew into Madrid and my passport was stamped without a question.
Unless you want to extend your stay for more than three months i cannot see you having any problem.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
I have travelled to a very many countries and only once have I bought a return ticket -AT THE BEHEST OF A TRAVEL AGENT. Travel agents and airlines love you to think you have to have a return ticket, or at leaast a ticket to a country you are allowed to travel to. It boosts their profits.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I guess no one will be surprised to read a note from me
So I went and dutifully sulked for a bit because my carefully researched links perished, too, during this clean up operation and, after all, our talk was just politico light entertainment on the level of the "not so serious" thread ☺. On a more serious level, I really appreciated it that I got a note/alert which is rarely the case in such circumstances ... thank you, moderator @peregrina2000.

I understand that people with long term planning have to decide about whether to buy a return ticket or a single ticket for travelling to Europe. Fair enough. Other than that, don't sweat it yet about all these potential minor changes and just wait and see. You'll be informed soon enough and early enough, I have no doubts about it. People who travel for leisure purposes will be the least affected by any future changes. You are middle-class middle-aged tourists (well, maybe not all of you but many) and you and your dollars and pounds and euros will continue to be very welcome :).
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
This is an official EU government site: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/entry-exit/non-eu-nationals/index_en.htm . I think it is reasonably up to date. Quote:

Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements contact the local consular services of the EU country in question.

So, despite the Schengen Border Code and whatnot, there are no uniform rules. It may depend on your country of entry. Based on what I read from people who enjoy the benefits of the visa waiver program, such as people from the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand (but not South Africa), you are in general not asked to show that you have a return ticket when you enter the Schengen area in France or Spain for the first time during your trip. I guess one could sum up the situation as follows: They could ask you but they won't. And as most of you will know, once you are in the Schengen area there are no passport controls at the national borders between the Schengen countries, for example between France and Spain, or between Portugal and Spain. Once you are in, you are in.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Let me add to my above post that you could bring your UK passport with you and then the Spanish authorities will see you are assured entry into the UK and since transportation there is cheap why wouldn't they let you in?
I must admit that it took me a while to see the logic there 😅. But you are right, of course. Why make it complicated when it's so easy? @Lance Chambers, just travel as you apparently did before: on your UK passport and without a return ticket.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Me again. I noticed this banner (see below) for the first time today. They apparently feel that there's a need to inform those who are not aware of the significance of the europa.eu domain. Just bear in mind that a number of official looking websites (such as the ETIAS ones) are not official EU websites. It doesn't mean that they are fake or full of misleading info, just that they are not official EU websites. Official EU websites end with europa.eu .

Official EU website.png
 

Lindsay53

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
Electronic processing is being rolled out to an increasing number of countries. It will soon be the normal way of processing with human intervention only if there is a problem, real or perceived, although there are some nations who will not be allowed to use the system in the forseeable future.
 

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