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Returning to Spain from the UK.

Posted: Sat Jan 8, 2022 5:57pm
10 replies366 views10 members subscribed
johnm

Posts: 26

4 helpful points

Location: Mojacar

Joined: 24 May 2018

Spanish residents can now drive through France to return to Spain following the rethink by the French Government.

Has anyone yet done this ?

We have to return soon but I am confused by the wording of the French statement that says that anyone entering Francwe fom the UK must isolte for 48 hours and take a Covid test. There is no mention that those driving through Spain are exempt.

Interpreting this literally we have to find somewhere to isolate for 48 hours before trvelling home through France.

Is this really the case ?

psy1967

Posted: Sun Jan 9, 2022 8:05pm

psy1967

Helpful member

Posts: 198

212 helpful points

Location: Velez-Rubio

Joined: 29 Jun 2016

Posted: Sun Jan 9, 2022 8:05pm

johnm wrote on Sat Jan 8, 2022 5:57pm:

Spanish residents can now drive through France to return to Spain following the rethink by the French Government.

Has anyone yet done this ?

We have to return soon but I am confused by the wording of the French statement that says that anyone entering Francwe fom the UK must isolte for 48 hours and take a Covid test. There is no mention that those driving through Spain are exempt.

Interpreting this literally we have to find somewhere to isolate for 48 hours before trvelling home through France.

Is this really the case ?

We drove through on the 29th Dec, took the 6.20am Eurotunnel then drove straight through and out the other side to spend the night in Irun.  We put our Spanish details on the forms, no suggestion that we were going to stay in France.  No problem.

We did (do) however have a problem that the french border control (in Folkestone) insisted on stamping our passports despite us brandishing TIEs.  It makes sense in that TIE only gives you residency in Spain, but as the border between France and Spain is virtual there is no means of getting an exit stamp from France, so my passport now says I am in France and running up time on the 90 day Schengen clock.  Not everyone seems to have this experience, I think it depends on the attitude of the border officer.  Ours could not have been more disparaging.

Shay123

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:32pm

Shay123

Helpful member

Posts: 85

57 helpful points

Location: Palomares

Joined: 4 Jul 2021

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:32pm

Hello,

Sorry to hear about the problems, more things not thought through by anyone re: Brexit and re: Covid restrictions.

If it were me I would make a nuisance of myself at the Fr/Es border? Although you are resident in Spain and it gives you "EU Citizen Rights" in theory, therefore your 90 day clock should not be running, in practice the "rights" here are not being recognised. In addition English are now seen as an easy target with less rights, it seems that anyone perceived to be English have no rights sometimes.

I would do what you can to prove you arrived in Spain, visit a doctor or a solicitor or something else official, to show you arrived in Spain as I assume that France could make your life difficult on your next visit. Anti-Brexit feeling and Macron's petulant public comments about "pissing people off" means that whatever officials want to do to make your life difficult would not be important. The odd thing is if you had flown via Paris and transferred flights, none of this would have happened?  Lots of nationalities, from Poles, Dutch, Swiss and Italians drive through France to reach Spain yet nobody seems to be worried about them.

As I posted elsewhere, if you receive any further adverse events, or perhaps in any case, write to the Embassy in Madrid and list your concern - mark it as 'for your information' and not for them to action?. Without them totting up numbers and being aware of the real situation perhaps the situation may get worse.

My hope is that the recent comments within 3 days of each other by the heads of the UK France and Spain that Covid is now endemic and we have to learn to live with it will mean that some of the more weird restrictions like not driving through France will disappear. Macron is up for election this year and maybe he needs to concentrate on that too? :)

Good luck! :)

ian clarke

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:16pm

Posts: 17

4 helpful points

Location: Roquetas de Mar

Joined: 22 Dec 2019

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:16pm

psy1967 wrote on Sun Jan 9, 2022 8:05pm:

We drove through on the 29th Dec, took the 6.20am Eurotunnel then drove straight through and out the other side to spend the night in Irun.  We put our Spanish details on the forms, no suggestion that we were going to stay in France.  No problem.

We did (do) however have a problem that the french border control (in Folkestone) insisted on stamping our passports despite us brandishing TIEs.  It makes sense in that TIE only gives you residency in Spain, but as the border between France and Spain is virtual there is no means of getting ...

...an exit stamp from France, so my passport now says I am in France and running up time on the 90 day Schengen clock.  Not everyone seems to have this experience, I think it depends on the attitude of the border officer.  Ours could not have been more disparaging.

Hi , we are hoping to come over in Dec this year,and have been advised to stay in Irun, did you get across France in one hit, and did you have any issues going oner the mountains at that time of year?

Thanks,

Ian

psy1967

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:59pm

psy1967

Helpful member

Posts: 198

212 helpful points

Location: Velez-Rubio

Joined: 29 Jun 2016

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:59pm

ian clarke wrote on Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:16pm:

Hi , we are hoping to come over in Dec this year,and have been advised to stay in Irun, did you get across France in one hit, and did you have any issues going oner the mountains at that time of year?

Thanks,

Ian

I think it depends how happy you are with a long drive.  I have done it several times now and I find that catching the 6.20am Eurotunnel from Folkestone, which gets you into Calais at 8.00am with the hour gained, means that I can drive straight through France and get into Irun about 8pm.  I put the cruise control on at less than the French motorway speed limit, and stop fairly regularly albeit never for very long.  The main hassle is going around Bordeaux which is always very busy.  The 6.20am train is a bit early - you have to arrive there by about 5.30am and I usually start from South London which adds an extra 1 - 1 1/2 hours at the start, but last time I stayed overnight in the Premier Inn at Folkestone, which made the whole thing feel a lot easier.  

The motorway from Irun to Pamplona does climb over the mountains but I have always had a very clear run (including in the winter) with only one exception, when it was snowing heavily and the carriageway was getting slushy as fast as the snowploughs were clearing it.  However they were clearing it, and it didn't require anything more than driving sensibly, slowing down, and sticking to the lane that had been cleared rather than overtaking on a lane with a covering of snow.  The mountain stretch is quite short, and more often the main problem is the glare from the morning sun.

I used to be a Brittany Ferries stalwart, but I feel that they have made a few changes that make life difficult.  From Almeria to UK now needs 2 overnights, and although UK to Almeria can be done with 1, you don't arrive home before midnight.  Whereas if I drive I only need 1 overnight, arrive early evening whichever direction you go in, and feel as though I am much more in control.

psy1967

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:14pm

psy1967

Helpful member

Posts: 198

212 helpful points

Location: Velez-Rubio

Joined: 29 Jun 2016

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:14pm

Shay123 wrote on Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:32pm:

Hello,

Sorry to hear about the problems, more things not thought through by anyone re: Brexit and re: Covid restrictions.

If it were me I would make a nuisance of myself at the Fr/Es border? Although you are resident in Spain and it gives you "EU Citizen Rights" in theory, therefore your 90 day clock should not be running, in practice the "rights" here are not being recognised. In addition English are now seen as an easy target with less rights, it seems that anyone perceived to be English have no rights sometimes.

I would do what you can to prove you arrived in Spain, visit a doctor or a solicitor or something else official, to show you arrived in Spain as I assume that France could make your life difficult on your next visit. Anti-Brexit feeling and Macron's petulant public comments about "pissing people off" means that whatever officials want to do to make your life difficult would not be important. The odd thing is if you had flown via Paris and transferred flights, none of this would have happened?  Lots of nationalities, from Poles, Dutch, Swiss and Italians drive through France to reach Spain yet nobody seems to be worried about them.

As I posted elsewhere, if you receive any further adverse events, or perhaps in any case, write to the Embassy in Madrid and list your concern - mark it as 'for your information' and not for them to action?. Without them totting up numbers and being aware of the real situation perhaps the situation may get worse.

My hope is that the recent comments within 3 days of each other by the heads of the UK France and Spain that Covid is now endemic and we have to learn to live with it will mean that some of the more weird restrictions like not driving through France will disappear. Macron is up for election this year and maybe he needs to concentrate on that too? :)

Good luck! :)

To update on this, I contacted the British Embassy in Madrid for advice / assistance.  They said they were aware of the issue, that there wasn't much they could do but that as long as you have TIE it shouldn't be a problem, and directed me to this resource:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/enforcement_of_individual_rights_under_the_withdrawal_agreement_en.pdf

I followed that link, submitted a complaint to Solvit (although I didn't particularly want to complain, just find out information) and received an excellent reply from an ec.europa.eu email address.  It essentially confirmed the same, though written in the form of a legal opinion, saying that 

  • Yes, UK passports should be stamped on entry to Schengen, except in the country you have residency; 
  • No you won't receive an exit stamp by travelling from France to Spain; 
  • Yes we understand the problem and the EU are apparently considering solutions; 
  • As a TIE holder you shouldn't have 90/180 issues, but keep hold of any evidence (motorway toll receipts, hotels, filling stations etc) that confirm that you returned to your TIE country. 

ian clarke

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:50pm

Posts: 17

4 helpful points

Location: Roquetas de Mar

Joined: 22 Dec 2019

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:50pm

psy1967 wrote on Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:59pm:

I think it depends how happy you are with a long drive.  I have done it several times now and I find that catching the 6.20am Eurotunnel from Folkestone, which gets you into Calais at 8.00am with the hour gained, means that I can drive straight through France and get into Irun about 8pm.&nbs...

...p; I put the cruise control on at less than the French motorway speed limit, and stop fairly regularly albeit never for very long.  The main hassle is going around Bordeaux which is always very busy.  The 6.20am train is a bit early - you have to arrive there by about 5.30am and I usually start from South London which adds an extra 1 - 1 1/2 hours at the start, but last time I stayed overnight in the Premier Inn at Folkestone, which made the whole thing feel a lot easier.  

The motorway from Irun to Pamplona does climb over the mountains but I have always had a very clear run (including in the winter) with only one exception, when it was snowing heavily and the carriageway was getting slushy as fast as the snowploughs were clearing it.  However they were clearing it, and it didn't require anything more than driving sensibly, slowing down, and sticking to the lane that had been cleared rather than overtaking on a lane with a covering of snow.  The mountain stretch is quite short, and more often the main problem is the glare from the morning sun.

I used to be a Brittany Ferries stalwart, but I feel that they have made a few changes that make life difficult.  From Almeria to UK now needs 2 overnights, and although UK to Almeria can be done with 1, you don't arrive home before midnight.  Whereas if I drive I only need 1 overnight, arrive early evening whichever direction you go in, and feel as though I am much more in control.

Brilliant, thanks very much, as we are travelling from Manchester we would probably factor in an overnight in France.

Shy Tot

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:00pm

Posts: 44

28 helpful points

Location: Pulpí

Joined: 20 Oct 2019

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:00pm

psy1967 wrote on Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:59pm:

I think it depends how happy you are with a long drive.  I have done it several times now and I find that catching the 6.20am Eurotunnel from Folkestone, which gets you into Calais at 8.00am with the hour gained, means that I can drive straight through France and get into Irun about 8pm.&nbs...

...p; I put the cruise control on at less than the French motorway speed limit, and stop fairly regularly albeit never for very long.  The main hassle is going around Bordeaux which is always very busy.  The 6.20am train is a bit early - you have to arrive there by about 5.30am and I usually start from South London which adds an extra 1 - 1 1/2 hours at the start, but last time I stayed overnight in the Premier Inn at Folkestone, which made the whole thing feel a lot easier.  

The motorway from Irun to Pamplona does climb over the mountains but I have always had a very clear run (including in the winter) with only one exception, when it was snowing heavily and the carriageway was getting slushy as fast as the snowploughs were clearing it.  However they were clearing it, and it didn't require anything more than driving sensibly, slowing down, and sticking to the lane that had been cleared rather than overtaking on a lane with a covering of snow.  The mountain stretch is quite short, and more often the main problem is the glare from the morning sun.

I used to be a Brittany Ferries stalwart, but I feel that they have made a few changes that make life difficult.  From Almeria to UK now needs 2 overnights, and although UK to Almeria can be done with 1, you don't arrive home before midnight.  Whereas if I drive I only need 1 overnight, arrive early evening whichever direction you go in, and feel as though I am much more in control.

Hi, we did the drive through France on 16th Jan ....... as above,  stayed at the Premier Inn in Folkestone (£39 .... very clean, good food in pub next door) .... 06.18 shuttle, no one even looked at our documents,  just asked if we had everything  (maybe the end of his shift !!), no searches by Customs. Then the A86 around Paris and down through central France to La Jonquera in Spain and on towards Barcelona. Some snow after Millau,  but roads were clear.

Left Calais at 08.00 local and arrived in La Jonquera at 20.00 hrs. 3 short stops and kept at or below speed limit all the way. 

Tried to book the ferry from UK to Spain, but it was full for 2 weeks. 

In my opinion, we should not give Macron ANY more money than necessary for hotels, isolation, food, etc. Maybe he will eventually realise the amount of money we Brits could spend in his country, if he was a little more sensible !!

12 hours driving is a long time, please do it ONLY if you feel safe.

ian clarke

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:11pm

Posts: 17

4 helpful points

Location: Roquetas de Mar

Joined: 22 Dec 2019

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:11pm

Shy Tot wrote on Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:00pm:

Hi, we did the drive through France on 16th Jan ....... as above,  stayed at the Premier Inn in Folkestone (£39 .... very clean, good food in pub next door) .... 06.18 shuttle, no one even looked at our documents,  just asked if we had everything  (maybe the end of his shift !!), ...

...no searches by Customs. Then the A86 around Paris and down through central France to La Jonquera in Spain and on towards Barcelona. Some snow after Millau,  but roads were clear.

Left Calais at 08.00 local and arrived in La Jonquera at 20.00 hrs. 3 short stops and kept at or below speed limit all the way. 

Tried to book the ferry from UK to Spain, but it was full for 2 weeks. 

In my opinion, we should not give Macron ANY more money than necessary for hotels, isolation, food, etc. Maybe he will eventually realise the amount of money we Brits could spend in his country, if he was a little more sensible !!

12 hours driving is a long time, please do it ONLY if you feel safe.

Thanks for this, I am happy with big mileages as I have done 40K p.a. for years, this along with regular working during the day, good heads up with the O/N in Folkstone along with the timings. Cheers. 

Shy Tot

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:17pm

Posts: 44

28 helpful points

Location: Pulpí

Joined: 20 Oct 2019

Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2022 7:17pm

ian clarke wrote on Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:50pm:

Brilliant, thanks very much, as we are travelling from Manchester we would probably factor in an overnight in France.

We travelled from Stoke, similar distance more or less. ..... so I would highly recommend staying the night in Folkestone.

Booking.com gives lots of places, but as I said before,  for the price and the closeness to the tunnel terminal, I would always recommend the Premier Inn. 

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