There’s been some speculation recently on the requirement for a “Carta de Invitación” with respect to friends and family visiting you in Lanzarote.

This is because the rules for UK citizens travelling to Schengen countries changed on the 1st January 2021, when UK left the EU. UK visitors can stay in a country in the Schengen area for up to 90 days without a visa, however border control need to be satisfied that you aren’t going to overstay.

This isn’t a “new rule” and has been the case for many years for third countries, and is applied in many countries around the world you may visit.

For UK visitors travelling on a package holiday this isn’t an issue, you can easily provide copies of your travel documents with hotel voucher, return flight etc if requested on arrival.

The grey area is around property owners and their friends and family who stay with them. You may have seen those immigration airport programmes where arrivals are questioned at the border, officials want to be comfortable that you have enough money for your trip, accommodation details of where you will be staying, and a return flight ticket home.

As a property owner, you might normally book one way flights if you’re not sure how long you intend to stay. This could be queried to establish if you plan to return within the 90 days allowed.

As a friend or family member of a property owner, staying in their accommodation, you may be queried to back this up.

The FCDO advice is that you should be able to prove the following:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay
  • show proof of accommodation for your stay, for example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home), or an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family. The Spanish Government has clarified that the “carta de invitation” is one of the options available to prove that you have accommodation if staying with friends or family.

The official Carta de invitación information & process can be found on this link.

If you can’t or don’t want to go through this process we’d suggest bringing a document which shows you’ve been invited to stay at the property, even if its a simple email. It should include the dates agreed, the owner’s Identity number or passport number, the address of the property, supported perhaps by a copy of their empadronamiento.

For home owners travelling here regularly, it might make sense to carry a copy of the relevant pages of the escritura as part of their travel pack.

You should note that this isn’t a big issue and the vast majority of travellers will simply pass through immigration as normal. But occasionally, you might be asked a few questions, and if immigration aren’t happy with the answers given, being able to provide supporting documentation will smooth the way for you.