Interim border controls - an explainer

Christine Vasquez - Sunday 3rd January

There have been reports on social media of people having their shopping taken away from them at the frontier. The reports coincide with what would have happened with a hard Brexit. According to Number Six, when the news emerged that they were asking for passports at the frontier, Spain has to ask the EU to recognise the in-principle agreement until such a time as a treaty is reached. This initial recognition could take a few days.

According to Spanish law, Gibraltarians will get a six month respite in Spain on three key issues: Working rights, free healthcare and driving licences- there will be no change on any of these until the 30th of June. This has nothing to do with an in-principle agreement on Gibraltar but are the extension of rights as mitigating Brexit factors.

During these ‘in limbo’ days, especially if you get a hard-nosed officer applying ‘no deal rules’, there could be ‘thorough checks’. These could include verification of travel documents, verification that entry requirements are satisfied and that the person crossing does not pose a security risk.

Everyone crossing the frontier should have a valid passport with at least six months left on it and under 10 years old. With current covid restrictions in place, you will need both your passport and your identity card if you’re crossing into Spain.

The restrictions on goods for personal consumption: Meat and milk products are not allowed into Spain. Special dietary products, powdered infant milk, honey, live oysters or mussels, baby food and pet food are exempt but can not exceed 2 kilos. You can take fish weighing under 20 kilos.

The crossing of pets remains unaffected.

Hopefully, the dust will settle and new instructions will be returned by the EU in a matter of days. It’s however important to bear in mind the lockdown in Gibraltar does not allow for anyone to cross into Spain unless they have a valid reason and the Campo has closed down travel between its municipalities until next Sunday.