News

Advance passenger requirements for Spain-bound travellers

19 Sep 2007 by Mark Caswell

Spain is introducing new API requirementsFrom this week UK and Ireland passengers travelling to Spain will have to
provide advance passenger information (API) to the Spanish government prior to
their departure. Spain joins countries such as the USA, Mexico, Canada and China
to ask for API from passengers, but is the first European country to do
so.

Passengers will be required to provide the Spanish
authorities with data including their name, date of birth, nationality and
passport number. You might think that this doesn’t pose a problem, as all this
information is already included on a person’s passport, but it’s a question of
exactly how it will be provided.

Some airlines (including Ryanair and Easyjet) have
enabled customers to submit the information online, but for those carriers who
don’t provide this method, the data will have to be filled in at check-in, which
is likely to lead to delays (and of course requires hand-luggage only passengers
to visit a check-in desk). Indeed Ryanair itself is advising Spain-bound
passengers to allow extra time to check-in for their flights from today. Any
passengers who fail to submit their API data will not be allowed to board
flights.

UK and Ireland passengers are being required to
submit API data because they are not members of the “Schengen Free Travel Area”,
a European agreement that allows citizens of member countries to travel between
one another without having to show travel documents. At present the agreement
covers 15 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands,
Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and
Sweden), with another ten set to join in 2008. And while Spain may be the first
country in Europe to adopt the API rules for non-Schengen members, it won’t be
the last – over the next twelve months other European countries are due to
introduce API requirements, under a pan-European scheme.

For more information visit dft.gov.uk.

Report by Mark Caswell

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