Residence permit issued in Gibraltar not accepted by Spanish police

A non-EU national was told by Spanish police that she would be arrested for crossing the frontier with a residence permit issued in Gibraltar.

The Spanish authorities have always accepted such documents, but have recently been saying that they are not valid.

The Opposition says they have been informed that "the Spanish frontier authorities are no longer recognising the validity of a permit of residence issued in Gibraltar. These permits are issued by the Immigration Department of the Royal Gibraltar Police."

Last month, a Mexican national resident in Gibraltar, who is married to a Gibraltarian, tried to access Spain, as she had done many times in the past on the basis of her Mexican passport, her Gibraltar I/D card and her Gibraltar permit of residence.

The Spanish national police at the frontier challenged the validity of the permit of residence and refused to allow the person to cross into Spain. When the holder of the permit of residence attempted to obtain an explanation as to why the permit was not deemed to be a valid document, when she had used it in the past, she was told she was going to be arrested.

The Opposition understand that there have been other cases where a similar situation has arisen and where this particular document issued in Gibraltar has not been recognised in Spain.

The person in question did not attempt to enter Spain again, and reported the matter to the Police in Gibraltar and to the Opposition. On behalf of the affected party, Shadow Minister Dr Joseph Garcia raised the question with the Deputy Governor, the representative of the British Government in Gibraltar.

However, last week the person decided to go to Spain. The permit of residence was not requested on the way in. However, on the way back to Gibraltar, the Spanish National Police asked to see her permit of residence. When the same document was produced, once again the Spanish authorities questioned the validity of the document and they threatened to arrest the person in question and deport her back to Mexico. It was only after a very unpleasant conversation that the person was allowed to return to Gibraltar and warned not to set foot in Spain again with this Gibraltar permit of residence, says the Opposition.

UNACCEPTABLE

The situation is totally unacceptable, they add. The permit of residence issued in Gibraltar is recognised as valid by the Gibraltar Government and the Royal Gibraltar Police, who are the ones who issue it. However, the Spanish frontier authorities, after accepting the validity of this document, have now decided to decline it.

The Opposition says it considers that the British and Gibraltar authorities should defend the document that has been issued and cause it to be accepted in Spain, in the same way as it was been accepted until now. It is deplorable that persons who hold valid Gibraltar documentation should be treated in this way by the Spanish frontier authorities.




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