This is a fake news warning if you are wondering if you need a letter of invitation to enter Spain to visit friends or family particularly from the UK.

We have read some sensational headlines in the British press over the past few weeks alarming travellers about needing a letter of invitation to visit friends or family in Spain.

These sensational headlines will only get worse as the Summer season progresses, so in this article, I will show you how to spot fake news before going on holiday.

Also I will let you know if you need a letter of invitation if you are visiting friends and family in Spain, which of course includes Mallorca, where I am based.

How to spot Fake News in the Press

If you are planning a holiday to Spain this Summer, it is quite likely you will be bombarded with news in the press that will cause alarm.

These stories are normally in relation to entering Spain from the UK.

My first piece of advice is if you see a news headline about the conditions of entering Spain which causes alarm, then this could be fake news.

So my advice is,

See It, recognise it, ignore it and continue with your day.

Fake news surrounding the “Letter of invitation in Spain”

Like many readers, you will have seen the headlines in the tabloid press over the pass few weeks regarding  British nationals apparently needing a letter of invitation to visit family and friends in Spain.

In fact in some publications, this story has been run not only once, but again and again threatening huge fines for not having this invitation letter in place.

One thing I have to say, whether you are a newspaper, a YouTube channel or social media forum, we have a duty of care for our audiences.  

Sensational headlines are not supposed to inflict fear, stress, panic or worry.   And while many of us laugh it off, some people do not.  

As you know on the Mallorca Under the Sun YouTube channel and Facebook group, I get asked many travel questions.

The subject of the letter of invitation has been filling up my email inbox.

So using the example of the letter of invitation in Spain, here are some examples of headlines that have been recently published in the British press. Some may call these headlines “clickbait” and many have been left worried.

The examples are:

Now Britons need an official invitation letter to holiday with friend in Mallorca

And then this…

Spain travel warning for Brits staying with friends as they risk £8,000 fines

Followed by this headline

Invitation to visit Spain could take up to 2 months to obtain from the police

And finally…

Yet more red tape! Spain now issues official invitations to make your visit easier

The text in the final article on the final headline says, “It’s not vital” (referring to the letter of invitation) but this hasn’t stopped the questions from flowing through social media channels or to my email inbox.

There are consequences to these stories which can cause panic leading to people cancelling their trips to see grandchildren because it seems too stressful to organise, or impacting their health because of worry.  

How do I know this? Because holidaymakers and my audience have told me this whether by email or when I’m out and about making my Youtube videos in the resorts.

So are the news articles surrounding the “Letter of Invitation in Spain” fake news?

From my perspective, fake news means taking information which has been embellished to cause worry, panic or stress, which in my opinion isn’t something you need when preparing for your holiday. 

So let’s find out if you do need a letter of invitation if you are visiting family or friends in Spain from the UK or indeed from anywhere outside the European Union. 

Do You Need a Letter of Invitation visit friends or family in Spain?

If you are visiting from a country that requires a visa to visit Spain then, yes, you do need a letter of invitation. 

If you’re visiting Spain from the UK, you can travel visa-free for short stays – so no more than 90 days in every 180-day block, in which case you will probably not need a letter of invitation.

Even when the ETIAS visa waiver is implemented – now due in 2025, you will still not probably need a letter of invitation.  

This is because the ETIAS is not a visa, it’s a visa waiver and it covers around 60 countries visiting the EU. 

To check more information about the ETIAS visa waiver, check this article here which includes with links to official sources.  

Will you be asked for a letter of invitation arriving at a Spanish airport from the UK?

The reality is if you are visiting friends and family on holiday to Spain, you will most likely not be asked. 

Approximately 15 million travellers entered Spain in 2023, with millions of visitors passing through Palma de Mallorca airport in the Summer months. Even more visitors are predicted to travel in 2024.  

I have seen the tidal wave of passengers entering  Palma de Mallorca airport on the many occasions I have travelled through the airport. 

The police are not equipped to check every arrrivals from the UK entering Spain and that meaning checking their hotel address, their hotel booking, their bank accounts and their return flights.  

Nor is it likely they will investigate their letter of invitation for those staying with family and friends. 

This is unless a flight passenger has given them cause for concern (and who knows what information they see when the passports are scanned). 

I cannot guarantee you will not be checked, because there is a remote probability that you could be checked if you are a person of interest.

In which case, and if you are staying with family and friends, there are other ways to prove the nature of your stay.

So what does the UK Government say about the Invitation Letter?

The UK Government give the following information ifyou are visiting friends and family, they say:

“There are several ways to demonstrate your short stay:

  • you have enough money for your stay 
  • a hotel booking confirmation
  • proof of address if visiting your own property (such as second home)
  • an invitation or proof of address if staying with a third party, friends or family. A carta de invitation completed by your hosts is one of the options available.”  

You can read the official information here.

Should you need a letter of invitation and you are a national from a country that is not part of the EU or or a country that will be offered the ETIAS (visa waiver), your host will have to go to the police station with the completed form which you can find here.

I want to make it clear that the police are not equipped to deal with millions of forms from UK travellers staying with family and friends. 

So if your host goes to the police station requesting this for a family member or friend visiting from the UK, it’s likely you will be turned away.

Instead, if you are visiting from the UK and staying with friends or family, then make sure you are carrying a return ticket, a valid passport, an address where you are staying and the bank card.

My main advice as it always has been, is to check official sources. 

The link to the official Spanish Government information can be found here.

And as I said, we have a duty of care for the people who consume our content.  

And I know there will be more stories coming in the future, from the continuous ETIAS articles – again nothing to worry about, as well as stories about The Entry Exit system.

Again changes to the Entry Exit System (or EES) will not affect your holiday and let’s not mention airport chaos and shark warnings!

If I see a proliferation of alarming headlines which embelish information that will cause worry or panic, then I will try to consisely explain the facts and provide you with access to official information. 

Don’t forget to subscribe free to the Mallorca Under the Sun Youtube channel (it’s free), to catch the video updates too.

You can also find out what to expect from your 2024 Mallorca holiday in this article here.