Last week, Hugh Elliott, British Ambassador to Spain paid a three-day visit to the Costa Blanca. Despite having a very full and busy agenda with a meeting in Valencia, presenting an MBE and hosting a conference for charities and associations in Alicante, he found time to speak with Costa Blanca News in Benidorm, to answer some frequently asked questions by our readers.
The first and probably most pressing question for many – driving licence exchange, he was delighted to say, before even being asked: “Well your timing is very good because I have just recorded a video which reports that the council of ministers has approved the driving licence agreement… It’s been a long time and people have understandably been frustrated.”
Stamping of UK passports. There is a lot of inconsistency at many different airports, where people are showing their TIE card under the withdrawal agreement but are still having their passports stamped. Will this have any sort of detrimental effect for them in the future?
No, they shouldn’t be having their passports stamped because if you are resident in Spain you are entitled to come in and out when you want and so there is no need for it to be stamped. I guess mistakes are made and officials on the border make mistakes, but the only thing it affects is how quickly your passport fills up, so if people are travelling on a very regular basis – I mean it takes some time to fill up a passport – the only thing is I would suggest that people ask the police, please don’t stamp my passport because I am resident in Spain. It doesn’t affect your rights in any way whatsoever, even if your passport is erroneously stamped – if you are resident you are fine.
Winter fuel allowance, is there any chance that there may be a change of heart? Not as far as I know and as I understand the rationale for that is that Spain is one of those countries where temperatures are warmer than the warmest part of the UK, so wouldn’t qualify and that´s understandable. As far as I know there is no prospect of that changing.
This week’s Costa Blanca News is out today (Friday).
It features an exclusive interview with His Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, who made time in his busy schedule to answer some frequently asked questions by our readers.