While the UK has officially been out of the European Union since December 31, 2020, the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar has a status all of its own.
The “Rock” as the territory is often nicknamed, has only a land access with Spain. The economy of the territory is also very dependent on its Spanish neighbours. According to Gibraltar data, some 15,000 commuters from Spain cross every day into the territory. To place checks on every Gibraltar or Spanish citizen crossing the border would thus be highly detrimental… not only to the economy, but also to tourism.
In a last-minute development, the UK, Spain and Gibraltar have agreed to include the territory in the Schengen Travel Area to maintain the free movements of people. This will mean any EU citizen can enter the territory without being controlled and vice-versa.
In 2019, Gibraltar recorded 10.78 million visitor arrivals by land frontier compared to only 240,000 arrivals by air from the UK. The territory is recognised historically as the southernmost point of Europe, facing Africa. Gibraltar is famed for its Rock (partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage), its beaches as well as its VAT-free shopping. The historical town is a unique blend of British, Spanish and Arabic cultures.
Flights from the UK to Gibraltar will consequently be subject to passport control.
(Photo – top of page – © Visit Gibraltar – Visitgibraltar.gi)