Can't leave MAD during layovers???

Old May 4, 19, 6:27 am
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Can't leave MAD during layovers???

I am a US citizen traveling under a valid US ordinary passport. I was refused entry to Spain at MAD flying nonstop from JFK, when I sought to visit the city during an extended layover (en route to non-Schengen). Per border police, no non-EU Nationals are allowed to leave the international transit area during layovers.

Per Schengen Border Code I met all conditions for entry: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-cont...l14514&from=EN. I have not previously been denied to Spain or any EU nation. I was also not allowed to appeal the decision or given any written documentation.

Has anyone else been in this situation? Or how did you manage to visit the city during a long layover?

EDIT: I went with the arrival flow. This is not a question of trying to leave the sterile area.

Last edited by acmys; May 4, 19 at 3:34 pm
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Old May 4, 19, 6:56 am
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Something to do with the ticket not including arrival taxes for Spain/Schengen maybe? So not a disallowed under immigration law so much as a governmental revenue protection thing?

how long was the layover?

(note that I donít know this is the case. Itís just something iíve heard offered up as a reason for admission on a layover before)
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Old May 4, 19, 7:05 am
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6h. I actually purchased separate one-ways, if that makes a difference.
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Old May 4, 19, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by acmys View Post
Or how did you manage to visit the city during a long layover?
Sounds like your problem was that you headed for International Transfers instead of Passport/Baggage/Exit. Once in the sterile International departures concourse of most airports where you have to choose between transit and passport/baggage/exit, it becomes very difficult to change your mind and enter the country.
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Old May 4, 19, 9:10 am
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There is no reason I can think of for denying you entry to Spain, other than what @SFO777 suggests.

What occasionally happens is somebody tries to be clever and goes to the T4S lounge for breakfast and a shower, then decides they want to leave the airport. Once you've passed departure passport control at T4S, you're not supposed to go back landside...
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Old May 4, 19, 10:52 am
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This sounds as though it was logistics / architecture and not a denial of entry.

If OP could provide the specifics of where this occurred and what official checks had occurred before he hit a wall, it would be helpful. Good to know if he was already in the international transit area and then tried to enter Spain or whether he simply tried to enter Spain with the flow of other passengers terminating at MAD from his JFK flight.
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Old May 4, 19, 3:33 pm
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I tried to enter Spain with the arrival passengers, and was stopped at formal passport control.

After arrival there are two options: T4S security screening and exit, and I went with exit. This is not a logistics question or architecture question (lol) - it's Spanish border force did not let me enter the country because I was on a non-Schengen layover.
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Old May 4, 19, 4:13 pm
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If you purchased separate one-ways then you don't have a connection or layover. Your journey terminates in MAD. I guess what may have happened is that they asked you for your onward and you produced the next flight and they determined it to be a "layover". That's up to them. Although I didn't know there was such a rule.
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Last edited by gq_dq; May 5, 19 at 6:38 am
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Old May 4, 19, 9:09 pm
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Both my wife and I (together and separately) have previously had no issue leaving MAD on extended stops (> 6 hours).
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Old May 4, 19, 11:28 pm
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Agent was just being a prick. Happens.
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Old May 5, 19, 4:38 am
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Originally Posted by Exec_Plat View Post
Agent was just being a prick. Happens.
What I thought. His supervisor also. The specific reason he gave was that I didn't have alojamiento (accommodation), but that's obvious since I wasn't staying overnight. In the future, would it be worth just saying that I'm staying for a day in an Airbnb?
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Old May 5, 19, 5:18 am
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Originally Posted by acmys View Post
What I thought. His supervisor also. The specific reason he gave was that I didn't have alojamiento (accommodation), but that's obvious since I wasn't staying overnight. In the future, would it be worth just saying that I'm staying for a day in an Airbnb?
Don't you think they would ask for proof of said Airbnb? Call me square but lying to border agents is never a good decision.
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Old May 5, 19, 5:51 am
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The absolute worse thing one can do is make up silly lies. In many places, the coppers don't take well to the lies and they figure -- often correctly -- that if you are lying about something, you are hiding something more more sinister. The fact that you aren't, doesn't change the perception and it is the perception that gets you.
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Old May 5, 19, 5:54 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
The absolute worse thing one can do is make up silly lies. In many places, the coppers don't take well to the lies and they figure -- often correctly -- that if you are lying about something, you are hiding something more more sinister. The fact that you aren't, doesn't change the perception and it is the perception that gets you.
Okay, so is the solution to just not enter the country then? Seems like a terribly stupid and incorrectly/arbitrarily enforced rule.
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Old May 5, 19, 5:59 am
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ok I know its not Mad, but have done that several times thru LHR, where I have had time to use.. just told them I had a long layover, showed my ticket.. and was on my way
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