Discussions

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1378817338 · posted: 1378817338

British Embassy Press Release: Call follows jailing of British fugitive extradited from Spain  Expatriates with information or suspicions about tobacco smuggling and tax fraud are being asked to call a Customs Hotline with any information that could lead to arrests or seizures.  The call for help from the British community follows the jailing of convicted cigarette smuggler Malcolm McGowan, who has just been extradited from Spain and is now starting a four-year jail term.  The freephone number to pass on information is 900 988 922. For people in the UK, it is 0800 595 000.  People can also email customs.hotline@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. There is no need to give personal details, and information that leads directly to an arrest could be considered for a small reward.  McGowan, 61, originally from Edinburgh, was arrested at a swimming pool in Valencia on 10 August by the Guardia Civil. He fled the UK 12 years ago after being found guilty of smuggling 28.3 million cigarettes into the country. His crimes robbed the UK of around £4 million in duty and he was sentenced in his absence in December 2001.  McGowan was part of a wider conspiracy to smuggle around 56 million cigarettes into the UK between November 1999 and March 2000. Ten other men were involved in the plot, which robbed the UK taxpayer of over £8.2 million.  Adrian Farley, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HM Revenue & Customs, said:  “McGowan is finally facing UK justice after 12 years on the run. We are determined to pursue fugitives and ensure they face the consequences of their criminal activity. HMRC would like to thank the Spanish authorities and UK organisations that assisted with this operation.”   The call to ring 900 988 922 comes as smugglers try to make huge profits from illegal imports of cigarettes, and the selling of low-quality, counterfeit cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol.  Customs officers are also keen for information about other items such as drugs, firearms, obscene material and endangered species. Tax frauds that HMRC want to hear about include betting and gaming, money laundering and the ‘carousel’ VAT scam in Europe.  “Smugglers and fraudsters cheat the rest of us by not contributing the tax that pays for schools, hospitals and public services”, said an HMRC spokesman. “People in the British expatriate community can help us to find them.”

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1377694298 · posted: 1377694298

British Embassy Press Release: Foreign Office encourages residents and visitors to be aware of local legislation Playing bingo, snacking while sitting on a monument or feeding pigeons may seem innocent enough to many British citizens, but these are just some of the reasons why people have found themselves faced with hefty fines or in some cases arrested or detained abroad.  Every year Brits are caught out by local laws and customs which might seem harmless in the UK, but some of which carry serious consequences abroad. Such incidents can easily be avoided by researching travel destinations in advance and taking note of updates and warnings issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  A recent FCO report* identified that more than a quarter (27%) of cases requiring consular assistance were for arrests or detentions, highlighting the value of familiarising oneself with local laws in order to steer clear of trouble.  Some unusual overseas laws and customs to watch out for include:        Country Barcelona Law It is against the law to wear a bikini, swimming trunks or to go bare-chested away from the beach front area in Barcelona Penalty/Consequences Fines Country Netherlands Law Don’t carry or use drugs. While the Netherlands has a reputation for being tolerant on the use of so-called ‘soft drugs’, this exists only for designated areas. Possession of prohibited substances or buying them can carry a prison sentence Penalty/Consequences Arrest, detention Country Venice Law Feeding the pigeons is against the law Penalty/Consequences Fines Country Singapore Law Chewing gum on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in Singapore is strictly prohibited Penalty/Consequences Fines Country Thailand Law It is illegal to import more than 200 cigarettes into Thailand Penalty/Consequences Large fines and confiscation   Charles Hay, FCO Director of Consular Services said:   “Consular staff often find that travellers are unaware that local laws apply to them and many British nationals think of their British passport as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. While consular staff will always try to assist British nationals who find themselves in difficulty abroad, we can’t interfere in another country’s legal processes.”  “We want Britons to have a great time when they travel abroad so it is a good idea to research the country they are visiting before they travel. Country specific laws and customs can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice .”

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1375358474 · posted: 1375358474

British Embassy Press Release: More than 6000 emergency passports issued in Spain last year The number of emergency passports issued by British Consulates in Spain rose 11% last year to a total of 6005 – more than a fifth (22%) of the Foreign Office world total.  The increase has triggered the British Embassy to warn British expats to take care of their passports, check the expiry date and renew them in good time.  In May alone this year 493 emergency passports were issued to British nationals in Spain, including 280 as a result of theft (mainly bag theft), car break-ins, burglary and pick-pocketing. Of the 213 emergency passports issued for other reasons, 14% were because full passports had expired.  Expatriates should check when their passports are due to expire and make a diary note to renew them up to nine months earlier, says Will Middleton, new Consular Regional Director for Spain.  “Living overseas, it can be easy to think that you don't need your passport or to forget to renew it.  “But if you need to travel at short notice, getting an emergency passport is both costly - currently 116 euros - and time-consuming, which can add further to what may already be a stressful situation. And you will still need to renew your full passport when you get back.”  Many people fear that by renewing a passport before it expires they will ‘lose out’ on validity they have paid for. In fact any remaining validity on your existing passport (up to a total of nine months) will be added to the new one.  Circumstances in which British expatriates can find themselves needing emergency passports vary from the death or serious illness of a loved one through to job opportunities put at risk - like the resident who was offered an interview in Germany only to discover his passport had expired. Others have been forced to cancel holidays of a lifetime for lack of a valid passport.   One customer, who had already suffered five lost or stolen passports over the years and received a warning from the Passport Service, decided to keep the latest one safe by storing it in the freezer. Unfortunately it got wet, so he had to get yet another emergency one.  Applying for a new passport is simple: download the application form and guidance notes from www.gov.uk/overseas-passports, complete them at home and send them off with your photographs. A new passport generally takes a minimum of four weeks from when the application is received.

started by: Homelygirl1@yahoo.com · last update: 1375000603 · posted: 1373556285

I live in Spain and the pensioners here are making an effort to change the chancellor's mind about the Winter Fuel Allowance. I have friends in other European countries who will also be effected by this and I feel that if we all pull together, the government will realise that we pensioners are not apathetic and that we are a force to be reckoned with. The British Government is going to stop winter fuel payments to people who live in warmer climates. In order to get these changes through  they rely on the apathy of us pensioners. They expect us to accept it saying, "well what can I do?" I believe that we can do a great deal but only if we do it together. There is a petition on the Brithish Government website, you can search for the winter fuel allowance petition on,  http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/ if 100,000 people sign it, there is a good chance that it will be discussed again in parliament. Another thing we can do is to bombard the chancellor with questions via public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gov.uk which should make them realise that we will not be ignored. Let us Make a stand on this....... The usually meek and mild F. W.

started by: Nick Harris · last update: 1369661833 · posted: 1369661833

Dear Sirs,   I am living in a rented villa in Mazarron while we decide where to live inSpainpermanently. We have been encouraged to get Padron followed by applying for a residential permit but we are unable to get Padron because the villa that we are renting from ourUKlandlord has a mortgage. We need to give the Padron Office in Mazarron proof that our landlord owns the property along with our NIE and passports. Unfortunately the only proof that is acceptable to the Padron Office is the original Escitura. A copy, faxed or otherwise of our landlords Escitura is unacceptable. The problem is that our landlords Spanish bank hold his Escitura and also administers the payment of his mortgage and they will not give our landlord his Escitura until his mortgage is fully paid in "x" years time! This problem not only prevents us from getting Padron it also means that all expats staying in rented accommodator in the Mazarron area which still has a Spanish mortgage cannot get Padron under this ruling and subsequently registers for a residential permit. Bearing in mind that it is the Spanish Government that urges us to get Padron then this ruling is totally counterproductive and should simply be amended by presenting to the Padron Office a copy of a utility bill in our landlords name as sufficient evidence for the purpose of getting Padron. We look forward to hearing from you.   Yours Sincerely,   Nick Harris

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1367949925 · posted: 1367949925

British Embassy Press Release: British nationals in Spain wanting to apply for a new passport are advised of an important change in the way they will need to make applications. From Monday 13 May, all applications will need to be sent directly to the Identity & Passport Service (IPS) in Belfast in the United Kingdom, instead of the regional passport processing hub in Madrid.  All the necessary information about the new passport application process, including a new IPS overseas application form, can be found at www.gov.uk/overseas-passports.  Andy Hamilton, head of the regional passport processing centre in Madrid, says: “In real terms, all that this means is that British nationals living in Spain now need to send their applications to a different address.”  “Current passport processing times remain the same. If you are renewing your passport, you should allow at least four weeks from the date the fee is taken and all the correct documentation has been received.”  “If you are applying for the first time or you are replacing a lost or stolen passport, you should allow at least six weeks.”  The only other change is that the current passport helpline call charges are being removed.  Instead of paying for a premium rate phone line, customers will now only have to pay for the cost of a call to the UK. British nationals who lack internet access or want advice are able to call the IPS Customer Service Centre on +44 (0) 300 222 0000. People who need to travel urgently but whose normal passport is unavailable should contact their nearest British Consulate via 902 109 356 or email info.consulate@fco.gov.uk . Your local Consulate may be able to issue an Emergency Travel Document to help you travel.

started by: nikki70 · last update: 1367601183 · posted: 1366890839

Hi, I was wondering if anyone can help me or point me in the right direction. I used to live in Spain and have an NIE in my married name, however when i seperated last year i changed my name by deed poll back to my maiden name andd changed all my documents, passport etc.. prior to moving. However as i am trying to get my NIE updated I have been told at the Oficina de imigrantes in Murcia that my deed poll needs to have a stamp on the back called 'Apostille de la haye' 05 oct 1965. I dont think my deed poll is legalised already as the witness wasnt a judge and i did it all online. Is there anywhere in Spain I can get this done or am i going to have to send my deed poll back to the UK to get it sorted. Any help or advice would be much appriecaited for as much as i love Spain all this red tape and paperwork is driving me crazy...many thanks Nikki

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1366633275 · posted: 1366633275

British Embassy Press Release: Consular staff on hand to guide potential buyers at ‘A Place In The Sun’ show in London Access to healthcare, obtaining independent property advice and learning the language are all things to consider carefully before deciding to move abroad, Foreign Office staff advised would-be buyers at the annual ‘A Place in the Sun’ overseas homes show in London last week. Consular staff from Spain were on hand to provide more than 1000 Britons with impartial advice on things to think about before moving abroad.   British Consul Paul Rodwell said:   “We offered clear advice that helps people to think more carefully about planning their move. We made them aware of potential pitfalls when buying property overseas, as well as thinking about other important issues such as access to healthcare and how they’re going to integrate into local life by learning the Spanish language.” Potential buyers are encouraged to visit the wealth of information on living abroad within the UK Government’s new www.gov.uk website, as well as to look at the property advice on Spain at www.gov.uk/how-to-buy-property-in-spain .   New official figures show that last year some 4,148 Spanish homes were purchased by British nationals, an increase of 3.5% compared with 2011, though still far from the peak of more than 17,000 British buyers in 2007.   Mr Rodwell, Consul for the Alicante region, and Bernadette Gallagher, property expert for southern Europe, attended the London property show as part of a continuing drive by the Foreign Office to ensure that Britons who are thinking about moving abroad have all the information they need before making final decisions. Six out of ten people who spoke to Foreign Office staff were thinking of Spain as their place in the sun, showing that the country continues to be the most popular destination for Britons thinking about moving overseas.

started by: Picpoul · last update: 1364828500 · posted: 1364813233

Just in process of buying holiday property in the Murcia area.  Husband has children from previous marriage and we want to ensure that if husband passes away first that I become sole owner.   Lawyer has advised that by drawing up Spanish Will, this will ensure children will not become beneficiaries until we both die.  We may become residents in Spain when we retire but always intend to hold a property in the UK.   Anyone been in same situation and can advise?    We thought perhaps easiest way is just to put Spanish property in my name (I dont have any children) and this would help us avoid any inheritance complications.  Many thanks for any advice. 

started by: Terry21 · last update: 1364311736 · posted: 1364228464

Can anyone tell me how to get my social security number as a self employed person? where do I go to register and what to take with me?

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1362498296 · posted: 1362498296

British Embassy Press Release: The British and Spanish authorities have joined forces in the fight to bring benefit fraudsters to justice through new information sharing arrangements. The UK government is committed to clamp down on fraudsters who cheat the system to obtain taxpayers’ money that should be going to people needier than themselves. Sharing information, such as deaths of British nationals in Spain, helps the UK to ensure that the pensions and benefits of deceased expatriates are stopped as soon as possible, to avoid large overpayments to benefit recipients that then need to be paid back. The sharing of information also helps to identify fraudsters who deliberately fail to report the death of a family member to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in order to continue fraudulently receiving the pension or benefit. One such case involved Michael Higgs and Nancy Rutter who together stole more than  £39,000 from the public purse by continuing to draw the benefits of a deceased family member.  Data matching between the UK and Spain revealed that Higgs’ father had died in Spain in 2005 yet the couple, who were  living in Malaga, had failed to notify the DWP of the death. Thinking they would never be caught, they continued to fraudulently claim the father’s benefit.  After being found guilty of fraud, and as well as having to pay back the money they had stolen, Higgs was given 18 months in prison and Rutter received two sentences of 30 months and 18 months to run concurrently. A criminal record can easily be avoided by keeping the DWP informed of any change in personal circumstances, including the death of a family member who is in receipt of a pension or benefit. Failing to do so can lead to hefty overpayments that will have to be paid back, and even a prison sentence. For further details on how you can report someone you suspect of committing benefit fraud, visit www.dwp.gov.uk/benefit-thieves-spain/ or call the DWP’s free and confidential benefit fraud hotline in Spain on 900 55 444 0. The UK and Spain are working together to tackle benefit fraudsters.

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1361877639 · posted: 1361877639

British Embassy press release: New video guide from BuyAssociation and Foreign and Commonwealth Office helps people planning to buy property abroad A new online video guide that provides vital information for people buying property abroad has been launched by the BuyAssociation, the award-winning property media expert, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The video, which can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA7yJSOBTj4&feature=youtu.be, features industry experts from estate agents and overseas property lawyers to foreign exchange companies and lettings agencies. They outline a wide range of highly useful, first-hand advice on buying property abroad. Among the experts is Steve Jones, British Consul for the Canaries and Malaga. A number of British people who have already bought a property abroad share their insights and advice based on their own experiences. They discuss topics including mortgages, property lets, foreign exchange, tax, legal advice, and general administration. A supporting document, ‘Buying Property Abroad: An Expert Guide’ can be obtained free of charge via www.buyassociation.co.uk/fco. Caroline Roberts, Chief Executive of BuyAssociation, said: “This online video is an easily accessible and enjoyable ‘know before you buy’ guide, packed with essential hints and information, and designed to get consumers off to a stimulating start on what, for them, can be a lengthy and complex learning curve. “There are so many apparent bargains on the market at the moment, and it’s vitally important that people are not tempted to buy something solely because of the price or the discount. It’s even more important for them to do their homework and ensure they’re buying the right property for them, at the right price and in the right location.” Sher Houston from the ‘Know Before You Go’ team at the Foreign Office said: “Buying overseas is a dream for many people in the UK, but this dream can often turn into one’s worst nightmare if a property is bought without considering the proper safeguards. “The Foreign Office strongly encourages those thinking of buying an overseas property, for whatever purpose, to research their destination thoroughly, take independent advice, consider their personal circumstances carefully and plan for the long-term.” Britons accounted for some 19% of foreign home buyers in Spain in 2011, buying just over 4000 homes, compared to a peak of more than 17,000 homes in 2007. The online video, which will also be available through leading overseas property websites such as Rightmove Overseas and A Place in the Sun, covers the vital issues that should be considered during the buying process. It will be edited regularly so that it remains factually correct and accurately reflects market developments. The content is editorially independent of commercial interests and delivered free for viewers to save and share.

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1354038321 · posted: 1354038321

Press release from British Embassy and UKBA: “Spain is becoming a hard place for organised immigration crime to operate” UK Border Agency officers and the Guardia Civil have arrested a total of 19 people in the UK and Spain as part of a major international investigation into a suspected organised crime gang involved in people smuggling. Operation “MARLO” involved UKBA and Guardia Civil raids on addresses in Alicante, Madrid and London on Monday 26 November, and a further arrest in Hull today (27 November). The arrests were the culmination of a joint investigation into an alleged criminal network suspected of assisting Iranian migrants to reach the UK from mainland Europe. The investigation also involved the UKBA Immigration Liaison Office based in the British Embassy in Madrid and the assistance of airlines. The network is alleged to have organised travel and provided false documents to their clients to facilitate their arrival at UK airports. The eight people arrested in the UK were aged between 23 and 56. In addition computers, documents and mobile phones were seized from a number of addresses and will now be examined. Co-ordinated action by the Guardia Civil saw eleven people arrested during raids in Madrid and Alicante in Spain. The gang is said to have been contacted by up to 100 potential customers per month and was charging its clients up to 18,000 euros each. Of those enquiries, on average 25 per month are believed to have become clients, with 20 per month heading for the UK. Chris Foster from the UK Border Agency’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team said: “This investigation is targeting an organised network suspected of being involved in a systematic attempt to evade the UK’s immigration controls. “People smuggling is an international crime which requires international co-operation, so we have been working very closely with our Spanish law-enforcement colleagues from the outset. Our investigation will continue with the evidence we have seized.” Simon Cooper, UKBA Assistant Regional Director covering Spain, added: “Spain is becoming a hard place for organised immigration crime to operate, and criminals now know that they will be disrupted and brought to justice.” All those detained yesterday in the UK were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to facilitate an asylum seeker for gain. They are now being questioned at police stations in London. Anyone with information about immigration crime can pass it on via Crimestoppers at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/, or call the UK number 0800 555111. Anonymity is assured.

started by: janemurf-462991 · last update: 1347489038 · posted: 1347116389

Since the new ruling in July has anyone applied for residency?  If so could you clarify what was used to prove income?  Also any other advice before I turn up at Cartagena would be appreciated.    

started by: fliss-472855 · last update: 1345370723 · posted: 1345189403

Are there bailiffs in Spain? how does on get in touch with them? I have a tenant, now a squatter as she hasn't paid her rent for nearly two months and in other EU countries I understand I could have her evicted by the bailiffs after this time, does anyone know the situation here please? Any help most gratefully received.

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1344252705 · posted: 1344252705

British Embassy Press Release: British Embassy warns homeowners to ensure they rent properties in accordance with Spanish law Homeowners who rent out their properties to holidaymakers are being warned they could face huge fines unless they comply with Spanish law. The British Embassy has become aware of a number of cases where homeowners have been fined up to €30,000 for letting properties without the correct permits. The Embassy has today (Monday) published advice for homeowners who rent out their properties or are considering doing so, which can be found on the UKinSpain website. Short-term lets: The regulations on letting tourist apartments (apartamentos turísticos) and holiday homes (viviendas vacacionales) vary by region. If you are planning on making a financial return by renting out your existing property, or buying one to let, you are recommended to seek independent legal advice and check the local licensing laws with your local town hall (Ayuntamiento). This is particularly important in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands where the rental of holiday properties on a short-term basis is strictly regulated. The authorities in these areas are cracking down on homeowners who rent out their properties to tourists (particularly through online adverts) without complying with Spanish law. If you own or are planning to buy an apartment which is part of a Comunidad de Propietarios (Committees of property owners who are responsible for the management of communal areas of apartment buildings/complexes), you should also check whether there are any rules that prohibit or restrict short-term letting. Long-term lets: Owners who rent out properties on a long-term basis are generally not required to apply for a special licence. However, it is worth seeking professional advice to make sure that you are complying with Spanish legislation and that you are using the correct rental contract. There are different types of contracts depending on how long the property is being let for, such as arriendos de vivienda which are for a minimum of five years, and arriendos de temporada which are generally for one year or less. You can get copies of these contracts from tobacconists (estancos). Taxes: Owners of properties should also be aware that whether or not you are resident in Spain, you will need to declare rental income to the Spanish tax authorities. Homeowners may wish to seek advice from a professional tax adviser (asesor/gestor). Managing a property rental: You may want to consider hiring a Spanish letting agent to assist with finding tenants, drawing up rental contracts and managing the property on your behalf. Further information: Advice on renting out property in Spain on the UKinSpain website FAQs on letting property in Spain (in Spanish) from the Sociedad Pública de Alquiler (Public Rental Society) Lists of local English-speaking lawyers can be found on the consular pages of the UKinSpain website.

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1343674119 · posted: 1343674119

British Embassy Press Release: Feeling the pinch is no excuse to commit benefit fraud - call the hotline and help stop a fraudster Financial hardship is no excuse for claiming benefits you are not entitled to, benefit officials have warned, as they encourage Brits who suspect a fraudster to call the hotline in Spain. Whether you live in Spain or the UK there's no avoiding the current economic crisis but taxpayers' money should go to those who need it most, not to a small percentage of Brits who have chosen to fund a life in Spain at the UK taxpayer's expense. Call the benefit fraud hotline 900 554 440 That's why the Department for Work and Pensions is promoting the benefit fraud hotline in Spain – and asking people who suspect they know a cheat to call 900 554 440. The vast majority of people who claim benefits do so honestly and are sick and tired of putting up with the small minority who don't. The benefit fraud hotline in Spain is there so that people can do their bit to make sure something is done about the small percentage of fraudsters. Shockingly, it's estimated that benefit fraud abroad costs UK taxpayers 43 million pounds per year - and Spain ranks as one of the top destinations for benefit thieves. One rogue claimant who wrongly thought Spain was a safe haven to commit benefit fraud was Ronald Bunce. He had been claiming Income Support and Housing and Council Tax benefit since 1991 however a change in his circumstances in 2007 and his failure to declare these changes meant he eventually fell foul of the law. An anonymous allegation led Work and Pensions investigators to discover that Mr. Bunce was not quite as strapped for cash as he made out. In 2007, following the death of his mother in 2004, he sold her property in Ealing, west London, for a handsome sum of £350,000 but failed to declare his newfound wealth to benefit officials. Further investigations revealed that he went on to buy a quarter of a million pound property in the UK, as well as a Spanish villa complete with swimming pool in the Mazarrón area of Murcia, which he was renting out to holidaymakers for as much as €500 per week. Not only was Mr. Bunce stealing from the British taxpayer since the change in his circumstances in 2007, but on top of that he had selfishly been using his council property for storage purposes, depriving another family really in need of housing. In April Mr. Bunce was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court in London to an immediate nine months' in prison for his actions to defraud the public purse. There are probably many more cases like this out there. That's why Department for Work and Pensions is asking anyone who suspects others of committing benefit fraud whilst living in Spain to call the free and confidential Benefit Fraud hotline in Spain on 900 554 440 or submit a report online at: https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/benefitfraud/ . The system is completely anonymous and you don't need to give your name and details, but the more information you can give about the alleged fraudster, the easier it is for officials to identify the person and investigate the case. Benefit fraud includes someone claiming a benefit which is only available to UK residents, such as income support or pension credit, or someone claiming a benefit as a single person but living with a partner. You can find more information on benefits and which ones can and cannot be received whilst living in Spain at www.direct.gov.uk.

started by: Bill-463679 · last update: 1342685283 · posted: 1342685283

Press release by British Embassy, Madrid Brits urged to take out travel insurance as hospitalisation cases soar Holidaymakers and their families face risk of huge bills if visitors lack insurance or invalidate their policies New report reveals Spain has highest number of hospitalised Brits worldwide More than 1,100 cases of Brits ending up in hospital were reported to consular staff in Spain last year, according to a new report from the Foreign Office. The number is equivalent to 20 hospitalisations in Spain every week, and represents nearly a third of the total number of cases around the world. The figures come from the annual British Behaviour Abroad report for the period 1 April 2011 - 31 March 2012. In the Balearics, the number of reported cases has soared. Over the last two years (since 2009/10), Mallorca has seen a 132% increase in hospitalisations, and Ibiza a 40% rise. Many of these cases involve teenage holidaymakers. Common causes are road accidents, balcony incidents and heart attacks. Meanwhile Malaga has seen a 45% increase over the last year alone. Jeremy Browne, Minister for Consular Services, said: “Whilst the prospect of ending up in a foreign hospital may be the last thing on your mind as you head overseas for a summer break, sometimes things do go wrong on holiday and many people deeply regret not taking out comprehensive travel insurance. “We also witness many cases where people have invalidated their policy – perhaps by not declaring a pre-existing medical condition or not checking their policy covers a particular activity, such as hiring a moped. Unfortunately they are then surprised that the Foreign Office cannot pay for their bills and flight home. “I urge anyone heading overseas this summer to research their destination, take out comprehensive travel insurance, and carefully check the small print of their policy.” New research by the Foreign Office reveals that nearly half (48%) of all Brits fail to realise that without travel insurance they will have to pay their own medical bills if injured or taken ill abroad. An emergency can be extremely expensive - medical treatment can cost thousands of pounds, whilst medical repatriation to the UK can cost even more. Consular staff in Spain have witnessed distressing cases involving families having to raise vast sums of money to pay hospital and repatriation bills. The research also reveals that nearly four out of five (78%) people would lack the ready cash to pay £10,000 to cover the hospital bills of an uninsured loved one abroad. Visitors to Spain, and British residents who may be hosting them, should remember three key things: · Buy comprehensive travel insurance – avoid a life-changing bill · Read the small print – don’t invalidate your policy by mistake · Get an EHIC card – it’s a ‘holiday essential’ for any state medical treatment you might need while visiting, but it doesn’t cover everything. A British Embassy spokesperson said: “An EHIC is free and simple to obtain. Getting one could save you a lot of grief. If you don’t have one, it could make a tricky situation even harder. Then buy travel insurance and for the cost of a meal in a restaurant you should be fully covered against expensive health-related bills and other risks. It’s not worth it to be without.” Reported hospitalisation cases by Consulate in Spain: Consulate 2010 - 2011 2011- 2012 % change Alicante 140 126 -10% Barcelona 73 50 -32% Ibiza 176 239 +35% Las Palmas (Canaries) 73 68 -7% Madrid 56 47 -8% Malaga 114 166 +45% Palma (Mallorca) 297 307 +3% Tenerife 95 102 +7% TOTAL 1024 1105 +8% The total number of consular assistance cases in Spain last year rose more than 8% to 5405 cases. These included 1105 hospitalisations (up 8%), 1909 arrests (up 9%) and 40 cases of rape or sexual assault (down 22%). Some 13.6 million Britons visited Spain last year and an estimated 800,000 Britons are resident here. For details on how the Foreign Office can help if you get into trouble abroad, visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel

started by: Bill-463679 · last update: 1342627320 · posted: 1342546904

Press release from British Embassy, Madrid New Residency Requirements for EU citizens planning to live in Spain for more than three months The Spanish Government has introduced new residency requirements for all EU citizens – including Britons – who plan to reside in Spain for more than three months. Under the new rules, EU citizens applying for residency in Spain may be required to produce evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves (and dependants). Applicants may also be asked for proof of private or public healthcare insurance. The Ministerial Order sets out the new requirements and some of the documentation applicants may be asked to present. A British Embassy (and therefore unofficial) translation with more detailed information is available on the UKinSpain website. All EU citizens planning to reside in Spain continue to need to register in person at the Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners Office) in their province of residence or at designated Police stations. More information is available on the Ministry of the Interior’s website.

started by: Michelle-463680 · last update: 1341578143 · posted: 1341578143

British Embassy Press Release: Crimestoppers seek citizens’ help in Spain and Morocco to arrest suspected murderer of a British family British national Anxiang Du is wanted in connection with the brutal murder of Mr and Mrs Ding and their two teenage daughters in their home in Northamptonshire in 2011. Today, in Madrid, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies from Northamptonshire Police called on citizens to assist Crimestoppers and Law Enforcement agencies in the search for Anxiang Du who is believed to be hiding in northern Morocco, having travelled there from southern Spain. On Friday 29 April 2011, Jifeng ‘Jeff’ Ding, his wife Ge ‘Helen’ Chui and their two daughters Xing 18 years old and Alice 12 years old were brutally murdered in the home in Northampton. The suspected murderer Anxiang Du, 53 from Coventry was declared the only suspect soon after the discovery of the murders and has since evaded capture. At a press conference in the British Embassy in Madrid, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies, leading the investigation, said: “We acknowledged at an early stage that Anxiang Du had the opportunity to leave the UK soon after the murders, in the 3 to 4 day period before he was declared a suspect. We now know that Anxiang Du left the UK soon after the homicides and travelled from Victoria bus station, London on a bus to Paris, Gallieni. After this he travelled through France into Spain (again probably by using public transport). His final known journey was to Algeciras in Spain where he caught a ferry to Tangier, Morocco. We believe that having made his way to Morocco, Mr Du may still be in the Tangier area. As a fugitive, he may take any opportunity to flee, using the routes or countries he is familiar with. We know that Du has previously spent time in Spain and is comfortable in the country. We have been working with the police and law enforcement agencies in Spain and Morocco and they are in possession of the required extradition papers, should Mr Du be located and arrested. This should mean that he can then be brought back to the UK to stand trial. We have also been working with and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Interpol and CPS International to ensure we have the support of the International Law Enforcement Agencies who are currently focused on locating Anxiang Du. I would like to thank Spanish and Moroccan law enforcement authorities for their support and collaboration in the operation to locate and detain Mr Du. We are now asking members of the public who are or will be using the ferries from Algeciras to Tangier during the Campaña del Paso de Estrecho to be aware of our manhunt, together with up to £25,000 reward available in the UK for information leading to his arrest and conviction. We would ask members of the public to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 900 555 111 from Spain, so that we can bring justice to the families of the victims. Alternatively people can also contact their local police if they have any information.” On Sunday 25 March, three UK Police officers travelled to China with the aim of speaking with associates of the suspect for any information they may have in identifying people who could have assisted Du in his escape. The trip to China also afforded the force the opportunity to meet the family of the victims, update them on the investigation and pass on the force’s deepest sympathies for their loss, in person. Recent developments in the case saw the arrest of four people last week, on suspicion of conspiracy to assist an offender. They were all released on bail pending further enquiries. Link to photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinspain

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