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My husband was arrested 30 years ago in Spain while serving in the military, stayed one year on base and was "told" never to come back to Spain. This happened in his early 20's and they kept him on base, not in a Spanish prison. He did not get anything official, just someone saying never to come back to Spain.

Fast forward to "He grew up" and is now 57 with a sick wife... we want to cruise on the Mediterranean, but everything that we are interested in is out of Barcelona. Is he indeed banned or is there a way to find out?


Additional info provided by the OP in a comment...

He was about to leave to go home after serving in the Navy for 4 years...less than 24 hours before he was to leave, they all went to a party, and the locals had hash there, he was not found in possession but arrested and had to stay on base for one year in Spain and then go home. All we want to do is go on a cruise and they all take off out of Spain

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    @SheikPaulofOsawatomie Applying for a Schengen visa won't be useful (or even possible at all) if one isn't needed in the first place. – Relaxed May 9 '17 at 22:04
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    Whose military was he serving in? Whose base was he was "kept" on? Was the person who told him never to return acting in an official capacity? If so, on behalf of what organization? What was his position? – phoog May 9 '17 at 23:59
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    What is his nationality? In General, if he's a visa-free national and does not enter the Schengen Area through Spain, I can't imagine there being any issues, seeing as Spain doesn't have border checks coming from other Schengen states – Crazydre May 10 '17 at 17:16
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    What sort of offense was he charged with in the first place? Was this something like rape or firearm trafficking or was it more like second degree jaywalking with intent to deface a postage stamp? – Robert Columbia May 10 '17 at 21:22
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    Again kitkat, please tell us his nationality – Crazydre May 11 '17 at 0:29
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For the part about asking for your husbands alerts under the EU transparency regulations, data retention comes in to play in a way that may be beneficial to him. Regulation (EC) No 1987/2006 has this to say...

Alerts for the purpose of refusing entry or stay should not be kept longer in SIS II than the time required to fulfil the purposes for which they were supplied. As a general principle, they should be automatically erased from SIS II after a period of three years. Any decision to keep an alert for a longer period should be based on a comprehensive individual assessment. Member States should review these alerts within this three-year period and keep statistics about the number of alerts the retention period of which has been extended.

Spain joined the Schengen regime in 1991, 4 years after your husband's (alleged) offence. If they entered an alert at that time it would have expired in 1994. Otherwise we have to accept the palpably ridiculous case that they entered an alert in 2015 for an offence that occurred in 1987 and for which there were no judicial proceedings and no indications in his passport. Biometrics did not exist in a real way until the mid 2000's and this further removes the likelihood of a problem.

Note that in all events your husband will still need to qualify as a short-stay visitor.

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    "Should your husband opt for this strategy, he may wish to consider applying for a transit visa instead" There are no Schengen transit (B) visas anymore, only short-stay (C) visas with the option of ticking "transit" as the trip purpose in the application form if that's the case – Crazydre May 10 '17 at 20:39
  • In this scenario, what would be the purpose of visa application in your mind? Why not make use of the right to information mentioned in article 42 of regulation 1987/2006 instead of attracting an automatic refusal (in the off chance that there is indeed a ban and alert in the SIS)? – Relaxed May 10 '17 at 20:48
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    @Relaxed It seems (with emphasis on seems) to have occurred to Gayot (in part due to the advice of a professional contact of his) that, like in the UK, the solution to immigration-related issues in Schengen is to successfully obtain a visa. Which is not the case. – Crazydre May 10 '17 at 20:56
  • OK, so I see you chose to alter your answer without clearly answering my question. It is true that merely requesting information does not clear anything from the record but neither does applying for a visa. The Schengen Visa Code is very explicit about that, if there is indeed an alert for the purpose of refusing entry, it should result in a refusal of any visa application. – Relaxed May 10 '17 at 21:16
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    @KitKat who arrested him? If he was arrested e.g. by the US military then really there is no issue at all. What is his nationality? If he is e.g. British or Irish, then there's even less than an issue. – phoog May 10 '17 at 22:28
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If he's an EU/EFTA national: He's covered by the freedom of movement and cannot be refused entry into Spain except on serious security-related grounds. In fact, unless travelling from outside the Schengen Area, there won't be any border checks going to Spain.

If he's a visa-free non-EU/EFTA national: Enter the Schengen Area through Portugal or France to be nauseatingly safe. Given that this ban dates back to the pre-Schengen days, it is not something that's going to be recorded in the SIS (common Schengen blacklist); that is, if it's even in the Spanish national blacklist in the first place, which is unlikely given that Schengen bans today last up to 20 years, plus biometrics weren't captured back in those days. Between France/Portugal and Spain, there are no border checks.

If he's a visa national: When applying for a Schengen visa at the Spanish embassy, his fingerprints will be matched against national databases, and you'll know whether the ban's still in force.

Others answerers have suggested applying for a Schengen visa even if you're visa-free, for the purpose of establishing your husband's status. However, it would be worth first consulting the Spanish embassy and asking how they can establish your husband's status. Maybe a visa application isn't a necessary step at all, and I see no reason to assume it is - Schengen embassies are not as "closed" as their UK counterparts.

  • For all we know, the husband could be an EU national. – phoog May 10 '17 at 22:34
  • @phoog Hence my question about his nationality – Crazydre May 11 '17 at 0:29

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