UK holidaymakers jetting to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands could face lengthy delays entering the country because of airport police shortages.

Associations representing travel agents in the country claim hold-ups of around 45 minutes are common for passengers waiting to get through passport control on arrival.

And there is a warning that the situation will worsen in the run-up to Christmas, especially in the Canaries.

The travel agents insist the worst delays have been experienced at airports which handle the most arrivals from non-Schengen area countries, including the UK, which represents around a quarter of all international visitors to Spain. These include Malaga, Alicante and the various Canary Islands.

The travel agent groups are demanding that more National Police officers are deployed at passport control to speed up the process of checking arrivals, including necessary Covid documentation.

Travellers from the UK to Spain must show proof of being fully-vaccinated – with both doses of a two-jab vaccine or one of a single dose jab – at least 14 days prior to entry.

Spain’s new rules, which have thrown travel plans into disarray for many families, require UK holidaymakers over the age of 12 to provide proof of vaccination status to enter the country.

Most youngsters under 17 in the UK have had only one vaccination rather than the two required to enter Spain.

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Passengers must also present a QR code which is obtained from filling in a Health Control Form available via Spain Travel Health (SpTH).

The Spanish Tourism Office said: “Spain reinforces its position as a safe holiday destination with one of the highest vaccinations rates worldwide – almost 90% of the population age 12 and over – and one of the lowest Covid rates in Europe."

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