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21 April, 2024
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Spain urges Morocco to stem transit asylum claims amidst rising numbers

Senegalese transit visa requirement sparks diplomatic dialogue between Spain and Morocco


The Spanish government has formally requested Morocco's cooperation in preventing Senegalese passport holders, lacking a Schengen visa in the past two years, from boarding flights with layovers in Spain until February 19.

As reported by Schengen Visa Info, this move comes ahead of the enforcement of a transit visa requirement for Senegalese nationals passing through Spain en route to other destinations.

According to, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs dispatched a diplomatic note via the Spanish Embassy in Rabat to the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccans Residing Abroad, outlining the request for collaborative measures.

The Embassy of Spain in Morocco emphasized the temporary nature of the measures, urging Moroccan authorities to enforce restrictions on commercial flights bound for non-Schengen countries that involve layovers in Spain. Specifically, Senegalese passport holders lacking recent Schengen visas are targeted by this directive.

Moreover, Spain has urged Morocco to uphold these measures until February 19, coinciding with the introduction of transit visa requirements for Senegalese travelers passing through Spain.

The decision to implement transit visas stems from a notable rise in Senegalese passport holders seeking asylum upon arriving at Madrid's Barajas airport, often after transiting through Spain with layovers. The surge in asylum claims has strained facilities at the airport, leading to overcrowded conditions and logistical challenges.

Elena Muñoz, a spokesperson for the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR), described the situation at Barajas airport as "unsustainable." Reports indicate that asylum seekers, including Senegalese nationals, have faced dire conditions, with some compelled to sleep on makeshift bedding in terminal transit areas.

To address the escalating situation, Spanish authorities have urged Moroccan officials to notify Royal Air Maroc, the national carrier, about travelers likely to make asylum claims upon arrival in Spain. These measures aim to mitigate the strain on resources and facilities at Madrid's airport, where the influx of asylum seekers has steadily increased.

The request for collaboration between Spain and Morocco underscores the challenges posed by rising asylum claims in Spain. Data from the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR) of the Ministry of the Interior reveal a significant uptick in applications for international protection, reaching 163,218 in the previous year. This figure represents a 37% increase from 2022, marking the highest recorded number since the establishment of the office in 1992.

[With information sourced from Schengen Visa Info]

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