The Kingdom of Spain shares 1,918 km’s of border with Andorra, France, Gibraltar, Morocco, and Portugal. It has a coastline of 4,964 km’s with the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay on the northern and western coasts and the Mediterranean Sea on its eastern side. The country’s terrain is mountainous, with the Pyrenees system being particularly remarkable. It forms a highly effective natural boundary between Spain and France. Most of Spain’s level land can be found along the coast, in river valleys, or on the Central Mesa.
Spain has a population of 46.4 million, is a Schengen country and a member of the European Union. Economically, the country improved rapidly after joining the EU in 1986 and is now the 5th largest in the European Union and 4th largest in the Eurozone. Spain’s top merchandise export destinations were France, Germany and Italy, while her top merchandise import sources were Germany, France and China. Spain has the biggest fishing industry in the EU, with its third largest fishing fleet.
Spain’s economy is buoyed by its service sector which accounts for 74% of GDP, with the industry sector at 23% and agriculture at almost 3%. With 82 million tourists in 2017, tourism accounts for 12% of its GDP. The manufacturing sector is mainly textiles, food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, clay and refractory products, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
Schooling in Spain is state-funded and compulsory from ages three to sixteen, and the state welfare system provides healthcare and hospitalisation. Social benefits include temporary incapacity, maternity, death and survival, invalidity, retirement and unemployment.
Spain is distinctive and has such history and culture that it offers tourists quite a diverse and unique range. It boasts 47 UNESCO Heritage sites, among them archaeological sites, churches, caves, historic buildings, monasteries, monuments, national parks, Ibiza and old towns.
Only in Spain can one zip line to another country and a different time zone. Limite Zero gives thrill-seekers the opportunity to zip line from the Andalusian village of Sanlúcar de Guadiana across the Guardiana River to Portugal. Thrills continue with the one-meter-wide Caminito del Rey which affords brave hikers a crossing 100 m above the Gaitanes Gorge, literally on a cliff rock face.
For foodies, Spain tops the tapas culture and is the only place to experience the real Spanish tapeo. It also boasts the oldest restaurant in the world, the Sobrino de Botin in Madrid, which was founded in 1725. Historians can see what Christian theologians believe to be the location of the authentic Holy Grail, the amazing Valencia Cathedral.
The European Union Travel Information Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a pre-travel authorisation system similar to Australia’s ETA, proposed by the EU and due to be implemented in 2021. Schengen regulations will still apply, and visas will still be required by those nationals not enjoying the visa liberalisation policy. Non-EU passport holders benefitting from the visa-free policy will, however, be required to get this pre-authorisation before embarking for Europe.
Increased terrorism and uncontrolled immigration into the European countries has caused the European Commission to implement these measures in an effort to safeguard Europeans and tourists alike. Applicants will apply online and pay the fee unless they are under 18 in which case this does not apply. The application takes minutes and authorisation is granted within minutes. The electronic authorisation is valid for 3 years or until the passport expires, whichever happens first.
Records show the first Spanish free settler in Australia to have arrived in 1821. He was granted 2,000 acres of land and died in 1838. Spaniard’s Hill was so named in commemoration of him.
119,952 Australian residents are now of Spanish descent, while 15,391 residents were born in Spain. Australia’s Spaniard community largely grew from descendants of 19th-century agricultural immigrants, and those who arrived in the 1960s under a government-to-government assisted migrant passage program.
Spanish nationals travelling on tourist visas are able to study those courses under 3 months in duration, such as many of the ELICOS courses, when a student visa is not required. 6,452 Spanish students were enrolled in Australian educational facilities across a range of education sectors. These include higher education, vocational education and training, schools, ELICOS and non-award training programs.
Cooperation on large-scale military projects has expanded the scope for bilateral engagement between Australia and Spain after the turn of the century. Bilateral agreements include the Extradition Treaty, Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Cultural, Educational and Scientific Cooperation, Double Taxation Agreement, Social Security Agreement, Air Services Agreement, Agreement for the Mutual Protection of Classified Information of Defence Interest, Defence Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding, Work and Holiday Visa Memorandum of Understanding and Sports Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding.
Australians can currently travel to Spain under the benefits of the visa liberalisation policy, with only a valid travel document. When ETIAS is implemented in 2021, Australians will need to apply online for pre-authorisation before leaving for Spain. Nationals from Spain currently have to apply for a similar visa-waiver through Australia’s ETA, which is very similar in efficiency and cost-effectiveness to ETIAS.