Gibraltar–Spain border

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Coordinates: 36°09′18″N 5°20′54″W / 36.154933°N 5.348363°W / 36.154933; -5.348363

Gibraltar–Spain border
Gibraltar map-en.svg
The border, as seen on the map
Entities  Gibraltar  Spain
Length 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi)
Established 1704 (de facto)

Capture of Gibraltar
Current shape 1909

Building of fence
Treaties Treaty of Utrecht, Gibraltar Airport Agreement
The border, seen from the Spanish side
The border, as seen from the British side
The closed Spanish gate at the border between Gibraltar and Spain, 1977

The Gibraltar–Spain border is the international boundary[1] between the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar and Spain. It is also referred to in Spanish: as La frontera de Gibraltar (The frontier of Gibraltar) or simply as The Frontier.[2]

The border runs east-west for a total of 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) separating Gibraltar from the neighbouring Spanish municipality of La Línea de la Concepción.[3] Since the United Kingdom is outside the European Union's Schengen Area, Gibraltar is too and therefore, identity checks are required to cross the border.[4]


The Lines of Contravallation of Gibraltar were built in 1730, north of the isthmus linking Spain with Gibraltar. The neutral zone between Gibraltar and Spain has since been built on by Spain. These lines were the first form of a border between Gibraltar and Spain.

The frontier has not always been marked by a barrier. In 1909 Britain was aware of the need to reduce the number of sentries and built a fence 7 ft (c. 2m) high,[5] however there was suspicion about the motives for the fence.[6]

Spanish dictator Francisco Franco ordered the closure of the border gate on June 8, 1969, in response to the Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969. The border was not fully reopened until February 1985.

In 2010, the People's Party mayor of La Línea, Alejandro Sanchez, attempted to impose a so-called "congestion charge" on people entering or leaving Gibraltar, despite having been told by the Spanish Government that such a charge would be a breach of national and international EU law.

In 2013, due to growing tensions between Gibraltar (backed by Britain) and Spain, the Spanish border control began to search every passing vehicle, creating queues on both sides of the border which were several hours long.

Customs and identity checks[edit]

Customs and identity checks on the Spanish side of the border are carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard and the Spanish National Police. Customs and identity checks on the Gibraltar side of the border are carried out by HM Customs Gibraltar and the Royal Gibraltar Police.

Maritime borders[edit]

The Gibraltar Port Authority controls the territorial waters of Gibraltar that border Spain's.

Important treaties[edit]


  1. ^ The Kingdom of Spain does not recognize the existence of an international boundary. isthmus_between_Gibraltar_and_Spain
  2. ^ Olivero, Leo (6 July 2012). "Fear of crossing the Frontier!". Panorama. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Length of Land Boundaries Border Countries by Country". Chartsbin. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Garcia, Joe. "Spain would not object to Gibraltar joining Schengen". Panorama. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Simon J. Lincoln (1994). "The Legal Status of Gibraltar: Whose Rock is it Anyway?". Fordham International Law Journal, Volume 18, Issue 1 page 308. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  6. ^ Jackson, Sir William G. F. (1990). The rock of the Gibraltarians : a history of Gibraltar (2nd ed.). Grendon: Gibraltar Books. p. 262. ISBN 0948466146. 

See also[edit]