As Spain’s most popular season for tourists begins, many fans of the country are wondering what the latest travel restrictions are.
Following a series of stricter rules than most — such as a blanket ban on unvaccinated visitors — Spain abandoned its hard-line approach to unvaccinated travelers in May.
Previously, unvaccinated people were not allowed to visit, while extra provisions were made for children aged 11 and under or 12 to 17 years old to visit without proof of vaccination or with a PCR test result.
Now, the rules have been greatly simplified before the summer school holidays.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is the background?
While unvaccinated EU citizens can vacation in Spain with proof of a negative test, from December 2021 to the end of May 2022, no unvaccinated Brits were able to visit.
British adults who failed to comply with Spanish vaccination rules were refused entry unless they can present an approved certificate of recent Covid recovery.
Children aged 11 and under faced no restrictions, while those aged 12 to 17 could get a Covid test.
In early April, the Spanish tourist office in London announced that the country would open up to all UK travelers with immediate effect, adding that non-jabbados visitors could enter with a negative test before departure.
But eight hours later they reversed the announcement: travelers were told that this was incorrect and that the update resulted from a misinterpretation of an official state bulletin.
Finally, from May 21, 2022, non-Jabbados visitors were allowed to return to Spain once again from non-EU countries. All unvaccinated or party vaccinated persons (e.g. one dose) aged 12 and over must present a negative Covid test result to enter.
Spain is one of the few countries in Europe that still requires proof of vaccination.
How do I know if I am counted as fully vaccinated?
Spain’s definition of fully vaccinated follows the European Union standard: an initial course of two injections completed less than 270 days (nearly nine months) before, or two injections and a booster – with no “expiration date” placed on boosters. These travelers can use the quick “orange lane” on arrival. Others should use the “blue lane”.
For people aged between 12 and 17, the expiration date of 270 days on a second jab does not apply (so proof of booster is not required). The Spanish Ministry of Health says: “The vaccination certificate with full calendar for children under 18 has no expiration date”.
I’m not vaccinated. What kind of test should I do?
The result shown in the border may be from a PCR-style test or a professionally administered antigen or lateral flow test.
A PCR test must have been performed within 72 hours of departure, but an antigen test must have been performed within 24 hours of departure.
Is there a travel form to fill out?
Fully vaccinated travelers only need to present NHS documentation showing their status to travel to Spain. But those who are not vaccinated – or whose vaccines have expired – must fill out the Spanish “Health Control Form”.
Successful candidates will receive a QR code which, together with a certified test result, must allow them to board a plane or ship bound for Spain.
How important is this?
Much. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Spain was by far the most popular international destination for British travellers. In 2019, the country welcomed 18.1 million visitors from the UK – an average of 50,000 arrivals per day.
I’m changing planes in Spain on my way to Latin America. Do the new Spanish requirements apply to me?
The rules don’t apply to British passengers transiting through Spain – so if you’re connecting in Madrid for a flight to, say, Buenos Aires or Mexico City.
As long as passengers traveling to other countries remain “airside” at the Spanish airport, all they need to do is meet the travel requirements for their final destination.