Coronavirus: What you need to know about Spain closing its borders

Coronavirus: What you need to know about Spain closing its borders
A Spanish Civil Guard stops a car at the Spanish-Portuguese border between Tui and Valenca, on March 16, 2020.
The measure to close Spain's land borders was introduced at midnight on Monday night in a bid to further stop the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the Interior Minister announced the closure of the frontiers on Monday lunchtime just two days after the whole of Spain was put under lockdown when the Prime Minister declared a state of alert.

What does it mean?

It doesn’t mean that the borders have closed completely but only that checks will be made at the border where previously there were none because of the Schengen zone.

It means that only those Spanish citizens or those with residence in Spain are allowed to cross the border into Spain.

The measure also states that cross-border workers will still be allowed in and out between their place of work and their place of residence.

And truckers transporting good across the border will be allowed free access without even being stopped.

Others who can demonstrate a valid reason to cross the border by providing documentation will also be allowed to cross into Spain.

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Does it apply to Gibraltar?


Photo: AFP
 

An estimated ten thousand people who live in Spain but work in Gibraltar cross over the border into the British Overseas Territory from La Linea each day and they will still be allowed to so, as long as they have the documentation to prove it.

But the new checks will mean that only those with essential reasons will be allowed to cross the frontier, so a shopping trip to Morrisons from nearby Marbella, just doesn't count. 

The Gibraltar Government has urged Gibraltar residents not to cross into Spain unless absolutely necessary.

And what about Portugal?

 Portugal alsi announced that it will close its border with Spain to tourists for at least a month to curb the spread of coronavirus. Goods and people travelling for work will still be allowed to cross the border but not those on leisure trips, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced on Monday afternoon after speaking by videoconference with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez.

Can I still leave Spain?

Yes, if for example you are in your own vehicle and are trying to travel back from Spain to your home country you will be allowed to leave.

It is advisable to have whatever documentation you  require for that journey, such as onward ferry tickets, proof of home address as well as your passports should be required to show them at a check point.

Those who are travelling across Spain to catch a ferry or drive through France to return to the UK are allowed to be on the road, according to the exemptions of lockdown set out in the State of Alert decree, however you are limited to staying on the road and stopping only at lodgings or service stations. Do not park up and have a picnic or a stroll around.

Spain is not restricting land border crossings from Spain to France. However, to drive back through France, the French authorities require that you fill in a declaration to explain your reason for travel, you should also have evidence of your onward travel plan (ie ferry/rail ticket).   If you do not have access to a printer, you can write the declaration by hand. 

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Coronavirus: Spain orders closure of hotels

How long will it last?

The borders have been closed for the duration of the state of alert which was called on Saturday and will last for 15 days unless it is extended with the permission of Spain’s congress.

Does that mean flights and ferries are cancelled too? 


Tourists at Malaga airport catching flights to return home. Photo: AFP

For the time being Spain has not shut down air or maritime borders but the Interior Minister did not rule it out at a later date. 

However air travellers are facing huge disruptions with many flights being cancelled and lots of countries now banning access to travellers from Spain. 

Check your airline or ferry company for latest. 

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