Spain will reopen its borders for European travel on June 21st, 10 days earlier than initially planned

Spain will next Sunday re-establish free travel with fellow EU countries except Portugal, whose land border will remain closed until July 1st, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced.

Spain will reopen its borders for European travel on June 21st, 10 days earlier than initially planned
Photo: AFP

Spain had previously planned to restart full EU travel on July 1st but decided to lift “border checks with all member countries on June 21st,” except with Portugal, Sanchez said in a televised speech on Sunday.

The country will also end its state of emergency at midnight on June 21st (the region of Galicia on June 15th) which will signal the end of the de-escalation plan (in place since early May) and the resumption of travel between regions.

The European Commission has asked all member states and Schengen area countries to open their borders by June 15th, but Pedro Sánchez's government initially seemed unwilling to change the nationwide opening of its borders to EU travellers before July 1st.

Regional authorities in Spain, which actually have the freedom to open their borders to international travel during Phase 3 of de-escalation, have overwhelmingly decided not to do so.

The only region in Spain which has confirmed it will welcome foreign tourists before June 21st are the Balearic Islands, who reached an agreement with the German government for 10,900 tourists (revised up from an initial 6,000) to spend their summer holidays in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza from June 15th.

Spain’s other main archipelago – The Canary Islands – are also willing to bring forward the arrival of foreign visitors to June but authorities there want it to become compulsory for tourists to undergo a PCR test before leaving the airport, a measure the country’s Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has said her government is “open” to making a nationwide requirement.

It remains unclear whether airlines will schedule flights to and from Spain before July 1st after the Spanish government's announcement on Sunday June 14th. 

READ MORE: Which airlines have scheduled flights to Spain from July?

The arrival of British tourists to Spain – 18 million of whom visited the country in 2019 – is also still very much up in the air.

The Spanish government has said it won't consider a travel corridor with the UK, preferring instead a common EU criteria when it comes to tourism agreements.

The need for reciprocity has complicated the chances of a deal even further as the United Kingdom imposed a 14-day quarantine on foreign visitors on June 8th, with the first review of the measure on June 28th. 

Q&A: What we know about travelling to Spain this summer







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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.