Health measures at Spanish airports: What to expect when you fly to Spain

If you are flying to Spain there are several measures in place to check the health of passengers and ensure the virus cannot be easily spread. Obligatory PCR tests may soon become compulsory for certain travellers.

Health measures at Spanish airports: What to expect when you fly to Spain

Four measures have been introduced once you arrive at the airport, which include wearing a mask, filling out a health document, temperature checks and visual checks.  

Spain has been open for tourism since the state of alarm ended on June 21st and has introduced several measures to help combat the spread of Covid-19 and keep travellers and its citizens safe. 

Face masks 

Masks are mandatory in all Spanish airports, both in outdoor and indoor spaces. You should already be wearing one from the plane, but you might want to change it for a fresh one to wear in the airport upon arrival. 

It’s worth noting that most regions across Spain have now made masks mandatory in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, so it is advisable to bring several with you. Surgical masks are available at most pharmacies and washable cloth masks are available and many shops. 

Passenger Location Card 

Travellers are also required to fill out a Passenger Location Card or FCS form. The questions you’ll have to answer include where you’re staying, your recent travel history and if you’ve have or have had Covid-19 related symptoms. This will help the government with their track and trace efforts. 

The FCS form must be completed on line before you arrive and can be accessed here. There is also an app where this information can be filled in. 

It is mandatory to both fill out and sign the FCS form before you arrive, regardless of your nationality, age or any other consideration and must be completed by each passenger in the family or group, if travelling together.

If the passenger is a minor or a dependent/disabled person, the form can be filled in by a guardian, who will again be responsible for the veracity of the information provided.

Once the form is completed, the passenger will receive QR code, which must be presented upon arrival in Spain. You can also receive this QR code via the app mentioned above. 

Temperature checks

All Spanish airports have introduced thermal imaging cameras, which will check tourists upon arrival, and some airports also have non-contact thermometers to measure tourists’ temperatures. 

If your temperature is higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius, it could be a Covid-19 related symptom and you may be asked to get a test, see a doctor or quarantine. 

Visual checks

In addition to temperature checks, each passenger will be checked visually for any apparent physical symptom of Covid-19, which may include a dry cough or difficulty breathing. 

An extra 600 airport staff have been hired to perform these checks, 150 of whom are doctors and nurses who have been trained to spot the symptoms. 


PCR tests  

PCR tests are not currently in use at Spanish airports, but are being considered.

PCR tests are used to directly detect the presence of an antigen and can tell if someone is currently infected with Covid-19.

Madrid Barajas Airport has insisted to the health minister Salvador Illa that PCR tests need to be carried out.

Recently, 116 cases of the virus have already been imported from people arriving at the airport and continue to grow. 

Passengers arriving at Barajas may be forced to take a test if airport chiefs get their way.

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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.