What are the rules for second home owners under Spain’s new restrictions?

What are the rules for second home owners under Spain's new restrictions?
Across most of Spain visiting second homes is not allowed. Photo: AFP
As each of Spain’s regions impose their own restrictions on movement under the State of Alarm rules, it can be confusing to understand what we can and can’t do.

We have received many questions from second home owners on how the rules might apply to them. Here's the latest.

I'm at my second home in Spain, can I return to my home country?

Yes, foreigners who were in Spain on a visit when new restrictions came in are allowed to return to their home countries.

If your home in Spain is within a municipality or region that has perimeter confinement restrictions in place then you will need to be able to prove a justification for crossing borders.

There is no official government form as such but you must be able to show proof that you are returning to your primary residence. This could be proof of address in another country, passport, and travel documents (airline tickets or ferry tickets).

If you are driving to or from Spain through France, which is currently in lockdown then you will need to fill out the French attestation document, the permission form required for all trips out of the home – find the form HERE.

On this form you tick the box for déplacements pour motif familial impérieux (urgent family reasons) and if you like you can also write on the form Je rentre au Royaume-Uni/ aux Etas-Uni en voiture / par avion (aeroport de: ville) / par train – I am returning to the UK/ the USA by car/ by air (name the airport you are flying from) / by train – or just have this phrase ready to explain to a gendarme if necessary.

If you are returning to the UK, you will also need to fill in the quarantine locator form before you re-enter the country, and then quarantine for 14 days once you arrive – find this form HERE.

On arrival in Spain you will need to present a passenger locator form, and may be subject to a basic medical check including temperature check.

Can I travel to Spain to visit my second home?

The answer is, it depends.

Although Spain's international borders, ports and airports are not closed, there are once again strict regulations on who can travel and for what reason across much of Spain.

Much of Spain is now subject to perimeter confinements with most of the autonomous regions taking steps last month to close their borders and restrict people from coming in and out.

Each region is subject to different rules, such as the Basque Country has restricted everyone to stay within their own municipalities as well as closing the regional borders, while Extremadura has left its regional borders open but closed off a dozen municipalities within the region.

You can only travel to a restricted region if you are returning to your primary residence – and that means you will have residency card with that address on it plus be empadronado at that address.

But there are no limitations on visiting a second home if it is located within a region where there are no perimeter confinements, such as anywhere on the Balearic Islands apart from Manacor, most of Extremadura and Galicia except those municipalities which have perimeter restrictions in place.

Can I travel through a region in Spain with closed borders?

Yes. According to article 6.3 of the October 25th Royal Decree which declared another state of emergency in Spain, “transit travel through regions with restrictions will be allowed”.

That means that if you arrive in the port of Bilbao and want to drive to your second home in Galicia, as long as it is located in a municipality with no restrictions in place, then you can cross from the Basque Country, through Cantabria and Asturias even though all have perimeter confinements in place, and into Galicia.

This loophole doesn't apply if either the region which you're leaving or going to has a regional lockdown in place. And you need to show proof of where you're staying if you are stopped at a police check point.

EXPLAINED: What are the restrictions in place in each of Spain's regions right now?

 

So can I get the ferry to Bilbao or Santander or drive through France into Spain?

Yes. As long as the ferry companies are running you can arrive in Spain if it is to return to your primary residence (if that is within a restricted zone) or for leisure purposes if it is in a zone where there are no perimeter restrictions in place (currently only parts of Extremadura, Galicia and Balearic Islands). Make sure to have your travel tickets available to show at any checkpoints.

Check the travel advice issued by your government

So if you are not a permanent resident in Spain but want to travel to your second home and find out it is not within a restricted zone, then there is no reason why Spanish authorities will stop you from visiting unless you are from a country where travel for all but exceptional reasons are barred.

For a full list of those countries READ HERE.

But you should also check the travel advice issued by your own national government. For example the UK government continues to advise against non-essential travel to Spain (except for the Canary Islands which now appears on the safe travel corridor list).

If your own country is on lockdown then it is unlikely that you will be allowed to travel unless for exceptional reasons (work, study, to care for a dependent, etc) or because you are returning to a primary residence.

Canary Island exception

The Canary Islands is the one region of Spain which does not have any restrictions on movement in place and is not subject to nightly curfews.

It has also now been place on the safe travel list by the UK and German authorities although with a lockdown being introduced in parts of the UK from Thursday, travel is once again not recommended.

From November 14th however those arriving at hotel or rented accommodation on the islands will have to present a negative Covid-19 test.

Spain travel update: What we know about Canary Islands' compulsory Covid-19 tests for tourists

 

What if I have two homes in Spain, can I travel between them?

 

Again, that depends on where the homes are and what the restrictions are in those municipalities or regions.  If for example you live in the city of Madrid but have a rural house you visit on weekends in the sierra within the Community of Madrid then there are no restrictions unless either of those homes are within one of the basic healthcare zones that are currently under perimetral confinement.

If the second home is in either Castilla-y-Leon or Castilla-La Mancha you will be unable to visit because both regions have a perimeter confinement in place.

If the second home is in a town in Extremadura without restrictions then you could visit and are allowed to drive across restricted regions in order to get there.  

If you are in Catalonia over either of the weekend puentes in November then you face not only the regional border being closed but residents are also stopped from leaving their municipalities to prevent movement over the long weekends.

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What happens if I break the rules?

Anyone caught either breaking curfew or travelling across borders that they shouldn’t face fines of between €60 and €600 for a minor infraction up to €600,000 for a major breach.

How long will restrictions last?

Good question! Different regions put measures in place at different times and for different durations. And they are changing day by day.

Everything depends on the health situation, which at present is grim so restrictions are likely to get stricter before they get looser.

We'll do our best at The Local to keep you updated with reliable information.

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