UPDATE: Which travellers must show negative Covid-19 test on arrival in Spain?

Spain has brought in new rules requiring travellers arriving in Spain by air or sea from countries deemed high risk to prove they have tested negative, here's a look at the rules and who they apply to.

UPDATE: Which travellers must show negative Covid-19 test on arrival in Spain?
Photos: AFP

UPDATE: The Spanish Health Ministry has changed requirements for compulsory testing for arrivals by sea and air and from December 10th will accept a negative TMA test as well as a PCR. READ MORE HERE

Spain has updated the countries from which travellers need to show a negative PCR test before arriving by air or sea.

The new list will be in force from December 14th to December 27th, and includes slight changes compared to the previous one, which is in operation until December 13th.

The main difference is the fact that travelling from a number of regions in Finland will from next Monday require a negative PCR, as well as the whole of Greece, Aruba and Jersey (UK).

Meanwhile, traveling from Nordjylland (Denmark), Guadalupe (France), Kuwait and Monaco will no longer require showing a negative PCR.

Details of the new rules were published in Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) and come into force on November 23rd.

On November 30th, the list of those countries from which travellers were required to show a PCR test to enter Spain was updated to remove Iceland and Ireland and add parts of Norway, Greece, and the Azores Islands that were previously exempt, to the list.

Outside of the EU and EEA, Aruba, Bahrain, Libya, Tunisia are no longer on the list, while Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Curaçao and Iran have been added.

Spain doesn’t have a blanket testing requirement for all travellers but requires those flying in from high risk countries to provide a test before they will be allowed to fly.

The threshold that determines whether a country falls into the “high risk” category is based on EU guidelines and is so low that it effectively includes all the countries within the EU and many outside too.


The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), an agency of the European Union, operates a traffic light system and Spain will insist all of those flying in from countries classified as red zones will need to show a negative PCR test.

The ECDC currently classifies as high risk, those countries with anaccumulated incidence rate of more than 150 cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days.

It also states that those with a rate of 50 cases per 100,000 combined with over 4 percent of all tests giving positive results, will also be categorised as high risk.


All the areas marked in red on the map above fall into Spain's high risk category and travellers flying from there will require PCR tests.

So far this affects most travellers from more than 65 countries which includes most of the EU, EEA plus Switzerland and the UK.

The only European exemptions are those who have travelled from Ireland and Iceland and certain regions of Greece, Finland and Norway although from the 14th December travellers from any part of Greece will be required to take the test and only those from the exempt regions of Finland and Norway will change.

Travellers from Greenland, the Faroe Islands and are also exempt.

Tests will also be required from the following list of countries:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde. Colombia. Costa Rica, Curaçao, United Arab Emirates, USA, Russia, Georgia, Gibraltar, Guam, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Morroco, Moldova, Mónaco, Montenegro, Palestine, Panamá, French Polynesia, Puerto Rico, San Marino, San Martín, Serbia and Ukraine.

For the full updated list on Spain's Foreign Office website CHECK HERE

This only applies to travellers whose destination is Spain and not those on transit through Spain in order to reach another country.

They will be required to provide a negative result on a diagnostic test of active infection (PCR) taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain.

The test results must be written in either Spanish or English and be presented either in electronic version or original paper format and must contain the following information:

Traveller's name, passport number or ID number (which must match the document used to travel and the health control form), date of the test, identification and contact details of the centre where test was carried out, the kind of test conducted and proof of a negative test result. MORE INFO HERE

The order also states that it is the responsibility of the airline or shipping company to ensure that the test meets the criteria before allowing check in but it does add that those arriving in Spain without the correct test and negative result will have to undergo one at a medical centre on arrival.

Those arriving by air or sea will also be subject to a basic medical check in the form of having their temperature taken and will be asked to fill in a health form

If the travellers temperature registers above 37.5C or there are other symptoms suggesting they could have Covid-19 then they will be subject to protocol established by the regional health authority in which they have arrived.

The new rules come into force on November 23rd across all of Spain but in the Canary Islands people arriving on the islands from anywhere including mainland Spain must also abide by the regional government rules and provide a negative test result on check-in.


Member comments

  1. Most of us would agree with the principle of
    pre-entry testing BUT the problem is logistics.
    Testing agencies in UK state that test results
    within 72-hours of departure cannot be guaranteed due to postal and lab times.

    What can the airlines do to assist travellers?
    Will they deny boarding to the “undocumented”?
    Is test and quarantine on arrival an alternative?

    How can Spanish authorities assist travellers to
    navigate this logistical puzzle?

    I am booked to arrive on 15th December but fearful
    that I may not be able to comply with the rules in
    view of the overly tight timescale. I need to be
    in Spain to undertake a legal duty but “elective” travellers may opt for a “staycation” which would
    mitigate against revival of Spanish tourism and
    the potential economic benefits of such revival.

    There must be a way to protect public health AND
    provide a logistical route capable of compliance
    easily by typical tourists.

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Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

The Spanish government's health experts have agreed not to review face mask usage on public transport until March 2023, a new report has found, by which stage almost a whole year will have passed since other face mask rules were lifted.

Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

Although masks haven’t been mandatory in indoor public settings (except hospitals, pharmacies, care homes and other health-related centres) since April 20th 2022, face coverings must still be worn on public transport in Spain, such as on buses, planes, taxis, metro carriages and trains.

According to a report published in Spanish news site Voz Populi, Spain’s Emergency Unit has agreed not to review Spain’s face mask rules until March 2023, even though all other Covid-19 domestic and travel restrictions were lifted before the summer of 2022.

The article, which cites internal sources from Spain’s government, adds that the country’s Public Health Commission (a body which advises Spain’s Health Ministry on which measures to introduce) has reportedly agreed to shelve any possible changes until March, and as things stand keep the rule in place “for an indefinite time” as “it is not the right time to remove masks due to the arrival of winter”.

The Health Ministry, however, argues that no fixed date for reviewing face mask legislation has been set.

“We’re taking the German approach,” the Emergency Unit source told Voz Populi about the fact that Germany is the only other country in Europe with similar mask-wearing rules to Spain.

On October 1st, new measures were brought into force in Germany stating that passengers over the age of 14 must wear FFP2 masks on long-distance trains rather than surgical ones, with the German government saying it will not review the legislation until April 2023.

Fernando Simón, Spain’s Health Emergencies chief, told journalists recently that “it’s okay to wait a little bit to see how the disease evolves” before making a decision regarding the complete removal of face masks.

However, if Spanish health experts are indeed looking to follow in the footsteps of Germany, there is even a possibility that the return of face masks to all indoor public settings this winter could happen, or at least a debate about it. 

An increase in Covid and flu cases that’s overburdened hospitals this autumn, as well as the emergence of the new Omicron subvariant BQ.1, has resulted in German authorities considering whether they should bring back old Covid-19 restrictions for the winter months.

Spain is also starting to see an increase in Covid and flu infections, and talk of an eighth coronavirus wave is rumbling in the background, but there has been no mention yet by Health Ministry representatives of a possible return to indoor face mask wearing across the board.