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.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


What are Spain’s current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

Spain is currently experiencing an eighth Covid wave. For those who test positive during the summer of 2022, here's a reminder of all the rules and recommendations you need to be aware of, concerning asymptomatic, mild and serious cases.

What are Spain's current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

No one wants to get Covid, particularly when the summer season is approaching and many have booked their annual holidays.

But if you do find that you test positive for Covid-19, here’s what you need to know about Spain’s current health rules. 

Whatever questions you have, from wanting to know if you still need to get an official test or inform your doctor, to whether you can go outside and if you need to wear a face mask, we’ve got you covered. 

Q: What if I get Covid but don’t have any symptoms?

A: If you are asymptomatic, in other words you test positive for Covid-19 but don’t experience any symptoms, then it’s not necessary to self-isolate and you are not required to quarantine at home.

Spain’s quarantine requirement for asymptomatic cases was dropped as of March 28th 2022.

However, the health body that advises Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that you still stay at home and rest and that if you do go out, you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week. 

Q: What if I have mild Covid symptoms?

A: If you have mild Covid symptoms, you fall into the same category as those who have no symptoms for Spanish health authorities.

This means that while it’s not mandatory to isolate at home, you should still rest, wear a mask indoors and outdoors and avoid social contact.

The obligatory quarantine for mild cases was also scrapped as of March 28th, 2022.

Q: What if I have severe Covid symptoms?

A: If you have serious Covid symptoms, Spain’s Health Ministry continues to require a quarantine period of seven days, meaning that it’s mandatory.

It is also still required for those classified as part of the high-risk or vulnerable population, which includes those aged 60 or older, immunosuppressed people and pregnant women. 

Q: Am I allowed to go outside if I have Covid?

A: Yes, as mentioned above, if you have mild or asymptomatic symptoms you are allowed to go outside while you have Covid. However, you should limit your contact with others for a week to make sure you’re not putting others at risk. You should aim to stay at home as much as possible until your symptoms disappear.

Keep in mind that you are highly contagious in the first few days of the illness, so you may want to avoid going out during that time.

Q: Can I go to events if I have Covid-19?

A: Yes, you can leave the house if you have Covid-19, but as you’re expected to limit your contact with others, going to a large event with hundreds of people is not recommended. You could unknowingly be putting vulnerable people at risk. Health authorities still recommend that you avoid gatherings for at least a week after a positive test. 

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I test positive?

A: The Spanish Health Ministry has confirmed that those who have Covid must wear a mask for “ten days from the diagnosis” of the virus.

They should be worn indoors, as well as outdoors, if a distance can’t be maintained from others. Experts recommend using the FFP2 masks during this time because even if your symptoms are mild, you can still be contagious.

READ ALSO: How likely is it that Spain will make face masks mandatory indoors again?

Q: Can I go to work if I have Covid-19?

A: If you have mild or asymptomatic Covid-19, although the recommendation is to work from home or take sick leave, you can still go in.

However, the health authorities recommend that you wear a mask, avoid contact with vulnerable people and avoid enclosed spaces with little ventilation.

Q: Is it necessary to get officially tested?

A: No, it’s not necessary to get a PCR or antigen done at your local health centre or at a private clinic any more. An antigen test bought from a pharmacy and performed at home will suffice.

Only those with serious symptoms and high-risk groups should get tested now. Although you it’s not necessary anymore to confirm your infection with a test, it’s still useful to test yourself at home so you can avoid contact with others if it’s positive and know when you can get back to life as normal.

Q: Do I have to tell my doctor if I have or have recently had Covid?

A: No, it’s not necessary for everyone to call their doctor if they have Covid, because not all cases are being counted by authorities anymore.

You may, however, still need to call your doctor if you need to sick leave from work. Those in Catalonia will be given an automatic five-day sick leave if they have Covid symptoms, even if they don’t take a test.  

If you are over the age of 60, are immunosuppressed or are in a high risk group, it’s still a good idea to tell your doctor if you test positive.

Q: What do I do if I have come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19?

A: If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, it’s not necessary for you to take a test or to self-isolate.

The health authorities do recommend that you take precautions though, such as limiting social interactions, wearing a mask and avoid vulnerable people.

Remember that the days before you test positive, but after you have been exposed to the virus are when you are the most contagious. 

Q: What if I get Covid while on holiday in Spain?

A: If you have a mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain, you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t have to inform the local health authorities, unless you are in a vulnerable category.

Like above, Spain’s Health Ministry only recommends that you stay at home and rest, that if you do have to go out you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week.

Different countries have different rules so you may not be able to travel home if you have Covid and may have to wait until you test negative.

READ MORE: What tourists should do if they get Covid while on holiday in Spain?