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Spain extends ban on travellers from UK (with exemption for residents)

Spain’s government has chosen to extend a ban on all travellers from the UK arriving by sea and air except for its citizens or those with residency.

Spain extends ban on travellers from UK (with exemption for residents)
Photo: AFP

On Tuesday, the Health Minister announced that a decision had been taken to extend the ban until February 2nd due to fears over the new Covid-19 strain that is spreading in the UK.

 

The ban first came into play on Tuesday December 22nd and was due to expire on January 5th but was then extended until January 19th. It has now been extended again.

The government said it had decided to extend it again because of “some uncertainties over the reach of the new strain” of the coronavirus, the statement said.

“The epidemiological situation in the United Kingdom has progressively worsened,” it said.

At the same time there has been an increase in Spain in cases “linked to the new strain”, the statement added. 

The new strain of the virus, whose discovery set off alarm bells worldwide, appears to spread more easily than other types but experts say there is no evidence it is more lethal or resistant to vaccines.   

About 70 cases of the variant have been detected in Spain, according to the latest health ministry figures.

Exceptions are made for those with Spanish citizenship and those travelling from the UK who can prove they are residents in Spain by showing either the TIE residency card or the older green paper certificates issued prior to Brexit.

The matter has caused untold confusion with reports that Brits had been turned away from flights after their green certificates were not accepted.

Spanish authorities clarified the situation and provided a downloadable form from the Spanish Embassy in London to assure airlines that documentation was correct.

The Spanish authorities have also created a printable pdf for British residents to show at the airports, confirming which residency documents are accepted and a photograph of each. It is available to download here.

The British Government website currently states: “If you are resident in Spain, you should carry your residence document (the green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE), as well as your valid passport when you travel.

“The Spanish authorities have not confirmed whether other documents are being accepted as sufficient proof of residence to enable entry to Spain. We strongly advise that you contact your airline before travelling to confirm your proof of residency meets the requirements of your airline.”

They also state: “International transit through Spanish airports by passengers on flights departing from the UK is not permitted. This includes flights from the UK to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands. If you were due to travel, or transit through, Spain, please contact your travel operator before departure.”

 

Those arriving in Spain that do have residency and documentation to prove it, will also have to show a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

Travellers are also required to  to fill out and sign an online Health Control Form 48 hours prior to travel which will then provide a personal and non-transferable QR code which you must show (electronically or hardcopy) at airport health controls on arrival.

You can do this on the Spain Travel Health website or downloadable app

Those whose flights were delayed, diverted or cancelled because of recent bad weather causing their PCR test to expire beyond the allotted 72 hours have been given the option to test for free on arrival.

From January 15th travellers to the UK will also be required to show a negative PCR test if arriving from a country deemed “high risk”.

READ ALSO: 

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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