Spain extends ban on travellers from UK until mid February

Spain extends ban on travellers from UK until mid February
Photo: AFP
Spain on Tuesday extended a ban on arrivals from Britain by sea or air until mid-February given persistent "uncertainties" over the new virus strain discovered there last year.

Only those with Spanish nationality or legal proof of residency in Spain will be allowed in, a government statement said, indicating the same rules would be in place for the microstate of Andorra.

Like many other European countries, Spain decided at the end of December to ban all UK arrivals in response to fears over the discovery in Britain of a more contagious strain of the virus.

The two-week ban has already been extended once.   

“At this point in time, there remain some uncertainties over the reach of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2,” the statement said.

The government said the epidemiological situation in Britain was getting worse while at the same time, the number of cases in Spain linked to the new variant was rising.

So far, around 200 cases of the new variant have been detected in Spain, although health chiefs fear the variant could spread and become the majority strain in the country by March.

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.”

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