Spain extends restrictions on travel from outside the EU until end of May

Spain has extended its restrictions on non-essential journeys from countries outside the EU and Schengen Area to May 31st.

Spain extends restrictions on travel from outside the EU until end of May
Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

The restrictions were due to expire on April 30th but on Friday Spain’s State Bulletin (BOE) published that the measures would be extended until the end of May.

That means travellers from countries outside of the Schengen Area – including those in the UK and the US – will not be able to make non-essential journeys to Spain by land, air or sea throughout the month of May.

However, travellers from some countries with low infection rates will be able to make the journey, including those from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, China (subject to reciprocity) and the regions of Hong Kong and Macao, as there are Schengen-wide agreements allowing for this.

The list, which was first developed on June 30th 2020, has been updated several times. Japan was excluded from the list on January 28th.


Spain did lift its travel ban for UK arrivals on March 30th but this does not mean that Britons who aren’t residents in Spain are able to come yet; they would need to provide a force majeure reason or be the spouse of a Spanish national or resident. 

Spanish authorities have announced they will be ready to open up to international tourism in June and they are likely to want to welcome American and British tourists from then on given their importance to Spain’s tourism sector and their advanced vaccine campaigns. 

READ ALSO: Vaccinated Americans will be able to travel to Europe this summer, says EU chief

However, travel to Spain is also subject to other countries’ regulations. 

On May 17th the UK government will announce which parts of Spain are included on the country’s “green” list, which will in theory allow British holidaymakers to not have to quarantine on their return to the UK.

READ MORE: What parts of Spain will likely be on the UK’s ‘green’ travel list?

It’s worth noting that the extensions of restrictions do not apply to Gibraltar, given the fact that they have vaccinated almost all their population against Covid-19. Restrictions on non-essential travel from Gibraltar to Spain were lifted on March 30th.

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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.