In a matter of three days, UK nationals will be able to visit Spain for non-essential reasons such as holidays, the Spanish government has confirmed.
British holidaymakers will not need to present a negative PCR test to enter Spain, nor will they need to quarantine when arriving in the country.
However, they will have to factor in that Spain is currently on the UK’s amber list for travel, which requires 10 days of quarantine upon return to Britain and three PCR tests.
The announcement was published on Friday May 21st in Spain’s official state bulletin.
News that Spain will finally allow Britons to travel to the country for non-essential reasons and without a PCR has been met with both joy and confusion.
Many Brits have taken to forums and social media groups to ask if it was actually possible for them to travel to Spain without proof that they aren’t Covid-19 carriers or at least immune, especially in light of the increased prevalence of the Indian strain in the UK.
Spain’s Foreign Office has since published the following statement confirming that PCR tests will not be required but British holidaymakers will need to fill in a health control form.
The document explains that Spain’s decision may soon be followed by a similar one by the European Union, in terms of confirming whether Britons as non-EU nationals will be able to travel to EU countries for non-essential reasons and without restrictions.
Visitors from Japan are now also able to visit Spain from Monday May 24th without a PCR or other travel restrictions.
“It is foreseeable” that the EU “will allow the inclusion of the United Kingdom and Japan among the countries exempted from restrictions. Several Member States already place them in that privileged position ”, writes the Spanish Government.
The United Kingdom and Japan join the list of countries whose travellers do not have any restrictions for travel to Spain, which already includes Israel, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China , as well as residents of Hong Kong and Macao.
It isn’t clear yet what proof of vaccination, if any, British tourists will have to present to visit Spain. The Spanish government website still states that overseas visitors have to present a health control form.
Spain is currently working on its own ‘vaccine passport’ scheme which is due to be launched in June and will be incorporated into the EU’s vaccine certificate scheme, due to be active in July.
The UK government officially advises against non-essential travel to all amber list countries including Spain, but there have been conflicting messages from British authorities over whether this means Britons should travel abroad or not.
“I think it’s very important for people to grasp what an amber list country is: it is not somewhere where you should be going on holiday, let me be very clear about that,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“And if people do go to an amber list country, they absolutely have to for some pressing family or urgent business reason, then please bear in mind that you will have to self-isolate, you’ll have to take tests and do your passenger locator form and all the rest of it.”
There is an important consequence to the type of official advice being given by the UK government relating to insurance.
The UK government’s official travel page states that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office position is “you should not travel to amber list countries” and this official advice will likely invalidate most travel insurance, so check your policy carefully.
Invalid travel insurance means you won’t be covered for things like cancellation costs but also, potentially more seriously, for health costs in case you become ill or have an accident while you are away.
The EHIC card, or its replacement GHIC, covers only some emergency medical care while travelling and there are many things that it does not cover, including repatriation costs if this is required. People who have travelled abroad against government advice could therefore be faced with a large bill for medical costs if they fall ill or have an accident while abroad.