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EXPLAINED: What Americans and Canadians need to know about travel to Spain in August 2021

EXPLAINED: What Americans and Canadians need to know about travel to Spain in August 2021
What do Americans and Canadians need to know about visiting Spain? Photos: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/DANIEL SLIM/AFP
What are the latest travel rules and restrictions for people in the US and Canada who want to visit Spain? Do they need to show a vaccine or testing certificate to enter and what are the requirements when returning home?

Originally Spain was only allowing vaccinated travellers to visit, however on June 18th, the US was added to the EU’s list of safe countries, followed by Canada on July 1st. This means that there is currently no requirement to bring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. 

On Monday July 26th, the US state department moved Spain from being on its “reconsider travel” list (level 3) to “do not travel” (level 4).

The decision by the US State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means that Spain is back on the “very high” category highest risk classification for travel. 

The US Embassy in Spain advises that the situation “may change with short notice, so be sure to review this information as close as possible to your travel date”.

The Canadian government meanwhile advises against all non-essential outside Canada until further notice.

Does this mean that Americans and Canadians can’t visit Spain this summer?

No, even though the governments of Canada and the US are advising against travel to Spain, you can still enter the country.

Both the US and Canada are on Spain’s list of non-EU nations which are exempt from all travel restrictions (no need to show proof of vaccination, Covid test, recovery etc), although they do need to fill in a health control form on the Spain travel health app or website.

READ MORE: The most common problems with the Spain Travel Health app and some potential solutions 

However, the CDC does recommend that people in the US “avoid travel to Spain”, even though there is no outright travel ban or quarantine on return requirement. 

“If you must travel to Spain, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel,” writes the medical body which the US State Department collaborates with to determine travel restrictions. 

This is an appropriate recommendation for unvaccinated travellers given that Spain’s 14-day cumulative incidence rate is 633.07.

If travelling to Spain from Canada, you may need to quarantine upon return home, depending on whether you are fully vaccinated or not. Check exemptions and requirements here. From August 9th, the Canadian government will change its quarantine rules for vaccinated travellers, find out here if you will have to quarantine after this date or not here

READ MORE: What does the US’s new risk classification for Spain mean for American travellers?

What do Americans and Canadians need to know about visiting Spain? Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

Normal entry requirements

Both American and Canadian citizens can enter Spain visa-free for periods of up to three months. You may be required to provide proof of an ongoing or return ticket or proof of funds.

According to US embassy in Spain, if you wish to remain longer than 90 days, you will be required to obtain an extension of stay from Spanish immigration authorities. The extension, of no more than 90 days, must be requested at a police station at least three weeks before the initial entry period expires. It is only granted under exceptional circumstances.

The Canadian government states: “If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel”.

Make sure to check the expiration date on your passport before travelling to Spain. Entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires that your passport be valid for at least three months after your date of departure. If your passport does not meet the requirements, you may be refused boarding or refused entry when you arrive. The US and the Canadian embassies in Spain recommend that your passport have at least six months’ validity remaining, whenever you travel abroad. 

Covid entry requirements

The only Covid requirement is that you fill out a health control form via the Spain Travel Health portal or by downloading the ‘SpTH app’ from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store for each traveller. This will enable you to download a QR code, which you will show upon arrival. 

The Spanish authorities state: “Regardless of your country of origin, all passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea, including those in transit and children under 6 years of age, must complete a health control form before their departure”.

You may also have to undergo physical health checks upon arrival which include a temperature check, a visual check and a documentary check.

Find out more about the health control form here

Photo: JORGE GUERRERO / AFP

What restrictions will I find in Spain when I arrive? 

Several restrictions remain in place across Spain and are changing all the time. Each region has its own rules so they will differ slightly depending on where you’re travelling to. This could include nighttime curfews, restrictions on the number of people allowed in bars and restaurants and the closure of nightclubs. See a list of the current restrictions here

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