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Spain remains on UK’s quarantine-free amber list for travel

The UK government announced on Thursday evening that all of Spain including its islands will stay on the amber list, allowing fully vaccinated people to continue to avoid quarantine when travelling to the UK.

Spain remains on UK's quarantine-free amber list for travel
Tourists in Madrid in June 2021. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP

Spain will continue on the UK’s amber list from Monday August 30th following the latest review by the British government and the UK’s Global Travel Taskforce, the agency responsible for helping to set out the travel rules for the country.

Reports in the British press had previously hinted Spain was unlikely to go on the UK’s red list, as the falling fortnightly infection rate (277 cases per 100,000 people) during the past weeks and high vaccination rate (67,9 percent fully vaccinated) means it has put the worst of its fifth coronavirus wave behind it. 

However, the fact that in mid-August one in 35 travellers arriving in the UK from Spain were found to have Covid-19 caused fears Spain would be included in the UK’s red list.

READ ALSO: What happens when tourists get Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain?

This would have meant travellers arriving from Spain had to stay at a government-run quarantine hotel for ten days and pay £1,750 (€2,046) per person.

But finally Spain – including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands – remains on the UK’s amber list as it has been for most of 2021. 

Overall there were few changes to this latest update of the UK’s travel rules.

Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal’s Azores, Finland and Canada are among the countries joining the green list following the government’s latest review of its traffic light system for travel abroad.

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According to the UK government website, all travellers heading to England from Spain have to take a Covid test (PCR recommended) in the 3 days before travel, book and pay for Covid tests to be taken on arrival in the UK and complete a passenger locator form.  

After arriving in England, fully vaccinated travellers must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2.

This applies if you’re fully vaccinated under either “the UK vaccination programme, the UK vaccine programme overseas, an approved vaccination programme in Europe or the USA – not all are recognised in England”.

READ MORE: UK changes travel rules again to impose quarantine on European arrivals who had mixed vaccine doses

Travellers who aren’t fully vaccinated travelling to England from Spain have to quarantine at home or at their chosen accommodation for 10 days, take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8. 

If you’re in England for less than 10 days, you need to quarantine for your whole stay but you may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

The UK updates its traffic light travel list approximately every three weeks.

The travel-traffic light changes announced by Scotland are virtually the same as are the travel requirements, which you can check here. For the rules for travel from an amber country to Wales click here and for Northern Ireland here

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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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