Spain extends restrictions on non-essential travel from most non-EU countries until October

Spain extends restrictions on non-essential travel from most non-EU countries until October
Spain extends restrictions from third countries. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
The Spanish government has extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel from most third countries until September 30th 2021, meaning that the majority of unvaccinated tourists from outside of the EU can still not visit Spain.

Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) published on Tuesday August 31st added the new extension to the temporary restriction order for non-essential trips, which was approved in July 2021.

The measure affects unvaccinated people from most non-EU countries who want to travel to Spain, as those who can prove vaccination with one of the inoculations Spain accepts can visit the country for tourism or other non-essential reasons. 

The BOE states that “since the epidemiological situation has not changed substantially at the global level, its effects should be extended for another additional month”.

A new list of third countries whose residents were exempt from travel restrictions for the European Union, as well as a set of specific categories of people also exempt from these restrictions, regardless of their place of origin, was established on June 30th 2020 and has been modified on successive occasions due to the changing epidemiological situations in those countries. 

The current list of travellers from third countries who are exempt from the restrictions includes Albania, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, South Korea, United States, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Singapore, Ukraine, as well as Hong Kong and Macau.

This means that currently, travellers from those countries can enter Spain without the need for a negative Covid test or a vaccination certificate. However, they still need to fill out a health control form, which can be found here.

Make sure to also check whether you need a visa or any other documents to enter Spain first and contact your nearest Spanish embassy to find out if they’re currently issuing visas. 

Because this list could change at very short notice, it’s important to check on the Spanish government website to see what the restrictions and travel requisites are from your country. You can check here by clicking on the map and selecting the country you’re travelling from. 

You can only enter Spain from third countries not mentioned on the list if:

  • You have a vaccination certificate that the Ministry of Health recognises for this purpose, after verification by the health authorities, as well as minors who are accompanied by the Ministry of Health (under 12 years of age).
  • 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.

Those travelling to Spain from the UK and the US

On July 2nd, the UK was removed from Spain’s restriction-free list for non-EU countries, requiring arrivals from the UK in Spain to show either a negative PCR test or a vaccination certificate, whereas during May and June neither was a requirement. British residents in Spain can show a negative antigen test instead.

REMINDER: What are the rules for travel between Spain and the UK in September 2021?

In late June 2021, Spain put the United States on its low-risk non-EU/EEA country list. Essentially, this allows non-essential travel (tourism included) from the US to Spain, and passengers do not need to provide a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination to be able to fly.

How long Spain will keep the US on its restriction-free list however has now been called into question by the EU’s decision on Monday August 30th, which recommended Member States tighten restrictions for arrivals from the US.

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