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Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated against Covid-19?

It's been a difficult two years for people who own second homes in Spain, with opportunities to check on them greatly reduced by Covid-19 travel restrictions. But with many rules now easing, which unvaccinated foreigners can visit their Spanish properties in 2022?

Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I'm not vaccinated against Covid-19?
Owning property in Spain isn’t considered an essential reason for travel to Spain in the event that you can’t meet Spain’s Covid travel requirements. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

This article was updated on March 11th 2022.

Question: We own a property in Spain and we’re not vaccinated against Covid-19 – can we visit yet?

Although many health restrictions have been lifted across Spain, there are still travel restrictions in March 2022 which prevent some foreign second-home owners from being able to visit their Spanish properties.

Whether you can enter Spain or not depends on two things – your nationality/residency and whether you are fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19.

Unvaccinated second-home owners from the EU/EEA

EU citizens and residents with a second home in Spain and who haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 can still enter the country by presenting their Digital Covid Certificate, reflecting either Covid testing or recovery.

The Digital Covid Certificate shows one of three things – if you’ve been fully vaccinated, if you have a recent negative Covid-19 test or if you’ve recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months.

If your EU country isn’t on Spain’s risk list, then you don’t have to technically show proof of any of this, but currently and for some time now almost all EU/Schengen countries have remained on the risk list (you can check here for the latest weekly PDF update). 

In February 2022, Spanish authorities followed the EU’s recommendations to Member States and updated the country’s travel rules regarding Covid-19 health passes and required vaccinations.

The main change is that if you completed your initial Covid-19 vaccination more than 270 days ago (around 9 months), you will need to show you’ve had a Covid booster shot to be able to use vaccination as your means of entry. 

If you do not have your Digital Covid Certificate, the Spanish government will still allow you to enter if you can show either a vaccination, diagnostic or recovery certificate by the “competent authorities” in your country.

Covid-19 testing: Negative NAAT (PCR, LAMP, TMA or equivalent) and rapid antigen test types are accepted from unvaccinated arrivals from the EU/EEA. The NAAT or PCR test must be taken within 72 hours prior to travel to Spain, or if using an antigen test, it must have been taken within 24 hours prior to travel.

Recovery from Covid-19 – People who have recovered from the virus may show a certificate of a positive result of Covid-19. The date of recovery on the certificate must be at least 11 days and a maximum of 180 days from the date on which the Covid-19 test was performed. 

Please be aware that even if you’re travelling from within the EU, you must still fill out a health control form

You can use your Digital Covid Certificate if travelling from within the EU. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Unvaccinated second-home owners from third countries

Until recently, the rule was that if non-EU/Schengen visitors (including those with property in Spain) were not fully vaccinated, they could not enter Spain or spend time in their Spanish homes.

But in late February 2022, Spanish authorities eased this rule slightly so that visitors from third countries who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can now visit Spain even if they haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid.

This also applies to those whose full vaccination status has expired after 270 days because they haven’t had a booster shot, but who’ve had Covid in the last 180 days. 

However, unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists who do not have a recovery certificate can still not enter Spain.

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or rapid antigen test, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”.

NAATs – nucleic acid amplification tests – are usually PCR tests whereas RATs stand for rapid antigen tests. The Covid test must have been carried out by an accredited laboratory; self-test kits are not valid.

This latest change follows the decision in early February to allow unvaccinated non-EU/EEA minors aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain if they show a negative PCR test

However, unvaccinated third-country adults who don’t have proof of recovery would need to meet one of the following criteria to be allowed into Spain.

Owning property in Spain isn’t considered an essential reason for travel to Spain in the event that you can’t meet Spain’s Covid travel requirements.

  • Being a resident of a European Union country, Schengen country or Andorra, Monaco, The Vatican or San Marino.
  • Holders of a long-stay visa issued by a Member State or Schengen Associated State.
  • Health professionals, including health researchers, and elderly care professionals who are heading to or returning from their work activity.
  • Transportation personnel, seafarers and aeronautical personnel.
  • Diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military, civil protection and members of humanitarian organisations.
  • Students who carry out their studies in a Member State or Schengen Associated State and who have the corresponding permit or visa for long-term stay, providing entry occurs during the academic year or the 15 days prior.
  • Highly qualified workers whose work is necessary and cannot be postponed or carried out remotely, including participants in high-level sports events that take place in Spain.
  • Duly accredited people travelling for imperative family reasons. People who document reasons of force majeure or situation of need, or whose entry is allowed for humanitarian reasons.

One other ‘loophole’ is if you’re travelling from one of the countries on Spain’s list of epidemiologically safe third countries. Even if you are unvaccinated, you will not have to show a negative Covid-19 test, proof of vaccination or recovery certificate at the border.

This list changes frequently however and includes very few countries, so make sure to check the list here before you travel.

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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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