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REMINDER: What changes from Monday if you’re travelling from Spain to the UK

REMINDER: What changes from Monday if you're travelling from Spain to the UK
Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP
From Monday October 4th, most fully vaccinated travellers from Spain will no longer have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests when flying to England. Here's what else they need to know.

The easing of the restrictive Covid-19 travel rules for entering England was announced by the British transport secretary on Friday September 17th and come into force from October 4th at 4am.

Grant Shapps, the UK’s Transport Secretary said: “Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry”.

The new measures are only applicable for travel to England. On September 28th, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that they will also adopt the same rules. You can check the information for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales by clicking on the relevant country link. 

This means that the UK has scrapped its “amber” list, which contained most European countries. It now has just a reduced red list and then the “rest of the world”, which currently includes Spain.

READ ALSO: How to get a Digital Covid Certificate for travel from Spain to the EU

What you need to be aware of when travelling to England from Spain

  • From October 4th, fully vaccinated travellers (for definition of fully vaccinated – see below) from countries in the “rest of the world” list do not need to undertake pre-departure tests (previously those travelling from European countries needed a PCR or antigen/lateral flow test within 72 hours of travel.
  • Fully vaccinated travellers from Spain who have been inoculated with an “approved vaccine” will still need to take a test on day two of arrival, which has to be reserved and paid for in advance before travel. This is important to do as you will require the reference number in order to fill in your Passenger Locator Form. 
  • The Day 2 test is still required even if you are spending less that two days in England. 
  • According to the gov.uk website, from the end of October fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to get the cheaper lateral flow tests for their Day 2 test instead of of the more expensive PCR test.  
  • Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which “would be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants”.  
  • Those who are unvaccinated and travelling from Spain will still have to abide by strict rules, including the need to quarantine for 10 days after arrival. “Testing for unvaccinated passengers from non-red countries will include pre-departure tests, day 2 and day 8 PCR tests, and test to release remains an option to reduce self-isolation period,” the UK government said.

The UK’s Department of Health and Social care initially confirmed to The Local that there was no change in policy or relaxation of rules regarding those who had received mixed vaccine doses in Europe, however, the UK government has now discreetly changed its Covid border rules. 

Previously, anyone who had one dose of Astra Zeneca and then a dose of Pfizer or Moderna in a European country was not considered fully vaccinated by the UK government. 

This week though, British embassies published information to say the UK would accept those with mixed Covid vaccines (for example one dose of AstraZeneca and one Pfizer) as fully vaccinated, meaning that they are considered fully inoculated and therefore can avoid quarantine.

The UK government has now updated its website with new information that confirms the mixed doses administered in Europe are acceptable from now on for entry into England (devolved countries Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may announce different policies). 

The UK also accepts mixed doses for those travellers vaccinated in the following countries: Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea or Taiwan as well as those vaccinated in the UK.

Despite this, there wasn’t any good news for those who have had Covid and then one dose of the vaccine – as is standard practice in many European countries. It still appears the UK considers this group of people as not fully vaccinated for the purpose of entry, although The Local has asked for clarification on this matter. 


Member comments

  1. I am fully vaccinated in Catalonia but still unable to get my EU digital certificate due to not being in the public health system yet (as per: https://www.thelocal.es/20210730/were-in-limbo-the-foreigners-in-spain-who-cant-get-a-digital-covid-certificate-for-travel/)

    I only have a print-out from the CAP showing I have been vaccinated.

    I have a flight booked to the UK – does anyone know if this print-out will be accepted (and by whom/at what stage of flying does this happen) or will I have to quarantine? (same question for return flight back to Spain)

    Any help much appreciated!

  2. Is the UK actually accepting the EU Covid Digital Certificate for entry to England? Mine does not show separate dates for my two Pfizer vaccinations, which the UK Gov says is a requirement for the traveller to be regarded as fully vaccinated.

  3. This information is not totally correct. Until the 31st of October, the day 2 PCR test is still required. However, from the 4th of October, the pre-travel pcr test is no long required for vaccinated passengers. This is according to gov.co.uk

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