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REMINDER: What are the Covid travel rules between Spain and UK in June?

Heading to the Spanish sun this summer? With pandemic rules and the added stress of travel chaos across Europe, here's everything you need to know about travel between the UK and Spain this summer.

Tourists arrive in Palma de Mallorca
There are a lot of factors British travellers have to consider before visiting Spain this summer. (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP) (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP)
 
What are the latest rules for entry to Spain from the UK?
 
Spain recently scrapped the need for travellers from the EU to show a Covid pass, meaning that EU/Schengen citizens and residents travelling to Spain no longer need to present any other proof of vaccination, testing or recovery to enter the country. 
 
 
 
However, this has not been extended to Brits and travellers from other non-EU countries. Read on to find out what rules are still in place for travel between the UK and Spain. 
 
On May 21st 2022, the Spanish government opened the country up to unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists for the first time in more than two years.
 
That means those from the UK who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the last six months can now go on holiday to Spain, if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test.
 
 
Vaccinated

Those who are fully vaccinated can enter Spain without the need to show a negative Covid-19 test or quarantine, regardless of the reason for travel. Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements.

At least 14 days must have passed since being fully vaccinated before arrival in Spain. If you completed your vaccination schedule was more than 270 days (nine months) ago, you must also be able to show proof of having received a booster jab.

The additional dose needs to be visible on vaccination passes or certificates.

READ ALSO: Do I need a booster dose to travel to Spain in June?

 
The booster shot rule is applicable to UK tourists but not Spanish nationals, EU citizens and their non-EU family members or British residents in Spain.
 
Instead, if more than 270 days have passed since their initial Covid-19 vaccination, they must show proof of a negative PCR taken within the last 72 hours, a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours before travel to Spain or a medical certificate proving recovery from Covid-19 in the last six months. 

For UK tourists heading to Spain who received their initial Covid-19 vaccination within the last 270 days, proof of a booster shot isn’t required.

Aside from the two-shot Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines and single-shot Johnson & Johnson (or any other EMA or WHO-approved vaccine), Spain considers people who have recovered from Covid-19 and then been given one dose to be fully immunised. 

Those under 12 don’t require any proof of vaccination or a negative test. Fully vaccinated children aged 12 to 15 are able to get an NHS Covid Pass letter for travel to Spain.

Spain has dropped the requirement for travellers from the UK to fill out its Health Control Form. This means that you can now show your NHS certificate upon arrival at the airport instead. Read here to check the new health form rules. 

READ ALSO: A step-by-step guide on how to fill out Spain’s Health Control Form

 
 
Unvaccinated 

If you are neither fully vaccinated nor have recovered from Covid-19, you can now visit Spain by providing a negative PCR test, which must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain, or a negative antigen test, 24 hours prior to departure.

Your negative result can be uploaded to your NHS Covid Pass, so that you can show it on your smartphone before you board and when you arrive in Spain.

Covid tests accepted are those authorised by the European Commission and must have been performed by healthcare professionals, therefore self-tests are not valid. 

Recovered 

Spain’s Interior Ministry states that those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can visit Spain, even if they haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid or if their Covid vaccination certificate has expired because they haven’t had a booster shot.

READ ALSO: Spain allows entry of non-EU travellers if they have recovery certificate

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”.

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. 

Rules and restrictions on the ground in Spain

Most of Spain’s Covid restrictions have been relaxed, however you may find a few still in place. These vary a lot between different regions, so it will depend on where you travel to within Spain. These could include capacity limits at certain venues.

Face masks are no longer required outdoors or indoors, but they are still required on public transport and inside hospitals and other health centres. 

READ ALSO: What are Spain’s specific mask rules for travel?

Travel chaos

As most Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted across Europe, travel is most certainly back on this summer. 

This boom in demand has caused travel choas across the continent with staff shortages, strikes, flight cancellations and delays. Some airlines and airports that shed staff during the pandemic are having trouble rehiring employees, as well as facing demands for wage hikes and better working conditions.

READ ALSO: More travel chaos looming as Ryanair’s Spain staff set to strike

There could be more travel disruptions to come as budget airline Ryanair cabin crew are set to strike from June 24th to July 2nd. They aim to push the Irish airline to reach a deal that guarantees decent work conditions for all personnel. 

Ryanair is the only international airline that does not have a collective bargaining agreement that defines workplace conditions for its Spanish employees, according to the trade unions.

Despite the fact that Brexit granted UK holidaymakers this new third-country status in 2021, it’s only now in 2022 that the travel consequences of it are being felt as tourism starts to really take off after the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: What Britons could be asked to prove when visiting Spain

As a result, a common scene at Spain’s main airports in recent weeks has been huge crowds of travellers (many of them British) queuing for extended periods of time in order to get their passport stamped, rather than swiftly scanning them via airport e-gates. Thousands of passengers have missed their flights as a result.

Fortunately, Spain’s Interior Ministry has been willing to act relatively quickly to address the bottlenecks that are occurring, with two measures which should lead to fewer holdups (click link below).

READ ALSO: Brits through e-gates and more border guards – How Spain is tackling airport chaos

What are the new rules for travel from Spain to the UK?

The UK dropped all its Covid-19 entry restrictions from March 18th. 

This means that no one entering the UK from Spain or any other country will need to take any Covid tests or even complete a passenger locator form.

The changes apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers, meaning that those in Spain who are not fully vaccinated, will not have to take pre-departure tests or a day 2 post-arrival test.

Mask mandates in the UK have also been dropped. The UK’s biggest airport London Heathrow has said that while mask-wearing is still encouraged, it will no longer be mandatory. Airlines British Airways, Tui, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic have also stated that they have dropped mask rules under certain circumstances. However, if you’re travelling to and from Spain, you will still have to wear a mask on the plane

Member comments

  1. Aren’t the Spanish government making any exception for teenagers 12-15 travelling with fully vaccinated parents if they had only one shot?

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TRAVEL NEWS

What you should know if you’re travelling to Spain in December

The rules, the least busy travel times, the strikes, the free travel deals, what you can’t check in - here’s what you need to know if you’re travelling to Spain in December or at Christmas.

What you should know if you're travelling to Spain in December

December is a busy travel period with many foreigners leaving Spain to celebrate Christmas with their families back in their home countries and many others travelling to Spain for a holiday or to spend time with their loved ones here.

Airline strikes and an increase in passengers could make travelling this winter a little more challenging, but here’s everything to need to know, so you can be prepared. 

According to Spain’s airport operator Aena, the number of airline tickets sold for travel to Spain over the winter season is set to exceed the number in 2019-2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also, last winter saw the rise of the Omicron variant and some countries introduced new restrictions, so many foreign residents decided not to go back to see their families over the holidays. This means that this year could see more people wanting to return after several years of not having celebrated together with their families. 

Therefore, airports could be particularly busy this December, so make sure you leave plenty of time for getting through security and passport control.

There is still one important Covid travel rule in Spain

Although the majority of Spain’s domestic and travel Covid-19 restrictions were lifted before the summer of 2022, one of the only rules that still remains in place is the obligation of wearing a face mask on public transport.

This includes aeroplanes, buses, trains, taxis and some ferries, but mask wearing isn’t compulsory at airports, ports or bus and train stations.

As things stand, the general rule is that cabin crew from all airlines have to tell passengers on planes bound to Spain that they have to wear masks.

If on the other hand the aircraft is flying out of Spain, the mask rules of the country which the plane is flying to apply, which in almost all cases means face coverings aren’t required.

Spain’s flagship airline Iberia has criticised the Spanish government’s ongoing mask requirement for passengers on planes bound to the country, stressing that it “doesn’t make any sense” and “it affects tourism”.

Although it is no longer compulsory to present a negative Covid-19 test to fly, Spanish health and airport authorities ask that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms avoid travel.

It is no longer necessary either for travellers to fill in health control forms before flying to Spain as was previously the case, and there are no bans or restrictions on non-EU or other specific countries.

Which are the least busy days for travelling to Spain in December?

According to flight search engine Skyscanner, which has analysed nine million searches for people looking to travel to Spain over the festive period, some of the quietest days to travel to Spain are from the 18th to the 23rd, with the 23rd being the least popular before Christmas.

If you’re wanting to fly to Spain after Christmas, however, you’ll find it even quieter on December 28th, as well as January 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th. You may find Spanish cities to be fairly busy however as December 6th and 8th are public holidays.

Conversely, the most popular days to travel are between December 12th and the 17th, so avoid those days if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Who is travelling to Spain this December? 

According to new data released by Spain’s Tourism Ministry, during the last month of the year, 7,066,101 people have booked seats, which implies a recovery of 97.4 percent compared to the same month of 2019. 

Forecasts for the early December holidays reveal that Italians, Germans and French are the main tourists who will be visiting Spain. During the puentes and public holidays on December 6th and 8th, Italians will make up the majority of tourists travelling to Spain (23 percent), followed by Germans (17 percent), French (16 percent), British (10 percent) and finally the Portuguese (6 percent).

Airline strikes

Several airline strikes have also been called for this winter, mainly involving low-cost airlines Vueling and Ryanair.

The Vueling strikes are due to take place on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. They began on November 1st 2022 and will run right through the Christmas period to January 31st 2023.

Specifically, this means that those travelling on December 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th,10th and 11th may be affected by cancellations. 

Additional days that will be affected include December 24th, 31st and January 5th 2023, affecting those passengers who plan on travelling for Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Three Kings’ Day.

The workers are demanding a wage increase in line with the rise in prices due to inflation, as well as protesting over the precarious work conditions that have been experienced within the sector since even before the pandemic.  

Many passengers are currently being offered alternative flights, refunds or other compensation if their flights are cancelled. 

Ryanair baggage handlers and on-the-ground staff have also been striking and will continue to do so until January 7th, 2023.

It’s likely these airports will include Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Seville, however, it’s worth noting that Ryanair has said that it doesn’t expect this strike to cause that much disruption.

Bringing food and goods in from the UK and other non-EU countries

One of the advantages of going back to your home country for Christmas is not only to see your friends and family but also to stock up on treats and ingredients you’ve missed while living in Spain. Think mince pies, custard powder and Marmite for those going back to the UK.

But as this is the second Christmas since Brexit came into force, many may still not be totally aware of what they’re now allowed to bring to Spain from non-EU countries.

The EU’s strict rules mean that all imports of animal-derived products are not allowed. This means no Christmas puddings with suet, no British bacon and blocks and Wensleydale or Cheddar cheese to bring back with you.

If you want to know exactly what you can and can’t bring in this Christmas, read our detailed guide here

Bringing food from Spain into the UK, is a little easier as you’re still allowed to bring in EU products, so packets of jamón and Manchego cheese are ok to take.

Travel within Spain

Those who are planning on travelling within Spain this Christmas, either to visit friends and family or simply for the fun of travel should know that there are currently lots of travel discounts, particularly on trains.

Multi-journey tickets are currently free on Cercanías, Rodalies and Media Distancia trains and are worth paying the €10 or €20 deposit for if you’re going to be making the same journey several times during your trip.

READ ALSO:

For example, if you’re planning on spending the holiday in the small Catalan town of Sitges, but know that you’ll be making several trips to Barcelona during that time for sightseeing, shopping or eating out, then it could be worth it.

Unfortunately, the free tickets are not available on long-distance trains, but you can still get a bargain on these this winter as Spain’s new low-cost train operator Iryo recently launched.

This means that you can get tickets from Madrid to Barcelona as well as Valencia and Málaga for an average of €18 each. 

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