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Do I need a Covid-19 booster shot to travel to Spain in May?

Do you need to show that you have a Covid-19 booster shot to visit Spain or is it simply enough to have been fully vaccinated with the initial two doses? Here's everything you need to know.

Covid-19 booster shot to visit Spain travel
Find out if you need to show proof you've had a Covid-19 booster shot to visit Spain from February 1st 2022. Photo: Lillian SUWANRUMPHA/AFP

Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with the initial two doses is no longer enough for many international travellers to visit Spain. 

According to the Spanish authorities, 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 visit Spain in many cases. 

This means that those who received their last dose in July 2021 or earlier, will need to show that they have this booster to travel to Spain in May 2022. If you got vaccinated in August 2021 for example, then you will need a booster shot if you want to travel to Spain in June 2022.

The booster dose requirement and the 270-day expiry date don’t apply to children over 12 and under 18 years of age.

Use the calendar below to calculate 270 days (roughly 9 months) from your final Covid vaccination dose, if you haven’t had a booster shot that is.

This additional dose will have to appear on your Covid health pass or vaccination certificate. EU Digital Covid Certificates will no longer be valid for travel once 9 months have passed after vaccination.

READ ALSO – TRAVEL: What are the Covid rules for international arrivals in Spain in May?

Who doesn’t need to prove they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot to visit Spain?

Do these rules apply to all international arrivals who were fully vaccinated more than nine months ago?

No. EU citizens and any accompanying non-EU family members (even if the visit to Spain is for tourism), foreign residents of Spain and Spanish nationals are exempt from having to show proof of a booster shot to enter the Spanish territory, even if they were fully vaccinated more than 270 days ago.

There are other people who are exempt from this rule as listed on the Spanish health ministry website under “entry requirements for entry from Spain from third countries”, including habitual EU residents.

READ ALSO: EU countries agree to simplify travel rules with Covid certificates

Instead, they must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours, a negative antigen test taken 48 hours before travel to Spain or a medical certificate proving recovery from Covid-19 in the last six months. 

All international travellers – EU and non-EU – who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 less than 270 days before travel to Spain are also exempt from proving they have a booster shot to be able to enter the country. 

As long as they were fully vaccinated with an EMA or WHO-approved vaccine more than 14 days ago and less than 270 ago, they can visit Spain. Spanish health authorities also consider people who have recovered from Covid-19 and then had one Covid-19 vaccine to be fully immunised. 

It’s important that your Covid health pass or vaccination certificate specifies all the dates of your Covid vaccinations.

Spain also has a small list of ‘low-risk’ non-EU countries whose travellers don’t have to prove initial Covid vaccination or a booster shot; you can check the weekly updates here

Who needs to prove they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot to visit Spain?

Non-EU travellers (who aren’t residents in Spain or with an EU family member) who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than 270 ago will need to show proof of a Covid-19 booster shot in order to visit Spain for non-essential purposes such as tourism. 

For example, this could include American, British, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand tourists who were vaccinated more than 270 days ago but haven’t received their booster shot. 

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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.


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?