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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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Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Spain on Saturday eased Covid entry rules for unvaccinated tourists from outside the European Union, in a boost for the key tourism sector ahead of the peak summer holidays.

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Until now travellers from outside the bloc — including Spain’s main tourism market Britain — could only enter with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19.

But as of Saturday visitors from outside of the EU will also be allowed to enter Spain with a negative Covid test result, the transport ministry said in a statement.

PCR tests must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or an antigen test 24 hours prior to departure.

Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said the “new phase of the pandemic” meant the country was able to relax the rules by equating non-EU travellers with those of the bloc.

“This is excellent news, much awaited by the tourism sector, which will make it easier for tourists outside of Europe to visit us during the high season,” she added in the statement.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from submitting any type of certificate.

With sunny beaches and a rich architectural heritage, Spain was the world’s second most visited country before the pandemic, with 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019.

But international travel restrictions related to the pandemic brought Spain’s tourism sector to its knees in 2020 as it welcomed just 19 million tourists.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government forecast of 45 million arrivals.

READ ALSO: Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border