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TRAVEL: What are the Covid rules for international arrivals in Spain in March?

Travel rules change rapidly during the pandemic, and if you plan on travelling to Spain, you will need to know which forms and requisites you need to enter the country. Here's what you need to know if you're coming to Spain this March.

Travellers at the airport
Tourists arrive in Mallorca. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

EU travellers

All travellers visiting Spain from other EU countries by air and sea must fill out Spain’s health control form found here, before entering the country. This will give you a QR code, which you will need to show authorities both before you board and when you arrive.

Travellers arriving from EU/EEA countries can enter Spain without the need to provide any negative Covid tests or vaccination certificates, but only if they are travelling from a country that has been deemed safe because of its epidemiological situation and is not on the at-risk list.

Unfortunately, there are currently 29 countries on the high-risk list, meaning most travellers will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test, but these change regularly, so be sure to check here to see the updated list of countries. 

If you are an EU citizen and you are arriving from an EU at-risk country or area, you must show your EU Digital Covid Certificate in order to enter Spain. This should be uploaded to the health control form before you travel.

The EU Digital Certificate shows one of three things:

  • That you have been vaccinated against Covid-19. According to the Spanish government, your vaccination certificate must have been issued at least 14 days after the date of administration of the complete course of vaccination. However, if you received your last vaccine does more than 270 days (nine months) ago, your certificate must show the administration of a booster dose as well. 
  • You have a negative Covid test result. The diagnostic certificate must be a negative PCR or similar test (NAAT-type test) issued less than 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain, or a negative antigen test, issued less than 24 hours before arriving in Spain.
  • You have a recovery certificate from Covid-19. The recovery certificate must be issued by the relevant authorities or medical service at least 11 days after the first positive test result. The certificate will no longer be valid 180 days after the date of your test. 

Spanish citizens and residents

If you are a Spanish national returning to Spain or a resident of Spain coming back after a trip, you can show your EU Digital Covid Certificate to enter the country. 

This shows that you have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, have a negative test result or that you have a recovery certificate. 

Spanish residents and nationals who haven’t been vaccinated against Covid-19 can enter with a negative Covid-19 test. This can be a NAAT or PCR test obtained 72 hours before arrival in Spain or an antigen test, taken within the last 24 hours. 

All residents and citizens of Spain must also fill out Spain’s health control form found here

READ ALSO: Spain reduces validity of antigen tests for travellers from 48 to 24 hours

Non-EU travellers

A Spanish health control form must be completed by all non-EU travellers, which can be found here

Up until recently, all those travelling from third countries had to be fully vaccinated in order to enter Spain, (except under exceptional circumstances) and be able to prove so with a valid vaccine certificate.

The Spanish government states that exceptional circumstances include those that have a visa or residency for an EU country, are a student in an EU country or are professional health workers. The full list of exceptions can be found here

However, last week, Spain’s Interior Ministry announced that tourists from third countries who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can now also 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.

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. 

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

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

On February 14th, the rules also changed regarding non-EU teenagers. The Spanish government confirmed that they also allow unvaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds from non-EU countries to enter Spain if they present a negative PCR test. 

Children under 12 years of age are not required to present a health certificate of any kind.

Vaccine certificates must show:

  • Your full name
  • Date of vaccination
  • Type of vaccine
  • Number of doses that have been administered
  • The issuing country
  • The organisation that issued the vaccine certificate

The Spanish government states that the vaccine certificate must have been issued at least 14 days after the date of the final dose of the complete vaccination course.

If your last vaccine dose was administered more than 270 days (nine months) ago though, it must also show a booster shot. 

Spain accepts vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency EMA. 

Only those travelling from a country that is deemed safe with a low incidence Covid-19 can enter Spain without the need for a negative test or a vaccination certificate. The list of these countries changes regularly, but currently includes China (incl. Hong Kong), Macao, Taiwan, Colombia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. You can check the list here

The Spanish government states that those travelling from a country deemed high-risk must also present a negative Covid test, along with a vaccination or recovery certificate. No countries are currently on the high-risk list, but it is updated regularly and can be found here

With regards to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the EU has now barred all Russian-owned, Russian-controlled and Russian-registered planes from all of its airspace, including the airspace over Spain. They will not be able to take off or land anywhere in the EU, or fly over EU airspace. This includes commercial airlines and private jets.

All flight connections between Spain and Ukraine have been cancelled, and Ukraine has also closed its airspace. There is, however, no travel ban on Russia, so people can still travel between Spain and Russia on either a non-Russian airline or by road, rail or sea. 

Russia has retaliated by closing its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including Spain, so Russian tourists may not be able to fly home again and may have to resort to other modes of transport. 

Commercial airlines are also avoiding airspace around Moldova and Belarus, following Russia’s invasion.

Spain’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday said it recommended that travellers delay non-essential travel to Russia and asked Spanish residents in Russia to stay informed about the conflict in Ukraine. Spain’s Covid-related travel rules are still in place meaning that as non-EU nationals tourists from Russia must be fully vaccinated or have a recovery certificate in order to travel to Spain, although Spain does not recognise the Sputnik vaccine. 

British

Travellers from the UK follow the same rules as the rest of the third countries, meaning that those over the age of 18 can only enter Spain if they have been fully vaccinated or have a recovery certificate from the last six months. Those aged between 12 and 17 (who have not yet turned 18) can enter by showing a negative PCR test. Click here to read in detail what you need to know about travelling between Spain and UK in March. 

READ ALSO – TRAVEL: Spain to allow unvaccinated UK teens to enter with PCR 

Americans

In order to enter Spain, those aged 18 and over who are travelling from the US must show proof that they are fully vaccinated and have received the last required dose of their Covid-19 vaccine no less than 14 days, and no more than 270 days (nine months), prior to arrival in Spain.

Like those from other non-EU countries, they can now also show a recovery certificate issued in the last six months. Those aged 12-17 can enter by showing a negative PCR test. Read here to find out the full details for Americans travelling to Spain. 

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COVID-19 RULES

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

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