CONFIRMED: Spain to allow all unvaccinated non-EU teens to enter with PCR

The new travel rule which allows unvaccinated minors aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain with a PCR test applies to all non-EU/EEA nationals, not just those from the United Kingdom, Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry told The Local Spain on Friday. 

Teenage tourists in Spain with Granada's Alhambra in the background. Spain's Foreign Affairs Ministry has informed The Local that the new rules for unvaccinated minors applies not just to those from the UK. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP)

On Friday February 11th, the Spanish government published a state bulletin (BOE) in which it explained that the non-essential travel rules for third country nationals were changing,  specifically for 12 to 17-year-old travellers who haven’t been vaccinated for Covid-19. 

From Monday February 14th, “people aged 12 or older but under 18 who show a negative NAAT test (PCR or similar) taken within 72 hours before arrival in Spain” will be included as one of the exemptions for non-essential travel such as tourism from outside of the EU.

The BOE does not mention British 12 to 17 year olds specifically, but instead refers to exemption “K” of the Spanish Health Ministry’s guidelines for third countries, in which UK nationals were mentioned until midday on Friday, when this was quickly changed to refer to non-EU teenage travellers. 

This confusing situation has led to different interpretations of the new rule in the Spanish press, with some suggesting the exemption applies to all non-EU/EEA teens and others just British 12 to 18 year olds. 

The Local Spain has contacted Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to seek clarification and an Exteriores representative has confirmed that the new legislation applies to all unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teens, not just UK 12 to 18 year olds. 

Over the past weeks, regional governments and tourism groups have been pushing primarily for the rule to be lifted for UK teenagers, as thousands of cancellations by British families whose children were not yet fully vaccinated against Covid-19 were having a major impact on Spain’s main tourism market.

Spain has previously been willing to give UK travellers preferential treatment over all other non-EU holidaymakers so this, coupled with the vague wording of Spain’s state bulletin, explains why there’s been so much confusion. 

“The (Covid-19) vaccination of children under 18 has been relatively recent in many countries, without being possible in some cases to complete the full vaccination,” reads the bulletin. 

“This situation is resulting in parents who are fully vaccinated not being able to travel to Spain with their children,” Spain’s Tourism Ministry acknowledged.

Therefore, British as well as American, Canadian, Indian, or any other non-EU holidaymakers will be able to travel to Spain with their unvaccinated children as long as they show a negative PCR test.

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

The rule that still remains in place is that all adult non-EU/Schengen nationals who don’t reside in Spain must be fully vaccinated to visit Spain for non-essential reasons such as tourism. 

There are only a handful of non-EU/EEA countries that are exempt from this rule given their favourable epidemiological situation.

Children under the age of 12 will also continue to be exempt from Spain’s vaccination and testing rules for travel. 

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Spain’s summer strike calendar: The days you might want to avoid flying

Following the announcement that Ryanair and EasyJet staff have added further strike days in July 2022, we list the dates that travellers looking to fly to and from Spain may want to avoid booking tickets for.

Spain's summer strike calendar: The days you might want to avoid flying

Strike action by Spain-based cabin crew working for Ryanair and EasyJet will continue throughout the month of July, unions representing staff for Europe’s two biggest low-cost airlines have confirmed.

EasyJet’s strike days in July will continue as initially announced on June 21st.

In Ryanair’s case, the six-day stoppage was meant to come to an end on Saturday July 2nd, but a further 12 days of strikes have been added throughout the month of July due to the failure to reach an agreement over cabin crew’s low pay and work conditions. 

“After six days of strike and in view of the unwillingness of the company to listen to its staff and its preference for leaving thousands of passengers grounded rather than sitting down to negotiate an agreement under Spanish law, we have been forced to call new strike days,” USO unionist Lidia Arasanz said with regard to the 1,900 Ryanair employees they represent.

So far, the stoppages by Ryanair and Easyjet staff have not meant that absolutely all their flights to and from Spain have been cancelled, but dozens of scheduled flights have indeed not taken off and hundreds more have suffered delays on these previous strike days. 

Minimum services have been provided for flights within the Spanish mainland and to and from the Canary and Balearic Islands, especially those leaving from Madrid, Málaga, Barcelona, ​​Alicante, Seville, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Girona, Santiago de Compostela and Ibiza airports.

A Ryanair cabin crew member holds a placard reading “Ryanair, low salaries made simple” as she protests at Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona on June 24, 2022. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

For international flights the situation is more complicated, especially for Ryanair passengers with scheduled flights from Belgium, Italy, France and Portugal, as the low-cost airline’s cabin crew in those countries have also joined the strikes.

Even though UK-based Ryanair and EasyJet staff are not on strike, the sheer number of flights between Spain and the UK has meant that thousands of British holidaymakers have already been affected.

Málaga, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca’s airports have reportedly been the most affected by Ryanair and EasyJet flight cancellations thus far.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Many EasyJet and Ryanair passengers who have already booked flights to and from Spain for July will no doubt want to know with plenty of notice if their flight will be cancelled, something that is not possible to know in most cases until the airline emails or texts them.

Ryanair’s management has said it expects “minimal (if any) disruption to its flight schedules in July as a result of minor and poorly- supported Spanish labour strikes”, although if what’s happened over the course of late June and early July is anything to go by, that won’t necessarily be the case.

The Irish carrier did acknowledge that “air traffic control strikes and airport staff shortages across Europe (which are beyond Ryanair’s control) may however cause some minor disruption and passengers whose flights are disrupted will be notified by email/SMS”.

It is possible to use Ryanair’s flight tracker to check on the status of your upcoming flight, but you’re unlikely to get accurate information if done lots of days in advance.

Dozens of EasyJet flights have been cancelled so far, even though the airline’s management says it intends to operate all of them. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

EasyJet has also said it intends to operate all its scheduled flights in July, whilst acknowledging that there could be some delays and other disruptions. 

On Sunday July 3rd, eight EasyJet flights to and from Spain were cancelled and 46 were delayed.

On Tuesday July 5th, EasyJet’s chief operating officer Peter Bellew resigned, allegedly “to pursue other business opportunities”, news which certainly suggests that all is not well at the Luton-headquartered airline.

You can also use EasyJet’s flight tracker here to find out if your flight is going ahead

For those of you who have booked a Ryanair or Easyjet flight to and/or from Spain for July, or those who are considering doing so, the following is a breakdown of all the scheduled strike days by cabin crew for both airlines for the coming weeks.

Ryanair strike days 

Tuesday July 12th

Wednesday July 13th

Thursday July 14th

Friday July 15th

Monday July 18th

Tuesday July 19th

Wednesday July 20th

Thursday July 21st

Monday July 25th

Tuesday July 26th

Wednesday July 27th

Thursday July 28th

Easyjet strike days

Friday July 15th

Saturday July 16th

Sunday July 17th

Friday July 29th

Saturday July 30th

Sunday July 31st