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Q&A: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

Having doubts about whether you need to fill out Spain's travel health control form? Here is some useful information for international travellers heading to Spain or even those just transiting through the country.

Q&A: When do I need to fill out Spain's Covid health control form for travel?
Are there situations when travellers don't need to fill out the health control form before arriving in Spain? Yes. Photo: KOBU Agency/Unsplash

At the beginning of April, the rules regarding Spain’s Health Control Form changed, meaning that now it’s not a requirement for all passengers to complete one before arrival. Read on to find out if you’re exempt or if you still have to fill one out before travelling to Spain.

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

Q: What is the Health Control Form?

A: The Health Control Form is a form which provides the Spanish authorities with information about where you’re travelling from, your vaccination or recovery status and all the associated dates. It enables you to download a QR code which if you need to, you must show both before departure for Spain and upon arrival in Spain. You do not need to fill it out again when leaving Spain but you should keep in mind that the country you’re travelling to might have its own passenger locator form.

As the rules have recently changed, there is some confusion regarding who has to fill out Spain’s Health Control Form and under what circumstances. 

Here’s everything you need to know.

Q: Do I still need to fill out a Health Control Form if I’m flying to Spain?

A: This will depend on whether you have an EU Digital Covid Certificate or equivalent from a non-EU country. If you do have the certificate or its equivalent, you will not need to complete the form. Everyone else still will. 

So far, 37 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, meaning that their equivalent certificates are accepted in the EU under the same conditions as the EU Digital COVID Certificate. Click here to find out which these countries are. 

The Spain Travel Health website states: “In order to enter Spain, all passengers, regardless of the country of origin (except children under the age of 12 and passengers in international transit), must show one of these documents:

  • An EU DIGITAL COVID CERTIFICATE OR EU EQUIVALENT of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative certificate of an active infection diagnostic test or a recovery certificate after having this disease.
  • SpTH QR. If you do not have the EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent, you must complete the SpTH Health Control Form, manually entering the details of your vaccination, recovery or diagnostic test certificate”. 

Each form is personal and is only valid for a single trip.

Q: How can I easily check if my digital Covid certificate is valid or not?

A: If you’re still not sure whether you have an equivalent Covid certificate which is valid, meaning that you don’t need to fill out the Health Control Form, then you can easily check online. Click here to go to the Spain Travel Health website. Here you will see two boxes – a yellow one that says “EU Covid Digital Certificate (DCC) or EU equivalent”. 

Click on this and it will take you to a page to check the validity of your certificate. Simply fill in your country of departure and date of departure, then upload your certificate. You will then get a message telling you if it’s valid or if you still have to fill out a Health Control Form. 

Q: What if I’m travelling to Spain by ferry?

A: If you’re travelling to Spain by sea, there used to be a separate maritime Health Control Form to fill out. Now however, there is no separate form. The same rules apply as those travelling by air. 

Q: What if I’m travelling to Spain by train, bus or car?

A: Currently, the Health Control Form requirements are only in place for those entering Spain by air or by sea. This means that if you’re entering Spain on land, such as by car, bus or train, you’re not obliged to complete the form.

Remember though, to enter Spain, you must still show a vaccination or a recovery certificate, so you may be stopped at the border and asked for proof.

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

Q: What if I’m just transiting through Spain?

A: If you’re just transiting through Spain by air or sea on your way to your final destination, you will still need to fill out the Health Control Form, if you do not have an EU Covid Digital Certificate or equivalent from a non-EU country. 

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

Q: If Spain is my final destination, do I still need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) for any other countries I’m transiting through?

A: This completely depends on which other countries you are transiting through and your mode of transport.

The EU Digital Passenger Locator Form website’s FAQs section says “Travellers travelling by car need to submit a PLF every time they enter a country that requires submission of a PLF.”

However, not all countries require this form and rules vary between them. You will need to check the official information for each country you pass through to find out.

For example, France states that only arrivals coming by plane need to fill out a form, while Portugal says that those arriving by air need to complete their locator card

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health says that no one entering the country is currently required to fill out a PLF.

Q: Do I still need to complete the Health Control Form if I’m resident in Spain and not coming for tourism purposes?

If you live in Spain and have your EU Digital Covid Certificate, then no, you won’t have to fill out the Health Control Form. If you don’t however, you will still have to complete one. 

Q: How far in advance of my journey can/should I fill out my Spanish Health Control Form?

You can only fill out your form within the 48 hours before your flight as the Spanish government wants the information to be as up-to-date as possible. 

Q: What happens if I forget to fill out my Spanish Health Control Form?

There is no official mention by Spanish authorities about what should happen in such cases but there are eyewitness accounts of airport staff requiring Spain-bound passengers to fill out the form at the airport before being allowed to travel to Spain. 

READ ALSO: The most common problems with the Spain Travel Health app and some potential solutions

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TRAVEL NEWS

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.

Exceptions

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?

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