EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Spain in April 2022

The Local Spain
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EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Spain in April 2022
Pre-pandemic Holy Week celebrations will return to the streets of Spanish cities in April 2022. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

April in Spain brings with it changes to jobs, renting, energy cost cutting, Covid restrictions, Semana Santa celebrations, tax filing, travel rules and more. Join The Local Spain as a member to find out more.


Petrol subsidies and other protections

The Spanish government will on April 1st bring into force its €16-billion plan to address the issue of spiralling living costs in Spain caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

It will release “approximately €6.0 billion in direct aid and tax rebates and €10 billion in state-guaranteed loans to cushion the impact of the crisis on families and businesses”.

In practice, this means a ban on layoffs and other job-protecting measures, 20 cents on every litre of fuel for all drivers, a minimum vital income increase of 15 percent, cost-cutting energy measures and a limit of 2 percent rise on rent. 

READ MORE: The plan to lessen Ukraine war impact on Spain’s economy



Easter holidays

This year Semana Santa in Spain runs from April 10th to April 17th. 

Only Good Friday, April 15th, is a national holiday in Spain, although a number of other regions also include Thursday (Jueves Santo) as a day off. 

READ ALSO: The public holidays in your region of Spain in 2022

Hotel occupancy is expected to be around 90 percent of what it was in 2019, which means that Spanish and foreign tourists are likely to be crowding popular holiday spots. 

Northern Spain is expected to have rainy weather during Easter week. Even though it’s expected that it will be drier in central and southern Spain, cool temperatures are forecast for Semana Santa, so it may not be beach weather quite yet in much of Spain. 


Winter weather in April

While we’re on the topic of weather, April will kick off in Spain with winter temperatures and plenty of rainfall across the country.

The first half of the month is forecast to be unusually cold for the time of year. 

March has also been a very wet month in Spain after hardly any rainfall during the first two months of the year.



Restrictions for non-EU travel continue

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel from most third countries for another month, until April 30th 2022, the umpteenth extension over the course of the pandemic. 

What this means is that most unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen adult travellers can still not visit Spain for tourism. 

READ MORE: Unvaccinated non-EU tourists still can’t visit Spain in April

Fully vaccinated third country nationals residing outside of the EU, as well as those who can prove they’ve recovered from Covid-19 in the past sixth months, are allowed to visit Spain for non-essential reasons such as tourism in April.

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.

READ ALSO: Will Spain change its Covid restrictions ahead of Easter?


End of the indoor face mask rule?

Throughout March there was speculation that the requirement of wearing masks in indoor public spaces in Spain would be scrapped, especially after PM Pedro Sánchez said at the start of the month that it would happen “very soon”. 

The final decision has been put on ice as a result of concerns among health experts that infections are still too high for this to happen, the rise in cases in other countries that have scrapped their mask rules and the prevalence of the new but still largely unknown ‘Stealth Omicron’ subvariant. 

So will the Spanish government finally get rid of the rule before Easter? A key meeting to be held on April 6th will likely decide the outcome of this. 

Since March 28th it’s no longer compulsory for mild or asymptomatic Covid cases to quarantine in Spain, but it may be that Spanish authorities aren’t willing to take the risk with masks just as the country starts one of its busiest periods of travel and socialising of the year. 

READ MORE: When will masks stop being mandatory in Spain?



Semana Santa processions return 

Pre-pandemic Holy Week celebrations will return to the streets of Spanish cities in 2022 after two years of cancellations and downsizing in most places. 

You can expect to see processions in Seville, Málaga, Zamora, Zaragoza, Mallorca, Santander, Madrid and many more locations, even though rain is forecast during Easter week. 

Local authorities are also likely to recommend attendees wear masks even if outdoors, as celebrations tend to see crowds packed together in squares and sidewalks to watch the religious spectacles. 


UK driving licence validity ends 

Last February, Spanish authorities for the fourth time extended the period of validity of UK driving licences in Spain until April 30th.

As this deadline nears, negotiations over the mutual exchange of licences continue with no deadline in sight after more than a year of talks.

UK licence holders in Spain can expect either an answer to whether they will have to sit their practical driving exams in Spanish soon or they will get another extension to the validity of their UK licences, the latter the more likely outcome based on previous events. 


WhatsApp to stop working on old mobiles 

In April 2022, instant messaging service WhatsApp will stop working on Android phones with an operating system older than 4.1 Jelly Bean (launched in 2012) and iPhones with an iOS older than iOS 10 (launched in 2016). 

So if you have a mobile phone in Spain and WhatsApp stops working on it in April, you will quite possibly be able to resolve the issue by downloading the latest software version.


Tax season starts

The start date for filing your annual income tax return in Spain is April 6th 2022.

Personal income tax is known as IRPF in Spain (Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas), commonly shortened to la renta.

The annual income tax return is called la declaración de la renta. This is a progressive tax: in other words, the more you earn, the more you pay.

Spanish income tax returns have to be filed by June 30th for the preceding year, in this case 2021.

READ MORE: What you need to know about filing your Spanish tax return


First Covid pills available 

Paxlovid, the oral antiviral pill which helps reduce the risk of hospitalisation from Covid-19 by 90 percent, will be available in Spain in April.

At first, they will mainly be given to those patients who are at risk of developing serious complications from Covid-19.

Paxlovid will be the first orally-administered antiviral drug used in the EU to treat Covid-19.


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