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COVID-19 RULES

What are the Covid-19 rules for travel between the US and Spain in May 2022?

Travel between the US and Spain is back on, but what are the latest rules you need to know regarding vaccination, Covid-19 recovery status and other documentation you have to present?

American airlines travel
Travel between US and Spain. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Travel from US to Spain 

In order to enter Spain, those travelling from the US must show proof that they are fully vaccinated, or have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 180 days.

On April 30th, Spanish authorities confirmed that Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will still not be able to visit Spain until at least May 15th 2022.  

READ ALSO – TRAVEL: Unvaccinated non-EU tourists still can’t visit Spain in April

Fully vaccinated travellers

If you are entering Spain on the basis that you are vaccinated, you must have received the last required dose of their Covid-19 vaccine no less than 14 days, and no more than 270 days (9 months), prior to arrival in Spain.

The US embassy in Spain states that if more than 270 days (9 months) have passed since receiving the last required dose of their Covid-19 vaccine, travellers must show proof of having received a booster shot at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain.  

READ MORE: Do I need a Covid-19 booster shot to travel to Spain in May?

Spain accepts all Covid vaccines which have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Any children or teenagers aged 17 and under are exempt from having to show a vaccination certificate in Spain, however those aged 12 to 17 must show a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours (if they can’t show a recovery certificate). 

Over 18s who are not vaccinated and have not recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months are still not allowed to enter. 

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

Recovered travellers 

In February 2022, new rules came into effect to allow those who are unvaccinated, but who have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months to enter Spain.

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. 

Unvaccinated Americans who are residents in Spain are not required to be vaccinated in order to return to Spain, however they will have to get tested within 24 hours before their arrival in for antigen tests and 72 hours for PCR. 

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

Documents

All travellers from the US, unless they have an EU equivalent Digital Covid Certificate, must fill out Spain’s Travel Health form prior to arrival, which can be found here. You can also access it by downloading the SpTH app in Google Play Store or iTunes App Store for each traveller.  

Once this has been filled out, travellers will receive a QR code which they must present before boarding and again once they arrive in Spain. This must be done, even if you are transiting through Spain on your way to another country.

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

There is no need to quarantine upon arrival in Spain. Spain has also recently scrapped quarantines for mild and asymptomatic cases.

However, Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that infected people limit contact and wear a mask at all times. 

Quarantines will remain mandatory for serious cases and those classified as part of the high-risk or vulnerable population, which includes those over 60 years of age, immunosuppressed people and pregnant women. 

You may have to quarantine at your own expense unless you have adequate health insurance which covers you.

Rules and restrictions on the ground in Spain

While most of the Covid restrictions have been relaxed, there are still some which remain in place across Spain. These vary a lot between different regions, so it will depend on where you travel to within Spain. These could include capacity limits at certain venues.

Face masks are no longer required outdoors or indoors, except on public transport and inside hospitals and other health centres. 

READ ALSO: What are Spain’s new mask rules for travel?

Travel from Spain to the US

All non-US citizens who travel to the US by air must be fully vaccinated in order to be able to board the plane. This means that those from Spain can show their EU Digital Covid Certificates as proof.

The United States will accept all vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the FDA.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you are considered fully vaccinated if at least two weeks (14 days) have passed since your last dose. This means a full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine – one dose for the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine and two doses for all others, including “mix and match combination of accepted Covid-19 vaccines administered at least 17 days apart”. 

It also states that unlike Spain and the EU “A booster dose is not needed to meet this requirement”.

Negative Covid-19 Test

All air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, who want to enter the US over two years old, are also required to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than one day before travel, or documentation showing that they have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight.

These can either be antigen tests or PCR tests. Self-administered antigen tests are not allowed unless they have been carried out with a telehealth provider, which has been authorised by the FDA.

According to the CDC tests must show the following information:

  1. Type of test (indicating it is a NAAT or antigen test)
  2. Entity issuing the result (e.g., laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service)
  3. Sample collection date
    • A negative test result must show the sample was taken no more than 1 day before the flight.
    • A positive test result for documentation of recovery from Covid-19 must show the sample was taken within 90 days before the flight.
  4. Information that identifies the person (full name plus at least one other identifier such as date of birth or passport number)
  5. Test result

Recovery Certificate

The US Embassy in Spain states: “If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may travel with documentation of recovery from Covid-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel)”.

All passengers will also be required to confirm this in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true.

Those who are US citizens or permanent US residents and are returning from Spain will not need to show this to enter.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: Spain’s new rules for unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Unvaccinated third-country nationals such as Americans and Britons are now allowed to go on holiday to Spain. Here are the requirements, documentation needed and other important information they should know before booking their flights to Spain. 

EXPLAINED: Spain's new rules for unvaccinated non-EU tourists

What’s the latest?

Spain has opened up to unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists for the first time in more than two years.

Previously it was not possible for third-country nationals to visit Spain for non-essential reasons such as a holiday, seeing family or spending time in a second home in Spain unless they were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (plus booster after 9 months) or recovered from the illness in the past six months. 

From May 21st 2022, unvaccinated tourists and other visitors from outside of the EU can travel to Spain if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, the Spanish government confirmed on Saturday. These are the same rules that apply to EU nationals and residents.

Spain’s testing requirements for non-EU/Schengen tourists apply to those aged 12 and older, children under that age are exempt from having to prove testing, vaccination or recovery.

What kind of Covid test do I need to get done to travel to Spain?

In scientific terms, Spain wants a diagnostic test that’s either a NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test, such as an RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA) or a RAT (rapid antigen test).

In layman’s terms, that’s either a PCR test, which must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain, or an antigen test, 24 hours prior to departure.

Covid tests accepted are those authorised by the European Commission and must have been performed by healthcare professionals, therefore self-tests are not valid. 

What do I need to show to travel to Spain if I’m unvaccinated?

You need to show an official certificate or supporting document which shows the negative result of your Covid test. Your country may have a system in place that allows you to upload your negative result to an app. 

The document must be the original, in Spanish, English, French or German, and may be shown in paper or electronic format. If you can’t get it in these languages, it must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish by an official body.

The document that accredits the diagnostic test has to include the date the sample was taken, identification and contact details of the centre performing the analysis, technique used and negative result.

Spanish authorities recognise the UK’s NHS Covid Pass and others that fulfil the above criteria. 

Do I need to fill out a health control form?

This depends. Currently, 40 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system, based on EU equivalence decisions. 

That means that people from these nations who have a vaccination, testing or recovery certificate issued by the competent authorities of their country do not need to fill in Spain’s Travel Health form.

The countries with EU Digital Covid Certificate equivalence are Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Indonesia, Israel, Iceland, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Uruguay, The Vatican and Vietnam.You can also double-check here in case more countries are added.

If your non-EU country isn’t on the list then you have to fill in the SPTH form and upload your test certificate, which gives you a QR Code you’ll be asked for at the airport. 

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

Do I have to wear a mask on the plane?

Yes, you will most likely be required to wear a mask on the planes to and from Spain, although you don’t have to wear one inside Spanish airports anymore.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s mask rules for travel?

Is there any other travel rule I need to know about?

If you’re not an EU citizen or resident, then you should check if you require a Schengen visa to travel to Spain, as this will depend on your nationality.

Keep in mind that you will also have to abide by other Schengen rules, such as not being able to spend more than 90 out of 180 days in Spain and other Schengen countries.

Does Spain still have domestic Covid-19 rules?

Spain has lifted the vast majority of its Covid-19 rules, so there are no longer curfews, forced closures, limits on the number of people per shop or restaurant or Covid pass requirements to gain entry to buildings. 

Masks are no longer required outdoors and there is no face covering mandate for the majority of indoor public settings, except for on public transport, in hospitals, pharmacies, other health clinics and care homes.

READ MORE: What happens when tourists get Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain?

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