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

Travel rules change rapidly during the pandemic, and if you're planning on travelling to Spain, you will need to know what you need in order to enter the country. Here's what you need to know if you're coming to Spain in May 2022.

Travellers to Spain
What do you need to know to enter Spain? Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

EU travellers

On April 6th, the Spanish government dropped the requirement for those travellers with an EU Digital Certificate to fill out its Health Control Form before entering the country. If you are an EU citizen, you must show your EU Digital Covid Certificate in order to enter Spain. 

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. 

If you have an EU Digital Certificate or equivalent you will not have to complete Spain’s Travel Health Form. 

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

Non-EU travellers

The Spanish government on April 30th extended again temporary restrictions for non-essential travel from most third countries, until at least May 15th. That means non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recently recovered from the illness cannot go on holiday to Spain until at least the middle of the month.

If you are from one of the 37 non-EU countries which 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, as of April 6th you do not have to fill out Spain’s Health Control Form. Passengers from all other countries must complete it.

The list of countries with equivalent certificates includes places such as the UK, New Zealand, Israel, Singapore and Malyasia, but does not include the US, Canada or Australia. Click here to see the full list of countries included here or to check the validity of your certificate click here

The form can be found here if you do need to complete it. 

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

Unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists aged 18 or over who do not have a recovery certificate can still not enter Spain. 

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

Unvaccinated 12 to 17-year-olds from non-EU countries are allowed to enter Spain if they present a negative PCR test. 

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.

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. 

You may also enter Spain without being fully vaccinated or having a recovery certificate if you meet one of the Spanish government’s very specific list of ‘exceptional circumstances’. This includes 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

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

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, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay. 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.

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.

It’s not necessary to fill in a Health Control Form, you can show your NHS digital Covid pass to prove that you’ve been vaccinated or recovered instead. 

Read here to find out the full details for travelling from the UK to Spain. 

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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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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