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TRAVEL: What are Spain’s Covid rules for international arrivals in June?

Travel rules are still quicky changing due to the pandemic, so here's a reminder of what EU and non-EU travellers heading to Spain in June 2022 need to do and show.

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

What’s the latest?

On May 21st 2022, Spain opened up to unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists for the first time in more than two years.

They can now travel to Spain if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test. 

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

What this means is that Spain now has the same rules for EU and non-EU visitors who wish to travel to Spain: proof of Covid-19 vaccination (plus booster shot if applicable) or negative Covid test or proof of recovery.

Below is a closer look at the rules for all international travellers arriving in Spain by sea or air in June 2022.

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 dose 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 unvaccinated travellers

On May 21st 2022, Spain opened up to unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen tourists for the first time in more than two years.

That means unvaccinated tourists and other visitors from outside of the EU can travel to Spain if they show proof of a negative Covid-19 test. These are the same rules that apply to EU nationals and residents.

You need to show either a negative PCR test, which must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or a negative antigen test, 24 hours prior to departure.

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

Non-EU vaccinated travellers

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.

Recovered non-EU travellers

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. 

Spain’s Travel Health Form

If you are from one of the 40 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, 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 Malaysia, 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:

With regards to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the EU has 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.

British

Travellers from the UK follow the same rules as the rest of the third countries. This means that they can enter with a negative Covid-19 test, be fully vaccinated, or show a recovery certificate. 

Remember, if you received your vaccine more than 270 days ago, your vaccination certificate must also show a booster dose. 

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 traveling from the US can show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, proof of Covid-19 vaccine no less than 14 days and no more than 270 days (nine months), prior to arrival in Spain. 

If you received your vaccine more than 270 days ago, your certificate must also show a booster dose. 

Like those from other non-EU countries, they can now also show a recovery certificate issued in the last six months. Read here to find out the full details for Americans travelling to Spain. 

READ ALSO: Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

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TRAVEL NEWS

What you should know if you’re travelling to Spain in December

The rules, the least busy travel times, the strikes, the free travel deals, what you can’t check in - here’s what you need to know if you’re travelling to Spain in December or at Christmas.

What you should know if you're travelling to Spain in December

December is a busy travel period with many foreigners leaving Spain to celebrate Christmas with their families back in their home countries and many others travelling to Spain for a holiday or to spend time with their loved ones here.

Airline strikes and an increase in passengers could make travelling this winter a little more challenging, but here’s everything to need to know, so you can be prepared. 

According to Spain’s airport operator Aena, the number of airline tickets sold for travel to Spain over the winter season is set to exceed the number in 2019-2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also, last winter saw the rise of the Omicron variant and some countries introduced new restrictions, so many foreign residents decided not to go back to see their families over the holidays. This means that this year could see more people wanting to return after several years of not having celebrated together with their families. 

Therefore, airports could be particularly busy this December, so make sure you leave plenty of time for getting through security and passport control.

There is still one important Covid travel rule in Spain

Although the majority of Spain’s domestic and travel Covid-19 restrictions were lifted before the summer of 2022, one of the only rules that still remains in place is the obligation of wearing a face mask on public transport.

This includes aeroplanes, buses, trains, taxis and some ferries, but mask wearing isn’t compulsory at airports, ports or bus and train stations.

As things stand, the general rule is that cabin crew from all airlines have to tell passengers on planes bound to Spain that they have to wear masks.

If on the other hand the aircraft is flying out of Spain, the mask rules of the country which the plane is flying to apply, which in almost all cases means face coverings aren’t required.

Spain’s flagship airline Iberia has criticised the Spanish government’s ongoing mask requirement for passengers on planes bound to the country, stressing that it “doesn’t make any sense” and “it affects tourism”.

Although it is no longer compulsory to present a negative Covid-19 test to fly, Spanish health and airport authorities ask that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms avoid travel.

It is no longer necessary either for travellers to fill in health control forms before flying to Spain as was previously the case, and there are no bans or restrictions on non-EU or other specific countries.

Which are the least busy days for travelling to Spain in December?

According to flight search engine Skyscanner, which has analysed nine million searches for people looking to travel to Spain over the festive period, some of the quietest days to travel to Spain are from the 18th to the 23rd, with the 23rd being the least popular before Christmas.

If you’re wanting to fly to Spain after Christmas, however, you’ll find it even quieter on December 28th, as well as January 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th. You may find Spanish cities to be fairly busy however as December 6th and 8th are public holidays.

Conversely, the most popular days to travel are between December 12th and the 17th, so avoid those days if you want to avoid the crowds. 

Who is travelling to Spain this December? 

According to new data released by Spain’s Tourism Ministry, during the last month of the year, 7,066,101 people have booked seats, which implies a recovery of 97.4 percent compared to the same month of 2019. 

Forecasts for the early December holidays reveal that Italians, Germans and French are the main tourists who will be visiting Spain. During the puentes and public holidays on December 6th and 8th, Italians will make up the majority of tourists travelling to Spain (23 percent), followed by Germans (17 percent), French (16 percent), British (10 percent) and finally the Portuguese (6 percent).

Airline strikes

Several airline strikes have also been called for this winter, mainly involving low-cost airlines Vueling and Ryanair.

The Vueling strikes are due to take place on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. They began on November 1st 2022 and will run right through the Christmas period to January 31st 2023.

Specifically, this means that those travelling on December 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th,10th and 11th may be affected by cancellations. 

Additional days that will be affected include December 24th, 31st and January 5th 2023, affecting those passengers who plan on travelling for Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Three Kings’ Day.

The workers are demanding a wage increase in line with the rise in prices due to inflation, as well as protesting over the precarious work conditions that have been experienced within the sector since even before the pandemic.  

Many passengers are currently being offered alternative flights, refunds or other compensation if their flights are cancelled. 

Ryanair baggage handlers and on-the-ground staff have also been striking and will continue to do so until January 7th, 2023.

It’s likely these airports will include Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Seville, however, it’s worth noting that Ryanair has said that it doesn’t expect this strike to cause that much disruption.

Bringing food and goods in from the UK and other non-EU countries

One of the advantages of going back to your home country for Christmas is not only to see your friends and family but also to stock up on treats and ingredients you’ve missed while living in Spain. Think mince pies, custard powder and Marmite for those going back to the UK.

But as this is the second Christmas since Brexit came into force, many may still not be totally aware of what they’re now allowed to bring to Spain from non-EU countries.

The EU’s strict rules mean that all imports of animal-derived products are not allowed. This means no Christmas puddings with suet, no British bacon and blocks and Wensleydale or Cheddar cheese to bring back with you.

If you want to know exactly what you can and can’t bring in this Christmas, read our detailed guide here

Bringing food from Spain into the UK, is a little easier as you’re still allowed to bring in EU products, so packets of jamón and Manchego cheese are ok to take.

Travel within Spain

Those who are planning on travelling within Spain this Christmas, either to visit friends and family or simply for the fun of travel should know that there are currently lots of travel discounts, particularly on trains.

Multi-journey tickets are currently free on Cercanías, Rodalies and Media Distancia trains and are worth paying the €10 or €20 deposit for if you’re going to be making the same journey several times during your trip.

READ ALSO:

For example, if you’re planning on spending the holiday in the small Catalan town of Sitges, but know that you’ll be making several trips to Barcelona during that time for sightseeing, shopping or eating out, then it could be worth it.

Unfortunately, the free tickets are not available on long-distance trains, but you can still get a bargain on these this winter as Spain’s new low-cost train operator Iryo recently launched.

This means that you can get tickets from Madrid to Barcelona as well as Valencia and Málaga for an average of €18 each. 

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