Spain stops requiring Covid health control form from all travellers 

Spain has further eased its Covid travel restrictions by exempting all third-country nationals from having to fill in its health control form before arriving in the country, a decision which will benefit Americans, Australians and Canadians among other international travellers. 

The EU doesn't have a certificate equivalence agreement with the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa or Australia for example, so this announcement will make travel to Spain for nationals from these countries and many others that bit easier. (Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP)

From Tuesday September 20th 2021, Spain no longer requires any international passengers arriving by air or sea in the country to complete and show a Covid health control form. 

The SpTH form, which was first introduced in July 2022, had to be filled in online before travel to Spain and included the passenger’s Covid vaccination/testing/recovery status, their contact details and other information.

Upon arriving at a Spanish airport or sea port, passengers would have to show the document, which included a QR code, in order to enter Spain. 

The Spanish government’s decision to scrap the SpTH form, which was announced in Monday’s State Bulletin (BOE), “aims to favour the normalisation of international mobility” and comes as a result of this document “no longer being considered necessary” as a means of controlling Covid-19 infections. 

In April 2022, the Spanish government decided that travellers with an EU Digital Covid Certificate and those with third-country certificates approved by the EU (currently 48 countries) no longer needed to fill in Spain’s health control form. 

The latest announcement means that all international travellers, regardless of which non-EU country they’re from, don’t have to fill in the form before travelling to Spain or show it upon arrival.

The EU doesn’t have a certificate equivalence agreement with the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa or Australia for example, so this announcement will make travel to Spain for nationals from these countries and many others that bit easier.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom does have an agreement with the EU regarding Covid certificate recognition, so nothing changes for UK nationals visiting Spain. 

The Spain Travel Health website and app, on which the health control form could be completed and which also included relevant travel information, “will no longer be operational” as of Tuesday 20th either. 

Spain eased many of its domestic and travel restrictions in the lead-up to the 2022 summer period as it attempted to recoup the millions of tourists it lost during the pandemic. 

However, Pedro Sánchez’s government recently extended until November 15th the requirement that states that travellers from non-EU countries must have a Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery certificate to enter Spain.

This, together with the ongoing requirement to wear a mask on planes, ferries and other means of transport which are Spain-bound, remain the two outstanding Covid travel restrictions which are still in place in Spain. 

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Spain changes conditions for free train travel

Spain's state train operator Renfe has tweaked the terms and conditions for its free train travel offer in order to avoid 'ghost reservations'. Here's everything you need to know.

Spain changes conditions for free train travel

Renfe has changed the terms and conditions of reservations on its free travel offer for regional Media Distancia services, valid until the end of 2022, in order to avoid ‘ghost reservations.’ 

Announced by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during the ‘State of the Nation’ debate in the Spanish Congress in August, the free multi-journey ticket scheme is an offer on some trains operated by the state-owned train network, Renfe, including Cercanías, Rodalies (Catalonia), and Media Distancia (local and medium-distance journeys).

READ MORE: All you need to know about Spain’s plan for free train tickets

READ MORE: GUIDE: How to get free train tickets in Spain

But some passengers have been abusing the offer, it seems, by block booking tickets and never using them. In response, Renfe have tweaked their terms for taking up the offer on Media Distancia journeys.

Unlike on the Cercanías and Rodalies routes, which are also included in the free travel offer, on Media Distancia routes it is possible to reserve a seat, and some travellers have been making more than one reservation on the same route for different times through the day or week in order to secure a place, and then choosing the most convenient departure.

As a result, many services were fully booked with ‘ghost reservations’ days before their departure and preventing passengers who needed to buy a ticket from being able to do so.

This loophole was particularly widespread on regional routes in Galicia and Castilla-La Mancha, and from now on, Media Distancia customers can only buy tickets for a maximum of four daily trips (two return journeys) on Media Distancia trains, and can only buy the return journey when the initial journey has been made.

READ MORE: TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

“It is a question of guaranteeing the good use of the free passes for recurrent travelers and that as many people as possible can benefit,” Renfe sources said in the Spanish media.

READ ALSO: How much can you save on public transport in Spain with the new state discount?

Renfe’s free train travel offer came into force on September 1st and will end at the end of the year, on December 31st. In order to obtain the offer, travelers must pay a €20 deposit that is returned at the end of the year if at least 16 trips have been made during the offer period.

According to Spanish newspaper El País, as of Monday September 12th, Renfe had already issued over 1 million free passes for Cercanías and Media Distancia trains.