Travellers from outside the EU and Schengen Area can now visit Spain without having to undergo COVID-19 tests if they have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days. Non-vaccinated Europeans can also take an antigen test within 48 hours of flying, having previously been required to show a negative result from a more expensive PCR test taken within 72 hours.
The new protocols came into force on Monday 7 June, and follow an easing of restrictions in May for travellers from the UK, who no longer have to be vaccinated or have proof of a negative COVID test.
A similar situation applies to passengers on flights from other countries which are (like Britain) considered to be epidemiologically “safe” or “low-risk”: Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – plus China, if the measure is reciprocated. However, passengers from these countries do still have to complete the travel form on the Spain Travel Health portal.
Flight schedules from the UK have already been boosted considerably, in spite of ongoing recommendations by the British government for people to avoid travelling for “non-essential” purposes to destinations that are not included on the “green list”.
Spain remains on the “amber list” after last week’s three-weekly review of the UK “traffic light” system for leisure travel, which means holidaymakers have to self-isolate for up to 10 days on their return and undertake COVID-19 testing.
The next review by the UK is due to be conducted on 21 June, and come into effect on 28 June. If Spain is granted “green” status, tourists will not be required to quarantine back home.
Announcing the decision to ease travel restrictions, Spain’s health minister, Carolina Darias, said, “Spain is a safe destination… in the process of reclaiming its global leadership in tourism.”
According to a Spanish government bulletin published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), passengers from non-EU areas including the US are, from 7 June, permitted to travel to Spain provided they have received the complete doses of one of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or European Medicines Agency (EMA). These currently comprise Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Sinovac-Coronavac, and they must have been administered more than 14 days prior to arrival.
International visitors also have the option of entering Spain if they can demonstrate a negative result from a SARSCoV2 diagnostic test or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19.
Exceptions to this new protocol apply to people arriving from India, Brazil and South Africa, as travel to Spain from these countries remains prohibited, even for those who have been vaccinated, due to concern about COVID variants.
“Those who come from areas included on the list of risk countries will have to undergo a random document check that will look at their departure point and its incidence rate,” noted the Spanish government.
EU Digital COVID Certificate Launched in Spain
Meanwhile, Spain yesterday began issuing the EU Digital COVID Certificate to all citizens in Spain applying for it, as another key step in its determination to “open up the country to safe international mobility”.
Spain is now one of the few countries issuing and recognising the certificate – 20 days before it will become mandatory throughout the EU (1 July) – and it also accepts the certificate for travellers from other European countries.
According to the government, the certificate will be issued progressively and on a trial basis throughout June, although it will be fully valid from the outset.
The plan over the next few days and weeks is for regional governments (whose health ministries have flexible jurisdiction over COVID-19 measures) to offer an increasing array of certificate functionalities, with the aim of all being able to issue electronic and hard-copy certificates from 1 July accrediting the three health statuses: vaccination, recovery from the virus, or negative result from a diagnostic test.
“With this certificate,” said the government, “travellers will be able to enter Spain more quickly and easily, avoiding waiting times and additional controls… All vaccinated people, wherever they come from, will be able to enter Spain and, if they also come from an EU country, they will be able to do so easily and comfortably thanks to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.”