Families from non-EU countries including Britain will now be able to go ahead and book their half term holidays without worrying about vaccination status concerns. This follows the Spanish government’s decision to ease its rules, after tourism representatives warned that some families would be forced to cancel their plans for a Spanish holiday because vaccination rates for children tend to be slower than those for adults.
The government said in a statement, “From midnight on 14 February (next Monday), travellers between 12 and 17 years of age from these countries who do not have a valid vaccination certificate may present a NAAT molecular nucleic acid amplification test (RT-PCR or similar) for SARS-CoV-2 with a negative result, carried out 72 hours before arrival in our country. Likewise, children under 12 years of age, travelling with an adult, will not be subject to any type of health requirement, as was the case until now.”
Concerns had been raised following Spain’s previous decision, applying from 1 February, to formally adopt a EU Council recommendation for a coordinated approach to travel protocols.
A news release from the EU announcing the initiative noted, “This recommendation is in response to the significant increase in vaccine uptake and the rapid roll-out of the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
“Under the new recommendation, COVID-19 measures should be applied taking into account the person’s health status rather than the epidemiological situation at regional level, with the exception of areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels. This means that a traveller’s EU Digital COVID Certificate should be the key determinant. A person-based approach will substantially simplify the applicable rules and will provide additional clarity and predictability to travellers.”
This “person-based approach” means that travellers visiting countries adopting the new rule (such as Spain), and in possession of a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate, “should not be subject to additional restrictions to free movement”.
A valid EU digital COVID certificate includes:
- A vaccination certificate for a vaccine approved at European level if at least 14 days and no more than 270 days have passed since the last dose of the primary vaccination series or if the person has received a booster dose. Member states could also accept vaccination certificates for vaccines approved by national authorities or the WHO.
- A negative PCR test result obtained no more than 72 hours before travel or a negative rapid antigen test obtained no more than 24 hours before travel.
- A certificate of recovery indicating that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of the first positive test result.
At the time the EU noted that people who were not in possession of an EU Digital COVID Certificate might be required to undergo a test prior to or no later than 24 hours after arrival. “Travellers with an essential function or need, cross-border commuters and children under 12 should be exempt from this requirement.”
In other good news for British travellers, in January the UK government announced that all COVID testing requirements for eligible fully vaccinated arrivals would be removed – effective from yesterday (11 February). Now only a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) is required.
UK tourists can find regularly updated travel advice on Spanish entry requirements by clicking here on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s GOV.UK travel advice website.