Spain travel rules: UK and EU travelers face different rules at the border

Spain no longer has COVID-19 entry requirements for anyone arriving in the country from the EU or the Schengen area.

Holidaymakers from the UK and other non-EU or Schengen countries must show proof of full vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19, negative antigen test result (performed in 24 hours before departure) or a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours before departure).

Health checks are in place at all Spanish airports and ports to ensure that passengers comply with these rules.

With its sunny beaches, rich architectural heritage and delicious foodthere are plenty of reasons why the mediterranean nation was the second most visited country in the world before the pandemic. And, of course, the long-time favorite of British holidaymakers.

Contrary to a number of other European nationsSpain has not fully removed its travel restrictions.

As the world adjusts to trip abroad in the continuing era of COVID-19, Spain’s tourism sector is expected to grow to nearly 90% of its 2019 size.

So, if you’re one of the many tourists eager to book a trip to Spain in 2022, here’s what you need to know.

What are the latest entry requirements for Spain?

Tourists from the EU or the Schengen area no longer need to present COVID-19 documents to enter the country.

Visitors from outside the EU must still present proof of vaccination, a recovery certificate or a negative test through the EU COVID Digital Certificate (EUDCC) or other valid document.

If you do not have an EUDCC certificate (or another EU equivalent), you must complete the Spanish form Sanitary control form with these details, receive a QR code to pass through the airports.

A PCR test or a rapid antigen test – carried out respectively within 72 or 48 hours before arrival – will also be accepted.

What counts as fully vaccinated in Spain?

In order to be considered fully vaccinated by the Spanish government, all travelers must have received their second shot at least 14 days before their trip.

You must be vaccinated with a full course of a WHO or EMA approved vaccine.

And, in line with other EU countries, Spain has set an expiration date of 270 days on vaccine passports. This means that booster shots will be needed if your second shot was more than nine months ago.

But 14 days need not have passed since obtaining further booster shots and entering Spain, and there is currently no expiration date for booster shots.

What are Spain’s rules on COVID vaccines and testing for UK travellers?

British citizens who have not been vaccinated against coronavirus are now free to travel to Spain – provided they can prove they do not have the virus.

As with EU travellers, one of the following three certificates is required:

  • A negative test certificate – either a PCR performed within 72 hours of departure or an antigen test performed within 24 hours
  • A vaccination certificate
  • Certificate of recovery at least 11 days after a positive test (valid for 6 months)

The Spanish authorities will accept the NHS COVID Pass as proof of vaccination, in digital or printed form.

Testing is not required of double-bite Brits, but notes from the British Foreign Office that all travelers may be subject to additional checks at the point of entry.

spain Border health checks page suggests that if, for example, a temperature check at the airport raises concerns, tourists could be contacted and required to take a PCR test at any time up to 48 hours after arrival.

Unvaccinated Brits still need to complete the Sanitary control formunless recently retrieved.

What are the rules for children and teenagers?

Children under 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination or undergo testing. This rule applies to all of Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearics.

People between the ages of 12 and 17 no longer need to be fully vaccinated and can enter Spain with a negative PCR (or other NAAT) test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. Antigen tests are now also accepted and must be carried out no later than 24 hours before departure.

Alternatively, fully vaccinated UK children aged 12-15 can prove immunity with a NHS COVID pass letter for international travel. Without this proof, travelers aged 12 and over must complete the health screening form within 48 hours of traveling to Spain.

Are masks compulsory in Spain?

After 700 days, Spain finally dropped its indoor mask-wearing rule on April 20. By royal decree, masks are no longer compulsory in the vast majority of places – from bars and cafes to museums and cinemas.

Public transport is a major exception, however, as face coverings are still required on planes, buses, trains, subways, taxis – as well as ferries if a distance of 1.5 meters cannot be maintained on the inside.

This follows the scrapping of the strict outdoor mask rule in Spain earlier this year.

However, national rules may vary from region to region, so it is important to check the exact requirements of where you are heading. The Spanish tourist office Travel Safe website has more advice on that, with a breakdown of the rules for each of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions on its interactive map.