How to travel to and from Spain this summer: Entry guide by country
At present, Spain, along with Portugal and Cyprus, are on ‘red’ in the European Union’s ‘traffic-light’ system, apart from various ‘patches’ in central parts of the mainland, due to a series of recent outbreaks which have affected, practically in their entirety, those aged between their teens and early 40s.
But the contagion rates present a direct relationship with the vaccine roll-out: Those affected are of the age where they would not have had their jab or, at most, only the first at the older end of this segment.
Research seems to show that those fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or AstraZeneca formulae are protected, in 95% of cases, from the aggressive new ‘Delta’ and ‘Delta Plus’ strains, originating in India; but that after a first dose only, barely 13% of cases showed immunity to this mutation.
The conclusion to the current situation is that once vaccines start to reach younger adults, the incidence of Covid in Spain should fall again – and most regions are now starting on those in their 30s and expected to get to the 20-somethings in August, by which time everyone in their 40s should have had both doses.
So far, 21 million people, or 47% of the population, is now fully vaccinated, and around three-quarters have had at least one dose.
Until young adults and, at the end of summer, teens in high school, have their jabs, they, at least, remain at risk, but travel to and from Spain is still possible, subject to different criteria for specific countries.
What is required, by destination, when traveling out of Spain
Countries where arrivals from Spain need to complete a form registering their personal data and how they can be traced, which in some cases includes a declaration that they have no symptoms compatible with Covid, irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated, had a PCR, or had the virus, are Germany, Belgium, France, Greece (completed the day before travel), Iceland (everyone born before 2005), Italy (everyone aged over six), Portugal, and the UK.
Those which require quarantine are Germany (10 days in all cases and from all areas – including, starting tomorrow, the Balearic and Canary Islands), Estonia (10 days, but with the early release if a PCR on day six is negative, although not for those vaccinated or who have had Covid in the past six months), Iceland (five days with release subject to a negative PCR on the fifth day, only for those not vaccinated), Romania (14 days, but not required if a negative PCR result from no more than 72 hours before arrival can be shown), and the UK (10 days for all travelers, vaccinated or not, with obligatory PCRs on the second and eighth day) although in the latter, quarantine requirements and a second post-arrival PCR are due to be lifted for ‘amber’ countries, of which Spain is one, for those fully vaccinated at least 14 days previously, starting July 19.
Those which require one of three declarations – a negative PCR result from a test taken not more than 72 hours before arrival, or proof they have had Covid within the past 180 days, or that they are fully vaccinated – are Germany, Belgium (negative PCR results not more than 180 days old are required for those who have had the virus, and vaccines must have been at least 14 days ago), Greece (proof of recovery from Covid can be up to nine months previously), Iceland (vaccines must be one of the formulae approved by the European Medicines Agency, meaning Pfizer, Janssen, Moderna and AstraZeneca, and those not vaccinated must pay for a PCR on arrival; antigen tests are not valid), Italy, Portugal (for those aged over 12), and Romania (vaccines from a minimum of 10 days ago, not 14).
France says all travelers entering the country who are not vaccinated can have a cheaper, fast-results antigen test instead of a PCR, but that one of these is obligatory for everyone aged over 11 who has not been fully immunised at least two weeks earlier.
Malta, from July 14, will not allow anyone to enter the country who is not either a citizen or a resident unless they are fully vaccinated.
Norway is currently not allowing anyone from Spain, Portugal, or Cyprus into the country, vaccinated or not, with or without a PCR, other than a handful of exceptions.
These include residents in Norway, family visits, visiting a partner or spouse based in Norway, and academic or study reasons; those who meet the criteria can provide either a ‘Covid-cured’ certificate, a vaccine certificate, or a negative PCR result.
For full details of requirements for each country, travelers from Spain or those returning home after a holiday on Spanish territory should check the foreign office pages for their nation to ensure they cover every aspect correctly.
Entry to Spain from other countries in Europe
All travelers to Spain, even returning residents after a holiday or Spanish citizens, must complete a ‘track-and-trace form – a link to this is found on the foreign office website, Exteriores.gob.es – and those who have been fully vaccinated not less than 14 days prior to travel must show a certificate as proof including full name, dates of both shots, type of vaccine given and a number of doses, country of vaccination, and the identity reference for the vaccinating body.
For those not yet immunised or whose final jab was less than 14 days before travel, a test must be taken not more than 48 hours – reduced now from the original 72 – before arrival and must show a negative result.
Test results accepted include the NAAT (PCR, LAMP, or TMA tests), or an antigen test approved by the European Commission for travel through its Council of Europe Recommendation number 2021/C24/01.
But test centres will know which ones are suitable for travel and be able to explain everything in full.
Those who are not vaccinated but have had Covid and recovered, up to a maximum of 180 days ago, can avoid taking a PCR or similar before travel provided they can show a certificate from the medical service which treated them, issued at least 11 days but not more than 180 days after the first positive NAAT test result, confirming they have recovered and been declared negative within that time.
The ‘Covid recovery’ certificate must include the full name, date, and type of the first NAAT test confirming contagion, and the country this was carried out in.
Children under 12 do not have to show any of these documents, but they do have to complete the track-and-trace form – or have it completed by a parent or guardian for them – in order to be able to produce the QR code from it at the border.
Teenagers from 12 upwards are subject to the same entry requirements as adults.
Overland entry to Spain also requires these documents, but not for cross-border or transport workers, or for residents close to a national border traveling within a maximum of 30 kilometres of their home – so a person living right on the east or north of Portugal, for example, who pops into the next town to do their shopping and which happens to be in Spain, does not have to fulfill the above requirements.
This system applies to EU and EEA countries which, for the purposes of travel during the pandemic, include the UK at present.
Entering Spain from outside the EU, EEA, and Schengen areas
Non-EU countries, except for the UK, are subject to greater restrictions and have to meet certain criteria to be allowed entry unless they can show a recognised vaccine certificate, which is also accepted to cover any minors traveling with them.
Family members of EU citizens who are themselves citizens of third countries, and anyone else who is recognised as a beneficiary of freedom of movement within the bloc, are treated in the same way as entries from the EU and EEA.
Those who are not defined by the above are only permitted into Spain under certain circumstances.
Residents in Spain or other EU countries or those that form part of the Schengen, including Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City, may enter from third countries if they can prove this; holders of a long-stay visa issued by an EU or Schengen nation; healthcare professionals, including researchers and carers, who are heading for or returning to Spain for work; transport workers in the course of their work; diplomats and similar, members of international or military organisations or humanitarian aid associations, in the course of their work; those who have a student visa for an EU or Schengen country, but if this country is not Spain, they are only allowed entry during their course or up to 15 days before it and only for ‘passing through’ on the way to the nation they are studying in; top-qualified key professionals whose work cannot be postponed or carried out from a distance, including élite sports persons, in the course of their jobs only, and subject to documentary proof of this; accredited family matters of an ‘imperative nature’; or due to force majeur or humanitarian reasons, subject to prior entry authorisation from the relevant Consulate.
All these persons entering have to show one of the three documents listed: Negative test result, Covid recovery certificate, or vaccine certificate featuring one of the EMA-approved formulae.
Published thinkspain.com 01 July 2021