After being severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain is one of the European countries that has kept some of the strictest restrictions in place in order to avoid an upsurge in new infection and protect public health.
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Following one of the most stringent lockdowns in spring 2020, Spain reopened for summer in the same year. Still, in November, the latter entered a state of emergency once again, leaving the country in continuous lockdown until May 9, 2021.
Soon after the Coronavirus started to improve and with the vaccination rates increasing each day, Spain opened for travellers while keeping only some of its restrictions in place, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Nonetheless, since the new COVID-19 Omicron has been circulating within the European Union and further in the world, the Spanish authorities have decided to take action and restrict entry for arrivals from several countries.
If you are thinking about exploring Spain in the following months, here’s what you need to know.
Spain Doesn’t Allow Entry From Omicron-Affected Areas
The Spanish Ministry of Health announced on November 29 that arrivals from seven southern African countries would be restricted due to the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Such a decision was taken in line with the recommendation from the European Union’s President Ursula von der Leyen, who called on the Member States to stop travel to and from the African countries where the Omicron virus variant has been detected. Von der Leyen said that all air travel to one of these territories should be suspended until there is a clear understanding regarding the risk posed by the new variant.
Therefore, in order to prevent the further spread of the Omicron variant, Spain has banned entry for all nationals of the following countries:
- South Africa
Only Spanish citizens are currently permitted to enter Spain after staying in one of the Omicron-affected areas mentioned above, provided that they meet certain entry requirements.
Those who return to Spain from one of the virus variant areas are required to present a negative PCR test result that was taken within 72 hours before arrival. Rapid antigen test results are also recognised as long as the document proves that the test has been taken within 48 hours before entry.
In addition, since December 1, Spain no longer permits entry to UK nationals who don’t hold a valid vaccination certificate.
“The Embassy of Spain in the United Kingdom would like to inform that according with Spanish Ministerial Order INT/1304/2021 from 00:00 hours on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, travellers from the United Kingdom travelling to Spain for non-essential purposes need to be fully vaccinated,” the statement of the Embassy of Spain in the UK reads.
This means that those who only provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result are denied entry to the country. Such a rule will remain effective until December 31. However, the measure might get extended if the COVID-19 situation doesn’t improve.
Travelling to Spain From EU & Schengen Area Countries
Travellers from most European Union and Schengen Area countries are allowed to enter Spain without being subject to the quarantine requirement as long as they have low infection rates.
However, travellers reaching Spain from any of the countries and regions considered as high risk are obliged to present a certificate that proves they have either been vaccinated with one of the vaccines accepted by the Spanish authorities as valid proof of immunity for travel, recovered from COVID-19, or tested negative for the virus.
“If you are travelling from a territory on the list of high-risk countries/areas (see the current list here), people travelling for tourism will be allowed to enter if they have a vaccination certificate issued by the competent authorities of the country of origin at least 14 days after the date of the last dose required to complete the full course of a vaccine,” Spain’s official tourism website, Travel Safe, explained.
>> Which COVID-19 Vaccines Are Approved for Travel to Spain
Currently, the following EU and Schengen Area countries and regions are considered high-risk by the Spanish authorities:
- Italy (Province of Bolzano, Abruzzo, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Trento, Apulia, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria, Veneto, Basilicata, Lombardy, Piedmont)
Spain’s list of countries and regions that are considered highly affected by the COVID-19 disease is updated regularly. Since the list of these countries changes often, travellers are encouraged to do their own research before travelling to Spain.
Apart from the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate, travellers reaching Spain from any of the EU/Schengen Area countries are also required to fill in a health control form before their arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. For those travelling by plane, the form can be completed online or on the Spain Travel Health app.
In contrast to arrivals from EU/Schengen Area countries placed on Spain’s high-risk list, those travelling to Spain from a safe country, which is not part of the above-mentioned category, can do so without having to present proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a recent negative test result.
“If you are arriving from EU/EEA areas not included on the above list of high-risk countries/areas, you will not be asked to provide any diagnostic test, vaccination certificate or immunity test,” Travel Safe added.
Entry requirements don’t apply to children under the age of 12. They are exempt from all entry rules.
Who Can Travel to Spain From Third Countries?
Similar to the arrival from countries that are part of the EU/Schengen Area, travellers from several third countries can also enter Spain for travel purposes.
The list of third countries that fall under Spain’s safe list and from which travel is currently permitted is as follows:
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao
Travellers reaching Spain from of these third countries are permitted restriction-free entry to the country regardless of their vaccination or recovery status
“If you are travelling from a country or territory on the list of low-incidence countries outside the high-risk area, you can travel without the need for diagnostic tests or vaccination or immunity certificates,” the authorities noted.
Travellers from other countries can also enter with a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery, and negative COVID-19 test results if they are:
- Residents and long-term visa holders of EU and Schengen Area countries, travelling to that country
- Health professionals who go to or return from exercising their work activity
- Transport, marine and aeronautical personnel necessary to carry out air transport activities.
- The staff of diplomatic, consular, international, military, civil protection and members of humanitarian organisations, in their duty
- Students holding the corresponding documentation, who study in an EU or Schengen country
- Highly qualified workers whose work is necessary for the economy of Spain and cannot be postponed or carried out remotely
- Persons travelling for imperative family reasons
- Those travelling for reasons of force majeure or humanitarian reasons
Travellers who fall under this exemption list can enter Spain even if they have not been vaccinated against the COVID-19 as long as their trip is considered essential.
However, they must take a negative test within 72 hours before reaching Spain in order to be permitted entry.
What Is Open in Spain for Tourists?
Although Spain’s state of emergency has been lifted, certain COVID-19 related measures still remain effective in the country in order to protect public health.
Museums, exhibitions, monuments, and other cultural spaces have already opened for visitors. Still, due to the COVID-19 situation, many of these spaces have reduced their capacity as well as have prioritised remote purchasing of tickets.
The Prado Museum reopened to the public back in June 2020 and encouraged all visitors to book their tickets at least 24 hours before their visit. The Royal Palace of Madrid and Alcázar Seville are also open for tourists.
The number of visitors allowed at one time has been reduced, and everyone is obliged to wear a mask.
Restaurants and bars are also open. They have adapted their services in line with the measures set by the authorities, such as separating tables, limiting the use of the bar area, limiting the number of people per table, and so on, in order to guarantee public safety.
Is It Safe to Travel to Mallorca?
With the vaccination process proceeding speedily and with the safety measures in place, Mallorca has been broadly accessible for visitors.
Mallorca decided to relax its restrictions following the ending of the state alarm on May 9. Thus, restaurant terraces are permitted to serve customers in outdoor environments at full capacity without a limitation of people that are allowed per table.
The curfew rules have also been altered, meaning that people can get together during night gatherings without being subject to any restrictions. However, no changes have been made to wearing a protective mask.
As for bars, Mallorca now allows only seated eating with a maximum of two persons in a group, which should keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Bars are closed by midnight.
Spain Travel Insurance Is a Must for Every Traveller
It is highly recommended that all those planning to visit Spain during this summer purchase travel insurance that covers epidemic and pandemic situations in order to make sure that they can save their money in case the Coronavirus situation changes unexpectedly and their trip gets cancelled.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain has suggested that all Spanish citizens planning to travel abroad attain an insurance package first.Spain’s local government on the Canary Islands has already signed an insurance policy for tourists to offer insurance for travellers, cover medical, quarantine, and repatriation costs.
You can buy medical travel insurance protection for Spain at a very low cost fromAXA Schengen orEurop Assistance.
COVID-19 Situation in Spain
Similar to other European countries, Spain has been severely hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and now is registering Omicron-affected cases. According to the World Health Organization, the country has identified 5,164,185 COVID-19 cases and has registered 88,052 deaths as of November 15. Regarding the infection rates during the last seven days, the same has revealed that Spain has identified 56,060 infection cases during this period.
Regarding the vaccination rates, based on the data provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), until now, 74.0 per cent of the entire population in Spain has been fully vaccinated, whereas 80.5 per cent have been administered at least a single vaccine dose.
NOTE: This article was originally published on June 7. Since then, the same has been continuously updated with the most recent changes. The last changes to the article were made on December 2 in line with the most recent updates of the Spanish authorities.