SUMMER holidays could be back on the agenda after the Spanish government announced COVID passports will come into force from July 1. 

The documents, also known as health certificates, would enable travellers to visit destinations that will only grant entry to those who have been vaccinated when borders reopen.

The certificates, which could be available digitally, would also allow people to prove if they’ve had the jab, a negative test or if they have antibodies due to a recent coronavirus infection.

EXPLAINED: The latest rules on people from the UK travelling to and from Spain

The special passport will come into force next month although countries like Spain can already use it voluntarily.

The Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, said the paperwork is a turning point for the Spanish travel industry and will help resuscitate Spain’s flailing economy. 

But what do we know about passports so far? We take a look.

What is the Covid passport?

The certificate will show who has been vaccinated against the coronavirus and how many doses that person has received, whether they have antibodies in their system that indicated they already have had COVID and, if necessary, where they have already undergone PCR or antigen tests to detect a possible active infection.

The certificate will also show the name, date of birth and identity number of the holder, as well as the date of issue of the passport and information about the COVID-19 vaccine. It can be accessed for free, on paper and digitally with a secure QR code.

Who can apply for the COVID passport?

The free digital green certificate can be requested by any EU citizen or family members of citizens of European Union countries participating in the COVID passport project. EU residents are also allowed to apply, even if they are from other countries.

Where can you get the Covid passport?

The COVID passport will be issued by the health authorities of each country. In the case of Spain, the autonomous communities will be in charge of distributing this certificate in order to travel within the European Union, in coordination with the Ministry of Health. The start-up date is July 1, but some people have already received their certificate as Spain is one of the countries participating in the European pilot test, which began on June 7. The autonomous communities will gradually begin to roll out the passport.

Autonomous communities that already have the Covid passport available include:

  • Extremadura
  • Catalunya
  • Basque Country
  • Aragon
  • Valencian Community
  • Cantabria
  • Navarre
  • Madrid

Where can it be downloaded?

You can download your COVID digital certificate to your mobile phone, however paper versions are also available.

How long is it valid? 

The COVID passport will be valid for 12 months from its date of issue but this could be increased. 

What if I still have not been vaccinated?

The EU has insisted that being vaccinated is not a prerequisite for travel. People in Spain who have not yet had the opportunity or those who have refused to receive the doses will be able to travel if they can show they tested negative with a PCR or antigen test ahead of traveling. 

Benidorm and other major Costa Blanca cities get ready for the busiest weekend of the year
Tourists wearing face covering walk by the Levante beach of Benidorm, a seaside resort on the eastern coast of Spain

What are the current rules for travelling in the EU?

The EU has decided to reopen its borders for non-EU tourists , although they must meet the following conditions:

  • – The country the person is travelling from must have less than 75 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • – Travelers with both doses of vaccinations will be accepted into the EU
  • – The jabs received by the traveler must be vaccinations authorized by the EU or approved by the WHO.

This agreement has been signed by all 27 Member States, although it is voluntary and each country has the possibility to impose or not these restrictions on tourists from other countries.

How easy is it to travel to Spain? 

Spain has reviewed the health requirements for entry into the country and will now allow admission to anyone with a negative antigen test approved by the European Union. Previously Spain only admitted people with negative PCR tests, which are much more expensive than antigens.

Since Monday, June 7, Spain has been allowing anyone who is fully vaccinated to enter the country. 

COVID-19 diagnostic test certificates with a negative result must be issued within 48 hours prior to arrival in Spain in order to be deemed valid . Any of the three aforementioned certificates must be written in Spanish, English, French or German and, if it is not possible to obtain the original in any of these languages, the supporting document must be accompanied by a translation into Spanish made by an official body.

Covid-19 vaccine

If you come from within the European Union which is not included in the list of risk countries of the Ministry of Health, you will not need to present any diagnostic test or certificate of vaccination.

Likewise, if you travel to Spain for tourism from a country that does not belong to the European Union but is included in the list of territories with low incidence rates and is excluded from the risk zone, you can enter without the need for a diagnostic test or vaccination certificate.

Passengers who are fully vaccinated will also be allowed to enter 14 days after receiving the second dose . The vaccine drug must be approved by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organization. An exception will be made for high-risk areas such as India, Brazil and South Africa.

What are the vaccines that are approved?

The European Medicines Agency has approved Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Jannsen, as well as Chinese vaccines from Sinopharm and Sinovac-Coronavac.

With regards to the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, it is up to each Member State to decide whether it considers them valid or not.


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