7 Apr, 2022 @ 11:00
4 mins read

ESSENTIALS: What you need to know about Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK over Easter

airport suffers 40% fall in travellers to Spain compared to September 2019
Passengers look at the flight information boards at Alicante airport, Spain, as hundreds of people have been told their return flights have been cancelled following the UK government warning against travel to the Spanish mainland because of its high levels of COVID-19 cases. Picture date: Saturday August 1, 2020.

EASTER is expected to see a return of the sort of numbers that flocked to Spain before the pandemic but for British holidaymakers there are still restrictions in place.

Spain has extended Covid-19 restrictions for those entering its territory from the United Kingdom until the end of April.

This means only fully vaccinated Brits or those who can show a certificate of recovery from Covid can enter.

Britain now falls into the category of ‘third country’ since its exit from the EU meaning stricter rules apply.

What’s more because of its high infection rate it is still considered ‘a country at risk’.

This means that non-essential travel, such as a holiday, is banned for those who haven’t been fully vaccinated or had a booster within the last nine months or have proof of recovery within the last six months.

UPDATE: On April 6 Spain changed the rules to drop the need for Health Forms for those with NHS Covid passes and for the under 12s. Authorities in Spain’s tourist office in London misinterpreted the new rules and announced that unvaccinated travellers would be allowed in if they showed a negative test but this was later denied. READ MORE HERE

What are the rules if I’m vaccinated?

Those who can show that they are fully vaccinated with approved vaccines can enter Spain without the need to show a negative Covid-19 test or quarantine. You will need to show an EU Covid certificate which can be downloaded through the NHS app.

But there are certain rules regarding the validity period.

Vaccinations are now subject to a 270-day validity period which means that if your last jab was given more than 9 months ago, then you will need a booster to enter.

An additional requirement is that the last vaccine or booster was administered at least two weeks prior to arrival in Spain.

This must be shown on the traveller’s vaccination certificate (which must have a QR code and can be in paper format or downloaded to a mobile phone).

“Your date(s) of vaccination must be specified and your final dose must have been administered within 270 days prior to travel to Spain,” explains the British Embassy in a post on Brits in Spain facebook page.

“If you completed your vaccination more than 270 days prior to travel to Spain, you must be able to show proof of having received a booster jab.”

The 270-day rule is only applicable to UK tourists travelling to Spain, but not Spanish nationals, EU citizens and their non-EU family members or British passport holders who have residency in Spain.

Instead, if more than 270 days have passed since their initial Covid-19 vaccination, they can show either proof of a negative PCR taken within the last 72 hours, a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to arrival in Spain or a medical certificate proving recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months. 

In effect this means fully vaccinated travellers from the UK to Spain are able to enter without the need for a negative COVID test result, provided their second dose is no more than 270 days old, or they have received a booster dose.

Coronavirus airport Cordon Press
Photo: Cordon Press

What if I am unvaccinated?

If you are unvaccinated and have no recovery certificate then you are not able to travel to Spain for non-essential purposes (which includes tourism) if you have a British passport and are not resident within the EU.

If you are not vaccinated but your reason for travel falls into the ‘essential category’ (which does not not include tourism) then you can show a certificate of recovery or a negative PCR tests. A list of exemptions considered reasons for ‘essential travel’ can be found HERE.

Recovery certificates

Spain’s Interior Ministry states that those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months can visit Spain, even if they haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid or if their Covid vaccination certificate has expired because they haven’t had a booster shot.

These certificates can be used to show that you have recovered from Covid within the last six months and must be presented in Spanish, English, French or German.

The official rules state: “Certificates of recovery issued by the competent authority or by a medical service at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or rapid antigen detection test will be accepted as valid. The certificate shall be valid for 180 days after the date of the first positive diagnostic test result.”

What are the rules for children?

Under 12s are exempt from restrictions completely and do not need to be vaccinated or show negative test results.

Those aged between 12 and 17 must either be fully vaccinated or show a negative PCR test.

The booster requirement is not applicable for those aged between 12 and 17 according to official rules on the government’s travelsafe.spain.info website. 

“Please keep in mind that the obligation for the booster dose and the expiration date of 270 days do not apply for children over 12 and under 18 years old. Therefore, if you are over 12 and under 18 years old, you are considered as vaccinated even if 270 days have passed since the last dose without having received the booster dose.”

The NHS app will now allow children aged 12 and above to prove their vaccination status.

Health forms required on entry to Spain

Arrivals in Spain are no longer required to fill in a Spanish health form ahead of travel if they have an EU covid certificate or NHS pass. But all other travellers over the age of 12 must still complete it. The link to the form can be found HERE.

The official guidance issued by Spain’s tourist board in London states: “From 6 April, children under 12 and those travelling to Spain with an EU COVID passport or equivalent (including NHS COVID travel pass) no longer need to complete the Health Control Form (FCS in Spanish) prior to arrival. Those without an EU COVID pass or equivalent must complete the Health Control Form to show evidence of their vaccinations or certificate of recovery. This can be completed via Spain Travel Health (SpTH).”

What are the new rules for travel from Spain to the UK?

The UK dropped all its Covid-19 entry restrictions from March 18 whether you are vaccinated or not. 

This means that no one entering the UK from Spain or any other country will be required to take a Covid test either before or after arrival, or even complete a passenger locator form.

There is no need to quarantine on arrival.

More information:

For more information visit the official UK government website and Spain’s government website with travel requirements HERE.


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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