Requirements when travelling to Spain

Requirements when travelling to Spain

Requirements when travelling just now are confusing. Advice and guidance can change at the drop of a hat. As a passenger it is your responsibility to ensure you have all the correct documentation in place prior to travelling. Failure to fully comply with these measures will result in you not be able to travel.

Entry requirements

This page has information on travelling to Spain. Check what you must do to return to the UK.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK.

The authorities in Spain set and enforce entry rules.

All travellers

Before travel to Spain, everyone travelling by air or sea must fill in and sign an online Health Control Form. If you do not complete this form electronically, you may submit it in paper format before boarding.

On arrival into Spanish ports and airports. You must show the QR code (hardcopy or digital) issued when you completed the online Health Control Form before travel.

The additional documentation you must present on entry when travelling from the UK to Spain is determined by your reason for travel:

  • Tourism: you must show valid proof of being fully vaccinated. (with both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a one-dose vaccine). At least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain (date(s) of vaccination must be specified). See ‘If you’re fully vaccinated’. You cannot use the UK proof of COVID-19 recovery record
  • EU citizens and accompanying family members of an EU citizen (including those travelling for tourism purposes), residents of Spain, or those covered by one of the other exemptions listed may present alternative documentation to the vaccine certificate. See Exemptions

You may also be subject to additional checks at the point of entry including a temperature check. As well as a visual health assessment, or testing on arrival. Passengers may also be contacted and required to undertake a PCR. A TMA or LAMP test at any point up to 48 hours after their arrival in Spain. More information can be found on the Spanish government’s Border Health Controls webpage.

Everyone (excluding children under the age of 12 years old, see Children and young people) arriving into Spain who have visited a ‘risk country’ in the previous 14 days must meet the requirements on the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page. The Spanish government reviews their ‘risk countries’ list every 7 days.

Requirements are country specific

Requirements are country specific. You may get a minimum fine of €3000 if you do not comply with the requirements.

If you are travelling from a country where Spain has travel restrictions. Check with the Spanish Embassy in that country before you travel to Spain. You may be questioned on arrival by Spanish border authorities to ensure you meet the legal entry requirements. Spanish border authorities only allow entry if they are satisfied that you meet the entry requirements. They reserve the right to deny passage.

All travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others This includes any measures that they bring in to control the virus. See the Coronavirus section for further information.

Plan ahead in case you present symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 during your stay in Spain. See Be prepared for your plans to change and Testing positive for COVID-19 while in Spain.

Quarantine and testing on return to the UK continues to apply, see Returning to the UK.

If you’re fully vaccinated

If you’re fully vaccinated and travelling from the UK. You can enter Spain without needing to test or quarantine regardless of your reason for travel. Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements.

  • From 1 February onwards, at least 14 days must have passed since being fully vaccinated. (with both doses of a 2-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine). Your date(s) of vaccination must be specified and your final dose must have been administered within 270 days prior to travel to Spain. If you completed your vaccination (with both doses of a 2-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine) more than 270 days prior to travel to Spain, you must be able to show proof of having receiving a booster jab.

Only vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organisation are accepted.

Children under the age of 12 years old do not need to show proof of being fully vaccinated.

Proof of vaccination status

You must show valid proof of being fully vaccinated to enter Spain from the UK if travelling for tourism purposes. If one of the exemptions listed applies to you, you may be able to present other documentation on entry. See Exemptions

Spain will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies.

Your date(s) of vaccination must be specified. You need to have had a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organisation.

Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination. Therefore it should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Fully vaccinated children aged 12 to 15 can request an NHS COVID Pass letter for international travel. See Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad – Children.

Documents can be in either English, Spanish, French or German and in paper or electronic format. They must specify your name and surname. See ‘Entry requirements for entry in Spain from third countries’ section ‘k.’ on the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page for further information on proof of vaccination for travelling to Spain from the UK.

Further rules may apply if you have travelled to a country on Spain’s list of ‘risk’ countries in the 14 days prior to travel to Spain.

If you’re travelling to Spain for tourism purposes. You cannot use the UK proof of COVID-19 recovery record certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months. See the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page for details.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

Under the Spanish government’s current measures, you can only enter Spain from the UK for tourism purposes if you can show valid proof of meeting the vaccination requirements set out above.

Diagnostic tests are only accepted for travellers from the UK if your reason for travel to Spain falls into one of the categories listed as ‘essential’ on the ‘Entry requirements for entry in Spain from third countries’ – section ‘a’ to ‘i’ – on the Spanish Ministry of Health ‘Travel and COVID-19’ page. This includes EU citizens, an accompanying family member of an EU citizen, a resident of Spain, or if one of the other exemptions listed applies to you. See Exemptions.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year

If you’re travelling to Spain for tourism purposes, you cannot use the UK proof of COVID-19 recovery record certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months. See the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page for details.

Exemptions

Entry requirements may vary if your reason for travel to Spain falls into one of the categories listed as ‘essential’ – section ‘a’ to ‘i’ – on the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page. This includes residents of Spain. If you are an EU citizen, an accompanying family member of an EU citizen, including UK citizens and other non-EU citizens who are travelling with EU family members (including for tourism), a resident of Spain, or if one of the other exemptions listed applies to you, you will be required to present one of the following on entry:

  • documentation certifying that you have undertaken a COVID-19 nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) test (e.g. PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain, or an antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival, and tested negative
  • a medical certificate certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months prior to travel

See the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page for details. COVID-19 diagnostic tests (e.g. PCR, TMA, LAMP, NEAR or antigen) tests are not accepted if you are travelling from the UK to Spain for tourism purposes unless you are travelling with a family member who is an EU citizen.

British travellers who are resident in Spain should be prepared to show Spanish border authorities proof of residency on arrival.

All travellers must fill in and sign an online Health Control Form.

There are some different entry requirements for children under 12 years old. See Children and young people for details.

Children and young people

Travellers of any age, including children under 12 years old, travelling by air or sea must fill in and sign an online Health Control Form no more than 48 hours before travel.

From 13 December, fully vaccinated children aged 12 to 15 can request an NHS COVID Pass letter for international travel. See Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad – Children.

Children under the age of 12 years old do not need to:

Children aged 12 and over must follow the general entry requirements. See All travellers.

Travel to the Balearic and Canary Islands from mainland Spain

To travel to the Canary or Balearic islands from mainland Spain, you may need to show a negative COVID test depending on the region you are travelling from. Check with your travel operator and the local authorities in your final destination for guidance on domestic entry requirements.

For specific information on travel to the Balearic Islands see the Balearic Islands Tourism board.

Travellers to the Canary Islands may be required by tourist accommodation providers to show evidence of a negative test, see the Canary Island tourist board website for details. PCR (RT-PCR for COVID-19), Transcription Mediated Amplification (TMA), and Antigen tests are permitted, and children under the age of 12 are exempt from testing. Check with your accommodation provider before you travel.

If you’re transiting through Spain

If you are transiting Spain by air from the UK on the way to your final destination you are not subject to testing requirements. However, everyone (including children under 12 years old) must fill in and sign an online Health Control Form no more than 48 hours prior to travel. You should check with your travel operator and the authorities at your final destination if a negative test is required on entry.

Spain’s land borders are open, but there may be travel restrictions, border controls and testing requirements depending on the country you are travelling from. Overland travellers from France (excluding children under the age of 12 years old) may need to show one of these documents to enter Spain by road or rail:

  • a document certifying you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • documentation certifying that you have undertaken a diagnostic test and tested negative within 48 hours of entering Spain if using a PCT, LAMP or TMA test, or 24 hours if using an antigen test.
  • a medical document certifying that you have recovered from COVID-19 within the 6 months before travel

Haulage workers

Haulage workers, frontier workers and residents of border regions within a radius of 30km are exempt from needing to show documents certifying they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, have tested negative prior to crossing the border or recovered from the virus 6 months prior to travel, if travelling from France and entering Spain by road or rail.

Check FCDO travel advice for France for further information.

While these testing requirements do not apply to overland travellers from Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar, travel into Spain from all locations may be limited. Border controls at the Portugal land border with Spain have been lifted. See FCDO travel advice for Portugal.

If you are travelling to Spain via Gibraltar, check the latest entry and testing requirements and FCDO travel advice for Gibraltar.

Inter-regional travel is permitted, if your point of origin and destination are not within a confined area that has entry and exit restrictions. Transiting confined areas to reach your final destination is permitted, but you may need to show evidence of your onward journey, such as train or flight tickets to your final destination. See the Coronavirus guidance for further information.

If travelling with people who are not from the same household, everyone must wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply. See Use of face-masks

Residents of Spain

If you are resident in Spain your passport should not be stamped. You should proactively show your proof of residence – such as the ‘TIE’ (la tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) – as well as your valid passport at Spanish border control. For further information, see our Living in Spain guide.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

If you are travelling to Spain for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Passport validity

If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must meet the Schengen area rules.

Your passport must meet 2 requirements. It must be:

  • less than 10 years old on the day you enter (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

We are asking the European Commission to clarify the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen border guards may not be updated until the spring of 2022. Until then, for some Schengen countries your passport may need to be less than 10 years old during your whole visit, and the 3 months at the end of your visit may need to be within 10 years of your passport’s issue date.

Check both the issue date and the expiry date in your passport. If you renewed your passport early, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. This could affect the requirement for your passport to be less than 10 years old.

Contact your travel provider or embassy of the country you are visiting if you think that your passport does not meet both these requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days. This is in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends. As well as to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events. Or even for short-term studies or training
  • if you are travelling to Spain and other Schengen countries without a visa. Make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days
  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Spanish government’s entry requirements. You should check with the Spanish consulate in the UK prior to travel regarding what type of visa and/or work permit you may need. If you are unable to return to the UK before the expiry of your visa/permit or visa-free limit due to C-19 restrictions, you should contact your local immigration office (Extranjería) for advice. You can also call 060 from a Spanish phone line. If you are visiting Spain and need to extend your visa-free stay for exceptional reasons, such as a medical emergency, you must apply to the immigration authorities (Extranjería) to do so. If you stay in Spain with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through Spain as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit. You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area. You can ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.

At Spanish border control, you may need to:

  • queue in separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens
  • produce a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay
  • exhibit proof of accommodation for your stay. For example, a hotel booking confirmation, proof of address if visiting your own property (e.g. second home). Alternatively, an invitation from your host or proof of their address if staying with a third party, friends or family. The Spanish government has clarified that the “carta de invitation” is one of the options available to prove that you have accommodation if staying with friends or family. More information is available from the Spanish Ministry of Interior.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Spain.

Travel between Spain and Gibraltar

Spanish border checks can cause delays when crossing between Spain and Gibraltar. If you are travelling to Spain via Gibraltar, check the latest entry requirements and FCDO travel advice for Gibraltar. Entry requirements and testing requirements are currently in force for travel into Spain.

There is no charge to enter or leave Gibraltar. You should not hand over money if you’re approached by anyone claiming that there is a charge.

Other Countries Travel Requirements

We have compiled a few handy guides to help you see what travel requirements are in place.

Requirements when travelling to France

Travelling to Ireland Requirements

Requirements when travelling to Holland

Travelling to the UK Requirements

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