Spain opened to the world last Monday and tourists from almost anywhere will be able to visit the country this summer. That was the announcement of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, on May 21 in Fitur, although this opening has many nuances about where, who and under what conditions can access Spanish territory in the coming months. There are differences on the requirements depending on the reason for the trip – if it is for a just cause such as work or if it is for leisure -, the place of origin – if you arrive from another European country or from outside the Union – and even by the type of tourist – if vaccinated or not.
These movements of La Moncloa are aimed at the recovery of international mobility. To facilitate the arrival of foreign travelers, the European health certificate will also contribute, which will begin in the EU from July 1, although there are already territories that have begun to issue it (most Spanish autonomous communities do so). These are the main questions and answers that tourists who want to visit the country in the coming months have.
Can you visit Spain for leisure from other EU countries?
If possible. Furthermore, this point was only limited during the hardest phase of the pandemic. Then, once the internal borders of the Union were reopened, they have never been closed again with few exceptions. Hence the paradox that for months in Spain it was allowed for a German to travel to the Balearic Islands or Andalusia while residents in Spain could not leave their autonomous community.
Are there any restrictions for these European travelers?
According to each case. From the areas that are in the green traffic light of the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC, for its acronym in English) it is possible to travel without restrictions. Although in practice there are few European areas that are within this level. Most (except areas of Finland, Norway, Iceland and Malta), therefore, will have to present an additional requirement for entry: vaccination certificate, negative diagnostic test (it could be a PCR or antigen test, faster and cheaper) made within 48 hours prior to arrival or COVID recovery certificate. Any of these documents must be written in Spanish, English, French or German or, where appropriate, translated into Spanish by an official body. Minors will be exempt from this requirement.
Does any vaccine work and is it worth a single dose?
No. In the first place, the immunization would have to be with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO). That is, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sinopharm, or Sinovac-Coronavac. In addition, it will only be valid once 14 days have elapsed since they have the full regimen – the single dose of Janssen or the second dose in drugs that require two. This vaccination certificate must be issued by one of the competent authorities of the country of origin and must include name and surname, date of vaccination (indicating the day of the last puncture), type of vaccine, number of doses received, issuing country and identification of the issuing body of the vaccination certificate.
And how will it be proven that the covid has been overcome?
In this case, the recovery certificate must also be issued by the competent authority or by a medical service at least 11 days after the first PCR test with a positive result has been carried out. These naturally generated antibodies will be given a validity of 180 days, the time in which this certificate would serve to be able to travel within the Union. The document must include name and surname, date of taking the positive test sample, type of diagnostic test and the issuing country.
Which countries outside the EU can also travel without restrictions?
There is a list of special countries and regions whose residents are not affected by the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the European Union. That is, areas from which it is possible to travel without restrictions due to their better situation of control of the pandemic. These countries are Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, China and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao (subject to the principle of reciprocity). In these cases, it will not even be necessary to present a negative diagnostic test, be vaccinated or have overcome the disease.
And from the rest of non-EU countries, can you visit Spain for tourism?
For these cases, the opening on Monday is planned for vaccinated tourists. Specifically, all travelers immunized with any of the drugs approved by the EMA or WHO who have received the complete guideline at least two weeks before their arrival in Spain are allowed to enter. Thus, to travel for leisure, the rest of passengers are excluded even if they have a negative diagnostic test, vaccinated with a drug not approved by those organizations or with a certificate of having overcome the disease.
And the minors who have not yet received the vaccine?
Children under 12 years of age who accompany an adult vaccinated with a drug approved by the EMA or the WHO may access Spain without restriction.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. The Government has kept an ace up its sleeve for when new variants of the virus emerge and will be able to exclude from this benefit countries where there is one of these strains out of control. For example, the order included the exception with the so-called risk countries that Health imposed quarantine on them. In this case, there is only India, from where tourists will not be able to travel even if they are vaccinated with a full schedule.
In practice, tourist arrivals from Brazil or South Africa are also banned, since travel is restricted: for the moment, only Spanish or Andorran nationals, residents in Spain or Andorra, or passengers in international transit to a non-Schengen country with a stopover can access. less than 24 hours (without leaving the airport transit area), as well as the aeronautical personnel necessary to carry out air transport activities.
Is it allowed in any case to travel to Spain from outside the EU if you are not vaccinated?
No, if the trip is for leisure or tourism. There are only some exceptions that can justify the trip: be habitual residents in the European Union, Schengen associated States, Andorra, Monaco, The Vatican or San Marino and that they are going to that country; be holders of a long-stay visa issued by a Member State or Schengen Associated State heading to that country; health professionals, including health researchers, and elderly care professionals who are going to or returning from their work activity; transport personnel, seafarers and aeronautical personnel necessary to carry out air transport activities; diplomatic, consular personnel, of international organizations, military, civil protection and members of humanitarian organizations, in the exercise of their functions; Students who carry out their studies in the Member States or Schengen Associated States and who have the corresponding permit or visa for long-term stay, provided that they go to the country where they are studying, and that the entry occurs during the academic year or the 15 days prior; highly qualified workers whose work is necessary and cannot be postponed or carried out remotely, including participants in high-level sports events that take place in Spain; people traveling for duly accredited imperative family reasons, and people who document reasons of force majeure or situation of need.
If you are in doubt about whether you meet any of these requirements, you can read the full text of the State official newsletter here.
Will I have to fill in any mandatory documentation?
Yes, in all cases regardless of the country of origin, whether by air or sea, including those in transit and those under 12 years of age. They will have to fill out a health control form through the web www.spth.gob.es or the Spain Travel Health app. The QR code that is generated must be shown before boarding, as well as at health checks upon arrival in Spain.
Cruise passengers, do they have to complete the same mandatory documentation?
International cruise travelers should not use the Spain Travel Health app. Where appropriate, the information will be collected through the application EU Digital Passenger Locator Form.
What controls are there when arriving by land in the country?
When entering by land from risk areas in France, travelers must have one of the aforementioned tests (vaccination certificates, negative diagnostic test or recovery certificate).