Do I need a PCR test to travel from Spain to UK? Guidance on antigen and PCR Covid tests explained

Simplified travel rules mean holidaymakers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer have to self-isolate after returning from Spain

The UK government has announced a swathe of changes to its travel rules, including new advice for holidaymakers returning from Spain.

The green and amber lists have now been merged to form one ‘rest of the world’ list, while the red list category still remains for countries that pose a high-risk of Covid-19.

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Arrivals returning from Spain must use a PCR test as their mandatory pre-departure test (Photo: Getty Images)

However, rules are still in place for travelling to and from the country and those who are not fully vaccinated face tougher requirements.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

Do I need a PCR test to enter Spain?

All arrivals to Spain from the UK must complete and sign an online Health Control Form no more than 48 hours before travel, and present one of the following on entry:

  • proof of a negative Covid-19 test (PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) taken within 72 hours prior to arrival
  • proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days prior to arrival with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency, or by the World Health Organisation

Proof of a negative test and vaccination status does not apply to children under the age of 12.

Those who are travelling to the Canary or Balearic islands from mainland Spain may be required to present a negative Covid-19 test depending on the region you are travelling from.

More information about travelling to the Balearic Islands can be found on the Balearic Islands Tourism board.

Additionally, tourist accommodation providers in some parts of Spain also require visitors to present evidence either of a negative test, of being fully vaccinated or of having had and recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months.

This currently applies in the Canary Islands. More information about travel requirements can be found on the Canary Island tourist board.

Spain will accept the UK’s NHS Covid Pass as proof of vaccination.

Certificates of recovery from Covid-19 are not currently accepted in Spain for arrivals from the UK.

You can check the entry requirements on the Foreign Office website before travelling to make sure you know what is expected.

What are the rules when returning to the UK?

Travellers arriving in the UK from Spain who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus - and unvaccinated under 18s - no longer need to take a Covid-19 test before returning to the UK.

It is also no longer a requirement to take a day eight post-arrival PCR test, costing around £65, or to self-isolate at home.

Under current rules, fully vaccinated travellers only need to book and pay for a PCR test to be taken on day two of arrival in the UK from ‘rest of the world’ countries.

The details of the booking must be added to a passenger locator form which must be completed in the 48 hours before returning to the UK.

However, this rule is set to be scrapped in England in favour of the much cheaper lateral flow tests later this month.

Those who are not fully vaccinated will still need to take a pre-departure test in the three days before returning to the UK.

Travellers will also need to book and pay for a day two and day eight post-arrival test, complete a passenger locator form in the 48 hours before arriving in the UK, and self-isolate at home for 10 days.

It is possible to end the quarantine period early through the Test to Release scheme, but travellers will have to pay for a private test on day five. If the result is negative, and the result of the day two test was negative or inconclusive, you no longer need to self-isolate.

The scheme is voluntary and applies only to those quarantining in England and can only be taken after you have been back in the country for a full five days. Those who do not opt into the scheme will need to complete the full 10 day quarantine period.

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