With its gorgeous beaches, guarantee of sunshine and wide-range of affordable resorts Spain has long been the UK’s favourite holiday destination.
In the latest travel update on Thursday (26 August), the government announced that Spain will remain on the amber list, and all arrivals from the country – including its islands – to the UK will be required to take a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the recommendation is a precaution against the increased prevalence of Covid-19 and variants in the popular tourist hotspot.
Here’s what you need to know about the rules.
What travel restrictions are in place for amber countries?
People returning from amber countries must take two post-arrival tests.
They are also required to self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can reduce that time if they take an additional negative test on day-five.
Each country has its own entry requirements, so it's important to check these before travelling out of the UK.
As of 19 July, fully-vaccinated UK residents and under 18s will no longer need to quarantine when returning from amber list countries.
Is Spain on the green list?
Popular destinations for tourists from England, including France, Greece, Spain and Italy, remain on the amber list.
The list includes the majority of Europe, as well as the US and Canada.
What about the Balearic and Canary Islands?
Spain’s tourist hotspots of Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera were removed from the green list on 19 July due to concerns over rising Covid cases.
Speaking about the changes to the Balearic Islands on 14 July, Shapps told reporters: “Unfortunately when we put them on the green watchlist from then we’ve seen the rates double, and also the rates of positivity of these tests double, meaning that we’re going to have to move quickly.”
The new rules came into place from 4am on 19 July.
What are the rules for entering Spain?
For those travelling to Spain, there are a variety of rules which must be adhered to before entry to the country is permitted.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) explains that the Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK to present on entry one of the following:
- a negative Covid-19 test
- proof of vaccination
Further requirements and entry restrictions may also apply if:
- you have travelled to a ‘risk country’ within 14 days prior to arrival in Spain
- you are travelling from mainland Spain to the Balearic or Canary Islands, or you are staying in tourist accommodation in the Canary Islands
- you are travelling overland (by road or rail) from France
All passengers entering Spain are still required to complete a pre-travel declaration form.
The Spanish government also requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK (excluding children under the age of 12 years old) to present on entry one of the following:
- documentation certifying that you have undertaken a Covid-19 nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT - e.g. PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain and tested negative. Antigen tests are only accepted in certain limited circumstances
- proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organisation
If you live in England, Spain will accept the NHS COVID Pass or your NHS letter to demonstrate your Covid-19 vaccination status. If you live in Scotland or Wales, Spain will accept your respective NHS letter to demonstrate your Covid-19 vaccination status.
There are currently no plans to move Spain to the UK’s red list, but the Department for Transport (DFT) explains that “if conditions change in a country or territory, it can be moved from the amber list to the red list.”
A country or territory may also be moved between lists without warning if there is a sudden change in conditions.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are now being advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country. UK clinicians and scientists will remain in close contact with their counterparts in Spain to keep abreast of the latest data and picture of cases in Spain.
This guidance came into effect at 4am on Sunday 8 August in England.
When is the next travel update?
The travel reviews are scheduled to take place every three weeks, with the last update having taken place on Thursday 26 August. The changes from the latest review will come into effect from 4am on Monday 30 August.
The next review of travel restrictions is expected to come on Thursday 16 September.
Any changes that are announced will likely come into effect from 4am on the following Sunday or Monday.