Spain entry requirements: Covid rules for travel from UK to Spain - and new rule of six restriction explained

Strict Covid entry requirements are in place for UK tourists as Spain announces new rules in light of rising infections

Spain has tightened its Covid-19 restrictions as part of efforts to minimise the spread of the Omicron variant, after a recent surge in cases.

The new variant has sent infection rates soaring in recent weeks, but hospital admissions currently remain low compared to previous coronavirus waves.

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If you are planning a trip to Spain or due to be visiting the county soon, these are all the rules and entry requirements you need to know.

What new rules have been announced?

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced in December that face masks are now compulsory outdoors in Spain, with the rule coming into effect on 24 December.

It is also mandatory for face masks to be worn by anyone over the age of six in the following settings:

  • In any enclosed space open to the public, such as shops, restaurants and hotels
  • In any indoor space where people who are not from the same household mix
  • In any outdoor space where it is not possible to observe social distancing of 1.5m
  • On all forms of public transport including planes, trains, trams, buses and metro, as well as all transport stations, platforms and airports

Covid rules on the Spanish island of Tenerife have also been tightened in response to a rise in cases.

The Canary Island has been upgraded to the highest tier of Covid-19 rules at alert Level 4.

This means that pubs and restaurants are now subject to a curfew and must close at midnight.

Public transport is capped at 75% capacity to help minimise the risk of transmission in enclosed spaces.

The rule of six is back in force for social gatherings indoors and outdoors, except for those who are part of the same household.

Vaccine passports are also needed to gain entry to some indoor venues, including bars, restaurants and gyms, and nightclubs have also been capped at 25% capacity.

Rules also mean that spas, jacuzzis and saunas must close, and outdoor pools can only operate at 33% capacity.

Beaches now have a 50% capacity and a “prior appointment” may be needed to visit some venues to avoid overcrowding, according to the tourist boards for the Spanish islands.

The Canary islands of Lanzarote, La Palma, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura still remain on alert Level 3, as do the Balearic islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formenta.

The smaller islands of El Hierro and La Gomera are currently at alert Level 2.

What are Spain’s entry requirements?

As of 1 December, all arrivals to Spain from the UK are required to present a Health Control Form and proof of vaccination on entry. This rule applies to everyone over the age of 12.

Travellers must show they have received both doses of a two dose vaccine, or one dose of a one dose vaccine, at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain.

The date of vaccination must be specified and the vaccine must be authorised by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organisation. The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca jabs are among the vaccines that are accepted.

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

Those travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination must ensure the certificate dates from 1 November in order for it to be scanned successfully.

A medical certificate of recovery from Covid-19 in the last six months prior to travel is not currently accepted for arrivals from the UK.

Under previous rules, Spain had allowed UK travellers to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to enter.

However, proof of a negative test will no longer be accepted under the new rules.

Spain does not currently have any testing or quarantine requirements on top of proving you are fully vaccinated.

However, if you are travelling to the Canary or Balearic islands from mainland Spain, you may be required to present a negative test depending on the region you are travelling from.

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 on returning to the UK?

Pre-departure tests for travellers arriving in the UK from Spain have now been scrapped.

Travellers instead need to take a lateral flow test (LFD) or PCR test any time after arrival and before the end of day 2 at the latest. The day you arrive is day 0.

If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate. If your lateral flow test result is positive, you must also take a follow-up PCR test.

These rules apply to people who are fully vaccinated and children under 18.

Those who are not fully vaccinated must still take a pre-departure Covid-19 test in the two days before travel.

Unvaccinated travellers must also book and pay for day two and day eight PCR tests to be taken on arrival in the UK.

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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