Spain extends entry rules for unvaccinated until at least 15 May

May 4, 2022

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As travel restrictions continue to fall across Europe, Spain is staying put when it comes to entry restrictions for the unvaccinated. 

The Spanish government today announced that, rather than scrap all COVID-19 related entry requirements like much of the rest of Europe, it will extend them at least until 15 May for unvaccinated visitors.

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The move comes less than a month after red-faced Spanish officials were forced to apologise after backtracking on a decision to loosen rules for unvaccinated visitors in time for the Easter break — at the time they put this down to a misinterpretation. 

More than half of the EU’s member states have already lifted the requirement to show proof of vaccination to cross their borders, with more expected to follow soon.

Related: This time it’s for real: Greece lifts entry restrictions for travellers from 1 May

But Spain’s Ministry of the Interior today held firm on its rules, announcing that the restrictions first imposed in July 2020 will remain until 15 May. 

“This order will take effect from 12.00pm on July 22, 2020, until 12.00pm on May 15, 2022, without prejudice to its eventual modification to respond to a change in circumstances or new recommendations in the field of the European Union,” it told the Spanish Gazette.

Embarrassing backtrack

The move comes less than a month after red-faced officials were forced to apologise after backtracing on a decision to loosen rules for unvaccinated visitors in time for the Easter break. (Photo of Tarifa Beach by Bogdan Angheloiu/Getty Images)

Just last month, Spanish authorities appeared to loosen travel restrictions for unvaccinated visitors ahead of the busy Easter break, allowing anyone without jabs to enter the country provided they could show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test.

The development was hailed by the Spanish Tourist Office in the U.K. as a “step in the right direction”. 

However, less than ten hours later, Spanish officials backtracked on the announcement, claiming the previous rules for unvaccinated travellers were still in place.

Related: Did you renew your passport early? You could risk being turned away from your flight

In an astonishing show of turnabout-face, Pedro Medina, Director of Spain’s Tourist Office in the U.K, said: “We apologise unreservedly for the miscommunication earlier today which was due to a misunderstanding of the new entry requirements.”

So, as it stands, the rules on entering Spain are still as they were almost two years ago. 

Now, any unvaccinated person over 12-years-old hoping to visit Spain must produce a valid recovery certificate no more than six months old, or the U.K.’s proof of COVID-19 recovery record, or proof of exemption.

Related: Spain has now backtracked on plans to ease rules for unvaccinated travellers

Fully vaccinated visitors do not require a test to enter but must show their vaccination status through the NHS Covid Pass. If more than 270 days have passed since the final dose, a certification of a booster vaccination is required — except, that is, for teenagers aged between 12 and 17 accompanying vaccinated parents.

Unvaccinated travellers aged 18 and over can only enter Spain only by showing proof of recovery from Covid within the six months before travel.

As for domestic rules, mask-wearing in indoor and outdoor public areas in Spain was lifted on 20 April. The obligation to wear a mask remains effective for some places such as healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and public transport.

The past week has seen a stampede of European countries lifting restrictions, including Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, and Switzerland.

Featured image: John Harper/Getty Images.

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