Spain removes COVID-19 test requirement for British travellers from 20 May

May 12, 2021

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There’s some good news for British travellers hoping for Spanish sunshine this summer.

The Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has said that British travellers will not be required to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter Spain from 20 May 2021 even if they aren’t vaccinated. The relaxing of Spain’s tough entry rules for Brits is thanks to the successful rollout of the U.K.’s vaccination programme, where more than 35 million people have already received at least their first dose.

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Pre-COVID, Spain was the most-visited country by British travellers with more than 18 million visiting in 2019. The country’s tourism industry has been decimated by the pandemic and the removal of pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements is designed to encourage British travellers to return this summer by reducing the cost and hassle of pre-departure testing.

Related: What kind of COVID-19 test will I need to travel and how much will it cost?

Spain was placed on the U.K. amber list by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last week. This means that while travelling there is not illegal from 17 May, the U.K. government still advises against non-essential travel.

Anyone returning to the U.K. from an amber country will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flight back to the U.K., self-isolate at home or a place of their choosing in the U.K. for 10 days and have pre-booked two additional PCR tests to take on day two and day eight of their quarantine period.

Anyone self-isolating at home for 10 days can potentially reduce the isolation period with an additional PCR test through the Test To Release scheme. The test needs to be purchased separately and must be taken after five full days of quarantine. If the result comes back negative, the traveller can forgo the rest of their quarantine, but must still take the day-eight test, even though they’ve already left isolation.

Neighbouring Portugal made it onto the coveted green list for travel from 17 May, meaning no quarantine is required for travellers returning to the U.K. Portugal has not yet announced when it will begin welcoming British travellers and what testing requirements there may be on entry, if any.

Spain’s 14-day COVID-19 case notification rate of 236.78 per 100,000 inhabitants is currently around four times higher than Portugal’s rate of 60.57. Maroto acknowledges the new infection rates must reduce before Spain can be added to the U.K.’s green list.

Featured image by Alex/Getty Images.

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