Travelling to Spain

Travelling to Spain in 2021

** Should you have any questions that are not addressed below, we strong recommend that you immediately contact your airline prior to travelling.

Important information regarding travelling to Spain 2021. If you’re travelling to Spain, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Check your passport’s issue and expiry dates for travel to Europe

Do it before you travel !!

You should have at least 6 months left on your UK passport and it needs to be less than 10 years old, or you may not be able to travel. 

Before travelling, we also strongly recommend that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

All passengers arriving in Spain must complete a Locator Form providing contact details and any history of contact with COVID-19.  This form can be completed on-line via the Spain Travel website or App Further health checks apply at points of entry to Spain, including temperature checks.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Spain

Spain’s borders are open to European Union and Schengen-area countries.

On 22 December 2020, Spain introduced travel restrictions on passenger travel from the UK by air and sea. These measures have been extended until 6pm (GMT+1) on 2 February 2021 (5pm / GMT in the Canary Islands), with the exception of Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain.

International transit through Spanish airports by passengers on flights departing from the UK is permitted on presentation of a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Spain. See Transiting Spain

Travellers arriving from the United Kingdom are not required to self-isolate on arrival in Spain. However, from the 23 November 2020, there are some requirements for testing on arrival for those travelling by air and sea. Spot checks may be carried out on arrival to confirm travellers have undergone a COVID-19 PCR, TMA or LAMP test and have tested negative. A minimum fine of €3000 may be issued to anyone who does not comply.

Some restrictions on travellers from outside the European Union and the Schengen free-travel area remain in place. You should refer to the Spanish Embassy in the country you are in for further advice.

Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. See the Coronavirus section for further information.

Testing/screening on arrival

On arrival, travellers entering Spain from the UK will not be required to self-isolate.

However, from 23 November 2020, all passengers (excluding children under the age of 6 years old) travelling to Spanish airports and ports from ‘risk’ countries (as determined by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control) will be required to present a negative PCR swab test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country.

From 10 December 2020, a TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification) swab test or a LAMP (Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification) test are also accepted by Spanish authorities, again taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. While TMA and LAMP tests are not currently widely available in the UK, you should refer to testing facilities directly for specific information on the types of tests available to you, prior to booking an appointment. The UK is currently on the ‘risk’ countries list and passengers arriving from the UK are therefore subject to this requirement.

This requirement applies to all passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea, regardless of your residency status in Spain and the length of time you intend on staying. Property owners in Spain are subject to this requirement.

If you are travelling by air or sea to Spain, you must declare on the mandatory ‘Health Control Form’ listed below, that you have undertaken a PCR, TMA or LAMP test within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, have tested negative for COVID-19, and can show on request evidence certifying your results. The document you provide must be the original, be written in Spanish or English, may be submitted in paper or electronic format and must contain the following information:

  • name of passenger
  • passport number or ID card number (the number provided must match the one provided on the Health Control Form)
  • test date
  • name and contact details of the testing centre
  • testing method applied (ie PCR)
  • test results

You will also be subject to the following additional requirements at the point of entry. It is mandatory for all passengers travelling to Spain to fill out and sign a Health Control Form 48 hours prior to travel, providing the Spanish Ministry of Health with:

  • contact information
  • details of any known history of exposure to COVID-19, and
  • confirmation that you are able to provide evidence, certifying that you have undertaken a PCR (swab) test within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival and have tested negative for COVID-19

You can do this on the Spain Travel Health website or downloadable app. On completion, you will be issued a personal and non-transferable QR code which you must show (electronically or hardcopy) at airport health controls on arrival. Anyone who has not completed this form electronically via the Spain Travel Health website or app, may submit it in paper format prior to boarding.

  • temperature check
  • undergo a visual health assessment

Anyone who presents symptoms or fails to meet one of the above requirements will be required to undergo a test on arrival and will be obliged to observe the COVID-19 protocols in place as determined by the local authorities of your destination in Spain.

Checks will be carried out on arrival to confirm travellers have undergone a COVID-19 PCR, TMA or LAMP test and have tested negative. A minimum fine of €3000 may be issued to anyone who arrives in Spanish airports and ports from ‘risk’ countries without adequate evidence of a negative PCR, TMA or LAMP test.

Passengers may also be contacted and required to undertake a PCR, TMA or LAMP test at any point up to 48 hours after their arrival in Spain.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test and should confirm with the testing facility the type of tests available prior to booking an appointment.

Overland travellers to Spain are exempt from the above-mentioned entry requirements, and are therefore not currently required to present a PCR, TMA or LAMP test or Health Control Form on entry by road or rail.

Additional requirements for UK nationals resident in Spain

If you are resident in Spain, you should also carry the appropriate proof of residency documents as well as a valid passport when you travel. Spanish authorities have clarified that either the A4-size or credit card sized green EU registration certificates, the “Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión Europea”, or the new TIE card, the “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero” are valid proof of residency for UK nationals who wish to return to their homes in Spain.

The Spanish authorities have not confirmed whether other documents are being accepted as sufficient proof of residence to enable entry to Spain. We strongly advise that you contact your airline before travelling to confirm your proof of residency meets the requirements of your airline.

Transiting Spain

Spain’s land borders are open.

International transit through Spanish airports by passengers on flights departing from the UK is permitted on presentation of a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Spain.

Travellers due to transit Spain on return to the UK, are allowed to transit through Spanish airports. You should be prepared to show evidence of your connecting flight. Should your transit involve passing through Spanish border control into Spanish territory, you may be required to present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test. Please contact your travel operator before departure.

A negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival is not required for those entering Spain by land (by road or by rail). Further information on the test is available from the Spanish authorities here.

The French government has implemented additional entry requirements for those travelling to and transiting through France. If you are planning to drive from Spain through France, check the latest FCDO travel advice for France ahead of your journey.

Spain re-opened its borders with Portugal on 1 July 2020, see FCDO travel advice for Portugal.

If you are travelling to Spain via Gibraltar, check the latest entry requirements and FCDO travel advice for Gibraltar. Spain have extended current travel restrictions from the UK until 6pm (GMT+1) on 2 February 2021. While restrictions are in place you will only be able to enter Spain via Gibraltar if you are a Spanish national, you are legally resident in Spain or Gibraltar or a cross border worker. You will be asked to show documentation to prove you meet the criteria above.

Inter-regional travel is permitted, providing your point of origin and destination do not fall within a confined area where entry and exit restrictions are in place. Transiting confined areas to reach your final destination is permitted, however you should be prepared to show evidence of your onward journey such as train or flight tickets to your final destination. See Coronavirus for further information.

If travelling with people who are not from the same household, all passengers must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply.

 

Coronavirus

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Spain on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the CO.VID-19 pandemic

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Spain.

Travel in Spain

You should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.

On 25 October 2020, the Spanish government declared a nationwide State of Emergency which includes a national obligatory overnight curfew (specific curfew times vary, starting between 10pm and midnight and lasting until 6am). It also provides regional governments with legal powers to impose further mobility restrictions in their region if deemed necessary (e.g. entry and exit restrictions to and from specific areas).

The situation is evolving and restrictive measures to control the virus may be introduced across the country at short notice. For details of local outbreaks and the specific measures in place in your destination, you should check the advice of local authorities in your destination prior to travel.

There are some exemptions to entering and exiting confined areas or travelling during the hours of curfew such as travel to your place of employment, attendance at medical appointments or transiting the area to return to your place of residence. Entry for tourism purposes is not currently permitted and should be avoided.

If you think you have reason to qualify as exempt and need to travel into or out of a confined area or during the hours of curfew, you should carry evidence of your reason for travel such as a certificate from your employer, proof of medical appointment, or proof of onward journey such as train or flight tickets. To find out more about specific exemptions you should refer to guidance from local authorities.

Many municipal and regional authorities have introduced other types of measures such as limiting the opening hours and capacity of bars and restaurants, and in some places these remain closed until further notice.

Social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 6 people.

The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old on all forms of public transport in Spain and in many other indoor and outdoor public spaces. Specific rules on the use of face masks may vary from one region to the next, you should refer to local authorities for advice. You should carry a face mask with you and be prepared to wear it throughout your stay.

The situation is evolving and restrictive measures to control the virus may be introduced across the country at short notice. The UK currently advises against travel to Spain however, should you choose to travel against this advice, you should consult the Spanish Ministry of Health map for further details of local outbreaks in Spain and check the advice of local authorities in your destination prior to travel.

Road travel

Land borders are open.

The French government has implemented additional entry requirements for those travelling to and transiting through France. If you are planning to drive from Spain through France, check the latest FCDO travel advice for France ahead of your journey.

On 25 October 2020, the Spanish government declared a nationwide State of Emergency which includes a national obligatory overnight curfew (specific curfew times vary, starting between 10pm and midnight and lasting until 6am). It also provides regional governments with legal powers to impose further mobility restrictions in their region if deemed necessary (e.g. entry and exit restrictions to and from specific areas).

Inter-regional travel may be restricted if your point of origin and destination fall within a confined area where entry and exit restrictions are in place. You should check the advice of local authorities in your destination prior to travel.

Transiting confined areas is permitted; however, you should be prepared to show evidence of your onward journey such as train or flight tickets to your final destination. Other exemptions include travel to your place of employment and attendance at medical appointments; however, entry for tourism purposes to confined areas is not currently permitted and should be avoided.

If you think you have reason to qualify as exempt and need to travel into or out of a confined area or during the hours of curfew, you should carry evidence of your reason for travel such as a certificate from your employer, proof of a medical appointment or evidence of your onward travel to your place of residence as stated above. To find out more about specific exemptions you should refer to guidance from local authorities.

If travelling with people who are not from the same household, all passengers must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply.

Public spaces and services

Social distancing measures and other safety precautions should continue to be observed at all times.

Many municipal and regional authorities have introduced other types of measures such as limiting the opening hours and capacity of bars and restaurants, and in some places these remain closed until further notice. You should refer to local authorities for any additional measures where you are as this may vary from one region to the next.

Key common measures across Spain include:

  • social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 6 people.
  • social distancing of 1.5-metres.
  • obligatory use of face masks in public spaces (see ‘Use of facemasks’).
  • abiding by any safety measures put in place by establishments such as hotels, bars, shops and restaurants to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
  • track and trace – all shops, businesses and transport companies are obliged to keep customers’ contact information (where provided) for up to 4 weeks for tracking and tracing purposes.
  • capacity restrictions in place at beaches or other public areas such as the delineation of plots and the use of booking systems. You should refer to local authorities for information on the measures in place.
  • if visitors test positive or develop symptoms during their stay in Spain, they may be moved to specific designated accommodation to prevent further spread.
  • wash your hands frequently and thoroughly and use hand sanitizer gel where soap and water is not available.

Use of face masks

The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old on all forms of public transport in Spain and in many other indoor and outdoor public spaces.

Most regions in Spain have now made the use of face masks obligatory in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, even when social distancing of 1.5 metres is observed. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply.

You should carry a face mask with you and be prepared to wear it during your stay. Face masks must cover the nose and mouth.

There are some exceptions to the use of face masks such as when practising sport, eating or drinking, or at the beach, however rules may vary from one region to the next. You should refer to local authorities for specific information on face-covering requirements and any exceptions where you are.

Those with respiratory problems or those unable to wear a mask due to other health conditions or disabilities are exempt from this rule. More details are available from the Ministry for Health (in Spanish).

While not mandatory, the use of face masks on children between 3 and 5 years of age is recommended.

Healthcare in Spain

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers and healthcare for UK nationals visiting Spain.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

If you cannot travel back to the UK due to ill health or reduced mobility, you may wish to consider looking for longer-term accommodation in Spain until the State of Emergency is lifted. If you need medical treatment, the UK EHIC is still valid until it’s expiry date.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Spain.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Spain

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. As further information is available about the national vaccination programme, this page will be updated. Sign up to get email notifications.

Spain operates its health system regionally. You should refer to your regional health authority for information regarding the vaccination plan in your area.

For more general information from the Spanish government regarding vaccines in Spain, see their vaccination strategy (only available in Spanish).

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. It has authorised the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines for temporary supply and use in the UK. Find out more about MHRA approval for these vaccines.

British nationals living overseas should seek medical advice from their local healthcare provider in the country where they reside. Information about vaccines used in other national programmes, including regulatory status, should be available from the local authorities. This list of Stringent Regulatory Authorities recognised by the World Health Organisation may also be a useful source of additional information. Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines on the World Health Organisation COVID-19 vaccines page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Further information

For more information from the Spanish authorities, see the Spanish Ministry of Health website or their official Twitter channel.

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.