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Spain travel advice: Covid tests, vaccinations and entry requirements for children

What are Spain's travel restrictions? Do I need a PCR or lateral flow test to fly to mainland Spain, the Canary islands, Mallorca or Ibiza?

Spain travel advice: Covid tests, vaccinations and entry requirements for children

Spain is a popular winter sun getaway, but for anyone over 12, entry is dependent on whether you’re vaccinated.

All fully vaccinated individuals must follow these four basic steps when entering Spain. If you’re unvaccinated, different rules apply, and you will not be permitted entry to Spain.

Read on to find out what evidence you need to show at the airport, which tests you need to return home, and which rules children need to follow and at what age.

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Before you go: what are Spain’s Covid entry requirements?

Fully vaccinated passengers

STEP 1: If you have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arriving in Spain, you’ll need to be able to prove it. The entry rules are the same for the whole country, whether you’re visiting the Canaries, Mallorca, Ibiza or mainland Spain. You must have had the second dose no longer than nine months ago. If your second dose was administered over 270 days ago, you will need to be able to prove you have had the booster shot.

English holidaymakers visiting Spain can use the NHS Covid Pass app to provide evidence of the date of their vaccinations. Our advice is to print out the required QR code, or at least save it in your phone’s document wallet. Some travellers have missed their flights when the Covid Pass app stopped working, leaving them with no means of proving when they received their vaccinations.

Find out more about how to use the NHS app and the options for residents of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can also access your vaccine status online, or request proof in letter form. 

STEP 2: Before your flight, you will also need to complete and sign an online Health Control Form, no more than 48 hours prior to travel, declaring any known history of Covid exposure. Once the form is completed you will receive a QR code (again, print this out as a backup). 

On arrival in Spain, you may be asked to present the QR code, undergo a temperature check and/or undergo a visual health assessment. 

Unvaccinated passengers

STEP 1: If you are unvaccinated, or not yet fully vaccinated, you will not be able to enter Spain. It was previously possible to enter using a negative Covid-19 test, but this is no longer the case. This rule also applies to children over the age of 12.

STEP 2: As above

Travelling with children

STEP 1: Children under the age of 12 do not need to take a test, or show evidence of vaccination, to enter Spain. 

However, children aged 12 and over are treated the same as adults and must present evidence of full vaccination no longer than nine months ago (or proof of a booster more recently). To do this, you should request an NHS COVID Pass letter for international travel.

STEP 2: All passengers, regardless of age must complete the Spanish health form (see Step 2 above) no more than 48 hours prior to travel. Parents or legal guardians are able to complete an individual form on behalf of their children. Alternatively you can fill in a family/group form. 

What if my child has recently recovered from Covid but is not yet fully vaccinated?

Certificates of recovery are not currently accepted in Spain, meaning that any unvaccinated individual over the age of 12 will not be permitted to enter Spain.

I have a holiday booked but am unvaccinated – what can I do?

It’s worth contacting your provider to discuss your situation. Decent package holiday companies with flexible booking policies may allow you to rebook your holiday for different dates and/or a different destination.

What are Spain’s rules while I am there?

Each region of Spain has its own rules with regards to mask-wearing, indoor hospitality and Covid passes. Some regions also have a curfew and this can vary, not just within regions but within provinces or even between municipalities.

In some regions curfews are currently in place very late at night, between 1.00am and 6.00am but during the worst moments of the pandemic they have been as early as 11.00pm in some parts of the country. Check with the local tourist office for latest details. You can see the rules for the Canary Islands here. 

Do I need to show a Covid pass?

In Catalonia and Galicia in the north you do need to able to prove that you’re fully vaccinated, recently recovered or have had a negative Covid test before being allowed to enter indoor hospitality. Other regions are considering similar measures. You can use your NHS pass or the equivalents from the rest of the UK as a vaccine passport.

Will I need to wear a mask?

Anyone over the age of six must wear a mask in enclosed public spaces like shops, bars, restaurants and hairdressers and on public or group transport, except when eating or drinking. That’s the case throughout the country, including the Canary and Balearic islands. It is also obligatory to wear masks outside unless you are in a natural space or you are doing a solo sporting activity – such as running. Rules vary as to whether you have to wear a mask on the beach. Rules vary depending on the region, but you can check the rules in Spain here.

Fines may be imposed if you don’t comply with these rules. However, those with a disability of respiratory condition are exempt.

What Covid forms, tests and quarantines are required when I return to the UK?

Fully vaccinated passengers

 If you are vaccinated, you do not need to take a pre-departure test before you travel home but you do need to take a day 2 antigen test when you’re back in the UK. You do not have to self-isolate while you await the result. Find out which lateral flow providers to trust.

You must complete a passenger locator form online and submit it any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. You’ll need to show your form when you check in, or board your plane. 

To complete the form you’ll need your passport details, your travel details and the booking reference numbers for any Covid tests you need to take after arriving in the UK. 

Unvaccinated passengers

Travellers who have not received both doses of an approved vaccine and are returning from Spain or the Canary Islands must take a pre-departure test, followed by a day 2 and day 8 test. 

They must also quarantine at home. A test to release on day five remains an option to reduce the self-isolation period. 

Travelling with children

The fully vaccinated rules apply to any UK resident who is under 18. Children between the ages of five and 17 must take a day 2 test.

Those aged 4 and under do not have to take any Covid travel tests.

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