April is a busy month in Spain, with lots of new and exciting developments happening across the country. With Easter celebrations, potentially changing Covid restrictions, and taking the time out to file your taxes, here’s everything you need to know about life in Spain this month:
The Introduction of Petrol Subsidies
The Russian invasion in the Ukraine has sent the cost of fuel soaring across Europe, including Spain. This has had a hugely negative impact on family and business finances. In order to help counterbalance this, on 1st April the Spanish government introduced a fuel support scheme which will subsidise the cost of fuel by 20 cents per litre for all drivers. This scheme will cost the Spanish government €16-billion, and will help to the cushion the impact of the crisis for both businesses and families.
Other protections being introduced to are cost-cutting energy measures, and a limit on rent increases (with no landlord allowed to increase their rent by more than 2 percent in the current climate).
The Arrival of Semana Santa
Semana Santa (Holy Week) is one of the most significant religious holidays in Spain, running from 10th-17th April, and incorporating a national holiday on 15th April. In many regions of Spain, Thursday 14th April is also a public holiday. During this period, hotel occupancy increases to around 90 percent, with popular beaches and tourist spots expected to be crowded.
This Semana Santa is particularly special as it is the first year that parades can take place again since the start of the pandemic. Despite the rain that has been forecast, processions have been confirmed in Seville, Málaga, Zamora, Zaragoza, Mallorca, Santander, Madrid and many more locations. Check local requirements for your area before you attend a parade, as some will have social distancing or mask wearing requirements in place.
Cool temperatures are forecast for Semana Santa this year, but that doesn’t mean that both domestic and international tourism won’t experience a significant surge during this period. Even the winter-like temperatures that will kick start the month (with this April being unusually cold) shouldn’t impact tourism too severely.
Continuing Travel Restrictions
Temporary restrictions impacting non-essential travel from the majority of third countries have been extended once again, with the current extension running until 30th April 2022. This means that if you are travelling from a non-EU country then adult travellers that are unvaccinated cannot enter the country for tourism purposes.
If you are fully vaccinated, or can prove that you have recovered from covid-19 in the past six months, then you can travel to Spain without restriction. You also won’t have to show proof of a negative covid-test, if you are entering the country for tourism purposes.
Will Facemasks Remain?
Throughout March there has been much debate about when indoor facemask wearing requirements would be removed in Spain, but no date has been set yet for when this change will take place. At the start of March, PM Pedro Sánchez said that it would happen “very soon” but the health experts within the country are much more reluctant to make a final decision about this removal.
It has been suggested that the Spanish government would get rid of face masks once and for all by Easter, but only time will tell whether this will be the case. Restrictions have already begun to ease, so it will only be a matter of time. Since 28th March, individuals with mild of asymptomatic Covid are no longer required to quarantine in the country, so this final step should take place soon.
Tax Season Begins
April is a significant month because the start date for filing your income tax return in Spain falls in this month. This year the start date is 6th April 2022. The annual income tax return is called la declaración de la renta. This is a progressive tax: in other words, the more you earn, the more you pay. Personal income tax is known as IRPF in Spain. You will have from 6th April until 30th June to file your return for the previous year, meaning that this year you are filing your return for the year 2021.
The End of UK Driving Licence Validity
There is still no final decision reached on the mutual exchange of driving licences between Spain and the UK, although negotiations have been taking place for more than a year. The last extension on the validity period of UK licences in Spain expires on 30th April: this means that either another extension will be introduced soon, or we will finally get an answer about whether Britons will have to sit their theory and practical driving exams in Spain in order to continue driving in the country. Based on current events, it is more likely that we will get another extension than a decision, but we can only hope this negotiation is completed soon.
The Introduction of Covid Pills
Paxlovid, the oral antiviral pill which helps reduce the risk of hospitalisation from Covid-19 by 90 percent, will be available in Spain in April. This is the first antiviral drug that can be administered orally to treat Covid-19 that has be introduced in the EU. It won’t be available for everyone however: it will mainly be given to individuals at higher risk of developing serious complications if they contract Covid-19.
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