Spanish Non-Essential Travel Restrictions Extended Until December

If you have not yet received your coronavirus vaccinations, or have decided against coming forward to receive these, then there is bad news if you’re thinking of travelling to Spain this year. The Spanish government have made the decision that non-essential travel from the majority of third countries will be restricted until at least 30th November 2021. This decree will mean that if you are from outside of the EU and are unvaccinated then you won’t be able to visit Spain until at least December. Here’s everything you need to know about these restrictions and how you could be affected:

Who Will Be Affected by the Extended Restrictions?

The first thing to know is that these are not new guidelines, rather, they are an extension of the temporary restriction order for non-essential trips and unvaccinated travelers from outside the EU that was first introduced across Spain on the 17th July. These same restrictions will now remain in place until 30th November, and they will only affect unvaccinated travelers from outside the EU who wish to visit Spain.

If you can prove that you have been vaccinated with an authorised inoculation that is accepted in Spain then you will not be impacted by these restrictions, and you are therefore free to travel to Spain for tourism purposes.

Why Have the Restrictions Been Extended?

According to BOEs, the reason for the extension is because “the epidemiological situation has not changed substantially”. No further information or extended statistical back up for this has been issued at this point, simply that this current extension will expire at midnight on 30th November 2021 (although this could be extended again).

Does This Apply to All Countries?

These rules don’t apply to all third-party countries: Spain has introduced a list of third-party countries that it considers to be low risk. This means that visitors travelling from the following countries are able to enter Spain with or without having evidence of Covid-19 vaccination or testing, although you will still need to complete the nation health control form. Those countries that are exempt from restrictions are:  Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Jordan, Kuwait, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and China.

Whilst these countries may be covered low risk in Covid terms, you may still need a visa or other travel documents in order to enter Spain, depending on where you’re travelling from. For this reason, you should check with the embassy in your country of residence to ensure you have everything you need before you make your travel plans.

What If My Country isn’t Exempt?

If your country of residence isn’t listed on the exemption list above then you may still be able to travel to Spain, but only if you fulfill one of the following criteria. If not then non-essential travel to Spain won’t be possible for you at this point. Those criteria are:

  • If you are a resident of an EU/EEA country then you can travel to Spain freely
  • This also applies if you have a long term visa to stay in an EU/EEA country.
  • If you work in the transport sector (such as on an airline) then you may also be exempt
  • Similar exemptions apply to diplomats, consular staff, military, aid and humanitarian organisations.
  • If you have a student visa for Spain or another EU country
  • If you are an athlete or a highly qualified worker travelling to Spain for a project that can’t be postponed
  • You have been the victim of a force majeure

What If You're Travelling from the UK or from the United States?

Visitors from the UK and the US make up a huge majority of the number of visitors to Spain. However as third-party national countries, you will be expected to show either proof of vaccination or a negative covid test before you are able to enter Spain. This is confirmed by Spain’s Health Ministry, who state that “For persons resident in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland coming directly from this country, in addition to the vaccination certificate, diagnostic certificates of NAAT tests (nucleic acid amplification tests, e.g.: RT-PCR, RT-LAMP, TMA, HAD, NEAR, CRISPR, SDA…..) will also be considered valid”. These same rules apply to visitors from the United States, because on Friday 3rd September, the US was removed from the third-party country exemptions list. 

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