Travelling Through Spain During Border Closure

The Coronavirus epidemic is seeing a ‘second wave’ and unfortunately this is having an impact on the ability of visitors and residents to travel not only to and from Spain, but also within the country too.

On 25 October, the Spanish Government declared a nationwide State of Emergency which included a national obligatory overnight curfew. Regional authorities have also been given the legal powers to impose further mobility restrictions. At this point, there are now 12 regions in Spain that have closed their borders: Andalucía, Asturias, Aragón, the Basque Country, Castilla y León, Cantabria, Castilla y La Mancha, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre, La Rioja and Cataluña, and the Spanish government has asked that the regions that adopted this closed border policy keep it in place until 29th November.

Whilst the situation is often changing, here is the latest advice on travelling through Spain during the current border closure:

Travelling Through Closed Borders

The term closed border is actually misleading, because it is possible to travel through closed regions, in certain circumstances. According to article 6.3 of the October 25th Royal Decree which declared another state of emergency in Spain, “transit travel through regions with restrictions will be allowed”. What does that mean in simple terms? It means that if you’re currently in Galicia and you need to return to Valencia then you can drive through closed borders in order to do so. There are, however, caveats.

You need to show proof of where you’re staying in your final destination (either a rent slip or mortgage statement if you live there or a bill or invoice if you’re staying in a hotel) and you cannot be travelling from or to a region that is currently closed.

Living in a Region with Closed Borders

If you’re living in a region with closed borders then there are only a very few, and very specific, reasons in which you can break the closed borders guidance. These include:

  • To work or provide assistance at health care centres.
  • For other reasons of work or business.
  • To study or to take official exams or test, provided these cannot be postponed.
  • To return to your usual place of residence after undertaking one of the essential activities outlined above
  • To provide regular care or assistance to the elderly, minors, or other vulnerable dependents.
  • To travel to banks and insurance offices or to petrol stations in neighbouring territories, f it not possible to visit ones in your own.
  • To attend urgent public, judicial or notarial matters.
  • To carry out the renewals of permits and official documentation, as well as other administrative procedures that cannot be postponed.
  • Due to force majeure or emergency situations.

Travelling from Spain to Other Countries

Whether or not you can travel from Spain for an overseas trip will depend on the region of Spain that you are residing in or hoping to travel from. If the region is subject to a local border closure then the airport will be closed, but air travel is still possible in regions where these restrictions are not in place.

The logistics of actually entering another country will depend on the current entry rules for the country you are hoping to visit, and these are subject to change all the time. At the time of writing the following restrictions are in place, for example:

  • France; Arrivals by sea and air routes will need to complete a ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying they are not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight.
  • UK: Travellers arriving into the UK will be required to quarantine in their UK address for two weeks before they are permitted to leave their residence for any purpose (including to visit a supermarket or restaurant).
  • Germany: On arrival travellers from Spain must take a COVID-19 test, notify the local German health authority of their arrival, and then travel directly to your accommodation and quarantine for 14 days (unless and until you are advised that you do not need to do so).

 The Impact of the UK’s Second Lockdown

The UK is facing similar rises in case numbers, and the government has chosen to place England into a new 28-day lockdown period which starts on the 5th November 2020. This means that a new set of restrictions on travel to and from England will come into force, forbidding English residents from spending nights away from their home (either in hotels or in other residences). This means that whilst English nationals with Spanish residency will still be able to return to their permanent homes in Spain, second home owners will be negatively impacted.

The key section from the new lockdown document states that “overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or stay with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.” This will keep second homeowners away from their Spanish homes during the time of year when many head to warmer climes, hoping to catch some autumn sunshine.

 Spain may be closed for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning ahead! If you’re thinking of moving to Spain or investing in a holiday home in the region, why not get in touch? Our local property experts are perfectly placed to help turn your dreams of Spanish home ownership into a reality, giving you something to look forward to for brighter days to come.