Spain further eases restrictions, allows unvaccinated travelers with a negative test


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Editor’s note: This story is continually updated.

Spanish officials backtracked on last week’s extension of COVID-19 protocols to allow unvaccinated tourists to resume travel to the country if they agree to take a predeparture test.

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People linger on the beach of Arenal
People linger on the beach of Arenal at dusk on May 13 in Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Clara Margais/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Unvaccinated tourists can enter by taking a predeparture test

Visitors from non-European Union countries, including the United States, can now go to Spain by submitting results of a negative COVID-19 test taken ahead of travel.

Travelers are able to take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure or a rapid antigen test within one day (or 24 hours) of departure for Spain.

“This is good news, expected by the tourism sector, which facilitates the arrival of tourists from outside the EU for the high season, guaranteeing safe mobility,” Spanish Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Reyes Maroto said in a statement on May 21. “The new phase of the pandemic allows us to relax the health requirements for entry to Spain, equating non-EU travelers with those from the EU and associated Schengen countries.”

Passengers who have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous 180 days can also provide proof that they have successfully recovered from COVID-19 at least 11 days prior to travel.

The news from the Spanish Interior Ministry follows the agency’s quiet extension of previous policies through June 15, requiring all tourists to be vaccinated and boosted if a certain amount of time has elapsed since a traveler’s final vaccine dose.

The extension coincided with the country recording 400,000 new cases of COVID-19 in April alone, before case numbers dropped to just under 10,000 cases the first week of May, according to data from the World Health Organization.

Protocols for vaccinated travelers

Since February, vaccinated adults have been able to travel to Spain by showing proof of full vaccination to enter Spain.

Per Spanish officials, travelers are only considered “fully vaccinated” if they have received a booster shot within or at the nine-month mark following one’s final vaccine dose.

“If more than 270 days (9 months) have passed since receiving the last required dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. citizens must show proof of having received a booster shot at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain,” the U.S. Embassy in Spain confirmed.

Spanish vaccination requirements do not apply to travelers age 12 or below.

Read more: The 13 European countries that still require masks on flights despite EU dropping rules

Face masks are required on flights to Spain

Although Spain dropped its previous indoor and outdoor mask mandate in April, masks remain required on flights to and from Spain, per the country’s health minister.

This rule applies to flights through June 15. It directly conflicts with broader mask rules for European flights, as the mask mandate previously enforced by both the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is no longer in place.

However, several other European countries have maintained their own policies to continue compulsory mask-wearing for passengers on board flights to and from their respective countries, including Germany, Greece and Italy.

Non-EU air passengers to Spain, including those who are just transiting, must complete an online health form. After completing the form, you should receive a QR code to present at boarding and upon arrival when passing through airport health controls.

Bottom line

The latest news shifting entry protocols means all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, are once again able to visit Spain.

Featured photo of Barcelona by Pol Albarrán/Getty Images.

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