Spain backtracks on plans to ease rules for unvaccinated travelers

Apr 7, 2022

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This article has been updated.


Spain is backtracking on loosened travel restrictions for unvaccinated visitors ahead of the busy Easter break,

Earlier this week, Spanish officials said they were allowing anyone without a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the country provided they could show either a negative PCR or a rapid antigen test.

The development was hailed by the Spanish Tourist Office in the U.K. as a “step in the right direction.”

However, less than 10 hours after the initial announcement, Spanish officials did a jumbo jet-sized U-turn, saying the previous rules for unvaccinated travelers were still in place after all.

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Pedro Medina, the director of Spain’s tourist office in the U.K, said: “We apologize unreservedly for the miscommunication earlier today which was due to a misunderstanding of the new entry requirements.”

As of April 7, Americans can visit Spain by showing proof of full vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19.

You are considered fully vaccinated if you’ve got both shots and have been boosted within 270 days of receiving your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Unvaccinated travelers can visit Spain, but they must take a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure for Spain. Testing and vaccination rules do not apply to travelers under age 12.

All passengers (regardless of age) arriving in Spain must also complete an online Health Control Form. That includes transit passengers.

Related: We flew four major European airlines and their mask policies confused the hell out of us

One upside is that this figure of 270 days was previously only 180 days. This had led many to worry that even those who’ve had the jabs much earlier than most — particularly older or more vulnerable visitors — would find themselves categorized as unvaccinated going into Easter and towards the summer.

Playa Papagayo, Canary Islands. (Photo by Zu Sanchez Photography / Getty Images)

Related: Here’s what to do if your flight is canceled or delayed 

Despite Spanish officials being keen to keep restrictions tight, COVID-19 rates are falling faster than they have done in the past two years. Since the start of the pandemic, Spain has seen over 11 million infections and 102,747 COVID-19-related deaths. Right now, infections are only 5% of what they were at the peak of the crisis, with 98 infections reported per 100,000 people.

(Photo courtesy of the Ritz Carlton Abama Tenerife/Facebook)

In light of the falling rates, travel workers have been critical of Spain for its reluctance to drop its restrictions as fast as other EU countries. Let’s just hope they don’t implement another ban on dancing in the Canary Islands.

Featured image by Shutterstock.

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