Can I travel to Spain from the UK? All the rules you need to know
Spain is currently on the UK’s amber list for travel.
At present, jetting off on a foreign holiday from the UK is possible under a traffic light system, with countries classified as green, amber or red and prescribed restrictions to match based on the risk of arrivals importing new Covid-19 infections.
There are still myriad hoops travellers must jump through when departing and returning to the UK from Spain, including pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests taken within a certain timeframe.
Spain and its islands have long been a favourite destination for Britons, with more than 18 million holidaymakers visiting this Mediterranean hotspot in a normal year. However, the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the travel industry.
But how likely is a Spanish getaway this autumn – and what are the current rules on travel? Here’s everything you need to know.
Are British holidaymakers allowed to travel to Spain?
Yes, and Spain's Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, had originally said the nation would be “more than delighted” to welcome back British tourists without any restrictions - there were previously no testing, quarantine or vaccination requirements for UK arrivals.
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However, due to transmission of the Delta variant, British holidaymakers must now present either a negative Covid test (PCR, TMA, LAMP or NEAR) taken within 72 hours of arrival, or proof of full vaccination at least 14 days prior, in order to gain entry to the country as of 2 July. Spain will accept an NHS Covid Pass as proof of vaccination status.
Antigen tests are only accepted in “certain limited circumstances”, but not for tourism.
Before travel to Spain, passengers must also complete and sign an online Health Control Form no more than 48 hours prior to travel, declaring any known history of exposure to Covid-19 and giving contact details.
Anyone who has not completed this form electronically via the Spain Travel Health website or app may submit it in paper format prior to boarding.
Is Spain on the amber list?
Mainland Spain, as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands, remains on the government’s “amber” list.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps revealed the latest reshuffle of the traffic light lists for international travel on 26 August, when it transpired Spain and its territories remained stuck on the amber list.
The next review is due to take place on or around 16 September, with any changes taking effect the following week.
Will Spain stay on the amber list?
Nothing is ever certain in the ongoing game of traffic-light travel roulette. The next review of the lists is expected imminently.
Covid-19 cases in the country have been in steep decline, however, meaning it should certainly avoid being added to the government’s red list.
The country’s vaccination campaign has been also been going well, with around 75 per cent of the population receiving two doses of the vaccine.
What does travel to an amber list country entail?
Holidaymakers travelling home from a destination on the amber list will need to take a pre-departure test - which can be a lateral flow or rapid antigen test, as well as a PCR test - with proof of a negative result.
However, in the latest government travel update, the Department for Transport added on a special note for travellers from Spain, advising them to take a PCR, rather than the cheaper, quicker, lateral flow as their pre-departure test. This is currently advice, rather a legal requirement.
Upon arrival to the UK from an amber list country, travellers who have not been fully vaccinated must self-isolate at home for 10 days, plus have pre-booked and paid to take two PCR tests: one on day two and one on day eight.
Returning travellers in England can opt to pay for a further test on day five and end self-isolation early if it’s negative.
Britons who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and those under the age of 18, plus travellers who’ve been double-jabbed in the US or EU, will not have to self-isolate upon returning, but still have to book and take a day two PCR test.
Will I need to have been vaccinated to visit Spain?
No - although if you haven’t been double jabbed at least 14 days prior to entering Spain, you must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
What restrictions are in place in Spain?
Everyone over the age of six must wear a face mask in enclosed public spaces, on public transport, and in crowded outdoor areas where it is not possible to socially distance.
There are also 1.5-metre social distancing rules in place.
Some regions have their own restrictions, so you should check the rules for the region you are visiting before you travel.