Foreign travel advice

Spain

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

From 5 November to 2 December 2020, travelling away from home, including internationally, is restricted from England except in limited circumstances such as for work or for education. Different rules apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You must follow all the rules that apply to you.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides guidance on COVID and non-COVID risks overseas. The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to many countries and territories on the basis of COVID risks. You should check the travel advice for your destination.

Travel disruption is possible worldwide. Other countries may bring in new measures with little notice such as border closures, movement restrictions or quarantine rules. Travellers should be prepared to stay overseas longer than planned.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Spain

Spain’s borders are open to European Union and Schengen-area countries.

Travellers arriving from the United Kingdom are not required to self-isolate on arrival in Spain. However, from the 23 November, there are some requirements for testing on arrival for those travelling by air and sea. See ‘Testing/screening on arrival’ for more details.

Some restrictions on travellers from outside the European Union and the Schengen free-travel area remain in place. You should refer to the Spanish Embassy in the country you are in for further advice.

Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. See the Coronavirus section for further information.

Testing/screening on arrival

On arrival, travellers entering Spain from the UK will not be required to self-isolate.

However, from 23 November, all passengers (including children of all ages) travelling to Spanish airports and ports from ‘risk’ countries (as determined by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control) will be required to present a negative PCR (swab) test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country. The UK is currently on the ‘risk’ countries list and passengers arriving from the UK are therefore subject to this requirement.

This requirement applies to all passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea, regardless of your residency status in Spain and the length of time you intend on staying. Property owners in Spain are subject to this requirement.

If you are travelling by air or sea to Spain, you must declare on the mandatory ‘Health Control Form’ listed below, that you have undertaken a PCR (swab) test within 72 hours of arrival, have tested negative for COVID-19, and can show on request evidence certifying your results. The document you provide must be the original, be written in Spanish or English, may be submitted in paper or electronic format and must contain the following information:

  • name of passenger
  • passport number or ID card number (the number provided must match the one provided on the Health Control Form)
  • test date
  • name and contact details of the testing centre
  • testing method applied (i.e. PCR)
  • test results

You will also be subject to the following additional requirements at the point of entry:

  • it is mandatory for all passengers travelling to Spain to fill out and sign a Health Control Form 48 hours prior to travel, providing the Spanish Ministry of Health with:
  • contact information;
  • details of any known history of exposure to COVID-19; and
  • confirmation that you are able to provide evidence, certifying that you have undertaken a PCR (swab) test within 72 hours of arrival and have tested negative for COVID-19.

You can do this on the Spain Travel Health website or downloadable app. On completion, you will be issued a personal and non-transferable QR code which you must show (electronically or hardcopy) at airport health controls on arrival. 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.

  • temperature check
  • undergo a visual health assessment

Anyone who presents symptoms or fails to meet one of the above requirements will be required to undergo a test on arrival and will be obliged to observe the COVID-19 protocols in place as determined by the local authorities of your destination in Spain.

Fines may be issued to anyone who arrives in Spanish airports and ports from ‘risk’ countries without adequate evidence of a negative PCR (swab) test.

Passengers may also be contacted and required to undertake a PCR (swab) test at any point up to 48 hours after their arrival in Spain.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Overland travellers to Spain and those transiting are exempt from the above-mentioned entry requirements, and are therefore not currently required to present a PCR test or Health Control Form on entry by road or rail.

Testing requirements and tourist accommodation (Canary Islands only)

In addition to the nationwide requirement to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR (swab) test on entry to Spain, if you’re travelling to the Canary Islands and are booked into regulated tourist accommodation, you will be obliged to:

  • present an official, negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours earlier, when checking in to your accommodation
  • download and activate the Radar COVID notification app throughout your stay on the islands, and for 15 days after your return home

These measures are specific to the Canary Islands and apply to all guests aged 6 years and over, unless they have proof of travel confirming their uninterrupted presence on the islands for the previous 15 days. Any traveller failing to comply, risks being refused access to accommodation. For further information, refer to guidance from the Canarian tourist board, and check with your accommodation provider prior to travel.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Transiting Spain

Spain’s land borders are open.

If you are transiting Spain by road or via a Spanish airport or port on route to your final destination, the above mentioned PCR test requirement and Health Control Form to enter the country does not apply. You should however, be prepared to show evidence of your onward journey (i.e. connecting flights, ferry tickets etc.).

The French government has implemented additional entry requirements for those travelling to and transiting through France. If you are planning to drive from Spain through France, check the latest FCDO travel advice for France ahead of your journey.

Spain re-opened its borders with Portugal on July 1, see FCDO travel advice for Portugal.

For information on travel via Gibraltar, see FCDO travel advice for Gibraltar

Inter-regional travel is permitted, providing your point of origin and destination do not fall within a confined area where entry and exit restrictions are in place. Transiting confined areas to reach your final destination is permitted, however you should be prepared to show evidence of your onward journey such as train or flight tickets to your final destination. See Coronavirus for further information.

If travelling with people who are not from the same household, all passengers must wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth. Penalties may be imposed if you do not comply.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Spain. If you’re planning a stay of longer than 3 months, see our Living in Spain guide and contact the Spanish Embassy if you have further questions.

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Visas from 1 January 2021

The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:

  • you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
  • if you are travelling to Spain and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
  • to stay for longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the entry requirements set out by Spain. This could mean applying for a visa and/or work permit. You should check with the Spanish Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, if any, you will need
  • if you are in Spain with a visa or permit, your stay will not count towards the 90-day limit

The 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in Spain or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control for Spain, you may need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay, and
  • use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this. This applies to the whole of Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera).

Passport validity from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs)

UK ETDs are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Spain.

Travel between Spain and Gibraltar

Spanish border checks can cause delays when crossing between Spain and Gibraltar.

There is no charge to enter or leave Gibraltar. Don’t hand over money if you’re approached by anyone claiming that there is a charge.