Friday 1/21/22

Spain tightens entry requirements for travelers from high-risk areas

The decision of the Ministry of Health imposes mandatory negative tests for Covid-19 on travelers from certain countries and reduces the validity of vaccination passports to 9 months
23 December 2021, Spain, Madrid: Travelers line up at the Iberia check-in counter at Madrid's Adolfo Suarez airport. Photo: Gustavo Valiente/EUROPA PRESS/dpa.
Travelers line up at the Iberia check-in counter at Madrid's Adolfo Suarez airport. Photo: Gustavo Valiente/dpa.

The Spanish authorities have tightened the entry requirements for travelers from countries considered high risk due to their epidemiological situation.

The Official State Gazette (BOE, in its Spanish acronym) published on Wednesday a decision issued by the Ministry of Health that imposes mandatory coronavirus tests on visitors from certain areas highly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially those where the African variant Omicron is spreading more rapidly.

This decision modifies the rules imposed on 4 June regarding health controls to be carried out at the border crossing points in Spain. 

The decision defines high-risk countries as those in which a significant worsening of the epidemiological situation has been detected or in which variants of particular concern have been found.

The main change is that from Thursday 30 December, people from high-risk countries will be required to have a negative diagnostic test certificate, in addition to the certificate of vaccination or having overcome the disease.

The lists of countries or areas at risk and high risk are published and updated regularly (as a general rule every every 7 days) on the websites of the Ministry of Health and of the Spain Travel Health (STPH) service. At the time of writing this article, the list of high-risk countries consisted of:

  • Botswana
  • Eswatini (formerly Swalizand)
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbaue

Covid passports valid 9 months

Additionally, as of 1 February 2022, Spain will only accept as valid those vaccination certificates (commonly known as Covid passports) issued at least 14 days after the date of administration of the last dose of the full vaccination course, provided that no more than 270 days (nine months) have elapsed from the last dose administration date.

Consequently, the Spain Travel Health (STPH) app for the control of travelers at the border will allow people from high-risk countries to provide two certificates, one of them being a negative test and the other a vaccination or recovery certificate.

As of 1 February 2022, the app will also apply the validity period of 270 days to vaccination certificates.