Spain confirmed a long-awaited easing of Covid entry rules to allow unvaccinated adults to enter if they show a negative test.
The change, confirmed on Saturday, means UK citizens who have not had a Covid jab can now travel to Spain by showing a negative PCR or antigen test on arrival.
Heightened restrictions previously meant UK travellers were only allowed to enter Spain with vaccine certification or proof of recovery from the virus, a rule that had been extended until June 15.
However, from May 21, all international visitors must provide one of the following:
- Vaccination certificate meeting the government’s requirements
- A negative test certificate (PCR or similar)
- Certificate of recovery at least 11 days after testing positive
Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto said the “new phase of the pandemic” meant the country was able to relax the rules by equating non-EU travellers with those of the EU and Schengen-associated countries.
Maroto added: “This is excellent news, much awaited by the tourism sector, which facilitates the arrival of tourists from outside the EU with a view to guaranteeing safe journeys during the high season.
“Spain is becoming one of the most desired destinations in the world.”
Spain accepts the UK’s proof of Covid-19 vaccination record, either digitally, or as a printed download.
PCR tests must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or an antigen test in the 24 hours prior to departure.
Proof of recovery certificates will be valid for 180 days from the date of the positive test.
Children under the age of 12 are exempt from submitting any type of certificate.
Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive Julia Lo Bue-Said hailed the relaxation of rules as “very good news just ahead of the May half-term and peak season”.
Describing it as “extremely positive” for holidaymakers and the travel industry, she told the BBC: “However, it is disappointing that Spain has not gone further and removed the need for pre-arrival tests for unvaccinated travellers given the minimal benefit these tests have for public health.
“Consumers want to travel with ease and if destinations prohibit this, then they will go elsewhere.”
An Abta spokesperson said: “Spain is the most popular holiday destination for UK holidaymakers, so it’s great that this relaxation of its travel rules will enable all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, to enjoy a break there this summer.
“There are still Covid-19 entry requirements in place, so we’d encourage anyone who is thinking of booking a trip to Spain to book with an Abta travel agent or tour operator who can help them get their documentation together.”