COVID-19: Entry requirements for non-essential and essential travel to Spain

COVID 19 Non essential and essential travel to Spain TIE

After the end of the state of alarm on 21 June 2020, Spain reopened its borders to a list of EU countries and from 3rd July 2020, started lifting restrictions on non-essential travel to Spain from third countries (non-EU).

In line with the recommendation of the Council of the EU on lifting temporary restrictions on travel to the EU from non-EU countries, the Spanish Government published Order INT / 657/2020, of July 17 listing the non-EU countries whose residents could enter Spain for non-essential travel. This list was modified on 28 August 2020 and these rules remain in force until 16 September 2020.

Here is everything you need to know about the COVID-19 entry requirements before traveling to Spain.

What is non-essential travel and who can travel to Spain?

Unfortunately, there is no official definition of what essential or non-essential travel is. However, it is more than likely that travel for the purposes of tourism will be considered non-essential.

At present you can enter Spain for non-essential travel if you are a legal resident or national from any EU state, any Schengen associated State or from a third country which has a reciprocal agreement with Spain for accepting travellers.  Currently these approved countries are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China

If you are an international student and a national or legal resident from any of the third countries listed above, you may enter Spain for tourism purposes (and with a tourist visa if you require one) and apply for your student visa once you are in Spain. Otherwise, you will have to apply for a student visa at the Spanish Consulate in your home country or closest to where you live before coming to Spain.

If you are not a national or legal resident of any of the countries listed above, you can still enter Spain if you have a valid student visa or student residence permit (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeria or “TIE”) which has not expired. The Spanish Government highly recommends choosing direct routes and avoiding unnecessary transits.

In addition, if your TIE expired within 90 calendar days before the State of Alarm on 14 March 2020, your TIE would have been automatically extended until 21 December 2020 and you can enter Spain with your expired TIE. This means that if your TIE expired during the period 15 December 2019 to 21 June 2020, your TIE is automatically extended until 21 December 2020 and you can enter Spain with your expired TIE until 21 December 2020. If this applies to you, it is highly recommended that you fly to Spain directly from your port of departure as if you travel via other countries you may not be permitted to enter those countries with your expired TIE.

It is also recommended that you check with the Spanish Consulate in your country before making any travel plans to Spain.

Before you arrive in Spain – formalities due to COVID 19

48 hours prior to your travel to Spain, you will have to complete a health control form (FCS) and sign it electronically. After you sign it, you will receive a QR code which will have to be presented when you arrive in Spain (this QR code is valid in both printed and digital formats). For more information, see the Spain Travel Heath website or download the SpTH app.

PCR or Rapid COVID-19 tests are not required for legal residents and citizens coming from countries that are permitted to enter Spain for non-essential travel. You may have to undergo a health check that involves having your temperature taken, documents, your documents checked, and a visual examination of your state of health.

Quarantine is not required for travellers arriving in Spain from the approved countries listed above for non-essential travel.

Once you are in Spain – internal and external travel

Once you are in Spain, you should be able to move freely throughout Spain with few exceptions. However, it is always best to check first with the police or Guardia Civil by calling their helpline.

If you want to travel outside of Spain, note that certain countries (including EU countries) have established restrictions or quarantine periods on people arriving from Spain or certain parts of Spain – always check if the country that you intend to travel to has restrictions on people arriving from Spain.

Published on 3 September 2020.

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