- tests required by law for all international air and sea arrivals of six years of age or more from countries at high risk. The official list of these countries is updated regularly and can be accessed from THIS Government web page
- tests must be PCR, TMA, or equivalent – see subpoint following, and must be physically carried out no more than 72 hours before arrival at your destination’s port or airport
- test technology is constantly developing and those acknowledged by the EU will be accepted by Spain – the legislation allows for PCR, TMA “and equivalents” as approved by the EU. I won’t update this post every time there is a change of technology or acceptance: travellers must check for themselves the tests available in their country and confirm that they are permitted for entry to Spain at their point of travel
- anyone who arrives without a test or with inadequately compliant paperwork will be given a free test at the airport BUT a fine will be imposed – see points 17 – 20 on THIS advice for foreign travellers from the Spanish Government. Paperwork breaches are likely to be deemed “serious”, and according to the relevant public health legislation that determines the level of fines (HERE), these will range from €3,000 to €60,000; if the offence should be deemed “very serious” for some reason the fines range from €60,000 to €600,000
- certificate must be original paper or digital version, in Spanish, English, French or German, and show at least the following details:
- name of passenger
- passport number (or DNI for Spanish nationals returning to the country) matching that of document used for border control
- date test was physically carried out (law does not include requirement for time to show)
- ID and details of the lab where it was analysed
- confirmation that test was a PCR type
- negative result
- tests not required for those entering Spain by road or rail
- if you are using Canarian regulated tourist accommodation you will also need a test result for that: you can use the same one but it must have been physically carried out no more than 72 hours before you check into the accommodation, see HERE
Updated 14 December: I now have independent confirmation that border control in the Canaries is policing Spanish regulation, not Canarian. Under Canarian rules as reported HERE, all international visitors who don’t have exempted reasons for entering the region must bring an antigen test. This conflicts with national Spanish law, as reported in this post, that those arriving from high risk countries must bring a PCR or now a TMA test result.
I understand that at least two people have been prevented from boarding in the UK with an antigen test because “Spain requires PCR/TMA regardless of what the Canaries might want to allow” and one confirmation today that a passenger arrived here with no test at all because they were coming from Ireland which has now been removed from the high risk list and so no test is required from them.
In the Canarian antigen test post, I said that if I were a tourist, I would bring a PCR or a TMA test. I see no reason to change that advice and would now put it even more strongly. This obviously only applies to international air and sea arrivals, just to be clear, with those coming from the mainland not only able to enter with an antigen test (or a PCR test if preferred), but if Canarian residents, with their test paid for by the Canarian Government (see HERE).
Updated 9 December:The Spanish Government has announced that travellers from high risk countries will be able to enter Spain with a TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification) test as an alternative to a PCR test. The TMA is said to be somewhat cheaper and faster than the PCR but still requires a nasal swab. The modification to the regulation also removes the requirement for children under six years of age to be tested, and will allow the test certificate to be presented in French or German, not just the originally permitted Spanish or English. The TMA test must, however, still be no more than 72 hours old at the point of arrival, just as the PCR. The Government said that the new regulation will come into force tomorrow, Thursday 10 December, when it will be published in the BOE.
(edit: published 10 December HERE)
Updated 7 December: The high risk travel list has been updated for another fortnight and the UK remains on it. The next update will be 27 December.
There have been some queries about how and where and whether they check the certificates of travellers. The answer is yes, they do, and in various times and places. I am now aware of at least 60 people who have been refused boarding in a range of UK airports from Bristol to Manchester because they either did not have a test certificate or the one that they did have was over 72 hours old. A percentage are also checked in Spanish airports, but the law allows for these certificates to be requested by border control and other security forces at any point so it is irrelevant whether it’s checked at the airport or not. Any visitor can be required to produce the certificate at any time by any official during their stay, and failure to have a certificate that shows a negative test and was valid at point of entry (ie less than 72 hours old at time of arrival) risks a very significant fine.
Updated 26 November: The list I posted yesterday is not a list of centres that MUST be used, with no other centres allowed. It is just a list of those that CAN be used if people can’t find one! Clearly, needing “clarity” about the already perfectly clear, or seeing “utter confusion” wherever one looks, has become a national hobby or psychosis in the UK, but the list produced by the Canarian Government is a list of any centres that produce official certificates and which can be used but do not have to be used.
People have been saying they can’t find centres to produce the requisite certs – within 72 hours, with passport numbers on, or that would test very small children – and they are also complaining, absolutely bitterly, that the British Government is not helping in the least. The Canarian Government has tried to assist by producing this list. They, like I, are probably wishing they had never bothered.
Updated 25 November: I don’t know what’s available in terms of info in the UK but the questions I get suggest that it’s not widely known where tests can be done to provide access to Spain. Now, the Canarian Government’s tourism Department has produced THIS list of centres authorized to carry out the test required for entry to this country. There are similar lists of centres authorized in other countries – please see HERE.
Updated 23 November: The requirement has now come into force today, and as things stand right now, the EU countries whose nationals will need a test to enter Spain are listed HERE. From 30 November, the countries whose nationals will need a test are listed HERE – this is subject to review on 29 November. That later list will itself be reviewed on 13 December. For now, therefore, for simplicity and the majority of readers, the list applies to the UK and Ireland. Ireland is not on the list that applies from 30 November but it could be reviewed in the meantime of course. The UK is on both lists. I’ll update the list situation again on the 29/30th.
Updated 21 November: The new requirement of PCR tests for everyone from a high risk country entering Spain through a port or airport comes into force this Monday 23 November, the law is HERE. The requirement applies on and from Monday, applies to all arrivals, including children, regardless of their residence status, what documents they have, what taxes they pay, and whether they own property or not. All humans from high risk countries coming to Spain by plane or boat must bring a test certificate, original paper or digital version, in English or Spanish, showing the following :
- name of passenger
- passport number (or DNI for Spanish nationals) matching that of document used for border control
- date test was done
- ID and details of the lab where it was analysed
- confirmation that test was a PCR type
- negative result
The test must show that it was done no more than 72 hours before presentation at the border. People complain that getting a test done and arriving within 72 hours is difficult, and that certificates don’t show passport numbers: yes it is difficult, it’s meant to be, and had British nationals not been so opposed to ID cards there might yet have been a system for recording numbers, but there isn’t because it was felt to go against “British freedom”. We are not talking about Spain trying to protect itself (and us) from verrucas but a currently untreatable virus that kills some and leaves others with long-term conditions. Even those who recover are increasingly recognized as being susceptible to long-term debilitating effects.
Updated 17 November: Just a reminder that all the questions you are asking about – which type of test, travel within Spain itself, timings – are answered in this post. I have written the information once, answered umpteem questions about it constantly over days, infuriated regular readers with the site becoming overwhelmed with the issue of coming to Tenerife rather than being in Tenerife, and so I will simply continue deleting emails, Facebook and twitter messages, comments on this post (now closed to comments), comments on any other page/the first page visited asking about information which is here in this post where it has been since 11 November.
This information remains in place today as it did when it was posted so please read it if you are “confused”, just want “clarification”, or “reassurance” … the disbefuddlement, clear information and reassurance is in the information below and even though I am now on 1,024 deleted messages in the last four days, it has not changed since I posted it, and has been here all the while to be read.
If you are wondering whether you need a test because the Canaries are not in Spain, I can clarify your confusion and reassure you that they are in fact in Spain, so coming from the mainland to the Canaries does not take you out of the country. Therefore you don’t “enter” the country because you’re already in it. There is a fuller explanation for anyone who might be interested HERE.
Finally, when I say that the test required is specifically PCR (RT-PCR de COVID-19) I actually mean that the test required is specifically a PCR test. So no, a quick antigen test or any other informal non-PCR test will not be accepted. That is what “specifically PCR” means.
Updated 13 November: The same questions are being asked again and again. So …
- as posted in yesterday’s update, the test required is specifically PCR (RT-PCR de COVID-19). Diagnostic tests such as rapid antibody tests, rapid test for high performance antigen or serologies (ELISA, CLIA, ECLIA) won’t be accepted
- the test must be CARRIED OUT 72 hours before arrival IN SPAIN (port or airport) – in other words, when you arrive the test certificate must show that the test itself was done no more than 72 hours previously.
- it doesn’t matter if you’re coming from Scotland, or Wales, or Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands. This test has nothing to do with the UK or any part of it or its dependencies. The test is a Spanish requirement and so is for ANYONE ENTERING SPAIN wherever they come from if it is deemed at high risk
- the test is required for all arrivals and so It DOES NOT MATTER if you are an owner, whether you have a TIE, a NIE, a Registro, an Empadronamiento, or whether you pay your taxes, are a returning resident, a swallow … . If you are arriving in Spain you are one of “all arrivals”
- the test is required specifically on arrival at a Spanish PORT OR AIRPORT and does not apply to crossing the border in another way, whether by bus, train, car, on foot or on broomstick
- certificates must be original if in paper form but those supplied by email could be deemed “copies” or not “originals”, so my advice would be to save such certs to a phone because they can be in digital form
- the test is required for all arrivals IN SPAIN. If you are travelling WITHIN Spain, unless magically endowed, you are NOT ENTERING the country … and if you are not entering the country a test is not required because you’re already in the country. And to be clear, the Canaries are PART OF SPAIN so going from here or Gran Canaria or any other island to the mainland is WITHIN SPAIN … and the same applies if coming from Spain to the Canaries
- unlike the Canarian test requirement for regulated tourist accommodation which doesn’t apply to children under the age of 7, the Spanish entry test requirement does not allow for exceptions and covers everyone including children
- If you are finding it difficult to get a test and then get here within 72 hours then you have a problem. Yes Christmas complicates things … so does the virus. Your difficulty does NOT mean that the law does not apply. This is by the nature of legislation. It applies and you comply with it. It’s like seatbelts, drunk driving, burglary, murder … you aren’t allowed to do it however hard it might be at times. It is very very simple: bring a negative PCR result or stay where you are or go elsewhere but do not come to Spain because they will not let you in the country
- If you are in international transit through Spain you will not be required to present a test at your airport or port of transit (because you won’t be leaving it at that point and so effectively remain in international air/sea space: you “enter Spain” when you arrive at the port or airport of your final destination)
- the test is for ENTERING SPAIN not leaving it
- from 23 November means starting from – so INCLUDES 23 November – and so does not apply BEFORE that date
- and to repeat, the test is needed for all international arrivals from countries deemed at high risk (red areas) according to the EU’s traffic light system map HERE
Updated 12 Novmber: HERE is the BOE where the new measures have now been published.
A few points about questions I’ve been asked that I can now answer:
- this applies only to sea and air entries, so anyone driving into Spain won’t be affected
- third-nation states are listed at the end of the published resolution; Spain will revise the list fortnightly and publish the countries on its websites HERE and HERE. The UK, however, although included now in the third-nation states list, will show on the traffic light map HERE so there’s an easy check for British visitors
- there are no exceptions nor age limits so children are not exempt from the rule that all passengers must be tested
- the certificate showing the negative result can be in digital or paper form, and can be in English or Spanish, but if in paper form, it must be the original certificate, not a copy
- diagnostic tests such as rapid antibody tests, rapid test for high performance antigen or serologies (ELISA, CLIA, ECLIA) won’t be accepted. The test required is specifically PCR (RT-PCR de COVID-19)
Original post 11 November: The Spanish Health Department has announced this afternoon that from 23 November, all international arrivals (tourists, residents, swallows, whatever) from countries deemed at high risk according to the EU’s traffic light system will have to present a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours previously.
Sanidad says that the measure will add to the controls in place currently at airports such as temperature and visual checks. The new measure will mean that travel agencies, tour operators, air and sea transport companies and any other agent selling tickets must now provide information to anyone booking with them. The legislation will be published in the BOE tomorrow, and is in line with EU Recommendation 2020/1475, which aims to close the gap between the health monitoring models implemented by EU countries.
As far as the Canary Islands are concerned, this national Spanish measure operates over and above the regional one requiring tests on arrival at accommodation or, for those who didn’t bring a certificate of test results with them, of having a test here after they arrive. As can be seen from the traffic light map HERE, the United Kingdom is currently deemed as a high risk country of origin, and if this is the case from 23 November, anyone who is able to leave the UK will be required to bring one to enter the country: the map is updated weekly so will need to be checked before travel. Whether or not the UK is red on the EU map, those booking into regulated tourist accommodation here from 14 November will still have to present a test certificate to be allowed access to their accommodation and download the track and trace app.
The passenger location form, which everyone already has to provide before entering the country, will now include a request for confirmation that a test has been taken, with the certificate being able to be requested at any time – certificates can be in digital or paper form, and in English or Spanish.
The new measure will no doubt come as a complete relief to many who saw a wave of tourists intending to be tested here despite the regional Government saying that option should be the exception so as not to overwhelm the regional health system. For his own part, Canarian President Ángel Torres said that he was absolutely delighted with the news, that it coincided with requests that have been made by the Canarian Government for months.