Will Spain require PCRs from vaccinated EU travellers?

A lady waits with her bags at an airport.
At the moment, travellers from the EU that have been fully vaccinated for more than 14 days can travel to Spain with the Covid health pass. Photo by Pau Barrena/AFP
Following fears over the Omicron variant and an increase in Covid-19 cases in the run-up to Christmas, Spain is considering requiring a PCR test from EU travellers visiting over the holidays.

Rising Covid cases in Europe and the arrival of the Omicron variant have led to more international travel restrictions to and from Spain during the festive season.

At the moment, travellers from the EU that have been fully vaccinated for more than 14 days can travel to Spain with the Covid health pass.

If you have not been vaccinated, whether you need to take a PCR or antigen test 48 hours prior will depend on which EU country you’re travelling from.

KEY POINTS: What are the new Covid travel rules between Spain and the UK?

But while Spain is, for the moment, seeing a much smaller resurgence of the virus compared to many of its neighbours and is in favour of easy and open travel for vaccinated people, there could be more travel changes ahead of Christmas.

The Health Minister, Carolina Darias, is thought to be considering whether to require a negative PCR test from vaccinated EU travellers, a step that the neighbouring country of Portugal has already taken.

Darias did not offer any further information on the subject on Tuesday when she arrived at a meeting of European health ministers taking place in Brussels.

But she said any decisions would be taken in coordination with other member states, in line with the bloc’s agreement to allow vaccinated European residents to travel freely within the Schengen area.

READ ALSO: What are the travel rules between Spain and Portugal this December?

However, the recent spike in cases and the emergence of the Omicron variant has led some countries to require an additional negative PCR test or a compulsory quarantine as well as proof of vaccination.

Portugal was the first country to require negative PCR tests from travellers wanting to cross the border into the country this Christmas.

While it’s up to each individual country how to manage the pandemic, any severe restrictions on movement within the EU seem to go against the agreement to coordinate travel using the European health pass, which was agreed on back in July.

When asked if Spain was considering a similar restrictions ahead of the increased number of visitors expected during the holiday season, Darias did not provide a clear answer.

“Whichever action we take on a European level must be coordinated with the EU. Spain will be in line with what the European Union decides,” said Darias.


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