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What UK parents travelling to Spain with their children need to know

The UK government recently announced that kids aged 12 to 15 will now be able to prove their vaccination status for travel to Spain. Here's what you need to know about the Covid-19 rules and restrictions for travel with children between Spain and the UK this Christmas.

Children travel between UK and Spain
Vaccine status can be proved for kids to enter Spain. Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Travel to Spain from UK

Spain announced that from December 1st onwards, all those travelling from the UK would only be allowed in if they were fully vaccinated and were no longer just allowed to present a negative test. Read all the latest requirements on travel between Spain and UK HERE

The new rules apply to everyone over the age of 12, which has presented problems for families wanting to travel to Spain from the UK this Christmas, as many children aged 12 to 15 haven’t been fully vaccinated yet and those that had couldn’t get the NHS Covid Pass to prove it.  

READ ALSO – ‘Two years running we can’t travel to Spain’: How Covid has hit your travel plans

So far, more than one million children aged 12 to 15 in the UK have received a single dose of the vaccine, with around three million eligible, according to the NHS. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in the UK only recently said that 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered a second jab (to be given at least 12 weeks after the first) meaning that so far, very few children in that age category are fully vaccinated.

But further problems arose for those who were fully vaccinated, as they couldn’t prove their vaccination status because the NHS Covid pass was only available for those aged 16 and over.

NHS Covid Pass for international travel

The good news is that the UK government announced that as of December 13th, the NHS Covid pass would be rolled out to 12 to 15-year-olds for international travel.

This follows the government decision to extend the vaccination programme to offer both vaccine doses to all 12 to 15-year-olds.

The UK government website states that: “The NHS Covid Pass letter will be sent to the address held on the child’s NHS record and will show all the vaccinations they have received, including any boosters. The NHS Covid Pass letter should arrive within five working days, but may take slightly longer in December due to the Christmas postal service”.

If you need the letter sooner, however, you can also request the letter online and print it out yourself.

The letter will include an internationally recognised 2D barcode, however a digital solution via NHS.UK for this age group will not be rolled out until early next year. The letter service can be accessed by calling 119 or via NHS.UK.

The move may already be too late for some families this Christmas, but it’s good news for those wanting to travel to Spain next year.

UK Health and Social Care secretary Sajid Javid said: “The move will enable families to plan holidays in 2022 with greater confidence, as parents can be reassured they will be able to evidence their child’s vaccination status once they have had both doses of the vaccine”. 

In Spain

Once in Spain, travellers will find that many regions require a Covid health pass to enter various establishments. The rules vary slightly according to the region, so find out the latest rules HERE

Find out how tourists and people vaccinated abroad get Spain’s Covid health pass for daily affairs HERE

READ ALSO: How Spain will vaccinate five to 11 year-olds against Covid

Travel to UK from Spain

Travel to the UK from Spain also got more complicated recently. At the beginning of December, the British government announced it would reintroduce pre-departure tests for all arrivals from December 7th onwards.

The tests must be taken within two days of travel to the UK and can be PCR or antigen tests. They must be carried out by all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status.

Earlier at the end of November, the UK government also brought out another new requirement that applies to all arrivals (including those vaccinated and UK citizens and residents). They must take a PCR test for their Day 2 test as antigen tests are no longer accepted, and they must self-isolate until a negative result from the test arrives.

Children remain exempt from having to show a Covid health pass when arriving in the UK as well as for the vast majority domestic matters. 

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

Member comments

  1. Children age 11 and under are not required to take the pre-travel test. I believe there are some other exemptions listed too.

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Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

Spanish authorities will no longer request proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing or recovery from people who enter Spain by land from France.

Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

The news was announced in Spain’s official BOE state bulletin on Wednesday, and will come into effect the following day, on Thursday May 19th 2022.

For the past 26 months, Spanish legislation has allowed border officials to be able to require a Covid health pass from anyone over the age of 12 entering Spain from France by car, train or on foot. 

In reality, Spain’s borders with France haven’t always been manned and Covid-19 health checks haven’t been a constant throughout the pandemic as in the case of air travel, for which Spain still has Covid-19 restrictions for travellers arriving from France. 

READ ALSO: When will Spain get rid of all its Covid-19 travel restrictions?

At times when infection rates were high, border checks on both sides were tightened, or as happened during the summer of 2021, there were tough health checks to enter France but not to enter Spain.

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, the decision to scrap health checks at Spain’s land border with France has been reached given the high levels of vaccination and immunisation achieved in both countries, which has led to a significant decrease in serious Covid-19 cases and deaths.

However, the French Embassy in Spain states that all unvaccinated arrivals in France, including those arriving by land, still have to be able to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test before crossing over into France from Spain, with some exceptions for cross-border workers and urgent matters.

According to Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, there are no Covid certificate requirements at the land border between Spain and Portugal