The Spanish flag flying in front of a building in Madrid. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/robertcicchetti)
Over the weekend, Spain relaxed its entry requirements for international travelers originating from outside of the European Union (E.U.) and associated Schengen Area, including from the U.S. and U.K., who aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of May 21, unvaccinated, non-E.U. visitors arriving by air or sea can now enter the country simply by providing negative test results—PCR (or other NAAT-type) tests performed within 72 hours of a person’s departure for Spain or antigen tests administered within 24 hours of departure.
Up until now, fully vaccinated non-E.U. tourists have been welcomed into the country as long as they submitted proof of their valid vaccination status. But, unvaccinated visitors from outside the Bloc could only gain entry by producing proof of their recent recovery from the virus, which would indicate that they’d acquired natural immunity.
The Washington Post reported that Spain experienced a nine-percent drop in the amount of new COVID-19 cases cropping up daily during the past week. Its compiled tracking data indicated that the new case count over the past seven days, as of Monday, was 229 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we’ve witnessed a 12-percent increase in daily new cases over the same period.
Essentially, the latest policy change puts foreign visitors coming from outside the E.U./Schengen Area on equal footing with those entering Spain from inside the Bloc.
In an official announcement, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, María Reyes Maroto, said, “The new phase of the pandemic allows us to relax the health requirements for entry to Spain, equating non-E.U. travelers with those from the E.U. and associated Schengen countries. This excellent news, highly anticipated by the tourism sector, will make it easier for tourists from outside Europe to visit us this high season, guaranteeing safe mobility.”
She continued, “Spain is emerging as one of the most desired destinations in the world, as shown by the demand indicators that month after month are approaching pre-pandemic levels, and this measure will speed up the recovery of the sector by facilitating the entry of international travelers.”
Fully vaccinated travelers will continue to be able to present their vaccination certificates for entry, while unvaccinated ones are required to provide a negative test, as described above, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 from a medical establishment issued at least 11 days after the infection was confirmed. Recovery certificates are considered valid for 180 days. Children under the age of 12, the Ministry noted, are exempt from all testing and vaccination requirements.
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