Spain is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, especially for us Brits. And it’s easy to see why with its warm Mediterranean waters, mountain ranges, monumental cathedrals, and of course, its culinary tapas. I’ve spent two years in this country and for some reason, it keeps drawing me back. So if you’ve always wanted to go, I definitely recommend a trip here.
But with ever-changing travel requirements, make sure you meet all the entry requirements to visit Spain before you go. Here’s everything you need to know about the entry policies for Spain.
Make Sure Your Passport Hasn’t Expired
Before you book your trip to Spain, don't forget to check if your passport is valid. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months upon your arrival in Spain as well as for at least 3 months after your intended departure from Spain.
If your passport is expired or does not have enough time left on its validity, you won’t be granted entry into this European destination. So make sure you leave enough time to get your passport renewed. There may be the added service of obtaining a new passport within 24 hours if time is really tight.
Have A Return or Onward Flight Booked
Other than having a valid passport, other requirements that you need to meet in order to gain entry into Spain are:
- Showing a return or onward journey ticket as proof that you will not exceed the maximum allowed stay of 90 days in the country. As a result of Brexit, if you are travelling on a British passport, you can now only stay 90 days out of every 180 days.
- You may be required to show proof of funds to show you have enough money to financially support your stay (this hasn’t happened to me yet but apparently it’s a possibility).
- Showing proof of where you are planning to stay, for instance, a hotel booking, a document displaying proof of residence if you are visiting your own property in Spain (e.g. second home), an invitation from your host, or proof of address of the third party if you plan on staying with friends or family who are residents of Spain.
Fill out the Spain Health Control Form (HCF)
To contain the spread of COVID-19, Spain has introduced a health declaration form called the Formulario de Control Sanitario (FCS) or Health Control Form (HCF).
All passengers arriving in Spain need to complete the Spain Health Control Form (HCF) alongside having a valid passport and proof of return/onward journey. Each form is individual-specific, non-transferable, and can easily be filled out online. It doesn’t take that long to do and you receive a QR code that you can either print out or save to your phone.
Do You Need A Visa to Enter Spain?
Citizens of several countries do not need a visa to visit Spain, meaning that they can enjoy visa-free access to not just this Southern European country but all the 26 countries of the Schengen Area for up to a period of a maximum of 90 days.
However, there are many countries whose residents are not eligible for visa-free entry into Spain. And, as a distinct tourist visa for the Kingdom of Spain does not exist, the citizens of such countries need a Schengen Visa in order to enter Spain — as well as the other 25 remaining countries in the Schengen Area.
Whether or not you need the Schengen visa to visit Spain depends on your nationality. To find out more, research the local Spanish Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate in your home country.
Alternatively, you can also ask your country's airlines or local travel companies to find out if you need a tourist visa to set foot in Spain.
If you do, you may need to physically visit a Spanish embassy or consulate near you and apply for a Schengen Visa. All consulates and embassies of all the countries of the Schengen Area accept visa applications, but you are required to apply for a Schengen Visa at an office of the Schengen country that is the main destination of your visit.
Do You Need to be Vaccinated to Travel to Spain?
Tourists arriving from the countries that are categorised as high-risk zone by the Spanish authorities may have to be vaccinated. From the countries that fall under a high-risk category, only fully vaccinated travellers can enter Spain for the purposes of tourism.
However, for essential non-tourism purposes, Spain allows unvaccinated travellers to enter if they are able to produce a negative PCR test report, which is taken less than 48 hours before their arrival to the country.
Travellers from the European Union and Schengen Area, as well as Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Moldova, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, are allowed to visit Spain without proof of vaccination.
For the nationals of the countries not specified in the list above, showing proof of vaccination is mandatory to enter Spain. The vaccines recognised by the Spanish officials are AstraZeneca, Janssen, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovac, and Vero Cell.
If you are required to take a PCR test before you leave Spain to return to your home country, there are several medical centres in the main cities and tourist destinations that can arrange your test for you. They will email you a certificate in English within 24 hours (depending on the type of service you choose). Your airline may even have discounts on PCR tests in Spain.
What Do You Need if You Only Want to Transit Through Spain?
If you happen to be transiting through Spain and you don't intend to leave the airport, you do not need any document other than a completed Spain Health Control Form.
This form is required to be filled out regardless so, even for transit, have this document ready to avoid any administrative hassles.
Don’t let these requirements and entry policies put you off visiting. Spain is the second most visited country in the world, and it offers so much to see: from the panoramic coastlines and striking landscapes to the rich culture and historic architecture. All it takes is a little more planning to get there.
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