Spain has changed the entry requirements for millions of British and African travelers. The change comes in the wake of several other restriction changes in countries around the world, as they try to take swift action against the spread of the latest Covid-19 variant, Omicron. The latest change by the wildly popular travel destination will see unvaccinated travelers who are planning on heading to Spain from the UK unable to visit the country at all.
The news is bound to come as a hammer blow for millions of British travelers, with Spain not only being amongst the most popular travel destinations for British travelers, but a popular destination for British expats to live too. Here’s a look at the latest changes that Spain has made, why the country has made these changes and the potential impact it could have on travel throughout the continent.
Spain’s Brit Ban – What Travelers Should Know
Spain is extremely popular with British travelers given its close proximity, low prices, flight availability and year-round warm weather. Prior to the pandemic, as many as 18 million British travelers visited Spain, representing more than 20% of Spain’s total traveler numbers. On top of that, there are around 360,000 British expats thought to be living in Spain, with the country proving to be a popular destination for retirement age Brits to settle down.
Unfortunately for some British travelers, the new travel curbs introduced by Spain are likely to put an even larger dent in the number of Brits making the short hop across the Bay of Biscay. The current travel rules allow British travelers to visit Spain providing they have been fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test result taken up to 72 hours before arriving – a bit of a chore, but serving no real obstacle to visiting Spain if a traveler desires.
However, from December 1st, these rules are set to change. As of that date, travelers flying from the UK to Spain for non-essential purposes will be unable to do so if they are not fully vaccinated. Whilst there are exceptions for those under the age of 12 and British people residing in Spain, it’s a change that’s bound to leave many travelers frustrated, with the move leaving many unvaccinated holidaymakers without the option of going on the vacation trips that they have already booked and paid for.
Banning unvaccinated British travelers wasn’t the only change that Spain made to their travel policies. The country also made changes to the entry requirements for travelers from “high-risk” countries. The countries that are deemed to be high risk at present are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Travelers arriving in Spain from these countries will need to show a negative Covid-19 test regardless of vaccination or recovery status. They will also be subjected to a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival.
Whilst there have not yet been any cases of the Omicron variant detected in Spain, the country is taking strict measures like these to prevent importing cases across their border. Neighboring Portugal has already recorded 13 cases of the new variant, with other countries in Europe also reporting more and more suspected cases as the hours go by.
As time goes on, it is more likely than not that countries around Europe – and the world – will begin to strengthen their travel restrictions, just as most were beginning to loosen them once more. The UK has already made changes to its entry restrictions, whilst Israel has banned foreign travelers from entering at all.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories