International travel is set to resume for Britons from May 17 as part of the Government’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions.
Spain lifted a three-month ban on British travellers on March 30 – following this, Spain’s tourism minister Fernando Valdés said the country could introduce its own “green” corridor for vaccinated British travellers, if there were no collective EU decision on vaccine passports. Mr Valdés has confirmed that Spain is in “discussions” with the UK about these plans.
What’s more, Valdés has said Spain is “desperate” to welcome Brits this summer. “I think we will be ready here in Spain and we also think that things on the vaccination scheme of the UK are going pretty well,” he told Sky News.
“I believe (vaccine) certificates is going to help us,” he added.
Spain has, so far, managed to stay off the UK’s ‘red list’ – meaning that essential travel to the country can continue, and selected air and sea links are still operating. But, holidays remain strictly off-limits. Quarantine and testing requirements also apply to travellers both inbound and outbound.
Unfortunately, as things stand, it looks unlikely that Spain will make it onto the ‘green’ list when a traffic light system is brought in to replace the blanket ban on international travel on May 17, due to high infection rates and its current vaccination progress. Instead, Spain, which alone welcomes 18 million Britons in a normal year, is likely to be added to a putative “amber” list – this will mean holidaymakers will be required to have a pre-departure test, then quarantine on arrival for up to ten days.
Below, we detail some of the questions travellers will be asking about trips to Spain, and outline the latest Foreign Office advice.
Is Spain in lockdown?
Spain is not in national lockdown, but it is under a ‘curfew’ – limiting travel to work purposes, education, care reasons or medical treatment. Face coverings are compulsory in indoor spaces, and in some outdoor places (including beaches but not while swimming or sunbathing) too – as well as on public transport nationwide.
The restrictions will last until May 2021, at least.
Can I visit Spain?
You can still travel to Spain for essential reasons, but you must self-isolate for 10 days on your return to the UK. Essential reasons include work that cannot be done from home, or emergency medical treatment – not holidays.
In England and Wales, travellers arriving from Spain must self-isolate either at a private address or (if they prefer) in rental/hotel accommodation. In Scotland, all travellers must isolate in a government-mandated quarantine hotel. See ‘border restictions’, below, for more information.
The Foreign Office (FCO) continues to advise against all non-essential to Spain, except the Canary Islands. This makes travel insurance hard to come by. Many flight and ferry routes between Spain and the UK have also been cut.
This could all change from May 17, when a traffic light system will replace the ban on foreign travel. Quarantine for returning Britons will only be dropped for countries on the green list although they will still have to pay for pre-departure and post-arrival tests. Any travellers from amber-rated countries where there is a medium risk including from variants will be required to have a pre-departure test, then quarantine on arrival for up to ten days. Those returning from red countries could find themselves forking out £1,750 for a long stay at a Government-approved hotel.