UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this guidance, Spain restricted American travelers even more. You can now only enter Spain with proof of full vaccination.
Since reopening to Americans in June, Spain has had among the laxest entry requirements across all of Europe, with no proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests required. But that changes now.
As of Monday, Sept. 6, travelers heading for Spain are required to present proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or a recent negative COVID-19 test. Delta began informing passengers of the changes late last week, and the Spanish U.S. embassy guidance now reflects those stronger entry requirements.
Here's a snippet from the email Delta sent to travelers with upcoming flights to Spain.
That matches the policies that many countries across Europe have had for months. There's a patchwork of testing and vaccination requirements across Europe that vary from country to country.
Read more: A Country-by-Country Guide to European Travel Restrictions
Spain's new requirements come just days after the European Union voted to recommend further restrictions on American travelers amid a massive increase in COVID-19 cases. That fueled concern that trips across the pond would once again be off-limits. But it's not that simple.
While some countries like the Netherlands and Sweden will essentially ban all Americans altogether, others like Italy and now Spain will add some additional hoops to jump through while still allowing tourists from the U.S.
Here's a look at what you need to get into Spain as of next week.
New Entry Requirements to Get Into Spain
For months, Americans needed next to nothing to enter Spain. Fill out a digital health form, present the QR code at border control, and you're in.
That was the case when I went to Madrid in early July. The entry process couldn't have been simpler: I've had a harder time clearing customs in Cancún pre-pandemic than after getting off the plane in Madrid (MAD).
Read more: What's it Like Traveling in Europe Now? 6 Takeaways
But that's changing. As of Monday, all inbound travelers will be required to present one of:
- Proof of full vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 (Delta did not specify how recent)
- A negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival
- A negative antigen test taken no more 48 hours before arrival.
- Complete the Spain Travel Health form within 48 hours of arrival.
As is the case throughout much of Europe, a standard Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine card should be enough to prove your vaccination status and enter Spain. While the European Union has launched digital COVID certificates, those aren't currently open to American tourists. Travelers under 12 are exempt from all these new requirements.
While these measures are certainly more strict than Spain's previous approach, they're far less stringent than the approach many other countries have taken. After recent changes in Italy, for example, all arrivals must now present both proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken. In Spain, you can use one or the other.
And in Germany, officials recently made proof of vaccination absolutely mandatory. A test alone won't get you in, making it much more difficult for unvaccinated travelers.
These changes may seem almost overdue, but getting into Spain is about to get a bit harder. As of today, you'll need proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a recent negative COVID-19 test to get in.
Across the board, we've seen European countries tighten their entry requirements. But many are stopping short of banning American travelers altogether.