Spain article
Travel to Spain from the UK - which Covid tests do you need?

Spain has remained a firm favourite of British tourists looking to get away this summer, with the Spanish Ministry announcing that one in four passengers who arrived in Spain during June 2022 were from the UK.

In June 2022, Spain reached 85.5 per cent of the international visitors registered in the same month in 2019 and, while still below the pre-pandemic volumes, that’s 3 times more than 2021. The Minister of Tourism said: “The Canary Islands [Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote etc.] and the Balearic Islands [including Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera] are clearly leading the recovery of international travellers, undoubtedly favoured by the return this 2022 of the British tourists…”.

So, with Spain announcing that entry restrictions to the mainland and to the islands will remain in place until at least 15th September 2022, we take a closer look at the Spanish Ministry entry requirements for travellers considered ‘Up to Date’ with their vaccination, and travellers who are Not Fully Vaccinated.

Please note that, for the purposes of entry regulations, the UK is considered by Spain to be a 'Third Country' (i.e. a country not part of the European Union or the Schengen Area), therefore non-EU entry requirements apply.

Pre-entry requirements for Spain

All travellers aged 12 and over must either:

  • use their NHS COVID Pass (or EU equivalent) to demonstrate:
    • proof of being Fully Vaccinated and Up to Date by EU standards (as detailed in the ‘What does ‘Fully Vaccinated' and ‘Up to Date’ mean?’ section, below); or
    • proof of recent recovery from Covid-19; or
  • take a Covid-19 test and submit the results via Spain’s Travel Health Control form before travel to Spain.

Travellers from the UK who can either:
- show proof of being Fully Vaccinated and Up to Date via the NHS COVID Pass; or
- of having recovered from prior COVID-19 infection in the last 6 months via the NHS COVID Pass; or
- who are aged under 12 years old NOT need to complete Spain’s Travel Health Control form.

So, if you're fully vaccinated and your vaccination is still considered ‘Up to Date’ (see below), no tests are required for travel to Spain or the Canary and Balearic Islands. However, if you are unvaccinated or your vaccination is no longer considered Up to Date, then you must provide either a Fit to Fly Covid-19 test or a Certificate of Recovery before you depart for Spain.

Are there any specific rules for the entry test to Spain?

All unvaccinated travellers aged 12+ must either demonstrate recent Covid-19 infection (see ‘What should I do if I’ve recently recovered from Covid-19?’, below) or provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 result from one of these tests:

  • Rapid Antigen Test taken no more than 24 hours before departure to Spain; or
  • A PCR Test no more than 72 hours before departure to Spain.

What are the entry test rules for children?

Children aged 11 and under do not need to complete an online Health Control Form before travel, show proof of being fully vaccinated on entry to Spain, take diagnostic tests prior to arrival, or show proof of having recovered from prior COVID-19 infection in the last 6 months.

Travellers aged 12 to 17 who are not fully vaccinated must follow the same testing rules as adults (above).

Can I use an NHS test?

Free NHS tests are not suitable for travel - ‘Fit to Travel’ testing is only available through private providers.

CTN tip: When travelling from the UK, make sure that you select a private provider which is listed on the GOV.UK list of general population Covid-19 testing providers. This is a list of 1,000+ providers who have declared they have met the UK Government’s minimum standards to provide Covid testing services. At CTN we provide a travel testing comparison site to help you easily find the right test for you at the right price.

Can you highlight any providers who meet the requirements?

The CTN Comparison Site offers a way of finding verified providers who fulfil the requirements for entry into mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. It lists a provider satisfaction score and the price a provider charges.

Below are two examples of providers offering Rapid Antigen Fit to Fly tests, suitable for travel to Spain including the Canary and Balearic Islands (prices/scores accurate at time of writing):



Use Discount Code: CTN10

What should I do if I’ve recently recovered from Covid-19?

A COVID-19 Recovery certificate: Recovery certificates issued at least 11 days after the first positive PCR or antigen test, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling, are accepted as valid for entry to Spain. The antigen tests accepted are those authorised by the European Commission, and must have been performed by healthcare professionals. Passengers with a Recovery Certificate other than the NHS COVID Pass (or EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalent) must provide certificate proof of the diagnostic test taken to generate the Recovery Certificate.

What does ‘Fully Vaccinated' and ‘Up to Date’ mean?

Spain will accept the UK’s proof of vaccination record (i.e. the NHS COVID Pass app or a hardcopy of it). At least 14 days must have passed since your final dose of the primary vaccination series.

If you have received the booster jab you are considered to be Fully Vaccinated - your certificate will be considered valid immediately from the day the booster dose was administered (but be aware that it can take a few days for the booster record to become visible in the NHS COVID Pass app).

If you have not received a booster jab, it's important to check whether your vaccination is still ‘In Date’, as the EU has imposed a 270-day vaccination expiry period.

How do I know if my vaccination is still valid / has expired?
If you have received the booster jab, there is currently no expiry date as the EU expects protection from booster jabs to last longer than the protection resulting from the primary vaccination series.

If you haven’t had the booster jab, the expiry of your vaccinations is based on the length of time from the completion of your ‘primary vaccination series’:

  • For a two-dose vaccine (which are commonplace in the UK, e.g. AZ, Pfiezer, etc), it means 270 days after the second jab.
  • For a single dose vaccine (such as Johnson&Johnson) this means 270 days after your first and only jab.
  • (The only exception to this is if you had a documented case of Covid prior to your vaccination, in which case the time count starts from the first and only shot you had after having recovered from the virus.)

In reality, this means that (at the date of publishing) if you completed your primary vaccination series on or before 30 October 2021 and have not received the booster vaccination, you are no longer considered ‘Fully Vaccinated’ for travel by EU standards.

However, the definition of 'Fully Vaccinated' is slightly different for travellers under 18: if you are aged 12 to 17 and have not received the booster, but have received two doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine approved for use by Spain, then at least 14 days must have passed since your last dose, to qualify as fully vaccinated. You continue to qualify as fully vaccinated more than 270 days after your last dose and do not need to show proof of having received a booster to travel.

If your vaccination is invalid and you have not received a booster jab, Spain views that you are not Fully Vaccinated: you must follow the rules for Not Fully Vaccinated travellers and provide either a Certificate of Recovery or take a Fit to Fly test (see above).

Written by Abbie Pullman
Published on 27/07/2022

Abbie is Operations Director at Covid Testing Network, overseeing the operational running of the business.

The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.

Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government foreign travel advice website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.


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