SPAIN TRAVEL UPDATE: UK scraps need for pre-departure COVID tests for fully vaccinated arrivals

FULLY vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take pre-departure COVID tests before arriving in England in a change in the rules that comes into force from Friday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the change on Wednesday afternoon and said it would apply to all arrivals to England from 04:00 GMT on Friday.

He also said that those who were fully jabbed will also not be required to self-isolate while awaiting test results after arriving in England.

Instead they will be able to take a lateral flow test on day two and only need a PCR if the result is positive.

This removes the strict rules brought in with the threat of the Omicron variant that meant all travellers over the age of 12 must show proof of a negative test lateral flow or PCR test taken within two days of setting off for the UK.

The prime minister said the pre-departure test “discourages many from travelling for fear of being trapped overseas and incurring significant extra expense”.

What are the current travel rules?

Current rules state that all travellers to the UK aged 12 and over have to show proof of a negative test, which can be a PCR or a lateral flow test, and must be taken up to two days before departure for the UK.

They then have to take another test – which this time must be a PCR test – within the first two days after their arrival in the UK.

For those travellers who are not fully vaccinated the rules will remain unchanged.

This means that if you are not fully vaccinated – and you’re over 18 – you need to:

·        take a PCR or lateral flow/antigen test (not a free NHS test but one at a registered health clinic) in the two days before you travel to the UK

·        take a test on or before day two and on or after day eight after your return.

·        self-isolate at home for 10 days after arrival in the UK

There is an option to Test to Release for those unvaccinated passengers to England who want to shorten their quarantine.

Anyone travelling to the UK must also complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) within the 48 hours before arriving in the UK, for which you must have an order number for your day two test.

Rules for travel from UK to Spain

Spain brought in rules concerning non-essential visits from travellers from the United Kingdom which came into force on December 1.

“The appearance of new variants … obliges an increase in restrictions,” for arrivals from the UK and Northern Ireland, said a notice published in Spain’s National Gazette (BOE) on Saturday.

It states that British residents flying in from UK airports to Spain will only be able to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Until the new rules were issued, visitors from the UK had been able to enter Spain if they could show proof they had been fully vaccinated or a negative PCR test result taken up to 72 hours before arriving.

However this measure only applies to those who are resident in the UK who do not have a Spanish or other EU passport.

It also does not apply to those under the age of 12.

“This will affect British residents but not British people who are resident in Spain,” a spokesperson for Spain’s Industry, Trade and Tourism confirmed.

It has not been made clear what proof of residency is required but it seems likely that evidence such as a TIE will be required.

Non-resident travellers from the UK must be double jabbed with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organisation in order to gain entry – but booster shots are not currently included in the requirements.

A valid, in-date NHS Covid Pass will suffice as proof of vaccination.

One thing to remember though: “If you are travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status, it must date from 1 November to ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully,” states the UK Foreign Office.

 All arrivals in Spain must also fill in a Spanish health form ahead of travel. The link to the form can be found HERE.


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