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Spain is joining the ranks of European nations that are reinstating certain entry requirements for non-essential American travelers in light of the COVID-19 Delta variant surge that’s currently sweeping the U.S.
Starting September 6, Spanish authorities will require American visitors to present proof of complete vaccination, certificate of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country. Molecular NAAT (such as PCR) tests must have been taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, while antigen tests can be no more than 48 hours old. Certificates of a person’s previous recovery are valid from 12 to 180 days from the date that the first positive test was performed. However, children under the age of 12 are exempt from these requirements.
All foreign travelers are also required to complete the Spain Travel Health Control form, which produces a QR code they’ll need in order to board their flight, as well as upon arrival in Spain. The form can be obtained through the Spain Travel Health portal, or downloaded as the ‘SpTH’ via Google Play or the App Store.
The policy change was made in view of the European Union’s (E.U.) updated guidance, which signaled to member nations that they should no longer relax entry restrictions for U.S. tourists due to increased infection risk. Spain had formerly removed its vaccination requirement for U.S. visitors at the end of June, and was welcoming all Americans without testing or quarantine requirements.
Many European countries had retained either vaccination or testing requirements since initially reopening their borders in June, so some E.U. member states may not need to alter their policies toward Americans, despite the ongoing rise in infection levels in the U.S.
According to Reuters, the U.S. now tops the list of countries reporting the highest number of daily new cases and deaths each day. The latest seven-day rolling average shows 163,816 new infections in the U.S. each day, or 349 cases per 100,000 residents daily, while Spain’s daily average comes in at only 97 cases per 100,000 people. Spain’s infection rate is at 18 percent of its peak and falling, while the U.S. is at 65 percent of its peak infection period and rising.
The U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Spain and Andorra advises travelers that they’re likely to experience longer wait times at customs and border control as Spain initially works to implement the new rules.