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Spain relaxes travel restrictions for unvaccinated Americans

Travelers from outside the European Union can enter Spain using a negative coronavirus test

(iStock/Washington Post Illustration)
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Spain eased its entry requirements for travelers from outside the European Union over the weekend, allowing Americans who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus to enter as long as they present negative test results. Previously, unvaccinated travelers from places such as the United States and Britain could only enter the country if they could prove a recent case of the coronavirus, meaning they had developed natural protections.

As of Saturday, tourists traveling by air or sea from non-E.U. and associated Schengen Area countries can show either proof of vaccination, a certificate of recovery or a negative test result to enter, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Before the change, U.S. tourists had to show either proof of vaccination or documentation of recovery from the disease.

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The Spanish minister of industry, trade and tourism, María Reyes Maroto, said in an announcement that the “new phase of the pandemic” allowed the country to relax the entry rules. The country saw a 9 percent drop in daily cases over the past week, with 229 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days as of Monday, according to tracking data compiled by The Washington Post. The United States has seen a 12 percent increase in daily cases over the past week.

Recovery certificates must have been issued at least 11 days after an initial positive test result and are valid for 180 days. Those showing a negative test result must take an NAAT test — a category that includes PCR tests — in the 72 hours before their trip, or an antigen test within 24 hours before departure.

Children under 12 years old are exempt from showing a certificate of any kind.

France made a similar change in March. Other nearby countries have also eased or scrapped covid requirements in recent months. Italy and Greece recently dropped their proof-of-vaccination rules, in addition to other measures, while destinations such as the United Kingdom and Iceland have done away with all pandemic travel restrictions.