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Negative PCR test result will be required within 72 hours prior to entering Spain as of November 23, when travelling from risk zones

Negative PCR test result will be required within 72 hours prior to entering Spain as of November 23, when travelling from risk zones

Spain’s Ministry of Health Inter-territorial Council met this Wednesday with Health Minister Salvador Illa, and have reported this lunchtime that they are going to require all international travellers, from risk countries, to certify a negative PCR test result obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival in the country, and this accreditation may be requested from the passenger at any time. The newly announced measure will be published tomorrow in Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) and will come into force as of November 23.

Extra health controls are already being carried out on all international passengers at the points of entry to Spain, including temperature controls and visual monitoring.

The Health Control Form that all passengers must complete before entering the country will include a declaration asking if they have had a negative PCR test result, obtained within  72 hours prior to arrival to Spain. The document must be the original, written in Spanish or English and may be submitted in paper or electronic format. if the form has not been completed electronically, which generates a QR code through the main Spain Travel Health website or the mobile app “Spain Travel Health-SpTH”, it can be submitted in paper format before boarding. In which case, it must be accompanied by the original document certifying the results of the diagnostic test.


Designated risk zones and countries that will be required to present PCR certificates, in the case of European Union and Schengen zone countries, will be those that are seeing more than 150 infections per 100,000 of population, set according to the criteria in EU Recommendation 2020/1475, of October 13, which established the traffic light system in a coordinated EU wide approach to restricting free movement to response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As for third countries, which will include the UK as of December 31, the reference will be based on that country’s accumulated incidence per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days, as well as International Health regulations, based on information provided by the European Center for Prevention and Disease Control (ECDC).

Travel agencies, tour operators and air or maritime transport companies, as well as any other agent that markets travel tickets, must inform passengers of the obligation to present a negative PCR test result in order to travel. The Health Ministry says that this new measure complies with EU Recommendation 2020/1475, which seeks to end the disparity in health control models implemented by the various countries of the European Union.

The carrying out PCR tests prior to travel has been one of the most often repeated demands from the Government of the Canary Islands, who have said since March that they consider such test results essential to guarantee confidence in the tourism sector for the archipelago, reinforcing health security for the destination.

Spain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, who is visiting the islands today, has confirmed that she is negotiating with other European administrations to facilitate tests at origin and at destination as part of the tourist corridors, which the Canary Islands have been demanding for months.

Along with the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, the minister presented the new “Back to the Canary Islands, back to Spain” campaign, designed by the national tourism board, Turespaña, aiming to boost demand for trips to the islands this winter season.

“The tourist corridor protocol for the Canary Islands already incorporates an element to avoid quarantines and travel restrictions” said the President. “We are negotiating those tourist corridors with the main source markets. We hope very soon it will be the tool that offers security for a destination”.

Maroto said that any measure that reinforces security will generate trust, which is what is most needed to convince travellers to visit the archipelago.

President Torres has made clear that steps will continue to be taken to increase security and indicated that he hopes these steps would be “imminent”.

“We have a few key weeks ahead in which there will be, surely, responses to the requests that we have made to offer safe tourism and to be able to recover [visitor numbers] as soon as possible” he concluded.

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  1. mandy

    Unfortunately due to the high costs of a pcr test in the uk the canaries will not see the numbers arriving for a winter break like they want and businesses and hotels will continue to remain closed or shut down permanently. Originally this testing was going to be done by the canary islands to gain an air corridor with the uk this was back tracked by aena, the government and the hotels once the corridor was given. The demand for high risk countries to take a test and to have the results back within the 72 hours is probably not feasible and it will cost in excess of £120 per person to take this test and get a certificate, it needs thinking through again, I appreciate the call for the negative test but for a family of 4 to go on holiday to have to pay nearly £500 for a test that isn’t guaranteed to come back in time or they can’t take the test over certain periods due to places being closed that do the testing, this will be the death knoll of the Canarian tourist industry.

    • The Canary

      It is important to remember that this is a global pandemic, and so therefore a changeable situation. You understand, that if your country is in the high risk category we would prefer you not to bring an infection with you. We are sure there will be more announcements around ways this can be paid for as part of holiday bookings etc. Once your country has brought infections down to an acceptable level the more expensive PCR will not be required. Here in Canary Islands you will still need the 25€ rapid antigen test to stay in hotels or other tourist accommodation. We currently have the lowest rates of infection in all spain, and some of the lowest in all Europe. We have controlled our second wave successfully and are all working together to make sure we are the safest of all holiday destinations. This is not about saving money to go on holiday, this is a well thought through strategy to ensure anyone who wants to come here is as safe as safe can be.


        I have owned a private apartment in Gran Canaria for over 20 years and intend returning in early December. I have already downloaded the government required information. do I still need to have a PCR or negative antigen test from the UK. or if necessary could I get this on arrival through the rapid antigen test?

        • The Canary

          As things currently stand that will depend on the UK infection rate per 100,000 population in the 14 days prior to travel. Anyone travelling after November 23 from any country with more than 150 infections per 100,000 population is classified as “at risk” and therefore requires the PCR test. There are ongoing conversations regarding whether other tests will be accepted when this law is implemented, but right now our information is PCR will become the EU standard for all at risk populations, whereas rapid antigen may be acceptable for countries with lower infection rates, if required at all. sorry not to be clearer, it is a developing situation.

      • guy baker

        we have flights booked for 12th dec but dont think we will now be coming due to the £120 pcr test of which makes an extra £460 pounds to our holiday . its a shame you cant test us on arrival .

  2. Catherine O'ConnelL

    I am coming from Ireland in early December, our infection rate is currently low. Can I get antigen test on arival or does it have to be obtained before I leave Ireland?

    • The Canary

      So long as the ECDC does not have Ireland on the high risk list, in theory you will just need the antigen test to stay in accommodation.

  3. Nick

    Hi, I’d like to double check something with you: on top of the PCR test, do we also need a €25 rapid antigen test to stay in hotels or other tourist accommodations? My hotel In Tenerife didn’t say anything about this second test.

    Regarding the language in which the Certificate should be written: are English and Spanish the only languages accepted? My hotel mentioned English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. Can you please confirm?

    • The Canary

      Hello nick. You do not need the Rapid Antigen test as well as the PCR, required when coming from high risk countries after Nove 23, as the PCR certifies you and is acceptable for both reasons. Yes any correctly produced test result should be acceptable in the main European languages, it simply needs to be verifiable.

      • Nick


        Thanks a lot for clarifying my doubts.

        If you don’t mind, I’d have one more question regarding *when + how* we are supposed to show the negative PCR test result:

        are we supposed to upload it whilst we fill the Health Control Form or, instead, are we supposed to present it on request on arrival when we go through the health control in the airport?

        If it’s the latter, will they keep the Certificate?



  4. Lee Bowditch

    We are hopefully traveling out to Tenerife on the 26th of December and will land at around 6 pm. The only possible PCR tests available over the Christmas period will be on the 23rd of December. This will be just on the edge of the 72 hours specified by the Spanish government. Will this be acceptable or is there rigid adherence to the 72 hour time period?

  5. Elliott

    hi, i am coming from Ireland to Tenerife and then on to La Gomera in December. I understand i just need an antigen test to stay in accommodation.
    Where can i get this test when i arrive before i check-in?
    Anywhere near the airport or resorts nearby?

  6. Sarah

    Hi, we are travelling from Spain to Gran Canaria just before Christmas, we have lived and worked in Spain for almost 2 years, do we require a PCR before we fly to Gran Canaria or is this something we can have done on arrival

The Canary
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