Spain’s borders opened to international travelers this June and you best believe my parents were on the first flight out. Although we were excited they could finally visit us (and the babies) after months of waiting, the requirements for U.S. travelers going to and from Spain are confusing. That being said, they are much more lenient compared to just a few months ago.
We spent our time between Sanlúcar and Albufeira during their visit
Below I’ll describe the documents and tests my parents needed to enter Spain and return to the United States. Keep in mind the documents and tests discussed below pertain to direct flights (ex. JFK <> MAD); if you’ve got a layover in another country please contact your airline about additional requirements.
Traveling to Spain from the U.S.
According to the U.S. Embassy as of June 24, 2021, anyone can travel to Spain from the U.S. and there is no need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. However, all travelers must fill out a Health Control Form to enter the country. Filling out the online form is easy and once it’s completed you’ll receive a custom QR code via email you can save on your phone. You’ll show the QR code when going through customs once you arrive. Keep in mind you can only complete the form 48 hours before your flight’s arrival time.
Traveling to the U.S. from Spain
When flying to the U.S. from Spain, you’ll need to provide an attestation form (you can print out ahead of time or get one at the airport) plus a negative COVID-19 test taken within the 3 days prior to your flight.
My mom took the antigen test at home the day before her flight back to the U.S.
Where to get COVID tests in Spain
The good news is both PCR and antigen tests are valid for entering the U.S. so you’ve got several options to choose from. Antigen test are generally cheaper than PCRs, faster, and easier to get. Here are the top 3 ways to secure a COVID test before returning on your U.S. bound flight.
1. Home COVID test
The cheapest and most convenient testing option is the home COVID test. You can pick one up in the U.S. for as cheap as $25 from places like CVS, Walgreens, Amazon, etc. and bring it with you to Spain. I have not been able to find home tests like these in Spain yet, hopefully they’ll become available soon!
All you’ll need is an internet connection and a phone or computer with a camera to complete the antigen test. My parents used the BinaxNOW Home Test. They just needed to download the Navica app, visit eMed.com, and click ‘start test’. Next an authorized supervisor guided them through the process and recorded the results. They received the test results in the app on their phone which they showed at the airport. The whole thing took about 20 minutes…and if you ask me, a $25 take-home test sounds so much better than doing a €120 PCR test at a private clinic.
A photo of the home COVID-19 test kit
2. Airport testing center
If you weren’t able to pick up a home test before your trip you can also get tested here in Spain. There are airport COVID testing centers in Madrid, Malaga, and Sevilla that offer decent prices (ex. €25). You can schedule your appointment online and take the test before your flight. You should try to schedule as far in advance as possible as appointment slots tend to fill up!
3. Local hospitals, pharmacies & clinics
And lastly, if you’re not traveling through those airports don’t fret. You can get tested just about anywhere in Spain these days, albeit the cost is higher. Check the local hospitals, pharmacies and health clinics in your area. In Sanlúcar for example, anyone can get a PCR test at the hospital or Policlínica, and an antigen test at Laboratorio V Centenario—these establishments are not the best at answering the phone so I’d recommend going in person to get your appointment.
Stay up-to-date on travel requirements
Travel requirements seem to change as often as the fluctuating number of COVID cases in Europe. Before visiting Spain I’d recommend checking the U.S. Embassy website and contacting the Spanish Embassy (or the closest Spanish consulate) via email to confirm the latest entry and exit requirements. I’d also double check with your airline just to be safe—keep in mind if you have a layover in another country you might need to provide additional paperwork or tests.
I hope you found this post helpful! Good luck and safe travels. ✈️