Spain Expects To Re-Open To Americans In June, Vaccinated Or Not, Here’s What To Expect

Spain isn’t just planning to re-open to vaccinated travelers this summer, it’s planning to re-open to everyone in June. They expect to require one of,

  • Proof of vaccination
  • Negative Covid-19 test
  • Proof of recovery within past 3 months

Children under 6 seem likely to be exempt from these requirements. However what proof systems look like in practice for everyone else is still being determined. It will likely be app-based, along the lines of Europe’s Green Passport regime, which attempts to reduce document fraud.

We’re seeing a race to re-open borders. The more heavily dependent a country’s economy is on tourism, the likelier it is to open. This summer seems set to be pretty good from a virus perspective, given rates or prior infection, vaccination, and likely seasonal effects. You can view the hoops you’ll need to go through to travel as being as much about creating a regime that lets government leaders appear responsible at the same time they’re opening up as much as they can as quickly as they can.

European travel won’t be completely ‘normal’ this summer. The U.K. has been touting June 21 as a day when its own citizens can expect a return to normalcy although even there it’s not entirely clear what that means. You’ll probably still be wearing a mask on the flight over and in the tube. Some social distancing regimes may still be in place.

My advice continues to be booking award travel that’s fully cancellable, planning for a trip while recognizing that circumstances with the virus can change. And deciding what level of normal is necessary for you to have a good time. Be willing to pull the plug on the trip if those conditions won’t be met. Predicting a couple of months out has been a challenge throughout the pandemic, though there’s real hope that it’s now becoming just a little bit easier.

The good news, perhaps, is that social distancing expectations make pickpockets on Las Ramblas juts a little bit easier to spot too.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve booked a trip to Lisbon for July after hearing the news about EU opening to vaccinated travelers. What’s your take, Gary and others, of the potential spread of the Indian variant? In perspective, the daily number of cases is slightly above the worst day in the US for number of new cases. But, they have a billion (!) more population than US.

  2. Listen up, folks. Here’s the deal. We’re not out of the woods yet. Everyone needs to stay home and stay safe so Kam and I can defeat this virus. And wear your masks everybody.

  3. So I guess the question is, if they are planning on using an app based method for entry, how will Spain be verifying vaccination status for US citizens, as all we have are the CDC paper vaccination cards, and there will be no federal vaccine passport system that will be able to verify vaccination status?

  4. All I can say is, Spain et al better make sure their population is 70% vaxxed, or require double-negative Covid tests for entry. The Indian variant makes me re-consider my Europe summer travel plans.

    I’m moving my dates back to fall, and I’m planning to visit less touristy places, such as the Baltics and Georgia. I’m keeping track of % resident population vaxxed in my target locations.

  5. even though documentation can still be faked, the EU should propose to have the member states embassies and consulate authenticate both a copy of the CDC vaccination card and a copy of the hospital or clinic records of vaccination taken place. Typically one would notarize and certify the CDC card and vaccination record printout from hospital/clinic/CVS/Costco/etc is true and the overseas mission authenticates the notary. Doesn’t matter which EU country’s overseas mission.

  6. Kathy –

    I wouldn’t worry about the Indian variant or any variant for that matter. The initial reports about vaccine escape and the like have proven to be wrong on every account. The vaccines work. Just remember how wrong they were about B1.1.7. Trust the science – not the media.

  7. Drivers licenses can be faked too. Passports can be faked too. Notarized documents can be faked too. Clinical records can be faked too.

  8. I’d have to see more details before I even thought about booking tickets, even with miles. You still have to arrange for accommodation, and that could be much more difficult to change.

  9. @Ed: Indeed. Hell, currency is still counterfeited! Also the Yellow Fever card is just as easy to fake and in fact blank cards can be legally purchased – and that hasn’t stopped countries from accepting that where required. Even with legit Yellow Fever cards, there is no practical method to verify the doctor’s scribbles by a border control agent. Sure, COVID is more widespread but it’s the same principle.

    The small number of people who would and will fake a vaccine record shouldn’t stop the world from moving on. We shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  10. @KimmieA — “The Indian variant” is going to make you change your travel plans? Will it be Global Warming next? Just stay home. It’s OK to stay home. You don’t NEED to travel.

  11. So it’s great that these European countries want to open up, but what about the USA? I’m fine with presenting my vax card to get back into the USA (even though I think that’s a bad idea, I’m still willing to do it to avoid hassle). But I’m not keen on arranging — and paying for — a Covid test overseas. It’s kind of a dealbreaker for most overseas leisure travel for me. Are there any plans for letting Americans RETURN from overseas without being hassled?

  12. Good for the southern European countries and a few others pushing forward with reopening. Vaccine production and distribution needs to be accelerated but ordinary, hard-working people cannot sit holed up in their homes for another summer.
    and sitting in an outside restaurant in Europe is not only just shy of perfection but it is about as covid-safe as you can get.

  13. I was excited to go to europe this summer when they said they would only accept vaccinated travelers. I’m now reconsidering because I have no desire to be on a long haul plane with those that are unvaccinated. Covid cases are on the rise in Oregon and Washington right now to the point that they are reimposing restrictions. Pandemic is far from over. Seriously look at the video of the guy in india carrying the body of his dead wife who died from covid to the cremation site. This is a country that has of a few weeks ago was declaring victory over covid. Now they are smashing records of daily new cases. That is how quickly things can turn. You would think spain would be a bit more careful about letting unvaccinated people in given all they have been through. Businesses aren’t going to earn any money from tourists if the country gets forced into another lockdown due to new variants getting brought in.

  14. @Tim L – the MAGA mouth-breathers & other anti-vaxxers heavily under-index int’l travel…they are going to Galveston or Daytona Beach this summer, not Europe, no worries

  15. @DWT – My guess is that Spain and other countries will have US citizens upload a picture of their CDC card to their app. That’s really all they can do, since that’s the only documentations many Americans are likely to have.

  16. Tim, Bill, what’s your problem with “the unvaccinated” traveling?
    If you’re vaccinated, you’re safe. Yes, the vaccines are not 100% effective. But if that’s what keeps you up at night, then a plane full of vaccinated people must still be a terrifying prospect for you.

    Truly, for some people everything is an opportunity to show off their moral superiority.

    You’re vaccinated? Good, quit bitching and get traveling. Or don’t, and sit home. Either way, spare us your tiresome posturing.

  17. My biggest question is, when will the US allow US citizens to return to the US solely with proof of vaccination, instead of proof of negative COVID? Will they now require both? That would suck. And @Joe Biden, very clever. I wish there were a way to like (or dislike) comments on this blog. @Gary, Is that something you can make happen?

  18. @mike How would that work? Official government records can be apostilled but CDC vaccination cards are not official government records. Signatures can be notarized, but how would you go about getting a clinic staff personal to sign a statement assuring the accuracy of a vaccination record in the presence of a notary? Besides, there is no practical difference between handing over a CDC vaccination card and handing over a CDC vaccination card with a magical statement by a random person swearing that they didn’t fake it.

  19. Reopening worked so well for Spain’s 2020 economy, they’re doing the same in 2021 before reaching herd immunity? As Albert Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

  20. Good to see they are smart enough to have a testing option for the non-vaccinated. I was just looking at Israel’s reopening plan and while they plan on letting vaccinated people enter, they still expect non-vaccinated to quarantine. This makes a trip with kids who are too young to take the vaccine impossible and Spain’s testing option at least allows for a way to keep kids out of quarantine.

  21. Great post Jimmy! And the usual garbage from UA- NYC. Some things never change. Have tickets to Barcelona for 5 days in July and backup tickets for the same dates to Puerto Vallarta.

  22. “If you’re vaccinated, you’re safe.” Except your not safe, especially in areas with large amounts of covid with constant exposures to people. Not to mention every unvaccinated person provides the virus yet another chance to mutate and maybe become more contagious, deadlier or even able to evade the vaccines. On top of that unvaccinated people potentially spreading the virus around through non-essential travel to countries where they do not have vaccinated populations could lead to outbreaks that overwhelm local hospital systems and make it so people having non-covid emergencies can’t get urgent medical treatment. Really tired of listening to anti-vaxxers whine about this. We could get back to normal if people got vaccinated, but instead too many people are refusing and dragging this pandemic out and then complaining about restrictions that are caused by their behavior.

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