Buying property in Spain under quarantine rules is quite possible, but you will need to self-isolate on your return to the UK. That’s if you want to return, of course. With only four months until the Brexit transition period ends, this could be your best chance to gain residency in Spain with all your EU rights intact. But can you fly there?
Everyone is confused! With daily updates, government backtracking and false information, what is the true situation regarding travelling to Spain during the Covid-19 epidemic? Some are wondering if you can even go to Spain, others need to know rules about quarantine having returned. Let’s take a look at the facts.
If you’re preparing to come over to Spain to look at properties, make sure you know what to look for by reading our free guide, Your Viewing Trip.
The British government imposes quarantine restrictions on travellers from countries where more than 20 people have been infected per 100,000 in the previous seven days. The UK had 12.2 in the last week of August, while Spain has 10 times that number. The government reassesses the numbers every week, but Spain is unlikely to come off the list of quarantined countries in the near future.
Can I travel to Spain legally?
Legally yes but the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Spain (including Canary and Balearic Islands) due to the elevated number of cases of Covid-19 in the country.
If you are already in Spain, you should follow all local rules. There is no need to rush home but you will have to self-isolate for two weeks once on British soil.
People who have symptoms compatible with Covid-19 should not travel to Spain, or if diagnosed in the past 14 days, or if had close contact with a confirmed case in the last two weeks.
Are there any flights to Spain at the moment?
There are currently daily flights from London to Málaga Costa del Sol airport, however there are fewer flights from other UK destinations, such as Edinburgh (once per day).
There are also daily flights going from London to Alicante-Elche airport and to Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
New measures to strengthen inspections at the EU’s external borders may cause delays in border controls both to exit and to enter Schengen territory. If going to travel, it is recommended to go with a lot of time ahead to the airport.
Currently taking bookings for September to several Spanish destinations including Málaga, Madrid, Alicante, Almeria, Barcelona and Tenerife Sur.
Flying to several Spanish cities in September including Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.
British Airways have a limited number of flights to Spanish destinations including Alicante, Gibraltar, Madrid.
Many flights to Spain from main UK airports, including Tenerife, Málaga and Barcelona.
Jet 2 and Tui have no more flights to Spain this year.
What quarantine measures are in place if I do get there?
Currently, there is no requirement for visitors from the UK to self-isolate when they get to Spain. However, you will need to complete an online form 48 hours before departure, giving contact details and declaring any contact with people infected with the virus. You’ll find the form on the website of the Spain Travel Health (SpTH), or access it via the airline you’re flying with.
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You may have your temperature taken at the airport and possibly have a visual health check.
A few areas have been put into local quarantine, particularly around Madrid, the west of Spain, Barcelona and elsewhere in Catalonia. These are temporary measures but legally enforced. They are reviewed each week and are subject to change. However, most popular costas and resorts are currently without restrictions.
What can you do when you’re there in terms of buying a property?
At the moment, there are no restrictions on buying property in Spain. You can visit estate agents, view homes and get all the legal processes done. You must wear a mask at all times, stay no more than 1.5 metres of others and use hand gel when entering premises. Indeed this applies to everyone over the age of six, in all shops, bars, restaurants and offices.
There are other restrictions in some regions, such as a ban on smoking on beaches and in public. Others are restricting night-time opening hours for bars and restaurants and have closed nightclubs and discos.
None of this should prevent you from buying your dream home in Spain.
Healthcare in Spain
How worried should you be about being taken ill? Provided you follow the rules for the wearing of masks, keeping a distance and frequently washing your hands, you should not be overly concerned about visiting Spain.
Bars and restaurants have strict hygiene rules, as do shops and supermarkets. Beaches are sometimes closed when they become too crowded but now that the summer season is drawing to an end, this shouldn’t be a major problem.
Make sure you understand how to access healthcare in Spain with our guide, Healthcare Abroad.
The news images may have been horrifying at the peak of the pandemic, but Spanish hospitals are currently well within their capacity and all state-run health centres (CAP) are open. The health service in Spain is efficient, albeit with local variations in speed of care. If you need to see a doctor, there’s a 24-hour service in every town.
Dentists are working with reduced hours and patient numbers but generally will see you if it is an emergency. There are no state dentists but costs are usually reasonable.
If you plan to be coming and going from the UK to Spain, look at the possibility of taking out annual travel insurance which will give you better cover. Some companies also offer policies with Covid-19 included – at a higher price of course.
What about travel insurance?
One problem with the quarantine rules is that the UK government’s advice against traveling to Spain invalidates some travel insurance policies. Your EHIC card will still cover you for emergency medical treatment, but some health-related costs, including for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment, are not covered.
Nevertheless, you can get what is termed “warzone insurance” for Spain as it also covers Covid-19 if infected abroad. However, most of these policies do not cover people over 60.
Some companies like Staysure cover UK residents in Spain for annual travel and offer a European FCO Travel Advice Extension which will cover you for Covid-19.
Brexit and residency
The UK’s transition period having left the European Union ends on 31 December. You can apply for Spanish residency before then, but time is running out. There are thousands of applications in the system and it takes time to receive your residency document. So if you want to apply but still haven’t done so, don’t delay, do it now!
The Spanish government has introduced a new card (TIE) for UK residents proving their right to permanently stay in Spain. If you already have an old-style green card with no photo, that is still valid. You should change it for a new one eventually as it carries your photo for identification. But there is no hurry and next year will be less frantic with applications, so better to wait a while.
You will need to make an appointment at your local police department once you have applied for a TIE if you are not already a resident, permanent or temporary. To apply you can either go to your local immigration office or apply online via form EX20.