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UPDATE: EU Travel restrictions starting MAY 24th 2021

FINALLY!!! A significant change to the EU travel restrictions is coming on May 24th!!! The United Kingdom is put on the list of countries exempt from the restrictions which allows tourists from the UK to enter Spain!

Nowadays, one has to check a lot of regulations when planning to travel. During the world wide pandemic, every country and continent has rules in place regarding who can enter and under what conditions.

However, if you want to travel to the EU, the first thing you will be asking yourself is, can I travel from my country to a Schengen/EU country? Is my country finally on the list of countries that are not affected by EU travel restrictions anymore? Let's have a look!

Changes to the EU travel restrictions starting May 24th 2021!

The Official State Gazette (BOE) has published Order INT/484/2021, of 19 May, modifying Order INT/657/2020, of 17 July, which modifies the criteria for the application of a temporary restriction on non-essential travel from third countries to the European Union and associated Schengen countries for reasons of public order and public health due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19. The Order will be in effect starting 00:00 hours on 24 May 2021 and it includes the United Kingdom and Japan in the list of annex I, of countries that are not affected by the temporary travel restrictions on non-necessary travels to the EU.

UPDATE starting May 24th and restrictions in force until May 31st

People who can enter regardless of their country of origin

Any person who is a national of a third country will be refused entry on grounds of public order or public health, unless they belong to one of the following categories:

  1. Regular residents of the European Union, Schengen associated States, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican or San Marino who are going to that country, with documented proof.

  2. Holders of a long-term visa issued by a Member State or Schengen associated State, who are going to that country.

  3. Health professionals, including health researchers, and elderly care professionals going to or returning from work.

  4. Transport personnel, sailors and the aviation personnel necessary to carry out air transport activities.

  5. Diplomatic, consular, international organisation, military, civil protection and humanitarian organisation personnel, while exercising their duties.

  6. Students who are studying in the Member States or Schengen Associated States and who have the corresponding permit or visa and medical insurance, provided that they are going to the country where they are studying, and that the entry takes place during the academic year or within the 15 days prior to it.

  7. Highly qualified workers whose work is necessary and cannot be postponed or carried out at a distance, including participants in high-level sports events taking place in Spain. These circumstances must be justified by providing documentation.

  8. Persons travelling for imperative family reasons, duly accredited.

  9. Persons who provide documented proof of force majeure or a situation of need, or whose entry is permitted for humanitarian reasons.

  10. Residents in the third countries listed in the Annex provided that they come directly from one of these countries, have transited exclusively through other countries included in the list or have made only international transits at airports located in countries not listed. For residents of China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Macao SAR, reciprocity remains to be verified.

What's new?

The UK and Japan have been included in the list in Annex I of the Order.

The list of countries exempt from restrictions

The order contains a list of third countries (non-EU or Schengen countries) whose residents are exempt from the travel restrictions to the European Union, as well as a set of specific categories of persons also exempt from those restrictions, regardless of their place of origin. This Recommendation has been amended several times to adapt the list of third countries to the epidemiological circumstances.

The latest version of the order lists the following countries and special administrative regions whose residents (not citizens!) are not affected by the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU across external borders:

1. Australia

2. New Zealand

3. Ruanda

4. Singapore

5. South Korea

6. Thailand

7. China

8. Hong Kong SAR

9. Macao SAR

10. Israel

11. Japan

12. United Kingdom

Note that this list refers to the countries that are not subject to travel restrictions. This does not mean that there are no conditions such as quarantines or obligatory testing in place.

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