Latest update: 20 July 2022
Question: We would like to drive to Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain by car from France. Can we cross the border by car? Do we have to take an antigen or PCR test in France to travel to Spain and have a COVID test travel certificate or isn't it necessary?
DisclaimerBefore we start, we need to make this disclaimer. We take every step to ensure our information is accurate and up to date. However, changes occur rapidly, and we may not be aware of all updates to the COVID-19 regulations. We, therefore, advise you to cross-check our information against official government health websites before you take action. If you act on any of the information that we give, you agree to do so at your own risk.
Answer: The borders between France and Spain are open. The COVID-19 entry regulations to enter Spain are explained below.
There may be random police controls at the French and Spanish sides of the border to check you have the following travel documentation:
The documents you need to travel from France to Barcelona by car are the following:
The documents you need to travel back from Barcelona to France by car are the following:
To enter France: Negative Covid test certificate or vaccination certificate or European Digital Covid Certificate
According to the France Diplomacy official website, and to the official website of the French Ministry of Interior, France requires travellers coming from Spain and Europe to present one of the following certificates:
1. A COVID-19 vaccination certificate proves you were fully vaccinated less than 9 months ago or received a booster dose. For two-shot vaccines, your vaccination certificate will only be valid to enter France if you received your second shot at least 7 days before your arrival to France and no later than 9 months ago. For one-shot vaccines or if you already had COVID and only needed one shot of a two-shot vaccine, your vaccination certificate will only be valid to enter France if you received your shot at least 7 days before your arrival to France no later than 9 months ago. For one-shot vaccines (Johnson & Johnson), when you never had COVID, your vaccination certificate will only be valid to enter France if you received your shot at least 4 weeks before your arrival to France and no later than 9 months ago. Since 1 February 2022, vaccination certificates will only be valid to enter France if you had your last dose or a booster dose within the past 9 months.
2. A negative PCR test result of a PCR test taken less than 72 hours before departure to France or a negative antigen test certificate of an antigen test taken less than 48 hours before departure to France. We strongly recommend you check the two official websites given above to check the COVID test requirements for your trip. COVID test certificates are not required for children under 12 years old.
3. A certificate of recovery older than 11 days and less than six months.
We strongly recommend you to check the two official websites given above to check the COVID entry requirements to France from Spain at the time of your trip.
If you are a European citizen, you can either enter France with one of the three above mentioned certificates or with a European Digital Covid Certificate, also referred to as European Green Digital Certificate.
Note that is it indicated on the French Government official website that while the EU Digital Covid Certificate provides a standardised recognition of travellers health status, each country is still responsible for its own entry rules, which are not standardised at European level and this means that you need to find out in advance about the entry rules in force in France or any other country you're travelling to. Therefore, as indicated above, depending on your country of origin, COVID certificates of recovery are not always accepted to enter France, even if you have a European Digital Covid Certificate of recovery. Note that the page of the French Government official website where this is explained is only available in French, however, once you're on the page, you can right-click and select ''Translate to English'' or to the language of your choice to get an automated translation of the content of the page.
If you need an antigen or PCR test travel certificate to travel back to France you can easily get tested in a private laboratory in Barcelona.
Note that if you're a French resident, since the 7 July 2021, you can only claim a refund to the French Social Security for a COVID PCR or antigen test taken in Barcelona if you have to get a test for medical reasons. Until 6 July 2021, you could claim a refund for a COVID PCR or antigen test taken in Barcelona to travel back to France. You will find more information on this page: How to get a refund from French Social Security for PCR or antigen test undertaken in Barcelona for travel back to France.
If you want to know more about the COVID-19 requirements to travel between France and Barcelona and about the coronavirus situation in Barcelona, we recommend you read our articles below:
To know where EU Digital COVID Certificates are required in Barcelona and how you can get a EU Digital COVID Certificate for an antigen test or a PCR test taken in Barcelona, we recommend you visit the following pages: