Latest update: 23 June 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:
To enter Spain from a EU or a Schengen country: you do not need to present any COVID certificate or to fill out a Health control form
EU countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Schengen countries also include: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.
Since 18 June 2022, if you´re arriving to Spain from a EU country or a Schengen country, there are no more COVID related entry restrictions to Spain.
You no longer need to present a COVID certificate. Eg. you no longer need to present a negative COVID test certificate or vaccination certificate or a COVID certificate of recovery. Filling out a Health control form is no longer necessary either.
To enter Spain from any other countries (non-EU and non-Schengen countries):
- Negative COVID test certificate, vaccination certificate, or certificate of recovery or European Digital COVID Certificate equivalent
If you´re arriving to Spain by air from a non-EU or a non-Schengen country, COVID-19 certificates or EU Digital COVID Certificates or equivalents are required to enter Spain:
1. A negative COVID-19 test certificate for a COVID test taken within 24 hours of your departure to Spain for Rapid Antigen Tests and within 72 hours of your departure to Spain for NAAT tests (Nucleic Acid Amplification tests) such as PCR tests (Polymerase Chain Reaction tests), LAMP tests (Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification tests), NEAR tests (Nicking Endonuclease Amplification Reaction tests). You can also present your EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) of your negative COVID test or equivalent to the Spanish authorities.
2. OR a COVID-19 vaccination certificate that proves you had a full COVID-19 vaccination between 14 days and 270 days before entering Spain with one of the vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health organization website. The list of vaccines valid to enter Spain can be found on these two websites:
European Medicines Agency official website of the European Union
World Health organization website
You are considered fully vaccinated after your single dose for unique-dose vaccines. For 2 shots vaccine, you´re considered fully vaccinated once the 2 shots have been administrated. You will be able to enter Spain with your COVID-19 vaccination certificate 14 days after the date you´re considered fully vaccinated.
From 1 February 2022, vaccination certificates become invalid after 270 days of you being fully vaccinated, which equals approximately 9 months. You will need to get a booster dose for your vaccination certificate to be valid to enter Spain. Your vaccination certificate will need to show the administration of your booster dose.
You will be able to enter Spain with your COVID-19 vaccination certificate as long as your last dose is of a vaccine authorized by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization, even if your first doses were not.
You can also present your EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC) of vaccination or equivalent to the Spanish authorities.
3. OR a COVID-19 certificate of immunity after having recovered from COVID. The certificate of recovery is valid from day 11 after your first positive NAAT test result and up to 180 days, which equals approximately 6 months.
You can also present your EU Digital COVID Certificate of recovery (EU DCC) or equivalent to the Spanish authorities.
Equivalents to the EU Digital COVID Certificate are issued by 40 non-EU countries that have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate program.
The 40 non-EU countries and territories also included in the EU Digital COVID Certificate program include: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Iceland, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), Uruguay, Vietnam, The Vatican.
You can find the list of the non EU countries and territories included in the EU Digital COVID Certificate program on the EU official page on EU Digital COVID Certificates.
Those who enter Spain with an EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent issued by any of the 40 non-EU countries will not need to fill out the Health Control Form, also known as the QR SPTH or the QR of the Spain Travel Health authority. More information on the Health Control Form is provided below on this page.
Note that the European Digital COVID Certificate is also referred to as the EU DCC, the Green Digital Certificate or as the European Green Digital Certificate. All these terms refer to the same European certificate.
The European Green Digital Certificate is simply a digital certificate that proves that you have had a negative COVID test, a full vaccination against COVID, or a certificate of recovery. So if you're a European citizen, you can either enter Spain with one of the 3 above-mentioned certificates or with your European Digital COVID Certificate.
If you do not have an EU Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent, your COVID certificate must be in English, French, German or Spanish. If you have a European Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent, then the language is not a problem as European Digital COVID Certificates are issued in the language of the country where it was issued and also in English. However, if you do not have a European Digital COVID Certificate or equivalent and if your COVID certificate is not in one of the 4 above-mentioned languages, it will need to be accompanied by a translation into Spanish made by an official translator.
You can find more information about the EU Digital COVID Certificate and COVID certificates needed to enter Spain on our page about the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
According to the Spain Travel Health website of the Spanish Health Ministry, children under 12 do not need to present any COVID certificate to enter Spain.
- Additional Health Control Form QR code needed for entering Spain by air
Any passenger arriving to Spain by air from a non-EU or a non-Schengen country with a EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalent does not need to fill out the Health Control Form anymore. EU Digital COVID Certificate equivalents include: EU Digital COVID Certificate of vaccination, EU Digital COVID Certificate of a Negative COVID test and EU Digital COVID Certificate of recovery or an equivalent issued by one of the non-EU countries that have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate program. EU equivalents to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) refer to digital accreditations of vaccination and negative COVID test of recovery issued by the authorities of the non-EU countries that have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate program. The list of these countries is provided above on this page.
So if you´re entering Spain with any of the 3 documents below issued by EU countries or their equivalent issued by the non-EU countries and territories listed above, you do not need to fill out any Health Control Form:
- EU Digital COVID Certificate of vaccination or EU equivalent,
- or EU Digital COVID Certificate of a negative COVID test or EU equivalent
- or EU Digital COVID Certificate of recovery or a EU equivalent
However, if you do not have an EU Digital COVID Certificate or an EU equivalent, e.g. if you´re travelling with a simple certificate of a negative COVID test, you will also need to fill out a Health Control Form for arrivals by air and present it upon arrival to any Spanish airport.
Health Control Form is not required when entering Spain by land, e.g., by car, train, bus or by sea, e.g., cruise.
According to the Spain Travel Health website of the Spanish Health Ministry, children under 12 do not need to present any COVID certificate to enter Spain and do not need to fill out a Health Control Form.
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: