Tourist Information Guide

Covid-19 PCR Tests To Travel to Barcelona, Spain By Air Or Sea in 2021 And Health Control Checkpoints

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Latest update: 15th of March 2021

The information provided on this page is accurate as of the 15 March 2021. However requirements for entry to Spain can change on a day-to-day basis and we strongly advise you to check the official Spanish Health Covid -19 advisory website for the current requirements for your country.

Spanish Health Covid -19 advisory website

This page provides information about the mandatory coronavirus PCR tests for travellers arriving to Barcelona, Spain by air or sea from ‘risk countries’ and about the Health Control checkpoints at Spanish airports and ports.

Travellers walking towards the Health Control checkpoint at Barcelona Airport
Travellers walking towards the Health Control checkpoint at Barcelona Airport

Important Disclaimer

Before 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. Please note, if you act on any of the information that we give, you agree to do so at your own risk.


Obligatory Covid-19 PCR tests required to travel to Spain by air or sea

From the 23rd of November 2020, travellers arriving to Barcelona, Spain by air or sea coming from countries qualified as ‘risk countries’ by the Spanish Health Ministry are required to present a certificate with a negative PCR result. A PCR test is made using nasal swabs to determine if a person is infected with Covid-19.

Since the 10 December 2020, TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification) tests and RT-LAMP (Reverse Transcriptase Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification) tests are also accepted to enter Barcelona, Spain.

Children under the age of 6 do not need to get a Covid-19 test to enter Spain. However children from the age of 6 will need a PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test travel certificate to enter Spain.

You can see the list of risk countries on the Spanish Health Ministry website under the heading 'Risk Countries / Areas'. You'll see the validity dates of the list of countries classified as high risk countries indicated. The validity dates are indicated in Spanish, English, French and German on the same lines. If you click on the PDF icon below each paragraph you'll see the list of countries considered as high risk countries within these dates.

Unfortunately the PDF list of high risk countries is only available in Spanish. You'll see the PDF provides two listings: the first is for the high risk European countries, the second is for the high risk non-European countries. We recommend you to copy the PDF content and paste it to Google translate to get the translation of the content.

If you are travelling to Spain by air or sea and are coming from one of the risk countries in the above-mentioned lists you will need to take a PCR test, TMA test or RT-LAMP test within 72hours prior to your arrival to Barcelona and present a negative PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test travel certificate upon arrival to Barcelona.

The list of countries for which PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test certificates are mandatory is updated every two weeks so make sure to review the Spanish Health Covid -19 advisory website a few days before you travel to Spain.

Note that PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test certificates are needed for all travellers arriving by air or sea from these risk countries, regardless their nationality or country of residence.

However if you are in transit at a Spanish airport you will not need to present a PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test.

PCR tests, TMA tests and RT-LAMP tests are the only Covid-19 tests accepted by Spanish authorities. Other coronavirus test certificates such as rapid serology, rapid antigen or high performance serological test certificates will not be accepted. Only PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test certificates are accepted.

PCR, TMA and RT-LAMP test travel certificates must be in English, Spanish, German or French and presented in paper or electronic format from your mobile phone. If you get tested in a non English, Spanish, German of French speaking country we highly recommend you to request your lab to provide your coronavirus test results in English.
The negative coronavirus test certificate to enter Spain must contain your name, your passport or ID number, the date you got tested, the identification and contact details of the lab where you got tested, the testing technique used and the negative result.

If you are arriving in Barcelona from a risk country and do not have a negative PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test certificate, you will be tested upon arrival to Barcelona airport with a rapid antigen test in a specially designated area at the airport.
You will have to wait for the results in one of the waiting rooms at the airport.
Results are typically available within 1 hour of you taking the test under normal circumstances however you may have to wait longer depending on the demand on the day.

The price of the antigen test is covered by the Spanish Government but if you travel to Barcelona airport from a risk country without a PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test certificate, you would be breaching the Spanish Public Health General Law 33/2011 of the 4th of October and you would be served with a fine of up to €3000. It therefore pays for you to have the PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test travel certificate to avoid this fine.

PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test certificates are only required for travellers arriving in Spain by air or sea. If you are arriving by land – car, train, bus, etc.- you currently won’t need to do a PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test before travelling to Spain and to present a test travel certificate to enter Spain. However, we highly recommend you also check this on the Spanish Health Covid -19 advisory website before you travel in case the requirements have been updated after this article was published.

If you need an antigen or PCR test travel certificate to travel back to your country you can easily get tested in a private laboratory in Barcelona.


Health Control upon arrival to Spain by air or sea

Travellers entering Spain by air or sea from any other country -even countries that are not in the list of risk countries- will need to go through Health Control.

At Barcelona Airport the Health Control checkpoint consists of separate lines to go from the Customs area to the Luggage Claim area for travellers arriving from other Spanish destinations and travellers arriving from any other countries.

Travellers arriving from other countries than Spain must follow the Health Control lines.

The Health Control consists of a visual control by Health agents, a temperature control and of handing over your Health Control form (also called FCS form).

Green Health Control lines for travellers arriving from outside Spain at Barcelona airport
Green Health Control lines for travellers arriving from outside Spain at Barcelona airport

Your temperature will be taken with non contact thermometers or with thermal imaging cameras and you will need to present your Public Health Control Form.

Filling out the Public Health Control Form form is a two stage easy process:

Stage 1. After booking your plane tickets, you will need to register on the Spanish Travel Health website.

You will need to provide your name, surname, passport or ID number, flight number, arrival date and email address.

You'll receive the registration confirmation with detailed instructions on how to fill out and when to fill out the Public Health Control Form.


Our Insider Tip

We recommend you create an account or log in your account on the airline website to book your flights so that the Spanish Travel Health website and the public health passenger locator form links are available together with your booking details in your account.


Stage 2. Within 2 days before your flight, you will need to complete the Public Health Control form. You'll be asked a series of health questions.

Upon completion of the form, you will receive a QR code that you will need to show to the Spanish authorities upon arrival at Barcelona airport.

You can either print the QR code or download the QR code app or do a screenshot of the QR code and save it on your mobile phone.

The Public Health Control Form is also available from the Spain Travel Health-Spth App that you can download on Android and iOS.


Our Insider Tip

If you do not fill out the public health passenger locator form in advance you will have the option to do it on the plane however you'll have to queue upon arrival at Barcelona airport to present your form to the Spanish authorities. We recommend you fill out the form online within 2 days before your flight so that you'll only have to quickly show your QR code at Barcelona airport without having to queue.


After passing the Health Control you’ll be able to collect your luggage at the Luggage Claim.

For arrivals to Spain by sea, a paper Health Control Form will be delivered to you by your shipping company during the cruise or upon arrival at the port.

Informative signs about the Public Health Form in the Health Control lines at Barcelona Airport
Informative signs about the Public Health Form in the Health Control lines at Barcelona Airport

If you have Covid-19 symptoms at the Health Control such as an elevated temperature higher than 37.5°C you will undergo a rapid antigen test in a specially designated area at the airport even if you have a negative PCR, TMA or RT-LAMP test travel certificate.
You will have to wait for the results in one of the waiting rooms. Results will be available typically within 1 hour under normal circumstances.
The price of the antigen test is covered by the Spanish Government.

If you test positive, health protocols will be activated and you will be taken to a medical centre.

If you test negative, you can carry on normally with your plans.

Learn more about how to visit Barcelona during Covid-19.

You will find additional useful information from the links below:
PCR test FAQ of the Spanish Health Ministry
List of risk countries for which negative PCR test certificates are needed upon arrival to Spain by air or sea
Health Control upon arrival to Spain by air or sea

If you need an antigen or PCR test travel certificate to travel back to your country you can easily get tested in a private lab in Barcelona.

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