For those who are not yet very clear, we will give a brief summary of the measures restricting entry to the European Union through Spain. Both those promoted with the beginning of the State of Alarm in Spain and those based on the recommendations of the Council of Europe in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

To begin with, the European Council, as early as 17 March 2020, created a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to EU countries and the Schengen area from third countries. Then, each country implemented its own measures.

In the case of Spain, these began to be implemented through the entry into force of the State of Alarms on 14 March 2020. The measures promoted included the refusal of entry to all persons from third countries, except in the following cases:

  1. Residents of the European Union or Schengen Associated States, who go directly to their place of residence.
  2. Holders of a long-stay visa issued by a Member State or Schengen Associated State who are travelling to the latter.
  3. Cross-border workers.
  4. Healthcare or elderly care professionals going to work.
  5. Personnel engaged in the carriage of goods, in the course of their work, and flight crews required to carry out commercial air transport activities.
  6. Diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military personnel and members of humanitarian organisations, in the exercise of their duties.
  7. Persons travelling for imperative family reasons duly accredited.
  8. Persons who provide documentary evidence of necessity, or whose entry is permitted on humanitarian grounds.

In addition, any EU citizen and their family members who are not included in the following cases could also be refused entry on public health grounds:

  1. Registered as resident in Spain or going directly to their place of residence in another Member State or Schengen Associated State.
  2. Those covered by paragraphs (3) to (8) of paragraph 1 of this article.

As of today, family members of Spaniards included in the RD 240/2007 regulations can also enter Spain without having to be registered as residents in Spain.

Of course, land border posts with Andorra and the checkpoint with the territory of Gibraltar are exempted from these controls. And, on the other hand, the entry and exit posts at the land borders of Ceuta and Melilla were temporarily closed.

The validity of this rule began with an initial period of 30 days, although later there were several extension orders increasing and prolonging the rules of the State of Alarm.

The latest recommendation is Council recommendation (EU) 2020/2169 of 17 December 2020 amending recommendation (EU) 2020/912 on the temporary restriction of non-essential travel within the EU and the possible lifting of that restriction.

Here we explain the most important additions that have been made to date:

  • The spouse or partner of a Union citizen with whom he/she has a conjugal-like relationship entered in a public register, and his/her dependent relatives in the ascending or descending line, in the category of "Residents of the European Union" as a case in which entry to the EU may not be refused.
  • The same case is added for spouses or partners of the Spanish citizen, as well as dependent ascendants and descendants, who may not be refused entry to Spain.
  • The last recommendation states that from 16 December 2020, Member States should gradually lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, in a coordinated manner, for residents of the following third countries:
    1. AUSTRALIA.
    2. JAPAN.
    3. NEW ZEALAND.
    4. RWANDA.
    5. SINGAPORE.
    6. SOUTH KOREA.
    7. THAILAND.
    8. CHINA (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region, pending verification of reciprocity).
  • A new section has been added stating: Any third-country national will be subject to refusal of entry on public health grounds, even if he or she belongs to one of the previous categories that, after verification by the health authorities, does not meet the health control requirements for COVID-19 established by the Ministry of Health.
  • Categories of persons exempted from these measures were added: (i) Beneficiaries of the right to free movement of the EU and European Economic Area States; (ii) Holders of residence permits or long-stay visas issued by Member States and Schengen associated States; (iii) Students; (iv) Seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.

These are, therefore, the measures imposed by the Spanish Government and the Council of Europe with regard to the restrictions on entry through Spanish borders.

However, these orders can be changed at any time. So always keep an eye out for any updates.

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