Why Spain Is Off-Limits Right Now

why Spain is off-limits right now. Seville Spanish plaza bridge with people on it and canoe below being rowed

Valencia, and Spain as a whole has been off-limits to visitors for quite a while now. We all, of course know the reason why. The pandemic which has turned the whole world upside down. Spain is no exception. This post will hopefully answer some of the questions you have, and have been inquiring about via emails.

Why Spain is Off-limits right now to tourists:

A short synopsis of how Spain is like right now, and why you can’t visit just yet. Please note that most of this relates to the Valencia province, but it’s safe to say that the same goes for the whole country. Up till a few months ago, the central government was making the decisions, but that power reverted back to the autonomous regions, so you can imagine.

Why can’t I visit Spain?

Thanks to the state of alarm and the closing of borders, Spain has been off-limits to most people from the rest of the world, and it continues to be so. We are currently at what seems like the tail end of the third wave of the coronavirus. The regional borders are closed for the most part.

Madrid plaza in Spain and why it's off-limits to tourists now.
Madrid, the capital and a wonderful place to visit. Soon hopefully.

Valencia, for one has had one of the strictest lockdowns to date. In the early days of the pandemic, only essential places were allowed to open. These were supermarkets and pharmacies and only one person in the household could do the shopping.

There were also other measures in place including quarantine at home at all times, except for dog owners who could walk their dogs within 50 meters of their place of residence. There were huge fines if caught flouting the law.

These measures were relaxed a bit after the first six months. By the time the holidays rolled around, Valencia, which had originally been one of the better provinces with low infection rates shot up to number one.

End result was that we were once again under strict rules, with a curfew at 10 pm, and no mingling of households. Restaurants, which were closed for 40 days have been allowed to re-open for lunch hours (they must close by 6), and stores can open till 8 pm.

Why Spain is off-limits now. Valencia had had its challenges.

Can tourists visit Valencia now?

  • That depends on where you are coming from. As of now, people from the United States can not visit Spain.
  • There are restricted routes between the U.K and Spain. This is in effect till the end of March 2021.
  • Visitors from South Africa and Brazil can not visit Spain. The government is afraid that the newer strains there will start showing up here.
  • Visitors from a number of countries including Ghana and Kenya require a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in Spain.
  • The border with Portugal is currently closed.

Can l visit Spain if l have a house there?

The answer is no! You can not visit. Just having an apartment or house here does not mean that you are a resident. For you to be a resident, you need to be on the empadro, and have done your paperwork to become legal.

Can l go to Spain if l am a resident of Spain?

Yes, you can. You are allowed to come back to Spain if you have proof of residency. This means, in addition to your passport, you need to have your valid residency card.

Residents in Spain can also travel out of Spain to whatever place they can visit. For instance, as an American who is a resident here, I can leave to go visit family back in the States for instance. Of course, you must fulfill the criteria of the country you’re traveling to with regards to PCR test, quarantine etc.

You can start your journey to the land of tapas again! Pintxos in Bilbao.

Can l apply for my Non-lucrative visa even though the borders are closed?

Good news! Yes, you can. After what seemed like a gazillion years, the Spanish consulates are once again processing visas for people who wish to become ex-pats in Spain. Now is the time to enroll in the ex-pat course so you can get here soon. Once you have your paperwork approved, you are allowed to enter the country.

How is Spain right now to live?

Spain is, and continues to be a great place to live, even during the epidemic. True, the economy has been crippled by the lack of tourists and the money they of course bring with them, but it is still a very safe country that is resilient and will work its way out of the crisis.

The regions have their rules, so it’s difficult to paint them all with one brushstroke, but the fact of the matter is that on the whole, Spain has a much cheaper cost of living than the States, England, and a boatload of other countries. The lifestyle continues to be great.

Sagrada Familia Barcelona in Why Spain is off-limits for now
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona will be there when it’s safe to travel again.

Is now the right time to travel as a tourist?

Ask this same question to 50 people, and l am sure you will get 50 different answers. I think it’s a personal choice to be honest. Personally, with all the uncertainty, especially with border closures that seem to change on a day-to-day basis, choose not to travel.

For sure, most tourist destinations are also empty, and it would be a treat for instance to see the Taj Mahal without visitors, but is it worth days of travel, trying to keep up with the tests and requirements, plus restaurants might be closed upon arrival and more headaches?

The answer would be no for me. It’s just not that important at this point in time.

Do l need to wear a mask in Spain?

Yes, you do. It is mandatory when outside, and on public transportation. Most, if not all provinces impose a €100 fine for not wearing one.

Local travel for now is better if you are a tourist.

Can l visit Spain from the U.S. if l am vaccinated?

No, you can not visit Spain even if you are vaccinated. There is talk of that being a possibility by summertime, but as of yet, you can not visit. The only exception, once again, is if you are a resident of Spain.

Vaccination in Spain:

Spain is woefully behind other countries with the number of people vaccinated which stands at about 3% of the population (who have received both doses), so it seems it will be a very long time before everyone gets the jab. Currently, people over 80 are being vaccinated.

Wrapping things up: Why Spain is Off-limits right now.

Even though now is not the time to be traveling, it is time for making your bucket list trips of places you would like to visit when the world opens up again. For now, l think trips close to home would be the wiser ways to relax. Safety first.

If you’re however moving countries, then l think you should definitely do it. You get the added advantage of having your new country hopefully a bit deserted so you can really get to enjoy your new home, and find local delightful things to do and see.

What are you doing? Did you get vaccinated, and are thinking of travel?

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