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TRAVEL NEWS

Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

Spanish authorities will no longer request proof of Covid-19 vaccination, testing or recovery from people who enter Spain by land from France.

Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border
A Spanish police officer checks the PCR test results of drivers in 2020. (Photo by RAYMOND ROIG / AFP)

The news was announced in Spain’s official BOE state bulletin on Wednesday, and will come into effect the following day, on Thursday May 19th 2022.

For the past 26 months, Spanish legislation has allowed border officials to be able to require a Covid health pass from anyone over the age of 12 entering Spain from France by car, train or on foot. 

In reality, Spain’s borders with France haven’t always been manned and Covid-19 health checks haven’t been a constant throughout the pandemic as in the case of air travel, for which Spain still has Covid-19 restrictions for travellers arriving from France. 

READ ALSO: When will Spain get rid of all its Covid-19 travel restrictions?

At times when infection rates were high, border checks on both sides were tightened, or as happened during the summer of 2021, there were tough health checks to enter France but not to enter Spain.

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, the decision to scrap health checks at Spain’s land border with France has been reached given the high levels of vaccination and immunisation achieved in both countries, which has led to a significant decrease in serious Covid-19 cases and deaths.

However, the French Embassy in Spain states that all unvaccinated arrivals in France, including those arriving by land, still have to be able to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test before crossing over into France from Spain, with some exceptions for cross-border workers and urgent matters.

According to Spain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, there are no Covid certificate requirements at the land border between Spain and Portugal

Member comments

  1. I was amused to see there were supposed to be Covid checks at the France/Spain border. In eight crossings in late 2020 and into 2021, I have never been asked for evidence of vaccination, nor have I seen anyone else being asked. What’s more, the document which returning French citizens are supposed to carry have, like all the attestations of early 2020, gone in the recycling bin without being looked at. What a farce!!

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TRAVEL NEWS

Spain’s Renfe set to expand train services to France by the summer

Spain's state-operated rail network operator Renfe will begin high-speed routes to Marseille and Lyon by the summer and Paris by the end of the year.

Spain's Renfe set to expand train services to France by the summer

Spain’s state-owned rail network Renfe is to begin running high-speed AVE services between Madrid and Marseille and Barcelona and Lyon before the summer, according to the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez.

Renfe trains are also due to run to Paris before the end of the year. 

The Spanish press has recently been reporting that Renfe was testing routes to France, but it seems an agreement was made at the Franco-Spanish summit held between the two countries in Barcelona last week. 

Though the headlines were taken by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and French President Emmanuel Macron and the signing of a so-called ‘friendship treaty’, Spain’s Transport Minister used the opportunity to talk with her French counterparts and solidify a timetable for the French AVE expansion, as well as discussing the role of France’s public rail operator, SNCF, in the new routes.

READ ALSO: Macron, Sánchez to ink Franco-Spanish friendship treaty

It is thought this will be done through Ouigo, which is a subsidiary of the French network that runs services in Spain.

Renfe has been attempting to expand into neighbouring countries for some years now but has repeatedly come up against administrative barriers in having its trains approved for use abroad.

However, at the summit held in Barcelona, the French assured Spain’s Transport Ministry that Spanish trains will be able to operate on French railways. “Spain will play a decisive role in the railway liberalisation of Europe,” Raquel Sánchez said after the promise of France’s commitment to the expansion.

Tests on routes between Madrid and Marseille and Barcelona and Lyon have already begun, and Renfe has also authorised a first cohort of drivers, with more staff being added progressively until they have the necessary training and qualifications.

High-speed trains will initially run between Madrid and Marseille and between Barcelona and Lyon on alternate days, with six weekly circulations on each route.

As the services ramp up, they will then run twice a day, with Renfe aiming for 28 services a week between the two routes.

A high-speed service to Paris is lined up to run before the end of the year.

Renfe has not specified how long the journeys will take, but it is known that the Madrid-Marseille service will have 13 intermediate stops, including Barcelona, and that the Barcelona-Lyon route has seven stops, including Perpignan, Narbonne, Montpellier, Nimes and Valence.

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