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30 Apr Who Can or Cannot Enter Spain?

Planning a trip to Barcelona and don’t know what to do?
Interested in finding out how the state of emergency has affected the rights of foreign students in Barcelona?

If you have been wondering what is going to happen with your plans to stay in Barcelona or if the quarantine caught you whilst you were out of the country, we recommend this article in which we outline the measures currently being taken with regards to entering Spain, especially Barcelona. We tell the story of Alexander, a Russian student in BCN Lip who has just travelled from Moscow to continue with his plans in Barcelona.

State of Emergency

Since the State of Emergency was declared in Spain on the 16th of March, the country has brought in successive measures to restrict the movement of its citizens in order to prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus whilst limiting its spread across the territory. At the time, any movement beyond the confinement of the home, as well as travel between cities, was prohibited. By the same logic it was safe to assume travel in and out of the country would be similarly affected. Despite this however, this assumption is not entirely true. In the same way that movement outside your home is affected,the restriction of travel to and from Spain depends entirely on your reasons for doing so. Your travel must be justified by specific reasons and tourism is certainly not considered one of them. This current restriction was brought in alongside quarantine measures and is being similarly de-escalated via a 4 phase system until travel can continue as usual; current projections estimate that this could be as soon as the 25th June.


Foreigners that already had the student visa, had already entered Spain and have their NIE card, or those who have a long term 6 months visa but are currently in other countries may travel back to Spain again, because their status of current residence here allows them to. On the other hand, those who have planned to study after the summer, in the new academic year, will not face any restrictions on entry should they apply for a visa from their country of residence. This would include Erasmus students, for example, along with those who have been accepted at a Spanish university or any similar program lasting over 6 months. In any case, it is important to remember that although the authorities have encouraged students to go ahead with their plans to study abroad, there has not yet been a 100% guarantee that their course dates will not be affected, especially taking into account that this situation may yet continue for a few more months.


As far as we know flights are still running albeit less frequently. Flights are restricted to those working in essential industries as well as citizens returning to their homes.

Alexander, from Russia, has been a student with us since last year. His student visa allowed him to travel to Spain without restrictions. He was in Poland at the time of the lockdown and, as a result was forced to return to Russia before he could make any decisions about coming back. As soon as his travel was confirmed , he searched for a plane ticket, and, on the 24th April found a seat on a plane that would leave Russia two days later: “It wasn’t very expensive, about 315 euros. I paid in rubles so it came to around 25,000”. Alexander couldn’t be completely certain that he would be able to make it until the plane took off from Moscow airport. “The plane was half full, all flight staff wore protective gear and many passengers were also wearing gloves and masks. We landed in Barcelona and went through standard procedure at the border, nobody checked our temperature and we were not tested for the coronavirus”. Alexander explains that nothing was said about any additional quarantine measures, perhaps due to that fact that he does not come from a highly affected region.

Alexander’s experience is shared by various students and foreign residents in Barcelona who have been able to travel home or indeed back to Barcelona without any setbacks. This is due to the fact that their study or work visas carry the necessary authorization to travel. The most difficult step in the process is that of finding flights given that the few airlines that continue to carry passengers do not schedule many flights. It is also important to check whether your flight is scheduled to lay-over in countries such as Germany or France, where restrictions are heavier, even in transit. Make sure you are aware of the restriction in force in all of these countries.

Finally, it is important to note that Spanish universities have not stopped functioning: students are continuing their programs via online platforms and faculties plan to end the academic year in June as planned. The new academic year is due to begin in September and October, without any kind of disruption. As far as we are concerned here in BCNLip, we are keeping up to date with all official decisions and hope to keep you updated if any changes are made to the current situation.

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