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COVID-19 RULES

What are the penalties in Spain for having a fake Covid-19 certificate?

As the EU Digital Covid Certificate and other forms of proof of Covid-19 status are likely to be in use in Spain for all of 2022, we take a look at the fines and prison sentences that Spanish authorities can hand out to those with forged documents.

fake covid pass spain
What happens if you are caught in possession of a fake Covid-19 certificate in Spain? Photo: Cesar Manso/AFP

The Covid-19 pass or certificate has been divisive since it was introduced in 2021, with some seeing it as the most straightforward tool to find out one’s vaccination, testing or recovery status, and others considering it discriminatory and ineffective. 

Whatever your opinion of it, an official Covid-19 certificate – which usually includes a QR Code – will continue being required for travel to and from Spain in 2022. In fact, the European Commission has recently proposed that EU Covid Digital Certificates should be in use until at least June 30th 2023. 

The requirement of a Covid pass for domestic affairs in Spain such as going into a restaurant or a museum is decided by local governments, and although more and more regions are getting rid of its usage, it may not be completely scrapped for domestic matters altogether. 

So what happens if you are caught in possession of a fake Covid-19 certificate in Spain?

According to Article 392 of Spain’s Penal Code, forging official documents can result in prison sentences of between six months and three years. In some cases, sentences under two years don’t result in actual jail time, but not always.  

Crucially, Spanish law will treat the person who forged the document equally to the person who commissioned it or used it, resulting in the same punishment. 

Being caught in possession of a forged Covid-19 pass can also carry fines that vary depending on the person’s available savings and the length of the penalty, making it hard to give exact amounts. 

It can start from €6 a day, which is multiplied by the number of days of the financial sentence, which is usually from six to twelve months. Therefore the minimum fine could be around €1,095.

Forging the result of Covid-19 on a medical certificate carries different penalties as it does not constitute the forgery of an official state document but rather a privately issued one, and is therefore regulated under Article 399 of Spain’s Criminal Code. 

A potential prison sentence wouldn’t be possible in this case but a substantial fine similar to that for falsifying Covid-19 certificates could apply.

In both cases, regional high courts and governments may apply their own regional legislation, which can be more or less punitive, especially in financial terms. 

Spanish police have recently been carrying out arrests of criminal gangs that were selling fake Covid passports online for as much as €200 or €300. 

There are no recently reported cases of foreign tourists being arrested or fined in Spain for arriving with a fake Covid-19 certificate or test, but failing to meet Spain’s entry requirements can result in a minimum fine of €3,000.

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FACE MASKS

When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Masks will soon no longer be mandatory on public transport in Spain, but when and where will they still be obligatory?

When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias confirmed on January 26th that face masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, a measure that has been in place in Spain for almost three years.  

She added that it would be approved at the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System on Tuesday, February 7th.  

Then on Thursday, February 2nd Darias elaborated further, confirming that as well as on public transport masks will not be required in health establishments such as opticians, hearing and orthopaedic centres, where they had been up until now.  

She said that they will, however, still be mandatory in all other health centres, pharmacies and hospitals, as well as in care homes.

The Spanish government will approve the measure on Tuesday February 7th and it will enter into force when it is published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE), which usually occurs the following day.

READ ALSO: Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

This means that most likely from February 8th masks will no longer be required on public transport, but you will still have to wear them in pharmacies and hospitals and doctors’ offices. 

The use of masks ceased to be mandatory outdoors almost a year ago, on February 10th, 2022.

Then, two months later on April 20th, the government announced they wouldn’t be required indoors either, except in health centres and on public transport. 

Covid-19 controls at airports in Spain

Darias also announced the results of the controls carried out by the Foreign Health Department on travellers coming on direct flights from China.

Controls have been carried out on a total of 1,765 travellers and three people have tested positive for Covid-19, she confirmed.

The three positives were confirmed by PCR and the virus was sequenced, showing that it was the same strain that is currently already dominant in Spain. 

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