Official: European Union Lifting Travel Restrictions, Americans Not Welcome

Filed Under: Travel

The European Union has today officially revealed plans to open external borders as of tomorrow, which is the start of gradually lifting travel restrictions. The catch is that the EU is being very restrictive with who they’re letting in, and that means Americans will be banned for quite some time (as we were expecting).

Who is allowed into the European Union?

The European Council has today adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU (these recommendations also apply to Schengen associated countries, including Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).

Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, travel restrictions should be lifted for residents of the following countries as of July 1, 2020:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to reciprocity

On top of that, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican, should be considered EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation.

Are these restrictions structured correctly?

As you can see, these restrictions are based on residency. Personally I don’t think that’s the ideal way to go about any travel restrictions:

  • This means a resident of Serbia who has been in the US for the past couple of months can enter the EU
  • This means a resident of the United States who has been in Serbia for the past couple of months can’t enter the EU

I understand there’s something to be said for creating restrictions that are simple and easy to follow, but it still seems to me like these restrictions should be based around where people have been in the past couple of weeks, rather than residency.

Who is excluded from these recommendations?

The above travel restrictions are based on what country you’re a resident of, though the following categories of people are exempted from restrictions:

  • EU citizens and their family members (does anyone know how exactly family members are defined for these purposes, because I haven’t been able to figure that out?)
  • Long-term EU residents and their family members
  • Travelers with an essential function or need

The country list will be reviewed every two weeks

While travel restrictions are initially being lifted for 14-15 countries, the idea is for that list to be updated every two weeks.

In order for countries to not be on the list of banned countries, they should meet the following criteria:

  • Number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average
  • Stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • Overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR)
  • Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis

Individual countries don’t have to follow recommendations

While the announcement today from the European Union is final, it’s important to understand that this is merely a recommendation for member countries. That’s to say that individual countries can still choose to implement whatever rules they’d like in light of these recommendations.

In other words, individual countries can choose to welcome in visitors from other countries as well. The challenge here is that if a country decides not to go along with the EU recommendations, there will be internal border controls, which only complicates things further.

While countries could choose not to follow these recommendations, odds are good that for the sake of simplicity they’ll mostly go along with it. This definitely gets in the way of the plans some countries — like Greece and Iceland — had for a summer tourist season.

Bottom line

It’s a step in the right direction to see the European Union lifting travel restrictions. Initially only residents of 14-15 countries will be allowed in the European Union. That list will be reviewed every two weeks based on the coronavirus situation in other countries.

I’m happy to see the European Union start to open borders, because it creates a framework by which we will see residents of more countries allowed in. However, based on the EU’s criteria, I have a hard time imagining Americans will be allowed in anytime soon…

  1. That’s odd, I interpreted it differently. But my head is spinning these days with too much information.

    According to the NYT’s, “Travelers’ country of residence, not their nationality, will be the determining factor for their ability to travel to countries in the European Union,”

    If that is so, your passport is irrelevant. It’s where you are coming from. Meaning, if you can enter the UK, stay for 14 days there, you could technically travel to the EU on your American passport. Unless I am reading this wrong.

  2. @ Stuart — You’re suggesting that visiting somewhere for 14 days makes you a resident of that country? I’m a bit confused. It seems pretty clear to me that this is based on residency. That’s different than the passport you hold, but is also very different than just visiting a place for a couple of weeks.

  3. Good. People will travel domestically in the meantime. Explore America and support the US economy.

  4. @Ben How will they prove your residency? What constitutes residency to Border patrol in the EU? If you are flying directly from Canada or the U.K. (which we can enter with a quarantine) how can they stop you from then entering the EU after you complete your 14 days? It’s clear it won’t be regulated based on your passport. Only your recent “residency.” Certainly, this is ripe for interpretation but if you can show you have been in the U.K. for a period I find it unimaginable they can decide that does not constitute a residency…or that they would even question. But I could be sanguine.

  5. @Stuart, if you only have an American passport you would need a residence permit from an EU/Schengen/green light country in order to enter. The way I read the guidance is that dual citizens (e.g., EU/US) are welcome to enter Europe for any reason, even if they reside in a red light country like the US. So in reality it’s not “where you’re coming from”, but a combination of residence and nationality.

  6. @ Stuart — I can’t speak as to how they’ll enforce it, but presumably they would require a residency permit of some sort, which you’d have to present if that’s different than the country issuing your passport. By no definition, ever, has residency been defined as where you’re flying from on a particular day, or where you’ve spent the past two weeks.

  7. @Mitch. Can you find me where it says that? As an example, if an American is working on a project in the U.K. for a few weeks, does not have or need a residency permit for that, that the EU is going to turn you away if you are traveling solely from there and can show that you have been there for some weeks?

    I want to see the wording that specifies you need an additional residency card.

  8. What is missing from the announcement is the definition of residency. I hope they clarify it.

  9. I suspect residency will have to be demonstrated by temporary or permanent residency visas and possibly passport stamps.

  10. @Ben I agree in the classic sense. But, really, if you can show you have been in the U.K. for a few weeks and say, “UK is my new residence” without a requirement of an actual resident card (which I can’t find as being required) how they can argue?

    Look, if I thought this was going to be short lived I would just wait. But with the cases and response in the U.S. there is a good chance this ban will remain for many months. Those of us with business there that needs to get done after months of waiting need to find a way. This might be one.

  11. @Stuart, you’re trying to be clever, but no, Americans can’t travel to the EU after spending two weeks at a UK airport hotel. Please be serious. Airlines won’t even let you get on the plane without proof of residency or essential work in the EU, because they’ll be fined.

  12. I’m a US citizen but am supposed to start a job in France in September. Assuming I successfully receive my visa (it’s a long-stay visa) on time, will I still be allowed to move there?

  13. @Ben. An example. I have friends with an apartment in London. They spend maybe 3-5 months a year there. They have no special resident card and just don’t overstay the allowed length of visit on their passport. So, how can the EU not allow them in from the UK if they have been there for weeks? Isn’t that a sort of “resident?”

  14. Ben you need to use more precise language, it matters. Residency doesn’t equal nationality. I’m an American living in Europe with a US passport, but by any measure, local governments consider me a ‘resident’ of the European country I live in, and a ‘national’ of the United States. In this case it makes a big difference because as an EU resident, I’m allowed to come and go from the US without issue.

  15. @Stuart – they can and will argue. You dont get to decide that a country is your “new residence”. They need to clarify what rules/definitions apply but it is most certainly not going to be what you decide yourself

  16. @James. Not true. You can enter the UK now as an American if you quarantine for 14 days. It has never been closed to U.S. travelers. That could change. Canada would be the alternative as I can also fly there and quarantine per the current agreement.

  17. Further to my comment above, the linked regulations clearly state that ‘long-term EU residents and their family members’ should be allowed in. This means an American/Brazilian with EU residency (i.e., residence or work permit) would not be subject to the exclusion.

    Again, resident =/= citizen or national.

  18. @EJG – check with the French Embassy in the US. I believe some EU countries are allowing non-EU citizens into their countries if they already have certain visas issued or are in processing and on their way.

    I know that Denmark specifically has been allowing anyone with a residency visa (the pink residency cards) to cross the border throughout the pandemic, for instance, regardless of passport issuing country.

  19. @Lucky – This list is kind of bizarre:

    1. Reciprocity was part of the deal, and yet several of those countries continue to ban EU nationals from entering their countries (Thailand, Australia,

    2. Most of those “allowed” countries currently have no commercial flights allowed in them.

    So is it really an opening of borders that isn’t really an opening, by default?

  20. @ Stuart — You’re free to believe what you’d like, and I can’t point to some document that explicitly defines “residency,” though I’m sure it’s out there. But no, I wouldn’t consider your friends in the UK to be residents. And I also don’t understand how that would apply to you. You’d be looking at going somewhere for a couple of weeks to avoid this, which isn’t even the same as owning property somewhere.

    I largely agree with you that the rules should be based around where you’ve been, rather than your nationality or residency. But that’s not the case. If they intended for this to be about where you’ve been in the past 14 days, they would have written it that way. And that’s not what they’ve done.

    Also keep in mind before you even get to EU border control, good luck convincing an airline check-in agent to let you on a flight to the EU. They have to verify you’re eligible to go, and if you can’t present them with something showing you’re a resident, it’s highly likely they’ll deny you boarding.

  21. I have a student Visa for Spain, but I am a citizen of the United States. Does anybody know if I will be let in?

  22. Lol @ Ryan did you actually read the whole post or Lucky’s explanation to Stuart for example?
    “It seems pretty clear to me that this is based on residency. That’s different than the passport you hold, but is also very different than just visiting a place for a couple of weeks”

  23. @Stuart

    3-5 months a year is not legal residency, they are entering on a tourist visa. The UK allows anyone to purchase property in the UK regardless of legal residency or citizen status.

    Usually, when I’m travelling to the UK or the EU, I have to show my proof of legal residency: this has been demanded of me at airline check-in counters in the US, India; at immigration in Portugal, Denmark, Sweden (I had residency in Denmark); at immigration in the UK until they opened e-gates for US citizens (I have residency in the UK)

    I suspect at the Schengen and EU border airports, people who have residency in allowed countries will use their documentation to enter. Because they will have it. People who don’t? Well. They aren’t legally residents. Even if they have property there.

  24. @Ben. I would fly to the UK. Under current rules for quarantine I can. You honestly think I could not drive over to France after a few weeks there and enter? As a “resident?”

    Again, this ban could very well last the rest of the year given the current situation and the threat of a second wave. People are going to be looking for some sort of way to hack the system.

  25. Hi Luke, perhaps the best way to rewrite it would be “citizens or long-term residents of” rather than just “residents of”. A lot of people might mistake that as whatever they could deem sufficient as “residents” where in fact they could be not.

    For example, I’m an Indonesian citizen. However, I’m an expat working in Hong Kong and also own a Hong Kong Employment Visa and Hong Kong Identity Card. Under this, I’m categorised as resident of Hong Kong and, as such, as long as (unfortunately under EU’s definition of the country, ugh… sad…) China returns the reciprocity in the future, I’ll be allowed to visit EU.

  26. Since each member state define the rules of entry it would depend on the individual point of entry into Schengen and the final destination (since border checks are still happening)

  27. Are Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan considered as part of China for the purpose of this release? I’m not starting a debate here as to whether those territories are really part of China…etc but noticed that it isn’t clear in the release.

  28. @Kam

    Talk to the international student office at your university, your supervisor, and reach out to the embassy. They will have the best information. Most countries are allowing people who have valid visas to enter because you have a right to enter based on your visa. Each country has different responses for this. In Spain, each area has different lockdown protocols that have been opening/closing at different times. So, best to talk to your university.

  29. @Tina

    That’s probably the most confusing element about this because consistency isn’t guaranteed across the EU. And each country will almost certainly be different guaranteed.

  30. I’m interested on the definition of an EU family member too. I’m EU/US, living in the EU, but my family is all US only.

  31. @ Stuart — Yes, Stuart, I honestly believe that… but by all means give it a shot and report back!

  32. @Stuart

    it seems you are slightly delusional, unless you intend to be a illegal immigrant or an asylum seeker there is no way for you to game this until the rules change. residency is a legally defined and awarded status. the only ray of hope for you is that the eu is frequently updating the list and if the US can get a grip in the next few weeks theres a chance you can travel by late summer

    thankfully im a dual EU/US national so can travel

  33. “When deciding whether the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU applies to a third-country national, residence in a third country for which the restrictions on non- essential travel have been lifted should be the determining factor (and not nationality).”

    This from the official document.

  34. @Ben,
    Do you think Iceland and Greece will keep their doors open for Americans?
    eg, Iceland was going to open their doors for Americans July 1st

  35. I’m hearing that Greece will allow the children of Greek citizens to enter as long as they can provide authorized copies of the birth certificates of the parent and child.

    Word of mouth among the Greek-American diaspora is that this is what the Greek embassies in the US are telling people when they call.

    No idea if this is true or if it’s just the typical gossip/exaggeration among our immigrant community.

  36. @JN: thats the beauty of the EU – Or the nightmare in this case.
    but lets not forget that even europeans aren’t free to travel everywhere at the moment.

  37. We Americans are the laughing stock of the world .. what a disgrace and international embarrassment we have become … truly I have been left sadden.

    The crosses in Normandy, the Star of David in Ardennes, the Half Moon of Islam in Luxembourg and to all those who gave their lives … we present Americans apologize to you for ruining our standing in the world.

    To our friends in Europe … I beg you “Please don’t give up on us” …

    We will heal, but we will need your help.

  38. @Stuart, if you are so desperate to enter the EU, and it really is for work purposes, you should have taken my advice on the “proven work” exception for entry into Italy. That was your ticket in.

  39. @Jennifer The directive mentioned in the article defining family members is available here in article 2:

    It takes a pretty strict view and would be what I would consider immediate family members only. Along with many of the exceptions (including the residency question discussed above) I would suggest bringing documentation unless you are an EU national. You’ll have to convince not only the airline check in agent but the immigration officer upon entry that you qualify for an exception. Trying to get an answer before in writing from the respective airline and country may help. As is often the case with immigration, it may depend on the check in staff and immigration officer you encounter.

  40. @Ex DOH. I hardly see how this compares to being an asylum seeker or illegal immigrant. My god, a bit of a stretch.

    Look, until or unless they define for me what constitutes, “residency,” which it currently does not, I will absolutely enter the UK, get an air bnb in London for two weeks, and go to the EU with proof of my time in the UK and calling it my current residency.

    You don’t think thousands of Canadians and Brits that are living in the U.S., but who have passports from their countries, are not going to just fly home and then head to the EU from there? That’s far more a “hack” according to this and open for abuse.

  41. @Stuart how I read it – 3rd country citizens would need to have a residency visa in the passport in order to bypass the new recommended restrictions.

  42. @Stuart
    sorry again you miss the point residency for this purpose is defined as legal residency i.e you must be able to show legal residency through national ID card or resident permit in passport

  43. @Joe Chivas. I could find no documentation of that anywhere. I checked with a friend in Italy in the Govt. (after your kind suggestion) and he called around and no one knew anything of this “proven work” exception. Only essential work in medical or diplomatic.

  44. @Tina

    Yeah it has been difficult to cross borders. I know Denmark shut borders to everyone for everything (except for people with Danish residence permits or citizenship) except for residents/citizens in the Skåne area of Sweden with proof. Although I think they’ve now actually rescinded this unless they have proof of negative test results.

  45. @Stuart, here are the current rules from Timatic. See the third bullet.

    Published 03.06.2020
    1. Passengers are not allowed to enter
    – This does not apply to:
    – nationals or residents of Italy;
    – passengers traveling on business;
    – passengers traveling for urgent health reasons;
    – healthcare personnel traveling on duty;
    – passengers traveling for emergency reasons;
    – passengers returning via Italy to their country of residence;
    – passengers arriving from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Rep.), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or United Kingdom.

    I have one friend who has done this last week on a US passport. Here is a link to the form you’d have to fill out (and substantiate with actual work):

    Your visit is technically limited to 72 hours, but like most things in Italy, it’s not actually enforced. You’re welcome.

  46. According to today’s press release from the Council EU Non essential travel “Family members”are defined using directive 2004/38/EC

    Below copy/paste from such directive:

    “Family member” means:
    (a) the spouse;
    (b) the partner with whom the Union citizen has contracted a registered partnership, on the basis of the legislation of a Member State, if the legislation of the host Member State treats registered partnerships as equivalent to marriage and in accordance with the conditions laid down in the relevant legislation of the host Member State;
    (c) the direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point (b);
    (d) the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point (b);

    At least this is what I can gather, hope someone else can confirm. Thanks

  47. I have been granted a Family Reunion visa with the validity till14-Sept-2020.

    My spouse is working in Frankfurt and has a Blue Card Residence Permit.
    So, please let me know if families of Non-EU residence (Indian) can be allowed to travel after an update from EU Council.

  48. @stuart

    i wasn’t comparing i was indicating that was your only current option if you are desperate to enter the EU
    you can try for sure but you risk detention then deportation on trying to enter. the rules are clear you currently have no legal right to enter the EU. trust me i have had our retained immigration lawyer look into this for my business

    i personally hope the situation changes for self interest reasons but until the US can get the situation under control US citizens will be rightly kept out of the EU.

  49. Call me a skeptic, but as tomorrow the EU starts the height of tourist season (most of it being north heading south), the timing does seem somewhat coincidental

  50. I landed in the UK from NYC on March 13th. I am a US citizen. Yesterday, I bought a round-trip flight to France on Air France. I depart June 8th. I spoke to a travel agent prior to booking my flight. She said I would be able to travel with a document located on the US in France website. Can you verify this information?

  51. @CreditCrunch. Actually that is not correct. For example, Ben shared the application for a “residency card” in the U.K. For around $80 you can get one fairly easily and quickly. If you meet the criteria.

  52. Any thoughts on whether US-Europe flights will be cancelled in light of this guidance? I’m due to fly in a couple weeks and am worried they will cancel my flights and reroute me through another city. If so, am I due comp under EU261?

  53. @JoeChivas Thanks! I’ll look into this. The big question for me is the enforcement as I would then need to travel to Austria from there where a large deal is waiting.

  54. @Chris,
    Thanks a lot.

    Yes, my intention would be a resident and not for a visit.

    I forgot to mention that I am currently in US and traveling from US to Germany with Family Reunion visa.
    Will I still allowed to travel?

  55. I don’t get the confusion. I’m a US Citizen living abroad. My employer/myself had to apply for a Work/Residence Permit for me with a number of steps and a weeks long approval process. I can legally enter the country on my passport and a visa on arrival but the definition of “foreign resident” for things like park admissions is pretty clear. Seems odd any foreign visitor would automatically be a resident.

  56. @ John you are 100% correct, sadly Stuart & others are grasping at straws.
    @stuart what Lucky shared was the registered traveler scheme just give up you aint gonna win this one until the rules change

  57. @Stuart, you could travel by land (e.g., rent a car in Milan and drive) if the border checkpoints have been dropped between Italy and Austria. I think I read those were dropped a few weeks ago but I’d confirm that first. The rules are vague, but if I attempted this I would fly in/out of Italy with flights leaving you on the ground no more than 72 hours (again, no issues to change the return once you’re in) and have proven work in Italy just in case they demand that (not clear if the work has to be specifically in Italy or could be in a nearby country, like in your case). And you probably already know this but you can’t transit in another Schengen country. You need to arrive directly in Italy from a non-Schengen country so you clear passport control in Italy. Good luck.

  58. Note that Germany has applied it’s own restrictions until August 31. Even if you’re from these newly approved countries, you will not be allowed in. EU citizens ONLY with some family member exceptions. This is based on passport.

  59. @Ron Thanks for the link. It would be for my parents which would be immediate. I could document pretty easily how they are parents of an EU citizen.

  60. From the New York Times:

    “If I fly to Britain or Ireland and complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine, could I travel onward to Europe from there?
    Probably not, unless you can prove that you have a residence or immediate family links in Europe. Check with the border control authority of the European country that you are hoping to visit to find the latest rules.”

  61. What about Russia ? I am a US tourist visa holder. Is it likely Russia will allow US tourists back in before Europe does ?

  62. Good news actually. If there are USA travelers who now cannot vacation in Europe hopefully they will vacation in some form here and in turn keep the $$ here.

  63. Here’s the text of the EU Council recommendation, good news for EU citizens AND long-term residents:

    “Where temporary travel restrictions continue to apply to a third country, the following categories of persons should be exempted from the travel restriction, independent of the purpose of travel:
    (a) Union citizens within the meaning of Article 20(1) TFEU and third-country nationals who, under agreements between the Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and those third countries, on the other hand, enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to those of Union citizens, as well as their respective family members15;
    (b) third-country nationals who are long-term residents under the Long-term Residence Directive16 persons deriving their right to reside from other EU Directives or national law or who hold national long-term visas, as well as their respective family members.
    Member States can, however, take appropriate measures such as requiring such persons to undergo self-isolation or similar measures upon return from a third country for which the temporary travel restriction is maintained, provided they impose the same requirements on their own nationals.”

  64. @Stuart, you mentioned routing through Canada to try to get around it. Until at least July 21, the US Canada border is closed. Nobody but Canadian citizens and landed immigrants (roughly equivalent to a US green card) and essential workers are allowed to board a plane, boat or vehicle bound for Canada.
    Also, I wouldn’t imagine that Canada will be on the exempt list for very long unless there is considerable diplomatic work done. Canada just announced today that non-essential travel from outside Canada and the US will not be allowed until at least July 31 (a separate restriction is in place for the US and currently expires July 21), so evidently, no reciprocity as yet for the EU. I would say that it is definitely a flaw in this process that they will only allow people in from countries that have lower or similar infection rates. By definition, that means that for those countries to offer reciprocity, they will have to accept travelers from countries (the EU) with similar or higher infection rates.. That doesn’t seem like a recipe for a lot of reciprocity, unless the EU and the other country have very similar rates. They probably should have allowed some range above their rates, so that true reciprocity could have been achieved. For example, the recent infection rate in Canada is about half that in the EU, so the EU is happy, but Canada would have to accept an infection rate double that of their own.

  65. I have admit I am now completely confused. I live in the US, I hold a New Zealand, an Irish and a US passport and I need to get to England for about 2 weeks – Where do I stand with all of this?.

  66. My recommendation is for someone really concerned about what this means to hire a European attorney with expertise in this field. I trust the expertise of those reading this blog on travel matters in general; however, the way a particular country interprets the wording of this type of document Is the type of point that unfortunately the type of thing that more expertise is needed to understand.

    That being said, if any of you do attempt to enter, please post as I am interested in learning about your experience regardless of which way that things happen.

  67. Hi, I’m an american who had submitted a residency visa for Portugal a couple of months ago (after the pandemic had begun). As you can imagine, getting someone on the phone has been a nightmare. Can anyone please confirm or deny if Immigration is considered “Essential Travel”? It seems to me that it must, as “non essential travel” is described as “tourism or recreational travel” according to the US Government, but I haven’t found anything saying the EU considers this to be the case. Anyone else trying to (legally) immigrate to an EU country from the US? Thanks!

  68. Completely agree with the ban. Americans got themselves in this mess not serbian who has been in US. Last i checked most people who refused to wear masks were americans. Have you visited local chinese or korean store? Everyone is cautioned. They wore mask starting in January while we are trying to figure out to go all out war with Iran or not.

  69. As an American, I’m OK with this for the better of the greater good.

    I have flights to Europe in August on UA stock operated by Air Canada. Anyone know what will happen to my tickets since most likely the flight will operate but I won’t be able to travel? Would I be eligible for a refund or only credit?

  70. @Kam yes, students are considered to have essential need to enter the EU, as long as you have your student visa & confirmation from your university
    Categories with an essential function or need:
    Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals;
    Frontier workers;
    Seasonal workers in agriculture;
    Transport personnel;
    Diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international
    organisations whose physical presence is required for the well-functioning of these
    organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection
    personnel in the exercise of their functions;
    Transit passengers;
    Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons;
    Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons;
    Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of study;
    Highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an
    economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad

  71. We better get all of our US troops out of the EU. I would hate for those poor Europeans to be triggered by some scary Americans.

  72. The comments are comical. Misinformation and suppositions.

    “I’m a Martian living in New York, but also have a summer home in a dirigible flying over Geneva. Sometimes, when the wind blows, I’m in France. So these restrictions don’t apply to me? I meant…not a question…these restrictions don’t apply to me!”

  73. So, this about residency. My wife is EU national, so I can go under family even though we reside in US? Seems like EU national can go regardless of their residency. This thing is confusing.

  74. @Ex DOH
    Please be aware that being a citizen is not enough. I just traveled from the US to Germany, and I was very clearly told by the immigration agent that citizenship is not enough to grant entry to the country at this time – you must prove (most of the time with the stated residency in your passport) that you are “returning home to Germany”. A German citizen living in the US has no right to enter Germany unless it is to go home or under one of the specificially stated reasons in the press release.

  75. @William

    Hahaha almost spit out my coffee. I think most commenters are going through their various stages of denial/anger/bargaining/depression (and hopefully acceptance eventually?). How can the great US of A be banned from EU? How can EU abandon their good ally the US (even if they’re overrun by disease ridden idiots)??

  76. “Good. People will travel domestically in the meantime” who the hell wants to explore most of america right now given how the pandemic is raging on in most of the country?

  77. The US banned us Europeans at the start of the pandemic when everything kicked off over here. Don’t be surprised and don’t be annoyed when we do the same because of the absolute shambles your country is doing

  78. @Stuart

    Why don’t you just charter a private flight and then parachute into the EU? Maybe work a deal with the SEALS to sneak in via stealth submarine? You seem particularly desperate to circumvent the policies and procedures that have been established to keep people like you out.

  79. Stuart,


    (a) proof of citizenship from, or a residency visa/card/permit from, an EEA/EU country or the newly listed countries for entering the EU/Schengen area for non-essential purposes; or

    (b) documented relationship to an EEA/EU citizen/resident or otherwise being in one of the exempted categories that has been in place for months,

    Schengen border control will continue tomorrow with doing as they have been doing to US citizens and many other non-Europeans: blocking entry …. even if flying in from/via the UK or other “approved” countries.

    Most US passport users wanting to play tourist in the EU/Schengen area should just consider that the EU still doesn’t want such American traffic at this time due to the US pandemic numbers being so bad.

  80. @GUWonder. I am not interested in “playing tourist.” So, honestly, keep your judgements to yourself as to who is suffering from this ban.

    There are businesses that are going to have significant difficulties because of this. Mine is one.

    I am looking for a way, and yes, perhaps @William was the smartest in this as I process what this means…there is none. I am slowly accepting it. But you don’t need to dance on my grave and imply it’s because I want to go sit on my a$$ in Santorini.

    Yes, many in the EU do not want American hordes coming in. But talk to most businesses there and they are also frustrated that they can’t come here and we can’t go there in relation to business. They want some sort of compromise as well.

  81. @Chad. Who are, “the people like me?” You know me personally and the circumstances I am under?

  82. Hard to understand the outrage, as EU residents we are currently indefinitely banned from entering the US. Why do US residents think they should get free reign to unilaterally enter the EU but not vice versa? I can’t imagine EU opening up the doors until it’s mutual (and the US gets its act together).

  83. By the looks of it, it’s going to be 4-6 weeks at the very least until cases go down again in the USA.

    I find it completely expected that Americans are banned from the EU, but the reactions are hilarious. Seems like some just can stomach being “banned”!

  84. Every legal resident of European Union has a European permit card which states the address you live in by the time you registered. I guess you can have a European passport, but they may ask to see this card as well.

  85. To answer the question in the article: Under the Union immigration law, close family relative is a spouse, dependant child/grandchild or dependant parent/grandparent. I suppose this will also apply to these new rules. Side note: Same-sex couples are recognized for immigration purposes even in states which otherwise don’t allow same-sex marriage / civil union.

    Regarding the residency: If you’re a citizen of a green-listed country, passport is sufficient, even though it is not a proof of residency (same applies to ID card issued by EU states). If you are a citizen of country which is not on the list, but reside in one of them, then you need to present a residence document. No, having a house there is not sufficient. Neither is “spending a lot of time in the country”. You need to be a legal resident with a residence permit / visa / whatever document you’ve been issued.

  86. @Stuart

    No offense, but yes, people like you:

    Small business owners that failed to establish sufficiently strong financial balance sheets that then turned around and milked the U.S. taxpayers in early April 2020 by applying for PPP grants in the name of protecting employee salaries. Then, thanks to the additional near-term revenue availability, these same small business owners — instead of practicing increased fiscal responsibility — are using PPP grant revenue to hack and circumvent EU entry restrictions in support of unnecessary business travel in the midst of a global pandemic, thereby increasing the chances of intercontinental COVID-19 spread.

  87. At this point, what is more interesting is:

    1) What metrics does the US need to meet in order to see resumed travel?
    2) How does the US meet those metrics?
    3) What is the most likely timeframe for the US to gain entry into the EU?

    I’ve long thought there would be no US travel to the EU this summer. What is more urgent is fall, winter and maybe Spring 2021. Do we think we will be able to visit the EU in those timeframes? I’m willing to guess travel opens up in the fall. Everyone needs to remember the situation is rapidly evolving, and by the fall, there will be diplomatic considerations (for example, the US Open for tennis is in New York in August – will the US let Djokovic and Federer travel to NYC without reciprocal riches for other Americans to travel to Europe?)

  88. @Chad.

    Yes, as a small business owner I did apply for the PPP and I did receive money. With that I kept my 30 employees on payroll when we were forced to cancel revenue generating events and shut down. Unlike many I used that money for exactly as it was meant, to save my team the humiliation of furloughs and the worry of whether they would have a job again. Especially as many of my staff have been with us for over 15 years. We are an example of a company that used it correctly, despite your bitterness.

    Europe is a vital link to my business. I will not give you details, but a few others that know me can confirm. Without the ability to access the market there, some 50% of my available inventory is depleted for market presentation. Some rely on China. I rely on Europe. And, this is not inventory you can order via tele deals. Everything must be inspected and there are many expert and unique vagaries to it.

    Further, to your somehow oddly linking this to PPP…there is no PPP to help me while being locked out of the EU. It’s all on me now.

    This is why I rely on information and ask questions as to ways one can “hack” the system implemented. I am not looking to come in and infect the EU. I am even more than willing to responsibly quarantine. I ask these questions here (and try to be a part of the dialogue) as I am sure I am not the only one who is being affected.

    My focus is not laying blame or making judgements as much as it is finding solutions.

    Finally, I will be polite this time to your generalizations of who I am. Next time I won’t be.

  89. Anthony: Essentially, US needs to have lower infection rate per capita than the EU. Right now, it’s very far from achieving that.

  90. I’m born and raised in Herzegovina but recently purchased obtained passports for Comoros and Eswatini for super cheap to have an out in case COVID got bad. I’ve been in the U.S. for two months. Anyone know if I’ll able to go back to the B-H?

  91. George,

    EU citizens cannot legally be denied entry to their own EU country of citizenship — even if they don’t have a home in their country of citizenship.

    A lot of EU citizens and others who are legally resident in the EU don’t have a permit card showing the address of where they live.


    Most US passport users wanting to play tourist or short term business visitor in a “non-essential” capacity in the EU/Schengen area should just consider that the EU still doesn’t want such American traffic at this time. It’s due to the US pandemic numbers being so bad.

    Most EU businesses shouldn’t want to risk a big resurgence of virus cases that come with opening up to visitors from a place like the US at this time, as what’s awful for public health in the EU is awful for most businesses in the EU.

    Instead of being annoyed with the EU at this time on this border control matter, how about being annoyed with President Trump’s messing up America and his refusal to unilaterally decide to open the US borders for EUropeans despite what the EU does at this time?

  92. @GUWonder. Who is annoyed at the EU? I personally think their choice was the right one. However, I am not about laying blame, despite that I agree that there is no leadership in this country. My only goal is for a solution. I am willing to test before, upon arrival and even quarantine. I am willing to do what is necessary to be “safe” for you and others. How is that endangering?

    As well, I am appalled that the EU is currently banned from entering the U.S. It’s completely archaic.

  93. @Stuart—Have you looked into the exemption for necessary/essential business? I have no idea what actually qualifies, but you might find the following trip report on FT interesting: the author is Canadian and was able to get permission to enter Germany several weeks ago for what appears to be some business function.

    The EU’s official website states that an exemption applies to: “highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad.“

    And further explains:
    “Third-country workers
    This new exception covers third-country workers who, because of their high level of skills and knowledge, are needed to contribute to the EU’s post-COVID economic recovery. It may include those whose application for permits under the EUs Blue Card Directive 2009/50, the EUs ICT Directive 2014/66 or as Researchers under Directive 2016/801 (or a national permit for skilled migrants) was approved but who were until now prevented from entering the EU due to the entry ban.”

  94. There will be no international leisure travel until there’s a vaccine. Repeat that again…

  95. @Lisfranc Well, I took several international leisure trips over the last couple of weeks. Europe is reopening and in many regions it’s already back to business as usual.

    I’m going to Prague this weekend. They dropped the mask requirement effective today, so I expect it to be 100% normal experience.

  96. I live in the US, but have a Norwegian passport. Doesn’t that mean I can travel to Norway because that’s my home country then just go to the EU? These rules make no sense. I’ve been here in the east coast throughout all of this and according to my interpretation of the rules, I can’t see how EU border patrols can deny me back to Europe. I could visit Norway, stay with family for a couple days then fly to any schengen country due to no passport control

  97. @Stuart, it’s possible the Italy scenario will work (I can’t say one way or another), but your “drive from the UK to France” scenario does not work, I am pretty sure. I get the impression you are forgetting that the UK is not in the Schengen area, while France is. Even pre-Brexit, you would have to clear Schengen immigration in France, and this would be impossible under these new rules without residency papers. On the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, it states specifically, “Drive straight through to the British and French frontier controls where your passport, vehicle and official documentation will be checked.” You will be hung up here if you weren’t already stopped while trying to leave the UK. The problem would be the same if you took your car on the ferry.

    Good luck.

  98. @Stuart

    Residency is a status conferred by law. It has tax implications. Are you willing to pay tax in the UK on your worldwide income?

  99. I stopped reading comments after the first 20 posters trying to beat the system with 14 day stays or staying in the UK less than the 6 months allowed and having a flat. The EU issues residency cards just like the US does. When traveling I show my US Passport and my residency card from Spain. Only then am I allowed to travel. The EU isn’t going to expect gate agents to read thru your passport to see countries visited, days in and out. Boarding will take hours. Seems fairly direct in my opinion. No residency card, no boarding. I don’t recall the post that talked about a job in France come September but they should have a work visa that will include temporary residency for long term employee unless the job is only less than 90 days allowed under normal tourist “visa”.

  100. @everyone, Ben is simply sharing the latest information being published by the EU, which is vague at best. I do not think there is need to disseminate his every words and ask questions as if Ben would have all the answers during this very fluid situation in regards to border control. My advice would be to seek-out the consulate/embassy in your place of residency (regardless of the nationality you hold) and obtain relevant advice on whether you would be allowed to travel to the respective country or not. Simple as that.

    PS EU citizens (i.e. holding EU nationality) have been allowed to enter the EU for 2 weeks now.

  101. As a EU national but not resident, I think the decision of the EU is not done seriously or correctly. There is no logic in this list: why are residents from Thailand allowed to visit the EU but not Vietnam, where there are (almost) no cases anymore? It seems that this is based more on politics than on a specialist opinion of a board of virologists and experts.
    For me, the only right approach is to do what the UAE (actually, only Dubai Emirate): if you want to visit the country as a tourist or for business purposes, you can enter if you can show a COVID-19 negative test obtained max. 96h before travelling, and regardless of your nationality or residency. No discrimination; fact-based acceptance or refusal.

  102. Very easy work-arounds exist for this. For example, I flew from Istanbul to Vienna yesterday with the intention of travelling to Hungary. If I had flown direct to Hungary, 14-day quarantine. Austria allowed exemption from any quarantine or negative covid test proof IF same-day transfer to another country. Showing the border guards a train ticket or taxi registration was enough. With open borders intra-EU, I then crossed into Hungary with no issue and no 14-day quarantine anywhere.

  103. Jordan,

    You were admissible to Hungary on a basis of an exemption category to the travel ban. The same would not be applicable to most US passport users wanting to play tourist or business visitor.


    The European rules that continue to ban most US passport users are meant to depress cross-border traffic from countries where the virus situation seems to be worse by some measures; these rules have never been about eliminating all cross-border traffic, it’s been about greatly reducing foreign visitor traffic that may increase the virus problem in the destination country. There have been exemption categories to the ban the entire time.

  104. Will they also allow residents of Hong Kong and Macau to enter as well? Are they also classified under “China”?

  105. to bad it doesn’t work the other way around. I mean I would love to travel to many of the countries on the list FROM Europe.

    @lucky I believe family is father, mother, kids for this purposes.

  106. Mayank: Norwegian nationals are treated as EU citizens for most practical purposes. You can travel to pretty much anywhere in the EU, no need to go via Norway. However, arriving from the US you may be subject to a quarantine.

    Also note that some internal border checks currently do exist within the Schengen. However, as Norwegian national (or resident – but not one is gonna check that if you have Norwegian citienship), you can enter most EU states.

  107. @Stuart et al

    Late to the party here and it seems as though there’s more clarity now after everyone has discussed; however, just to sum up:

    1) EU residency is legally defined, requires documentation, and such documentation typically involves proof of long-term residency (source below);

    2) Canada also currently prohibits entry to non-Canadian citizens (i.e. a US citizen/resident cannot fly to EU by way of Canada);

    3) You may currently enter the UK with 14-day quarantine required. On arrival you will be asked by UK immigration authorities if you intend onward travel. If you answer yes and outside the UK they will inform you this violates current EU recommendations on travel, and potentially the law in destination country. If you answer no with other intentions you will be liable for misleading UK immigration authorities, with serious consequences on ability to travel in future; and,

    4) If you are in violation of government travel guidance in an EU country (e.g. travelling to the EU without required documentation) it should go without saying that you will a) void any and all personal or business insurance, and b) potentially be subject to prosecution or immigration flag for future travel or business.

    Most would agree it isn’t the time for finding loopholes, but if you insist you should at least be aware of the consequences.


    EU Residency –

    EU travel restriction recommendation to EU members –

  108. @GUWonder

    The same would work for anyone flying JFK-VIE, same day transfer by train or bus to Italy, Czechia, Hungary, etc, without 14 day quarantine (as they use Austria’s blanket exemption for same day transferees).

  109. Hello all
    Does anyone know whether a UK citizen who has been in the US can enter the UK and / or the EU? I assume one can enter the UK and undertake the 14 day quarantine. I believe UK citizens are being treated as EU citizens until the end of the year. I have some elder relatives that I am considering visiting and will get a test before departure for my own peace of mind.

  110. Jordan,

    That’s a workaround around the quarantine restrictions, but it’s NOT a workaround for the Schengen area ban — which has been applicable to most US passport users since March and still is today — unless admissible at the destination country or in an exemption category that has been around for months.

    Also, there are some internal border checks still in place within the Schengen area, and that can mean denial of entry/disruption of plans too even for those of us already within the Schengen area.

  111. I can find no where any information about changing planes in the EU, but not “entering” the EU. Can I fly to Rome and change planes for Macedonia, which is not part of the EU?

  112. The US is barring EU citizens. Absolutely right the EU bars Americans – especially given how out of control the pandemic there is. Americans who try to circumvent the ban should realise they are not welcome here.

  113. I would like to know about the travel of spouse with ITALIAN FAMILY REUNION VISA from INDIA? Can someone help, please. Thanks in advance.

  114. I am a Dutch citizen, with a Vietnamese wife, located in Hanoi, Vietnam.
    We can’t get a short stay C visa under 2004/38EC.
    Embassy forces us to go get a family reunification visa, which is not what I want, and need.
    June 30 they even made a exemption-rule for people who are family-members of EU-citizens, but embassies in Hanoi still don’t enforce this. They want me to go to Europe, get a job there, rent a house, start family-reunification process… We simply want to exercise our RIGHT OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT.

    Many people who have a relationship with a EU citizen, can’t visit them right now.
    I have more, I am married, I have a legal piece of paper that makes my wife the spouse of an EU-citizen, and the rights that come along with it.

    Having rights is one thing, getting them is something else.

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