Major: European Union Ends Travel Ban For Americans

Major: European Union Ends Travel Ban For Americans

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A couple of days ago we learned about how those from the United States will soon be able to travel to the European Union regardless of vaccination status, thanks to the United States being placed on the European Union’s safe travel list. This change has been implemented as of today, though it might not be quite as straightforward as it sounds.

European Union adds countries to safe travel list

Since March 2020, the European Union’s borders have largely been closed to those from the outside, with the exception of visitors from certain countries that have coronavirus relatively under control.

Specifically, the European Union has been open to visitors from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and China (subject to reciprocity).

We knew that the European Union was working on expanding that list, and the details of that are now official. The European Union has as of today added the following destinations to the safe travel list, which are to be exempt from the current travel ban:

  • Albania
  • Hong Kong
  • Lebanon
  • Macau
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Taiwan
  • United States

Places can get on this list by recording fewer than 75 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days, and the United States is below that threshold, per European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) data.

The list is reviewed every two weeks, so just as the United States has been added to the list, it can also be taken off if the situation changes materially.

My hope is that we see reciprocity here, and that the United States finally ends the travel ban against the European Union. There had been rumors that this travel ban would end in mid-May, but it seems like that timeline was delayed over concerns about variants.

The European Union is opening to all Americans

The major catch with this policy change

This development is really exciting news, though there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • This is merely a recommendation from the European Union, and it will be up to individual countries to implement this new policy; as you’ll see this described, “EU member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders” for those from the United States
  • While this policy recommendation from the European Union is official as of today, that doesn’t mean all countries will implement this immediately; for that matter, several countries have opened to Americans even without guidance from the European Union
  • Even with border restrictions lifted, countries can still require visitors to quarantine and/or get tested, as that will be up to individual countries
  • There’s still not full free movement within the European Union and Schengen zone, as different countries have different entry requirements, and that’s likely to continue for a while
Now it’s up to individual countries to implement this policy

European Union working towards lifting restrictions for vaccinated travelers

The update this week is that all Americans should be eligible to visit the European Union thanks to the decreasing number of coronavirus cases here. This is separate from the European Union’s plan of allowing vaccinated visitors from all countries, which should also be implemented in the near future.

This has been in the works for weeks, but up until now it still hasn’t been fully implemented. It’s expected that this will be changing any day now.

If you’re an American and are wanting to travel to the European Union, it still makes a lot of sense to get vaccinated for travel. That’s because the United States could be removed from the European Union’s safe travel list overnight, while rules are unlikely to change for vaccinated people.

The European Union also plans to allow vaccinated travelers

Bottom line

The United States has been added to the European Union’s safe travel list, meaning that Americans should be among the few nationalities eligible to enter the European Union even if not vaccinated. The catch is that this is merely a recommendation by the European Union, and it’s now up to individual countries to implement this policy.

I expect most countries will follow the European Union’s guidance, though perhaps not overnight. It’s important to remember that this still doesn’t give you full free movement in Europe, and it also doesn’t mean that you won’t be subjected to testing and/or quarantine requirements.

Regardless, this is a huge step in the right direction.

Conversations (59)
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  1. Joyce Guest

    If the EU really wants to be smart about travel, just restrict all flights from outside to vaccinated travelers ONLY.

    1. Nate nate Guest

      so no kids can travel to Europe?

  2. Missy Guest

    Ben, could you do a post addressing current restrictions or lack thereof when crossing land borders between Schengen countries? I’m thinking specifically of France and Italy, as I do normally every summer via train or car from Nice thru Ventimiglia (first Italian town after French border) to points south and France and Spain, as in driving or taking local bus between Bayonne or Biarritz in France and San Sebastián 20 minutes away. Surely there can’t...

    Ben, could you do a post addressing current restrictions or lack thereof when crossing land borders between Schengen countries? I’m thinking specifically of France and Italy, as I do normally every summer via train or car from Nice thru Ventimiglia (first Italian town after French border) to points south and France and Spain, as in driving or taking local bus between Bayonne or Biarritz in France and San Sebastián 20 minutes away. Surely there can’t be border checks at every such crossing but who really knows right now. As a fully vaccinated American looking to enter France around late July with a ticket back to U.S. from Paris a month later I’m wondering what roadblocks likely to pertain in planning forays to adjacent Euro countries that normally have no formalities whatsoever. Thanks in advance and great run of posts lately regardless of my dislike for the redesign!

    1. Joyce Guest

      Missy, I’m in Italy. According to current regulations (as of June 19), Americans can ONLY enter Italy via a non-stop ‘Covid-free’ flight from the Us to Italy, NOT via a stop in another EU country, even just to transit. Otherwise, you would be required to quarantine for 10 days, even if you are vaccinated. Traveling on your American passport, that is the sole way to enter Italy legally at the moment.

    2. JW in GA Guest

      Thanks Joyce for confirming. My fully-vaccinated family long ago booked a flight to Italy next month from ATL connecting through AMS on KLM on to Rome (not "COVID-tested").

      I'm on the verge of canceling but was holding out hope for a back door by exiting AMS/entering the Netherlands and then re-entering before the connecting flight to Rome. That would assume that the Netherlands follows the lead of Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and other recent reopenings....

      Thanks Joyce for confirming. My fully-vaccinated family long ago booked a flight to Italy next month from ATL connecting through AMS on KLM on to Rome (not "COVID-tested").

      I'm on the verge of canceling but was holding out hope for a back door by exiting AMS/entering the Netherlands and then re-entering before the connecting flight to Rome. That would assume that the Netherlands follows the lead of Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and other recent reopenings. I think it's a goner at this point.

      I don't understand Italy's fixation on these COVID-tested flights with their 3 tests within 72 hours. Restricting supply is just a way to generate outsized profits for the airlines. Delta is more than willing to convert my original 50K Skypesos roundtrip to a 140K Skypesos roundtrip (x 6 people) on a COVID-tested flight. Um thanks but no.

  3. Alan Gold

    Given that the CDC stopped counting cases in the vaccinated as of May 1st unless they result in hospitalization or death, it would seem to be in the EU's interest to require a negative covid test for all Americans. Although the vaccine may still prevent most of the serious cases from the delta variant, we will have no way to know how many of those vaccinated might be infected and able to pass it on...

    Given that the CDC stopped counting cases in the vaccinated as of May 1st unless they result in hospitalization or death, it would seem to be in the EU's interest to require a negative covid test for all Americans. Although the vaccine may still prevent most of the serious cases from the delta variant, we will have no way to know how many of those vaccinated might be infected and able to pass it on to either those not vaccinated or those where the vaccine has no efficacy. Of course, the situation could even get worse with new variants. The UK is now experiencing the highest case numbers since February and they have vaccinated a larger percent of their population than most EU nations.

  4. Alan Guest

    If the CDC starts including covid cases among the vaccinated again, numbers will rise quickly. As of now they only include them if they result in hospitalization or death. The EU should definitely require a negative test for all.

  5. Creditcrunch Guest

    It doesn’t look like reciprocity will happen anytime soon what with Dr Fauci in an interview with a British news channel yesterday indicating that fully vaccinated citizens could be welcomed to the US by mid September! That gives us all an indication of when things might get back to normal if the science allows. I wonder how much influence Dr Fauci has in the White House.

  6. derek Guest

    The US will fail in the future. Delta variant is now only 10% of cases but is more transmissible. Wi ter time increases will happen.

    The way to prevent this is for more vaccinated people.

    1. Alan Gold

      Highly unlikely the US will fail since they continually change how they count cases.

  7. Spaceman Spiff Guest

    @Daniel… exactly right. EU policy is a nice sentiment, but each European country has its own maze of regulations.

    @Donna… FYI, in case you hadn’t heard the pandemic is raging in India, and with an even more contagious variant, so seems completely fair to me.

  8. Donna Hughes Guest

    I would like to know when my husband can come home from NEW DELHI,INDIA..
    SAM HAS BEEN OVER THERE FOR OVER TWO YEARS NOW, I WANT MY HUSBAND HOME TO THE USA NOW DAM IT.
    SAM HAS A FAMILY HERE. ITS NOT FAIR.

  9. JL Guest

    Can someone please tell me the policy for Iceland?

  10. Curious Traveler Guest

    Where is that mountain picture from?

  11. NYGuy24 New Member

    I have to agree with Larry. Given the number of people who refuse to get vaccinated and this delta variant that is already starting to spread here it is only a matter of time until the US is removed from the list. Especially with it getting hot and the south not doing well with vaccinations. People will go inside for AC and infect each other. Florida continues to play fast and loose with the numbers,...

    I have to agree with Larry. Given the number of people who refuse to get vaccinated and this delta variant that is already starting to spread here it is only a matter of time until the US is removed from the list. Especially with it getting hot and the south not doing well with vaccinations. People will go inside for AC and infect each other. Florida continues to play fast and loose with the numbers, but its only a matter of time before it reaches the point where they can't hide their growing case counts.

    1. Jan Guest

      In USA’s case we already have had more than 30mil infected (therefore having natural antibodies). Coupled with strong vaccination rate, and minimal lockdowns compared to Europe, we’re likely not going to see a spike like you’re hoping there would be. Of course, I’m no doctor.

    2. EC2 Guest

      Agree, but 30 million infected is just based on tests. Millions more infected that wouldn’t have had symptoms and wouldn’t have tested.

    3. mark Guest

      The UK is it a similar vaccination rate and they're seeing raising cases now due to the Delta variant. It's only a matter of time before we see the increase in the US, especially since we're opening up in most places and certain states are low with their vaccination rates.

  12. yehuda kovesh Guest

    In today's NYT , the data shows USA rate of 4 per 100 K.. so I am not sure of this 75 per 100 000 calculation. The vaccination and prevention of spread of Covid in USA is remarkable in the last few months. I am sure very soon vaccinated americans would be welcome everywhere in the world
    Israel is completely open but visitors are subjected to strict checking. I am glad France is open.. viola!

    1. EC2 Guest

      Agree with you regarding the numbers. US is well below the 75 per 100k. At least according to worldodometer.info the US had around 11,230 new cases and 2 days ago we had 14,188 new cases. Do the math based on our population and US is fine.

      Vaccine will be as the only requirement for some countries like Iceland, but it would be the golden key like most that are are getting it had hoped...

      Agree with you regarding the numbers. US is well below the 75 per 100k. At least according to worldodometer.info the US had around 11,230 new cases and 2 days ago we had 14,188 new cases. Do the math based on our population and US is fine.

      Vaccine will be as the only requirement for some countries like Iceland, but it would be the golden key like most that are are getting it had hoped for 2 reasons. Many countries and politicians are still fixated on cases and not hospitalizations. You can still get COVID-19 with the vaccine. Vaccines just keep you from getting serious conditions that require hospitalization. Lastly, if the variants are a real threat the vaccines would be less effective against a variant strain. So testing is going to be a requirement for a while regardless of vaccination status. I’m just not going to go to a country like Iceland. Have no problem with testing.

  13. Scott Guest

    According to data from CDC website, US 7 day Moving Avg for June 2021 (so far) has been way less then 75 per 100,000 (last column)
    State Date New Cases 7-Day Moving Avg 7-Day Case Rate per 100K Cases
    United States Jun 15 2021 12,322 12,191 25.71
    United States Jun 14 2021 7,942 12,424 26.2 7
    United States Jun 13 2021 7,788 12,672 26.72
    United States Jun 12 2021 11,711...

    According to data from CDC website, US 7 day Moving Avg for June 2021 (so far) has been way less then 75 per 100,000 (last column)
    State Date New Cases 7-Day Moving Avg 7-Day Case Rate per 100K Cases
    United States Jun 15 2021 12,322 12,191 25.71
    United States Jun 14 2021 7,942 12,424 26.2 7
    United States Jun 13 2021 7,788 12,672 26.72
    United States Jun 12 2021 11,711 13,250 27.94
    United States Jun 11 2021 14,103 13,718 28.92
    United States Jun 10 2021 16,632 14,274 30.1
    United States Jun 9 2021 14,843 14,311 30.17
    United States Jun 8 2021 13,949 14,472 30.51
    United States Jun 7 2021 9,681 13,751 29
    United States Jun 6 2021 11,836 13,693 28.87
    United States Jun 5 2021 14,983 13,745 28.98
    United States Jun 4 2021 17,996 13,872 29.25
    United States Jun 3 2021 16,890 14,242 30.03
    United States Jun 2 2021 15,969 14,936 31.49
    United States Jun 1 2021 8,908 16,035 33.81

  14. Andy 11235 Guest

    I'm sure this is great as a headline for people to click on, but I think I've posted pretty much the same message on all your articles about the EU. This is not the United States of Europe, and I think you should make it clearer what happens: the EU *recommends* that member states make certain changes in their border policies. The EU does not ever allow people across the borders of Europe. The individual...

    I'm sure this is great as a headline for people to click on, but I think I've posted pretty much the same message on all your articles about the EU. This is not the United States of Europe, and I think you should make it clearer what happens: the EU *recommends* that member states make certain changes in their border policies. The EU does not ever allow people across the borders of Europe. The individual nations make these decisions. Some have been keen to follow these recommendations, but most have made their own policies, with their own definitions of "safe" countries. We are very far away from seeing a return to open schengen borders and a more unified entry policy.

    1. Jan Guest

      From what I’ve seen most European nations follow what EU recommended during this whole thing so it’s not as clickbaity as you would suggest.

    2. Goose Guest

      What are you talking about? Going within Schenghen pre-Covid was like traveling within the USA...super easy and very minimal. If one goes from Spain to Portugal right now, are you saying theres immigration? where on earth would they keep that? and its open now for EU countries. And soon for all vacced, especially within. Im hopping between three countries end of July for a few weeks. Vacced. And...well, my grandma in one of the countries...

      What are you talking about? Going within Schenghen pre-Covid was like traveling within the USA...super easy and very minimal. If one goes from Spain to Portugal right now, are you saying theres immigration? where on earth would they keep that? and its open now for EU countries. And soon for all vacced, especially within. Im hopping between three countries end of July for a few weeks. Vacced. And...well, my grandma in one of the countries so im already essential - but it wont matter come August. Its party time for the vacced. They need to do whatever to the nonvacced. I wouldnt allow them to enter, personally

    3. Giovanna Guest

      True! I live in Italy and if I want to visit my father who lives in Austria (and I always do that in a day trip seeing the short distance), I have to get a test to get back into Italy (and I'm fully vaccinated!). It's ridiculous!

  15. Rico Guest

    This seems backward to me. Letting everyone in (from some countries) while we work out a policy to let fully vaccinated people in.

  16. R B Guest

    Also, France announced the end of the 11pm-6am Curfew starting June 20th.
    Masks are no longer required 'outside'

  17. Brooke Guest

    The data on the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention website for non-EU nations is a bit behind. It shows that it was last updated June 10 and that data was for weeks 21 & 22. But I also can't locate that 73.9 value for the United States. Though most resources are publishing 7 day average case rates; every fairly reputable site that I've checked shows a much better situation than a 73.9/100,000 case...

    The data on the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention website for non-EU nations is a bit behind. It shows that it was last updated June 10 and that data was for weeks 21 & 22. But I also can't locate that 73.9 value for the United States. Though most resources are publishing 7 day average case rates; every fairly reputable site that I've checked shows a much better situation than a 73.9/100,000 case rate for the US. I'd think that the European Union looked at more current data to make this decision, even if it hasn't yet been updated on that website. In that case, the United States would not have been just on the border line of meeting the requirements. The United States CDC website, as an example, has the US 7 day average case rate at 26.18/100,000 as of July 14 (these values are often updated a couple of times after they are initially published but that is what is published as of this moment). If you do the math yourself using their data, the US 14 day average case rate is around 30/100,000.
    https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_totalandratecasessevendayrate
    You can find the case rates by adding "7 day cases per 100000" to the right axis and then opening the data table.

    1. Brooke Guest

      Typo: I wrote July 14 but meant June 14

  18. Sam Guest

    @Donna. Not all EU countries. Try Spain - no PCR Tests required, if vaccinated.

    Give time for the other countries to catch up. Portugal may be one of the next. Things are looking better; it just takes time.

  19. Donna Diamond

    Meanwhile, vaccinated travelers must still undergo two needless and expensive and inconvenient COVID tests in order to enter. Nothing has changed on that front, at least from the scant information that is available right now. I just went through another three tests coming and going from the US to the EU and I’ve been fully vaccinated since March. My vaccinated status has not relieve me of any testing requirements. When that restriction lifts, then I’ll...

    Meanwhile, vaccinated travelers must still undergo two needless and expensive and inconvenient COVID tests in order to enter. Nothing has changed on that front, at least from the scant information that is available right now. I just went through another three tests coming and going from the US to the EU and I’ve been fully vaccinated since March. My vaccinated status has not relieve me of any testing requirements. When that restriction lifts, then I’ll pay attention. In the meantime, it’s just more of the same restrictions disguised as an “opening.”

    1. EC2 Guest

      @Donna…because even if vaccinated you can still get infected with COVID-19. Vaccinations are just keep one from developing any serious symptoms that would require medical attention or hospitalization. The countries that only require vaccination are the ones that aren’t worried about “case” stats but hospitalization stats.

    2. Florian Guest

      Even if you're just eating Spaghetti you could still break a finger. For some reason most people still choose not to wear PPE.

  20. EC2 Guest

    Honestly it’s stupid the way they are doing it. Revisit every two weeks? So what happens if someone buys tickets and sets reservations? Do they have to cancel or if they can show that they made the reservations while travel was permitted they can still come? Airlines are really going to love this. US should reciprocate to what ever the EU does.

  21. Noa Guest

    Albania and Macedonia have been fully open throughout, no masks, crowds, no entry requirements, no sanitizing, no social distancing.

    And they end up safe compared to super locked down countries.

    Albania and Macedonia show the whole restrictions and lockdowns and masking were completely unnecessary.

    1. Larry Guest

      I know that the "completely unnecessary" narrative is one people with certain political views love to repeat, but in this case your example is totally incorrect. Yes Macedonia and Albania have been mostly open for travel, but they have had varying degrees of every preventive measure that you list- in fact as of now they have stricter remaining requirements that the US. I have been following it closely for several months as my family and...

      I know that the "completely unnecessary" narrative is one people with certain political views love to repeat, but in this case your example is totally incorrect. Yes Macedonia and Albania have been mostly open for travel, but they have had varying degrees of every preventive measure that you list- in fact as of now they have stricter remaining requirements that the US. I have been following it closely for several months as my family and I will be traveling there in a couple weeks. They (especially Macedonia) also have had significant spikes, which have recently subsided. Overall, they've done okay, because of significant and long-lasting lockdowns, masking, crowd restrictions and other rules. So the narrative that the preventive measures are completely unnecessary is completely false. There is ample documentation of all of the above measures online. Funny how people think if they repeat things enough they become true.

    2. Noa Guest

      I was literally in those countries in person. There's no restrictions. Everything crowded and unmasked. Didn't even have to wear a mask or sanitize in the clinic I got and collected my pcr test to return to US

  22. D3kingg Guest

    Allowing China to re enter Europe is a bold statement. According to China Macau and Hong Kong are part of China. Whether or not you agree or disagree with that. As an American it’s none of my business and quite frankly I could care less.

    1. Ralph4878 Guest

      If you don't care, why mention it?

    2. Brotel Guest

      No, he COULD care less, meaning he does care, naturally.

    3. EC2 Guest

      China has no issues with Macau and Hong Kong be separated out in reference to travel or travel bans. Their issues have to do with Taiwan and countries in anyway acknowledging them as an independent country. No one is even alluding to or inferring that Macau or Hong Kong are independent political entities.

  23. Ralfinho New Member

    That's some quite good news. Now I really hope that the US will reopen to Europeans again. Would love to revisit again later this year when my +1 and I are fully vaccinated (I am already and appointments for my +1 are set).

  24. LarryInNYC Guest

    If they really stick with a threshold of 75 and we're at 74 per 100K I wouldn't expect the US to stay on the list for too long. Our rate of decrease is levelling off and, once Delta has completely made itself known then the numbers will most likely start going up again.

    1. snic Diamond

      Exactly what I was thinking. Unless we start making better progress with vaccinating the hesitant and those who haven't gotten around to it yet, the delta variant, which is much more transmissible, is going to reverse the decline in case rate as it spreads.

    2. Goose Guest

      doesnt matter if your vacced! party time. vamonos a Ibiza! who wants to travel on a long haul flight with a bunch of unvacced folk. Ewwww. I kid i kid ;-)

    3. Miamiorbust Guest

      Anyone with NYC is their handle should be ignored. Cuomo and his clones have been wrong on nearly every COVID policy. NY once mattered. It doesn’t anymore. Greatest city in the world- LOL. Keep searching for your delta zeta gamma variant. Nobody cares what you think anymore. Get used to it.

    4. peetyrd Guest

      Per the CDC website our current daily average (last 7 days) is 11,301 cases per day. Multiply by 14 gives you 158,214 cases in a 14 day period. Divide by the 330M US population and multiply by 100K gives you 48 cases per 100K of population. That’s pretty good.

    1. LarryInNYC Guest

      Why not? Numerically, China's doing much better than the US.

    2. Another Lump Guest

      Only if you are truly deluded into believing anything they say.

    3. Jkjkjk Guest

      Go work for any American company with presence in china. Their numbers are up, people aren’t dying left and right. My colleagues in wuhan have been back to work since last year meanwhile we are still wfh. Of course I believe them.
      They alerted the world in dec 31st 2019. this country is trying to start war with iran 2-3 days after meanwhil The rest of asia were preparing for pandemic already. Don’t blame others for being stupid.

    4. Andy Guest

      Well, the US allowed for instance Argentina or Peru, some of the countries hardest hit, always to enter the US - but banned Finland, which did very well throughout, since March 2020 ... this is also hard to understand.

  25. Daniel from Finland Guest

    Unfortunately, this is not the whole truth. As EU members are independent countries, they all set their own restrictions and regulations concerning immigration. What this means, is that every country needs to separately make a decision on whether to open their borders to Americans. For instance Finland sets the risk country level at 25.

    There is also no free movement within the Schengen zone at the moment. There are several restrictions in place both...

    Unfortunately, this is not the whole truth. As EU members are independent countries, they all set their own restrictions and regulations concerning immigration. What this means, is that every country needs to separately make a decision on whether to open their borders to Americans. For instance Finland sets the risk country level at 25.

    There is also no free movement within the Schengen zone at the moment. There are several restrictions in place both at airports and in some cases at land borders as well. It really depends on the border whether a fellow European or an American can get in or not.

    1. Florian Guest

      25 in 14 days or 7 days? Asking b/c the current metric in Germany is cases per 100k in 7 days, and everything below 50 is usually deemed "low risk". Of course the EU had to come up with their own calculation, otherwise people could come to think it's bureaucracy is utterly useless.

      But I digress. Case numbers should become less and less important, especially once everyone had to chance to get their jab.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Andy Guest

Well, the US allowed for instance Argentina or Peru, some of the countries hardest hit, always to enter the US - but banned Finland, which did very well throughout, since March 2020 ... this is also hard to understand.

3
Miamiorbust Guest

Anyone with NYC is their handle should be ignored. Cuomo and his clones have been wrong on nearly every COVID policy. NY once mattered. It doesn’t anymore. Greatest city in the world- LOL. Keep searching for your delta zeta gamma variant. Nobody cares what you think anymore. Get used to it.

1
Noa Guest

I was literally in those countries in person. There's no restrictions. Everything crowded and unmasked. Didn't even have to wear a mask or sanitize in the clinic I got and collected my pcr test to return to US

1
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