After a year of being unable to jet off on a European holiday, vaccinated Americans are set to be able to visit countries in the European Union (EU) this summer.
This will come as welcome news to those who have missed vacationing in Europe, after nonessential travel from most countries was curtailed to curb the spread of COVID-19. The development was revealed by president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in an interview with The New York Times. The new rules will apply to the 27 countries of the EU, as some European countries are already allowing vaccinated US citizens. Here’s what we know about the situation so far.
Greece is welcoming fully vaccinated travelers or those with a negative PCR result © Songquan Deng/Shutterstock
When can Americans travel to EU countries?
No precise timeline has been given yet as talks are still ongoing between US and EU authorities around how to make vaccine certificates acceptable as proof of immunity for visitors. However, Ursula von der Leyen’s comments indicate that vaccinated US travelers are expected to be permitted to travel there over the summer.
Will I need to have received a specific vaccine?
Americans will need to be in receipt of European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines to be permitted to enter the EU’s 27 member states. This includes the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which are the vaccines currently being used in the US.
Do I need a vaccine passport?
This hasn’t been clarified yet. It is expected that US travelers will need to corroborate vaccination with documentation that is compatible with the EU’s proposed Digital Green Certificate, which it estimates may be in use by June. In addition, French president, Emmanuel Macron, revealed that his government and the White House are finalizing the technical discussions around granting a “special pass” to allow US citzens to enter as part of a broader tourism reopening.
Ireland is open to US travelers under certain conditions © Pierre Leclerc Photography/Getty Images
What European countries are open to Americans already?
Albania: There are no test or quarantine requirements, but travelers can expect to undergo a health screening.
Bosnia & Hercegovina: Travelers can enter with a negative PCR test result that’s no more than 48 hours old.
Croatia: Travelers must have proof of a negative result from a PCR test that’s no more than 48 hours old upon arrival. Alternatively, they can take a PCR test immediately upon arriving and self-isolate until a negative result is produced.
Cyprus: US travelers must present proof of a negative PCR test, complete a second test upon arrival (at a cost of €30) and have an approved Flight Pass.
Greece: Travelers who are fully vaccinated or those with a negative result from a PCR test that’s no more than 72 hours old may enter.
Iceland: Fully vaccinated travelers or those with proof of recovery from the virus may enter Iceland.
Ireland: Travelers must present a negative PCR test result taken within the previous 72 hours to enter, and there’s a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arriving Americans regardless of vaccination status.
Malta: Travelers who transit via a “safe corridor country” that allows US visitors may enter Malta after they’ve been in the previous country for 14 days.
Montenegro: Vaccinated travelers are permitted to enter as well as those with a negative result from a PCR test no more than 72 hours old. Those with a positive result for IgG antibodies not older than 30 days may also enter.
North Macedonia: There are no test or quarantine requirements, but travelers can expect to undergo an airport thermal screening.
Turkey: Travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test result taken 72 hours or less before their flight to enter.
United Kingdom: Non-essential travel is banned but England is open to Americans, provided they test negative before arrival, undergo a 10-day quarantine and take two additional tests while quarantining. Americans traveling to Scotland are required to self-isolate in designated quarantine hotels for 10 days at a cost of £1750 per individual traveler and undergo two additional COVID tests. There are no international flights arriving in Wales and Northern Ireland at present.
Are Americans able to travel internationally?
Americans are able to travel internationally if they meet the requirements of their destination. However, the US Department of State recently updated its travel advisories, with 80% of the world’s countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel. The change was made to bring the State Department’s recommendations in line with the US Centres for Disease Control’s (CDC) Travel Health Notices. However, these warnings are fluid and will change in line with the COVID-19 situation in the destination country.
What is the COVID-19 situation like in Europe?
The situation in Europe is still volatile in places thanks to a third wave of COVID-19 that swept over parts of the continent over the past month. As case counts continue to rise in some areas, restrictions remain in place. France has implemented another evening curfew, for example. The vaccine rollout has not progressed as quickly as hoped, due in part to complications reported around particular vaccines, but it is hoped that the situation will improve as more vaccines become available in the coming months.
Are there flights available to Europe?
US airlines seem hopeful for a summer of travel. While there are fewer flights available compared to pre-pandemic schedules, airlines are still flying to Europe from the US. In light of the countries now allowing US travelers to enter either with vaccinations or PCR tests, United Airlines has added new flights to Croatia, Iceland and Greece. Delta is also launching a direct flight between Boston and Iceland.
As the rules and restrictions are frequently updated, please check with the relevant US embassy for any country you hope to visit to obtain the most up-to-date information for US travelers.
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