ETIAS News

Update in EU COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

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The European Union member states have been reviewing ways to safely allow travel to resume between countries around Europe and for travelers coming from outside of Europe. Since the COVID-19 pandemic first started, travel restrictions have prevented many travelers from being able to visit countries around the world, including entering the EU.
Now that the vaccination program has been successfully started around Europe and other countries around the world, this has given EU authorities an opportunity to introduce the digital COVID travel passport.
People who have had their vaccinations can use their COVID passport to allow entry into countries who are accepting the digital passport. Countries who are heavily reliant on tourism for their economy are keen to unable tourists to return, in particular for the summer holidays and the digital COVID passport is expected to be a key element of opening up travel to tourist destinations.
The EU Commission has established a list of safe countries, where they recommend that the state members use the EU digital COVID certificate to allow vaccinated travelers to enter the EU. The digital certificate also enables free movement around the EU.

List of EU safe third countries (dated 1 July 2021)

The safe list countries are reviewed every two weeks, to check whether the level of risk of a country has changed. As of the 1 July 2021 review, the following non-EU countries are listed on the safe countries:
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Moldova
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • United States of America
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
In addition to these countries, the following are also considered safe: Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Norway, although they are not part of the EU. For the purposes of travel restrictions, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican are classed as being EU members and therefore have free movement around the EU.
The European Commission states that the vaccination must be EMA approved, which include the following vaccines:
  • Pfizer-BioNtech
  • Moderna
  • AstraZeneca
  • Johnson & Johnson
The travel restrictions for each country are decided by the member state, so even though the EU Commission has made the recommendation to lift travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers from the safe list, they may have other rules in place.
Even though these countries are currently on the safe list for EU travel, as we have seen throughout the pandemic, infection rates can suddenly increase, and variants of concern can quickly spread around a country, in which case the country could be removed from the safe list.

Travel within the EU

The EU has a colour system in place for EU countries and the required precautions, with orange areas requiring PCR tests, red areas requiring quarantine on arrival and for dark red areas, both testing and quarantine are required and non-essential travel is discouraged.
As the vaccination program continues to make good progress, the tourism industry is optimistic that travel into and around the EU will now have the majority of restrictions lifted in time for the summer holidays.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

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