The European Union has lifted travel bans on American travelers from the United States. The EU’s governing body – the European Council – said Americans can come to the EU whether they are vaccinated or not. However, each country within the EU is free to impose additional travel restrictions as they see fit. The EU travel ban on the United States lasted for more than one year.
Non-essential travels from 14 countries are now possible to the 27 countries that make up the EU. The countries that have been approved to visit are Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, USA, and China. The approval is positive subject to the fact that the approved countries will also permit travelers from the EU.
Notably, the UK is not included in the list of approved countries to visit the EU, but the list is always reviewed every two weeks and the UK may later make the list. The 14 approved countries were approved because of their current COVID-19 health status or what the EU’s executive branch called the “epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources.”
But it is still left to each of the 27 countries within the EU to make its own border decisions. The nations will determine if PCR or rapid antigen coronavirus tests are necessary when US travelers arrive and if it will be necessary to impose mandatory quarantine. The European Council however urges nations to coordinate with their neighbors to ensure that travel and safety protocols are well regulated.
Reciprocity is another factor that EU countries would consider when allowing Americans to visit. It is noteworthy that the United States has not removed the restriction placed on European travelers, even though EU leaders think the Biden administration may soon lift the ban. Right now, the US does not allow non-citizens who just came back from the UK or EU to enter the country, and how soon this situation will change remains unknown.
“We have received reassurances that this is a high-priority issue for the U.S. administration,” said the spokesman for the European Commission, Adalbert Jahnz. “It goes without saying that we would expect the same from partner countries outside the EU for EU citizens traveling to those countries. So we are hopeful that we will find solutions that are workable for the US as well.”