Summer Travel: The EU is relaxing travel restrictions for Americans

By jmarble on Sat, 06/05/2021 - 14:17


Vaccines are the passport for entry to Europe in 2021

6 June 2021 - It has been a long year, and we all had to put travel plans on hold and do something wanderlusts have a hard time doing—staying home.

However, the United States’ pandemic situation is changing for the better, and much of the country is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Europe is taking steps toward reopening the borders safely, with some careful restrictions. 

Read more for the latest information on European travel updates, vaccines, and other travel guidelines. 

When will Americans be able to travel to the European Union again?

Soon, but formal updated travel guidelines have not been issued as of the time of writing this article so we don’t have an exact date. On 19 May, European Union ambassadors agreed to relax existing restrictions and allow for entry based on incidence rates and vaccination status. 

Wondering what entry and testing requirements and restrictions are for a particular country? An official website of the European Union's, Re-open EU, provides information on the measures in place for health and safety, including ony quarantine or testing requisites for travelers. Current information can be found here:

Visit the European Commmision website to learn more about Europe travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU Council is going to ease the standards for what is considered safe to travel from, and more countries’ citizens will be allowed entry to Europe. Although the United States is not expected to be on the ‘safe’ list yet, ambassadors did agree to allow US citizens entry to the EU upon proof of vaccination.

Inoculated individuals must have received their final dose at least two weeks (14 days) before date of arrival. Vaccines must be from an EU-approved manufacturer, which includes Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. 

Children under age 18 must travel with vaccinated parents and must have a negative COVID test upon arrival.


FAQ about summer 2021 travel to Europe for US citizens


What will the restrictions be visiting Europe?

Travelers will need to travel from a ‘safe’ country of origin, but there will be some travel exceptions for individuals based on vaccination status, sometimes called a ‘green pass’. Entry into Europe may also require a negative COVID-19 test.

EU member states also reserve the right to reinstate quarantine guidelines and testing requirements based on changes in COVID-19 cases.

Do I need to show proof of vaccination to visit Europe?

US citizens will need to show proof of complete vaccination from a manufacturer authorized by the European Medicines Agency; authorized manufacturers include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. The EU is considering accepting certain World Health Organization emergency vaccines, but that is still under review.

As of early June 2021, almost 52% of the US has had at least one dose, and more than 41% (138 million) are fully vaccinated.

Will I need a negative COVID-19 test to travel to Europe?

Even if you are fully vaccinated, you may still be required to present a negative test prior to arrival. Each EU member state reserves the right to restrict entry based on COVID status.  

The EU ambassador group also agreed to measures known as ‘emergency brakes’ in case of viral spikes or new variants. According to ABC News, “Once the non-binding measures are approved, EU countries will keep the possibility to impose restrictive measures on tourists such as PCR tests or quarantines.”

Can US citizens enter Europe with a passport?

With the health restrictions in place, you’ll need more than just your passport to enter Europe. You’ll also need proof of vaccination from an EU-approved manufacturer. As of the time of writing this article, vaccinated Americans are still not officially allowed to enter Europe, but those restrictions are expected to lift soon. 

What is the European Travel Information and Authorization System, "ETIAS" for European travel?

Beginning in late 2022 or early 2023, you will also need to apply for the via waiver program known as the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). The visa waiver will be an additional document electronically tied to your passport. The electronic application is a type of background check that confirms your identity and checks against several European security databases.

Th ETIAS will be required for all short-term travelers from 61 countries, including the United States and Canada. Once approved, the ETIAS visa waiver is valid for three years and allows for borderless travel within 27 European countries in a region also known as the Schengen Area.

The Schengen Area comprises mostly EU members but also non-EU members Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland. The ETIAS application process is entirely online. When the time comes, get assistance filling out your forms correctly so that you can get processed quickly. Learn more about ETIAS here.

Planning for European travel in 2021? We don’t have to wait much longer...

While you wait for official word from the European Union as to when the fully vaccinated can go to Europe, start planning your trip. Seeing Europe at the height of summer is a treat, but you’ll still want to plan ahead to best navigate potential occupancy restrictions. 

See you in Paris!

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