Americans have been banned from all non-essential travel to Europe for over a year.
But with the European summer season starting next month, it looks like things are beginning to change.
With the U.S. transitioning from one of the worst-hit nations by the virus to the forefront of the vaccine rollout (48% of the population has received at least one dose), travel restrictions could finally lift.
On April 25, the European Commission announced a plan to recommend member states open their borders to fully vaccinated American tourists for summer.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.
“This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union. All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that E.M.A approves.”
Here’s what the proposal would mean for American travelers:
What Vaccines Will The E.U. Accept?
The E.U. recognises the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine shots.
When Will The E.U. Restrictions on American Tourists Lift?
Despite the possibility of lifting the travel ban, the proposal has no clear timeline. The E.U. may wait until the U.S. has vaccinated a specific percentage of the population and achieved herd immunity.
Will Children Need Proof of Vaccination to Visit Europe?
No. Children traveling with their vaccinated parents who are too young to receive the vaccine will only need proof of a negative PCR test to enter Europe.
What is The Digital Green Vaccine Passport?
In the proposal, the European Union described introducing a digital green passport. It would act as proof you have received a valid vaccine.
However, the vaccine passport is not ready to roll out to the masses. In the interim, the E.U. will accept proof of vaccination from your country.
At the moment, France is testing a digital health certificate for travel on flights to Corsica.
What Countries in Europe Are Open to American Tourists?
While the recommendations to open the E.U. up to American Tourists is still being reviewed, a few countries are already welcoming back U.S. travelers.
Here is a list of European countries you can visit right now:
Greece: Since April 19, Greece opened its borders to American travelers (and a handful of other countries). If you want to visit, all you need is proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test that isn’t more than 72-hours old.
Croatia: Croatia is an E.U. member, but vaccinated Americans are allowed to visit. The country will also allow entry if you have proof of a negative test taken within 48-hours or if you take a test upon arrival and it’s negative.
Iceland: Iceland is part of the Schengen border-free area of Europe. The island nation is welcoming vaccinated American travellers with no quarantine period or testing on arrival required.
France: France announced plans to open to vaccinated American tourists from June 9 in time for the summer season. However, borders are currently closed.
Georgia: Georgia is open to vaccinated tourists from the U.S. and other countries. However, you need to arrive by air (land and sea entry is not allowed). If you’re unvaccinated, you’ll need a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72-hours and a second test on your third day in the country. There is also a 12-day quarantine period if you’ve traveled via the U.K.
Montenegro: Montengro’s borders are open to fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S. and a small list of other countries. To enter, you’ll need proof you’ve been vaccinated for at least a week.
With no timeline set on when Americans will be allowed back into the E.U., don’t rush out and buy flights yet.
While the news of the year-long travel ban to Europe coming to an end is great news for Americans, we still need to be cautious.
Some European countries are experiencing their third waves of outbreaks, and others are still under lockdown (like Germany). This could delay borders opening, or only specific countries will open to U.S. travelers.
Until we have clear dates, hold back on locking in dates and paying deposits for a 2021 European summer trip.