Summer is getting closer every day and so is the increase in vaccination rates. Some EU countries are going faster than others in opening their borders to foreign tourists.
As vaccination rates rise and summer approaches in Europe, many people who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 are anxious to go on vacation. The EU’s new “COVID Digital Certificate” will be effective from 1 July to facilitate travel within Europe, and Member States have agreed on rules and recommendations to allow fully vaccinated tourists from abroad to return to the EU. But, for now, the reality remains a patchwork of restrictions where Member States apply different policies in different ways.
The situation varies from country to country. Here are some of the rules – and exemptions – for vaccinated travellers throughout the EU:
France, has opened its doors to many tourists from around the globe who have received full doses of vaccination as of June 9. It is the number one destination for international tourism.
- Vaccinated people travelling from the EU and countries on France’s “green” list – including South Korea, Japan and Israel – can avoid the COVID-19 testing requirement altogether. Unvaccinated travelers from those regions may enter with a negative test.
- Meanwhile, vaccinated tourists on France’s “orange” list – which includes the United States, Mexico and most African and Asian countries – will not need to prove an essential reason for travel. They will be exempt from quarantine, but will have to present a negative COVID-19 test.Unvaccinated people from these areas will only be allowed to enter France for essential reasons, such as attending a funeral or receiving urgent medical care.
- The same is true of France’s “red” list, which includes South Africa, India, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Colombia. All people arriving from red areas should self-isolate for at least seven days, even if they are vaccinated.
France will reopen to international tourists, provided they are vaccinated, with conditions.
Spain has opened its borders to vaccinated tourists from many countries of the world on June 7.
Persons entering Spain from what are considered “at risk” areas – including many EU members and most other countries in the world – can avoid quarantine requirements by presenting proof of full vaccination with a vaccine that has been approved by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization, a COVID-19 catch-up test, or a negative test. Vaccination with the second dose must have taken place 14 days before travel.
Spain has shocked Europe by allowing UK tourists to enter freely, regardless of their vaccination status. In the meantime, most EU citizens must have proof of immunity to COVID-19 or proof.
Greece has opened its doors to tourists from about 50 countries, including EU member states, Russia and China, the United States, Canada.
- To enter Greece, travellers must have a certificate of vaccination, a negative PCR test or a COVID-19 recovery test.
The Greek authorities consider that people are actually vaccinated 14 days after the last dose was administered, and travellers can still be subjected to random rapid tests at the airport. All arrivals must complete a Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours prior to arrival.
Most travel to Germany from outside the EU and the Schengen area is still limited to urgent travel. Despite this, Germany has begun to accept COVID-19 certificates in some cases where travel is permitted.
While passengers arriving in the country by air usually have to undergo the test prior to their departure from their native country, those who may have a certificate of vaccination against the coronavirus are now exempt from the test.
Tourists who have passed through what Germany considers a “risk zone” (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru) must enter quarantine upon arrival in Germany, and, as a rule, the isolation period can be “terminated early” if a vaccination certificate is presented, according to the country’s Robert Koch Institute.
Passengers who have been in a country classified by Germany as a “red zone” – such as the UK, Brazil, India or Uruguay as of 4 June – cannot leave the quarantine early, even if they have been vaccinated.
Other EU countries – Denmark, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Poland and Lithuania – are so far adopting similar approaches to Germany: maintaining restrictions on most non-essential travel from outside the EU, while waiving some testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated people.
- The European Union’s “Reopen EU” website provides up-to-date information on travel rules and restrictions in the 27 Member States.
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