Following the review envisaged in the recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union, the Council has updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other regional entities and authorities to which travel restrictions have been imposed. In particular, Argentina, Colombia, Namibia and Peru were added to the list.
Non-essential travel into the European Union from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restrictions. This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU for travelers who have been fully vaccinated.
As indicated in the Board’s recommendation, the List will continue to be reviewed and updated, as appropriate, every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set forth in the Recommendation, as of October 28, 2021, Member States should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders of persons residing in the following third countries:
- Argentina (new)
- the two seas
- Colombia (new)
- Namibia (new)
- new Zeland
- Peru (new)
- Kingdom Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- The United Arab Emirates
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
Travel restrictions are also expected to be gradually lifted for China’s Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions.
Travel restrictions on Taiwan, which fall into the category of regional entities and authorities not recognized as states by at least one member state, should also be lifted.
For the purposes of this Recommendation, persons residing in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City should be considered as persons residing in the European Union.
The criteria for determining the third countries from which the current travel restrictions should be lifted were updated on May 20, 2021. They cover the epidemiological situation and the overall response to COVID-19 as well as the reliability of the information and data sources available. Reciprocity must also be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.
The associated Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) also participate in the recommendation.
On June 30, 2020, the Council adopted a Recommendation on the Phase-Out of Temporary Restrictions on Non-Essential Travel to the European Union, which includes a preliminary list of countries in which Member States should proceed to lift restrictions on cross-border travel. The list is reviewed every two weeks and updated if necessary.
On May 20, the council adopted an amendment recommendation to respond to the ongoing vaccination campaigns by introducing some relaxation for vaccinated people and simplifying the criteria for deregulation for third countries. At the same time, the modifications take into account the potential risks posed by new variants by creating an “emergency brake” mechanism to respond quickly to the emergence of an interesting or worrisome variant in a third country.
The Board’s recommendation is not a legally binding document. The authorities of Member States remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. However, they can, with complete transparency, only gradually proceed with the lifting of travel restrictions in relation to the listed countries.
A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions on third countries not on the list before a coordinated decision is taken.
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