COVID-19: Travel from outside the European Union

Travel restrictions to the European Union

The European Union is working with member states to contain the spread of the virus and support national health systems in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To slow the transmission of the virus, EU leaders agreed to coordinated temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU on March 17, 2020, which are in place until June 30, 2020.

In June 2020, the Council adopted a Recommendation on temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union and the possible lifting of such restrictions. The recommendation was last updated on May 20, 2021 to respond to ongoing vaccination campaigns, introduce some relaxation for vaccinated people and simplify the criteria for deregulation for third countries.

It also takes into account the potential risks posed by the new variants by creating an “emergency brake” mechanism.

Who should be allowed to travel to the European Union?

According to the Recommendation, the following categories of people should be allowed to enter the European Union under certain conditions:

  • vaccinate people
  • essential travelers
  • Non-essential travelers from countries included in the EU list

vaccinated people

If member states accept one Proof of vaccination as a basis for not applying travel restrictions, such as testing or quarantine, should, in principle, lift non-essential travel restrictions for travelers from managed third countries, at least 14 days prior to arrival, The latest recommended dose of a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Member states may also lift restrictions on non-essential travel for those given the last recommended dose of the vaccine given at least 14 days prior to arrival. The procedure for inclusion on the WHO Emergency Use List has been completed (Who is the).

Once adopted, the EU’s COVID Digital Certificate Regulation will serve as the basis for treating vaccination certificates from third countries as EU certificates. Until then, member states should be able to accept Third country certificates containing the minimum set of data, in accordance with national law and taking into account the need to be able to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate.

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essential travelers

In cases where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of persons must be exempted:

  • I EU citizens and their family members
  • I Long-term residents of the European Union and their family members

Travels by People who have a job or basic need, Including:

  • Health workers, aged care professionals, health researchers
  • Frontier workers, seasonal workers in the agricultural sector, and workers in the transport and marine sectors
  • Highly skilled workers if their work is necessary and cannot be postponed or done abroad
  • Diplomats, staff of international organizations, military and humanitarian workers
  • Transit passengers
  • Traveling due to compelling family reasons
  • Persons in need of international protection or traveling for other humanitarian reasons
  • People who travel for study purposes

Non-essential travelers from the countries on the list

The list of countries whose travel restrictions are to be gradually lifted by member states is reviewed, and updated, if appropriate, every two weeks. Non-essential travelers from the countries on the list They must be able to travel to the European Union.

The list was last updated on November 9, 2021 and includes:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • the two seas
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
  • Colombia
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Namibia
  • new Zeland
  • Qatar
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Kingdom Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay

Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the two Chinese special administrative regions:

Travel restrictions on Taiwan, which fall into the category of regional entities and authorities not recognized as countries by at least one member state, should also be gradually lifted.

For the purposes of the recommendation, persons residing in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City must 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 relate in particular to the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. These standards apply cumulatively.

When deciding whether a third country should be included in the list, the following shall be taken into account Standards related to the epidemiological situation:

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  • No more than 75 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population in the past 14 days
  • Stable or decreasing trend of new cases in the same period compared to the previous 14 days
  • More than 300 tests per 100,000 population were performed in the previous seven days, if data are available to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
  • No more than 4% of positive tests for all COVID-19 tests performed in the previous seven days, if data is available to ECDC
  • The nature of the virus present in a country, particularly whether variants of interest or concern have been identified
  • Overall country response to COVID-19 considering available information, including aspects such as surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if necessary, an overall average score according to international standards for health regulation (RSI)

The progress of the vaccination campaign against the virus in the population must also be taken into account. Reciprocity must also be taken into account on a case-by-case basis and on a regular basis.

Test and quarantine

All people traveling from any country For fundamental or non-essential reasons They must have undergone, no more than 72 hours before, a PCR test Negative result.

Member states can also impose Self-isolation or quarantine For up to 14 days, plus additional COVID-19 tests if needed during the same period.

Emergency brake mechanism

If the epidemiological situation of a third country or region rapidly deteriorates, particularly if a different type of concern or concern is identified, Member States should adopt Temporary and urgent restriction of all travel to the European Union.

This is the emergency brake. It should not apply to EU citizens, to long-term residents of the EU and certain categories of essential travelers, which must nevertheless be subject to appropriate testing and quarantine measures, even if fully vaccinated. These restrictions should be reviewed at least every two weeks.

The Board’s recommendation is not a legally binding document. The authorities of the Member States remain responsible for the implementation of their content.

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Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, as Schengen affiliated countries, also agreed to participate in the recommendation.

Reopening the European Union is also available as an app

Plan your trip on reopening the European Union

The Reopening the European Union app and website collects all essential information about borders, available transport, travel restrictions, public health and security measures, such as physical distancing or the use of masks, as well as other practical information for travelers.

With the travel planning system, you can plan safe trips between European Union countries.

All information is available in 24 official languages ​​of the European Union.

Consular assistance for EU citizens abroad

Under European Union law Citizens have the right to request assistance from the embassy or consulate of any EU country Other than those for them in cases where they need assistance outside the European Union and the embassy or consulate of their Member State is not available.

The European Commission and the European External Action Service help return stranded EU citizens to other countries around the world, while member states provide useful information about travel restrictions. EU citizens who require assistance from outside the EU are advised to contact the member states.

For those traveling within the European Union

The Council adopted a recommendation to develop common standards, four categories of risk areas and a common framework for travel measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per the recommendation, holders of vaccination certificates issued in line with the EU Digital COVID Certification Regulation and persons recovering from COVID-19 should not be subject to the requirement to undergo testing or self-quarantine/isolation under certain circumstances.

For more information see the following page:

[1] This appointment is without prejudice to positions on the situation and is in line with Security Council Resolution 1244/1999 and with the opinion of the Council of Government on the declaration of independence of Kosovo.

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