Travel restrictions: The Council adds Japan to the list of countries whose member states must gradually lift restrictions on non-essential travel

Following the revision envisaged in the recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU, the Council has updated the list of countries whose travel restrictions should be lifted by adding Japan. As indicated in the Board’s recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed every two weeks and, where appropriate, updated.

Based on the criteria and conditions set forth in the Recommendation, as of June 3, 2021, Member States should Gradual lifting of travel restrictions at external borders for people residing in the following third countries البلدان:

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • new Zeland
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Travel restrictions are also expected to be phased out in China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.

For the purposes of the recommendation, persons residing in Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City shall be considered as persons residing in the European Union.

I Standards To identify the three countries from which current travel restrictions should be lifted, updated May 20, 2021. It covers the epidemiological situation and 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.

Context

On 30 June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union. The Recommendation includes a preliminary list of countries in which Member States should proceed to lift travel restrictions at external borders. The list is reviewed every two weeks and updated if necessary.

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On May 20, the council adopted a revised recommendation to respond to ongoing vaccination campaigns by introducing some relaxation for vaccinated people and simplifying deregulation criteria 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 quickly respond 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, in complete transparency, only move forward gradually in lifting travel restrictions with respect to the listed countries.

A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions for third countries not on the list before a coordinated decision is taken.

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