Europe Prepares to Welcome U.S. Travelers This Summer

 

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Dreaming of a Europe vacation? More than a year after nonessential travel was shut down, American tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may soon be able to visit the European Union. The head of the European Commission announced on April 25 that the E.U.’s executive branch would recommend that its 27 member states open their borders to vaccinated American travelers this summer.

What Documentation Will Be Required?

While there is no specific timeline on when tourist travel might open up or details on the requirements for entry, it’s likely that you will need to provide a government-issued vaccine certificate. For now, officials have not specified whether Americans will need to show the vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other documentation.

Discussions are ongoing in the E.U. and U.S. on how to make vaccine certificates widely acceptable throughout both regions, so that travelers could rely on one health pass to get around. Until a universal vaccine passport can be developed, a low-tech solution may be used in the interim. For example, a traveler to Europe would be allowed to get an E.U. vaccine-certificate equivalent on arrival after showing a certificate issued by his or her own government. For children too young to be vaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival may be acceptable.

Individual Countries May Decide Their Own Rules

Although the European Commission will recommend the broad change in travel policy, individual countries will have the right to keep stricter limits. A few European countries already are allowing visitors from the U.S, and their policies offer a hint at what others may decide moving forward.

As of April 19, Greece has been welcoming Americans who fill out a locator form at least one day before entering or leaving the country. You must also provide proof that you’ve been fully vaccinated (a CDC card is sufficient) or present a negative test within 72 hours of arrival.  You no longer need to quarantine under this policy.

If you’re traveling to Iceland, you can also avoid mandatory quarantine by presenting a CDC vaccination card or providing proof that you have had COVID-19. However, you’ll still need to take another COVID-19 test upon arrival, then wait at your accommodation for the results.

Starting in June, France  and Spain will also welcome foreign travelers. France has said it will require a “health pass” (details to come), while visitors to Spain must show proof they’ve been vaccinated, recently tested negative for the coronavirus, or recently recovered from COVID-19.

Word to the wise: If you plan to travel to multiple countries, make sure to have the necessary documentation for each one.

Be Prepared for Last-Minute Changes

Just because a country is accepting U.S. travelers does not mean a visit is risk-free. If you’re trying to decide whether to travel or where to go, experts recommend considering countries with low levels of transmission and declining case numbers.

COVID-19 variants remain a concern in many countries as well as in the U.S. Travel could be suspended at any time, so tracking a country’s requirements right up until your departure date is essential. Check Skyscanner’s interactive global map for real-time updates about travel restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Keep in mind that the CDC is still requiring U.S. citizens to submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding their flight back home. And don’t forget to book your rides to and from the airport before you go. New Jersey’s reputable limousine services offer the safest and most reliable ground transportation option for you and your family.

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