Europe was among the first regions to close down for tourism during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, today with the vaccination campaign well underway and improving case number statistics, things are gradually moving back towards normality.
Of course, many are now asking if Europe is open for business once again and ready to welcome back tourists from other regions?
Read on to learn more about if it is possible to travel to Europe right now and what kind of restrictions tourists may face when arriving in the UK or EU this summer.
What Do I Need to Travel to Europe Now?
Although COVID cases are falling in many parts of Europe, there are still a few important rules that must be followed when arriving from other continents.
To enter Europe right now you will need:
- Your passport (with over 6 months of validity remaining)
- A passenger locator form for the country you’re visiting
- Proof of vaccination or;
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test (taken within the last 72 hours)
The EU has introduced the Digital Green Certificate to ensure that visitors arriving are free from COVID and safe to travel. This will document proof of either having received a COVID-19 vaccination or testing negative for the illness via a PCR test. It will be fully live across all 27 EU Schengen countries from June 15.
Another requirement for entering Europe from 2022 onwards is the ETIAS visa waiver. This will be required by all non-EU and non-EFTA passport holders. Passengers from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia will need to apply for this online before arriving at an EU-Schengen airport once it is launched.
Where Can I Visit in Europe Today?
Only a few European countries have dropped their quarantine restrictions for some international worldwide visitors, including Americans, at the time of publication. According to Forbes, this includes:
- The United Kingdom
However, a number of others are planning to drop their quarantines imminently such as Malta on June 1 and Denmark on June 26. However, other countries are also likely to open before the end of June for vaccinated travelers with a Digital Green Certificate.
Additionally, according to Skyscanner, some non-EU European countries are allowing American tourists to enter right now, although subject to testing requirements and possible quarantine of up to 10 days. These nations include:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
Who Can and Cannot Visit the EU and Europe?
The European Union is currently allowing passengers from countries with low case incidence to enter the bloc without restriction. At the moment tourists from the following countries may enter the EU freely:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China + Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao
People from other nationalities cannot enter Europe for tourism purposes currently. However, visitors from non-safelist countries may travel to the Schengen area for essential reasons such as business or visiting resident family members.
This is also likely to change by mid-June once the EU rolls out the Digital Green Certificate to screen vaccinated passengers and COVID test results.
What to Do Before Visiting Europe in Summer 2021
Before deciding to travel to Europe it’s important to check the specific requirements for the country you’ll be visiting.
Each individual nation sets its own rules on testing and entry requirements for citizens from outside the continent. Therefore, it’s important to check these on their official government website before booking your flights.
If you’ve already received your vaccinations for COVID-19 you’ll find it much easier to pass through international border controls. You may need to provide proof either with your vaccine certificate from your pharmacy provider or via the EU Digital Green Certificate.
However, If you’re still waiting to get your shots you will instead need to make sure you get a COVID PCR test at least 72 hours before your departure. The results certificate will need to be presented either as a physical copy or via the EU Green Certificate app.
Travelers should also follow the current CDC advice for international travel. This includes:
- Wearing a face mask
- Keeping at least 6 feet distance from other people
- Cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitiser
Whilst things are gradually getting back to normal in Europe it’s still important to be prepared for some of the extra requirements for travelers at the moment. However, the good news is that international travel is increasingly possible once again, meaning summer vacations can be enjoyed to their full.