On July 1, 2020, the European Union [EU] issued recommendations to its member states to lift restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU for foreign travelers from the following 15 countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China [provided China’s reciprocity]. The list of authorized countries also includes the European microstates of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican.
The EU will review the list of admissible countries every two weeks and will continue to lift travel restrictions [totally or partially], as well as to reintroduce restrictions for specific countries according to changes in epidemiological situation.
The EU barred travelers from the U.S. from entering the EU area. For purposes of the travel ban, the EU includes 30 countries: 26 EU member states1 and the four Schengen Associated States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Although an EU member state, Ireland does not currently apply the EU travel restrictions.
Foreign travelers’ country of residence, not their nationality, is the determining factor for their ability to travel to EU countries. As such, the EU travel restrictions apply to both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. While the travel restrictions depend on the foreign traveler’s country of residence, the requirements for the issuance of visas to travel to the EU continues to depend on nationality/citizenship. For example, if a foreign traveler resides in a country where restrictions have been lifted, but is a citizen of a visa-required country, he/she must apply at the consulate of the member state to which he/she wishes to travel to, in his/her country of residence.
The following categories of travelers are exempt from the temporary EU travel restrictions:
For purposes of the travel restrictions, citizens from the United Kingdom [UK] are regarded as EU citizens until the end of the Brexit transition period [December 31, 2020]. As a result, UK citizens and their family members are currently exempt from the temporary travel restrictions.
The criteria to determine the countries for which the EU should terminate travel restrictions include “the epidemiological situation and containment measures,” as well as economic and social factors. Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries must meet the following requirements:
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1 The 27 member countries of the EU include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.