Politics in the European Union can be complicated and decisions can take considerable time, even good ones, like safely reopening travel.

Potentially “good news” for travel emerged last week when the European Commission recommended that the bloc of 27 countries open up to vaccinated travelers, and a list of “safe countries”, but ultimately it was up to ambassadors from 27 member states to back the proposal, or not. Now, they have.

EU Accepts Proposal To Reopen Travel

As of Wednesday, May 19th, that proposal to reopen tourism has been accepted and agreed in consensus by the EU member states, and a full list of countries and entry protocols is expected by Friday!

In short, if you’re fully vaccinated with an EU approved vaccine, you should be able to visit without restriction in the imminent future.

Vaccines approved and endorsed by the EU for proof include the: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines. A traveler is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the date of their final shot.

There’s also been recent clarification as to what will “count” as proof. It’s expected that restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, or those coming from “safe” countries could drop as early as next week, according to the NYT.

This exciting development turns the spotlight focus squarely onto the United States, which still has bans in place for most travelers coming from the European Union or the United Kingdom. It had been expected that these measures would be dropped in mid June, but with Europe moving swiftly, the US could follow suit in a more timely fashion and welcome both Brits and Europeans once again.

Even with the welcome mat being rolled out, a bizarre ‘traffic light” system in place in the UK makes outbound travel to Europe virtually untenable, even for fully vaccinated travelers, with high testing costs and lengthy quarantine upon return for most foreign destinations, other than Iceland or Portugal. The list is subject to change.

If travel to Europe has been the dream for summer or autumn 2021, it appears that vaccinated travelers and those coming from soon to be announced “safe” countries will shortly have their chance.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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9 Comments

  1. Fingers and toes crossed that this will be managed in a way that allows for leisure travel ex-USA this Summer and Fall. Obviously it’s best not to get hopes up too high, but there seems to be an actual chance for it to work. The next step, of course, is to see just how much of the host countries’ amenities are open. After all, unless one is content with walking around and looking at closed shops (I am, but understandably most travellers are not), not only the country, but also the attractions, have to be safe and open.

  2. Thanks for constantly reporting on this topic…The confusion surrounding the EU opening is really crazy. Some countries you can get in with a PCR test and they sell it through an airline. Now only vaccinated travelers from US. Well we have a trip planned later this summer and my wife was told by her two medical doctors to not get the vaccine due to her autoimmune disease. Maybe by end of August they will have this figured out.

    I leave for Greece June 2…going through Paris now June 10 for a long layover hope I can spend the night in the Marais.

    1. Hey Jeff P,

      Generally speaking the good news is that vaccinated should be eligible everywhere, but some countries (like Greece) are happy to accept a negative test in lieu, so it’s really all positive. Most countries seem to be willing to accept full vaccination or negative PCR. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Gilbert…your optimism regarding Euro travel is always encouraging. What do think about traveling to London and UK for Christmas markets etc…?

  3. Thanks for constantly reporting on this topic…The confusion surrounding the EU opening is really crazy. Some countries you can get in with a PCR test and they sell it through an airline. Now only vaccinated travelers from US. Well we have a trip planned later this summer and my wife was told by her two medical doctors to not get the vaccine due to her autoimmune disease. Maybe by end of August they will have this figured out.

    I leave for Greece June 2…going through Paris now June 10 for a long layover hope I can spend the night in the Marais.

  4. Thanks for the info. All very confusing. Leave for Greece on 1st with a 2 hour transit in Frankfurt. Have an official vaccine certificate but still don’t know if I need a test or not for either Germany or Greece. Do you know where or when this info will be published.
    Thank you

  5. I’m sounding like a broken record. However, since millions have actually HAD Covid-19 and recovered, there should be an option to travel with proof of antibodies. An antibody test takes a simple blood draw and the results are available within two-three days in most cases. The test in the US costs no more than $43.

    Why not just get the vaccine? After all, the CDC says that recovered COVID19 patients should still get the jab. They say that there’s still much to learn about how long the ‘naturally acquired’ antibodies last. (But they’re also saying that people may have to get re-vaccinated every six months, too – so why the preference for the vaccination over the natural form of antibodies?)

    One prominent physician/immunologist, Dr. Hooman Noorchasm, warns against getting vaccinated if you already have covid antibodies, especially people in my age group – over 65. Complications, including blood clots and severe reactions to the vaccination have been recorded. Yet there are very few cases of people with COVID antibodies – something like six world wide – from getting reinfected.

    An antibody test can be repeated, of course, all for a $43 fee. So why would anyone who has already had the damned disease want a vaccination if they already are unlikely to get it again or spread it?

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