Gravina in Puglia, Bari, Italy: landscape at sunrise of the old town and the ancient aqueduct bridge (viadotto Madonna della Stella) over the deep ravine

The rumors were true: Americans won’t be allowed to visit Europe this summer, with very few exceptions. Alongside hundreds of other countries, the United States of America has officially been excluded from travel to Europe this summer, but for other countries hoping to experience summer along a riviera, or a European capital, there’s good news ahead. 14 countries will soon be eligible to enter Europe as of July 1st, signalling a welcomed rebirth of international travel.

July Update: Serbia and Montenegro have been removed from the list, bringing the number of countries allowed to enter Europe down to 12, from 14.

Which Countries Can Visit Europe This Summer?

Not the United States. Travelers from: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan,  Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay are all be able to enter the European Union without quarantine or other border restrictions for travel from July 1st, 2020 onward.

Brazil, China and the United States, three driving forces in world tourism have been excluded, though China is expected to be added once the country agrees to a reciprocal agreement, where visitors from the EU may once again enter China.

Why are these countries out? It’s got little to do with previous death tolls, which many EU nations suffered in equal or similar measure, and everything to do with current rates of infection and lack of preventative measure to curb the spread. The United States, with open movement between states wouldn’t easily create air bridges with other nations from certain states without significant legal challenges and logistical concerns.

Here’s the reasoning for allowing these 12 countries, as opposed to others, directly from the EU

Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:

  • number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
  • stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.

Countries more dependent on tourism, including Greece, were expected to allow US travel despite the ruling, but rumors are strong that these countries will no longer break with the EU, and will indeed block US travel.

For now, even within Europe, countries are approaching the reopening to leisure travel differently, so this does not mean the free-for-all across all European borders it may once have. Nordic countries such as Norway and select Eastern European countries are currently the most restrictive to travel, and currently block visitors even from within the EU from entry.

Here’s a list of current border restrictions for popular European countries.

Still hoping to go somewhere?Countries such as Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and many other perennial favorites have eased restrictions for European neighbors, the UK and now too for international visitors, so there are still plenty to choose.

Notable Exceptions For Family And Those In Europe

First: if you’re an immediate family member of a current citizen of a European country, there’s a high likelihood you will be able to visit Europe this summer, even if your country may be excluded. Children, parents and spouses of people with passports from a Schengen or European country would be eligible to enter.

Here’s how the EU defines the exceptions for people hoping to travel from a country not on the list…

  • EU citizens and their family members
  • long-term EU residents and their family members
  • travellers with an essential function or need, as listed in the Recommendation.

Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation. In other words, these four countries will count towards any of the distinctions above, so a family member of someone from Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein or Norway would also be fine.

What counts as eligible Family Member of EU citizens? Someone who is a non-EU spouse, child, dependent parent or dependent grandparent of an EU citizen is able to travel given the family exception. Emphasis is definitely on dependent for parents and grandparents, so be sure to check further details.

For those already in the EU who travel on passports issued from other countries, it’s much the same. Restrictions will limit entry for those originating journey from countries not mentioned above, but an American living in Paris shouldn’t have issue at many European borders.

Best practices are to check current IATA Travel Guidelines, and to cross check the information with any country resources from an official government, and then once again with TravelBans.org. If in doubt about your status and planning to travel, be sure to carry any relevant documents as to family relationships with someone holding a European passport, or any other necessary condition for entry.

Will Plans Change For International Travel?

You bet! For a start, the EU plans to update the approved country travel list every two weeks, which means many other nations could be added by the time summer takes full shape, provided they control the pandemic. Using the same logic, a sudden spike in cases from any country could mean exclusion, even for those currently approved.

That complicates things, no doubt, but there are still ways.

Make sure to only book with travel providers offering flexibility to change dates, cancel or amend a trip without penalty, and avoid booking any travel which doesn’t offer this vital flexibility. Hotels are among the most flexible in travel booking right now, offering risk free cancellation, in some cases up to the day before arrival, and many airlines are offering similar levels of ease for travel in 2020.

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...

Join the Conversation

11 Comments

  1. This is kinda dumb. And yes, I realize it is a negotiating tactic. Treating all 50 US states the exact same way is myopic. I live in a state that has a total of 93 deaths since this thing started, almost 80% over 70 years old.
    If I(or others) have recent negative test proof why not allow entrance?
    Treating Wyoming, Montana and West Virginia the same as Florida, Texas or Arizona at this point seems a bit much.
    I won’t get into the politics but this ban on ALL states is partially to send a message and partially for health.
    Oh well. Maybe next year. Europe doesn’t really want us anyway.

  2. The message to Americans is “with your guns, racism, and crazy cowboy individualism we are going to punish all of you who love to travel to Europe so that you will vote properly this fall.”

    We get the message. They want our money just not us. Now they get neither. Not sure how this helps their economies but I guess virtue signalling trumps economics every time.

  3. How are they supposed to split the states up. Your passport doesn’t say where you live and just because you have a DL doesn’t mean that is where you live. It is surprising how many cars where I live (rising amounts of CV) are from Idaho and Wyoming (military town). Also last time I checked, those states didn’t have an international airport.

    And I really don’t have a reply to Nigel as that is way too much cool aid.

  4. @Nigel, I was going to opine similarly. I know they loathe Trump. That’s fine, but after a while they will need our money, for better or worse.

  5. Stop baby crying, and grow up, guys. Your “they will need our money” is as pathetic as your whining attitude. Btw, you are always welcome to Europe, as long as you don’t wear sandals/flip flops with white socks.

  6. Juan, apparently you didn’t read the article. We are not welcome at this time no matter what we wear on our feet.

    A simple solution would be what the Bahamas, Tahiti and few other nations are doing. Get a Covid test 3-5 days before travel and bring the documented negative results with you. This would be the smart thing to do. I think the EU is smarter than this ban which makes me think that this is more political than practical (oops–better put down my kook aid).

  7. The sense of entitlement is overwhelming in the responses to this. Oh well, Europe’s gonna be a lovely place for a holiday this summer without all those loud, brash, whiny Yanks 😉

  8. Do Americans not realise that they have effectively banned those from Europe from entering the USA for months – then moan when the reverse happens?

  9. It’s not entitlement you twit, it’s economic and political. Proof of a negative test and perhaps proof of residence should suffice UNLESS it’s purely political. I personally think it’s both. But if you think the European travel industry won’t miss US dollars(or Chinese spending, I assume) then you’re either naive or simply trolling. And if you think Americans stand out in Europe(they certainly do…I do my absolute best to blend and abide 100% by any customs etc..) you should see Europeans in the States. It’s every bit as bad, usually worse. To me it’s endearing.

  10. A reminder to those who bang on about negative tests…its a snapshot in time, not an invisible immunity shield that saves you from catching the virus from point of test to arrival at your destination 3-4 days later

  11. Just a quick line to let Americans know not all Europeans have the same kind of feelings for you. I am from a European country and I am honored to receive Americans as tourists, regardless of who is President there at the time. They are usually polite, cheerful and generous. Please keep coming, American friends, just understand that Europeans authorities have taken this decision for health reasons, even if it might not be a very wise one.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.