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It’s Official—Americans Won’t Be Allowed Into Europe When It Reopens

By Michelle Baran

Jun 30, 2020

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Spots like Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast remain off limits to American travelers for the time being.

Photo by Shutterstock

Spots like Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast remain off limits to American travelers for the time being.

A list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to travel to Europe starting on July 1 has been agreed upon by the European Union, and it does not include the United States.

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It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. And now we have to wait even longer. The European Union has agreed on the list of countries whose travelers will be welcomed back to the continent on July 1, and it does not include the United States.

Europe will continue to bar travelers from the U.S. because the country has not brought the coronavirus outbreak under control. The news comes just after the United States reported more than 40,000 new cases on Friday, a record for a single day, and has been experiencing surges of cases throughout the country.

As of June 30, the United States had 2.68 million confirmed coronavirus cases, more than any other country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Second is Brazil, with 1.37 million confirmed cases, followed by Russia with nearly 647,000 cases. Neither Brazil nor Russia is on the EU’s list either. The United States also leads in deaths, with nearly 130,000 as of June 30.

On July 1, the European Union will open up to outside travelers for the first time since it closed its borders on March 17 as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the continent. Those restrictions were extended three times, and the latest extension left the ban in place until July 1, 2020. On June 15, Europe’s internal borders reopened to travelers within the continent. 

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The list of countries whose citizens will now be allowed to travel to the continent was based on several criteria: the number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per capita, a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over the last 14 days, and the country’s overall response to COVID-19—including testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment measures, and treatment.

Under the updated travel restrictions to Europe, citizens from the following countries will be allowed to travel to Europe from July 1:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay

The list could also include China, if China agrees to allow EU travelers to visit as well. Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican will be considered as EU residents as part of the lifting of travel restrictions.

Every two weeks, the list will be updated, which leaves open the possibility for countries to be added or removed. It’s not a legally binding list, but EU leaders have agreed that member countries should not independently lift travel restrictions for unlisted countries before it’s been decided upon in a coordinated manner.

The list was agreed upon by what is known as the EU+ area—Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. It could also include Ireland and the United Kingdom if they decide to align. 

An exception for some family members

For countries that didn’t make the list, there are some notable exceptions, including EU citizens and some family members as well as long-term EU residents and family members.

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Member countries can, however, require EU citizens, residents, and their family members to quarantine when they enter Europe from a country not on the approved travel list. Family members include a spouse, a legal partner, direct descendants who are under the age of 21, and any family members who are considered dependents or require the personal care of an EU citizen.

For EU citizens, residents, and their family members in the United States who want to go to Europe, they need to be conscious of the travel restrictions in the U.S. A ban on travel from Europe to the United States remains in place. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (also known as Green Card holders) are exempt (meaning they can enter the United States from Europe), but the exemption does not apply to those who are in the United States on a work or student visa. 

The exception for family members aside, “The E.U.’s announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, U.S. Travel Association executive vice president for Public Affairs and Policy. “This is unwelcome news and will have major negative implications for an economic recovery—particularly if this ban results in cycles of retaliation, as is so often the case.”

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For the first 10 months of 2019, the latest period for which data is available, 16.6 million Americans traveled to Europe, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. The Commerce Department reported that American travelers spent nearly $60 billion in Europe in 2019, and that Europeans spent $73 billion on travel in the United States that same year.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the State Department has “been working with countries all across the world, including our friends in Europe and the E.U. proper, to determine how it is we can best safely reopen travel.” Clearly, that hasn’t been determined yet.

This story originally appeared on June 26, 2020, and has been updated to include current information.

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