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Vaccinated or not, Americans can travel to France.
The vast majority of European countries are now open to American travelers—but with a wide variety of entry requirements and ever-changing COVID restrictions.
On June 18, the United States was added to the European Union’s approved list of countries for entry, ending a 15-month ban on travel from the United States to Europe due to the pandemic.
The move gave EU countries that had not already done so the green light to lift restrictions on U.S. travelers—but it doesn’t mean they all did so in a uniform way. Restrictions continue to vary by country (some still require COVID-19 testing, some do not, for example).
Being on this list also opens travel options for U.S. travelers who are unvaccinated, not just for those who are vaccinated. On May 20, European Union leaders had already agreed on measures to allow fully vaccinated visitors to enter the 27-nation bloc. But once countries are placed on the approved countries list, that allows for the lifting of restrictions on nonessential travel regardless of vaccination status.
You can find the complete list of approved countries and territories on the European Council’s website.
While the vast majority of European countries are now open to U.S. travelers, there are still some exceptions. Hungary, for instance, still remains largely off limits to all but Hungarian citizens and their family members. Finland only reopened to vaccinated Americans on July 26. And as countries keep a close watch on factors such as the Delta variant and the evolution of the pandemic, ongoing changes to entry requirements and policies continue to be a possibility.
Even though the European Council has asked throughout the pandemic that member countries act “in a coordinated manner” when it comes to instituting COVID-19 travel policies, its recommendations are not legally binding, and each country in Europe ultimately has the final say on exactly what its requirements are and will be for travelers entering its borders.
What we have witnessed throughout the pandemic is that while a majority of European countries may institute similar policies with regards to inbound international travel, they definitely are not all acting in unison.
In the days following the European Council’s decision to put the United States on its approved countries list, governments such as Austria, Belgium, and Germany all opened to U.S. travelers. Many (but not all) that had already been open to U.S. travelers also dropped their vaccine requirement for U.S. travelers, including France and Spain.
Often travelers can either provide proof of vaccination or they can provide a negative COVID-19 test result if they are not vaccinated.
While the European Union is facilitating travel within Europe with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, a digital pass for EU residents who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, tested negative for the virus, or have recovered from it, the digital document is not yet available to U.S. travelers. Thus far, European countries asking U.S. travelers for proof of vaccination status as one of the requirements for entry have all indicated that the CDC-issued paper certificate will suffice.
Prior to the easing of restrictions, travelers from the U.S. and other countries not on the list could only enter Europe if they were EU citizens or residents, or were traveling for essential reasons, such as for work, study, or a family emergency—with very few additional exceptions.
As mentioned above, the European Council’s recommendations are nonbinding and European countries can implement entry requirements as they see fit. U.S. travelers who are ready and willing to head to Europe should confirm the rules and restrictions for each individual country they plan to visit as they vary widely from one country to the next and can change even within a matter of days.
One excellent resource is the U.S. State Department’s detailed COVID-19 travel information and country-specific advisories, which are typically updated regularly. We often cross-check these references with each individual country’s foreign affairs office, which normally publishes entry requirements.
U.S. travelers should be aware that all international passengers age two and older flying into the U.S. (including returning U.S. citizens and permanent residents) must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test procured within three days before boarding their flight to the United States.
In addition, the CDC has detailed recommendations for travel during the pandemic, both for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Travelers should also verify all the public health measures and openings and closures that are in place throughout Europe. European countries are all closely monitoring pandemic factors such as the Delta variant. Some businesses and services may have limited operating hours or capacity restrictions, curfews could be in place, and there could be additional regulations on the ground, including COVID passes that are required for entry into certain venues such as in France and Italy. These restrictions can change frequently so it’s important to stay current.
Here’s a brief summary of how some European countries are approaching travel for Americans as of August 3, 2021. This is far from an exhaustive list, but it serves as an example of how different all the rules and regulations still are within Europe. It remains vital that travelers heading into Europe and crossing borders within Europe are up to date on the latest COVID-19 related travel restrictions because they are constantly changing.
Travel from the U.S. to Austria is now allowed as long as travelers present a CDC-issued vaccination certificate indicating they received their first vaccine dose at least 21 days prior to travel; have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 180 days; or present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result procured within 72 or 48 hours of travel, respectively, according to the Austrian government.
As of June 21, nonessential travel from the U.S. to Belgium is permitted, according to the U.S. Embassy in Belgium. Travelers from the U.S. do not need to present any additional health documentation as long as the U.S. is deemed a “green” or “orange” country— if it is “red,” a negative PCR test is required. At press time, the United States was classified as “orange” meaning no test or vaccine certificate is necessary to enter Belgium. Travelers entering Belgium do need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form no more than 48 hours prior to arrival.
Effective May 19, citizens and residents of the European Union and Schengen nations as well as those from a long list of additional countries, including the United States, can enter Bulgaria if they present a vaccination certificate that shows they have been fully vaccinated (so two doses, if two doses are required) at least 14 days prior to arrival, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria. They can also enter if they have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 no more than six months before entry, or if they present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result procured within 72 hours of entering Bulgaria or a negative COVID-19 antigen test performed within 48 hours of entry.
As of April 1, anyone can travel to Croatia if they present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate (the final dose must be administered at least 14 days before arrival); can present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Croatia (if it’s a rapid test, a second test must be taken 10 days after the initial test if a traveler’s stay in Croatia is longer than 10 days); or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days prior to arrival. Children under seven years of age are exempt.
The U.S. Embassy in Croatia reminds travelers that tourists who meet the above requirements will only be permitted to enter Croatia if they provide evidence that they have paid for their Croatia accommodations in advance and in full prior to arrival at the border.
Effective July 1, Cyprus is following a color-coded system for COVID-9 travel requirements. At press time, the United States was classified as orange, meaning that travelers from the U.S. to Cyprus must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test procured within 72 hours of departure and complete an online Cyprus Flight Pass form.
The Czech Republic considers the United States a country with low risk and as such travelers from the U.S. have no health-related entry requirements specific to the pandemic, according to the Czech government.
Vaccinated U.S. travelers as well as those who have recovered from COVID-19 are welcome to enter Denmark and do not need to test or quarantine. Unvaccinated U.S. travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test from within 72 hours of boarding and then get tested again upon arrival.
As of June 21, the northern European country of Estonia is welcoming all U.S. travelers regardless of vaccination status. Those who are vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 do not need to provide any additional information or submit to any additional testing or quarantine requirements. Unvaccinated travelers must simply complete an online health declaration, according to the U.S. Embassy in Estonia.
Effective July 26, Finland has reopened its borders to leisure travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including Americans, with the last dose having been administered at least 14 days prior to arrival.
Fully vaccinated U.S. travelers must present their CDC-issued vaccination certificate upon arrival in Finland, after which there will be no mandatory COVID-19 testing or quarantine.
Unvaccinated travelers from the United States are allowed to enter Finland for essential reasons only, according to the U.S. Embassy in Finland. They must also provide a negative COVID-19 test result, furnish proof of recent recovery from COVID-19, or take two COVID-19 tests upon arrival, the embassy advises.
Unvaccinated minors under 18 can enter with vaccinated parents or guardians.
Vaccinated travelers from the United States can enter France with no additional requirements other than submitting a health declaration form.
Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. and other “green list” countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test from within 72 hours of the flight (or from within 24 hours of the flight if they are traveling from Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands, or Portugal).
Americans who have recovered from COVID-19 can present a certificate of recovery from within the past six months in lieu of a negative COVID test result.
Unvaccinated minors traveling from the U.S. are allowed to enter France, but those age 12 and older will have to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours before the flight.
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As of July 21, visitors now need a special COVID pass to ride up the Eiffel Tower or visit French museums or movie theaters. To get the COVID pass, people must show they are either fully vaccinated, have a negative virus test, or provide proof they recently recovered from an infection.
Germany is now open to U.S. travelers, regardless of vaccination status, a policy that was established on June 20. Travelers from the U.S. heading to Germany must provide a negative COVID-19 test result, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or proof of vaccination. Both PCR and rapid tests are accepted—the PCR test must be taken no more than 72 hours prior to entering Germany, and the rapid antigen test no more than 48 hours. For proof of vaccination, it must have been at least 14 days since the last vaccine dose was administered, and travelers must have a physical copy of their vaccine certificate. (A digital photo of a card will not be accepted.) A 10-day quarantine—previously mandated for U.S. travelers arriving in Germany—is no longer required.
Effective April 19, travelers from the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Thailand, Rwanda, Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates are allowed to enter Greece without having to quarantine if they meet certain conditions, according to the Greek government.
Those who are traveling from the above countries and have been vaccinated for COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to arrival do not need to quarantine and are also not required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Those who are not vaccinated will need to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test that was conducted no more than 72 hours before arrival in Greece. Children five and under are exempt.
Every traveler must fill out a passenger locator form no more than 24 hours prior to arriving in Greece.
All international arrivals will be subject to random and mandatory health checks in Greece, which can include a rapid COVID-19 antigen test. Those who test positive for COVID will be transported to a quarantine hotel, paid for by the Greek government, where they will take a COVID-19 PCR test to confirm the results. For travelers who test positive again, they will remain in quarantine for at least 10 days, after which they will undergo a new round of testing to determine if they are COVID-free.
At press time, Hungary was still not allowing the majority of U.S. travelers to enter, with very limited exceptions, according to the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.
Iceland welcomes vaccinated travelers and those who have recovered from COVID-19 into the country. They will still have to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test result from within 72 hours prior to arrival. A second test after arrival is recommended but not required. Those who are not vaccinated may travel to Iceland as well, but they will have to submit to a COVID-19 test upon arriving in Iceland, quarantine for five days, and then undergo a second test after the five-day quarantine. Everyone needs to preregister before visiting the country.
Travelers must provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated (so two doses if two doses are required) at least 14 days prior to arrival.
As of July 19, Ireland began welcoming travelers from within Europe who have the EU Digital COVID Certificate—a digital health pass issued to EU residents who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, tested negative for the virus, or who have recovered from COVID-19. Travelers with the EU Digital COVID Certificate are required to quarantine.
Travelers from all non-European countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., are also allowed to enter Ireland as of July 19 as long as the country is not on the European Union’s “emergency brake” list—countries that have new or renewed restrictions applied to them due to a worsening epidemiological situation.
Travelers arriving from the U.S. must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to bypass otherwise mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine. Those without proof of vaccination will need to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours before arrival. They will then need to quarantine after arrival and take a second postarrival test.
Americans can now enter Italy as long as they are vaccinated for COVID-19, have recovered from COVID, or present a negative COVID test result. The Italian government’s new plan for U.S. travelers went into effect on June 21.
In order to meet the new requirements for entering Italy, travelers from the U.S. must provide proof of vaccination completed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Italy (so you must have received your second dose, if two are required, at least two weeks before traveling). Italian officials said that they’ll accept the white CDC-issued paper vaccination certificate that Americans receive when they are vaccinated.
Alternatively, U.S. travelers can also present a lab-generated negative COVID-test result—either a rapid antigen or PCR test—that was carried out within 48 hours of departure for Italy (travelers must present certification from the laboratory that performed the test).
The third option is to provide proof of having recovered from COVID-19 “with a medical certificate outlining any necessary information,” according to the Italian government.
Starting August 6, Italy will require people to have COVID passes to enter gyms, museums, and movie theaters, sit inside restaurants, and access other venues. To be eligible for a pass, individuals must prove they have received at least one vaccine dose in the last nine months, recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months, or tested negative in the previous 48 hours.
As of June 24, Americans can freely enter the Netherlands—no vaccine, negative test, or quarantine required. They’ll just need to complete a health declaration (more information is available on the government’s website).
Fully vaccinated travelers (meaning it has been at least 14 days since their second dose if two doses were required) entering Poland, including those from the U.S., are exempt from an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine.
On June 15, Portugal reopened to all COVID-tested travelers from the United States.
“Beginning June 15, non-essential (i.e., tourist travel) from the United States to mainland Portugal is permitted for travelers with proof of a negative COVID-19 test,” the U.S. Embassy in Portugal stated.
There is no COVID-19 vaccine requirement for travel to Portugal from the U.S. at this time. Instead, all passengers entering Portugal, except for children age 24 months and younger, must simply provide proof of a negative, lab-generated COVID-19 test result. It needs to be either a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as a PCR test, performed within 72 hours of boarding, or a rapid antigen test performed within 24 hours of boarding. No additional testing or quarantine will be required for mainland Portugal.
Travelers should complete a Passenger Locator Card within 48 hours of traveling to Portugal.
U.S. travelers who want to visit the Portuguese islands of the Azores or Madeira should be aware that they both have their own rules for entry.
International travelers arriving in Romania, including Americans, can skip a 14-day quarantine requirement if they provide proof of vaccination (completed at least 10 days prior to arrival) or proof of recovery from COVID-19, according to the Romanian Embassy. Children 3 and younger are exempt. Children age 3 to 16 must provide a negative COVID PCR test from within 72 hours of travel.
For travel to Spain from the U.S., the requirement is simple: Fill out an online Health Control Form and present the resulting QR code upon arrival. No vaccination certificate, COVID test, or quarantine is needed.
The U.S.—along with Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macao, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Taiwan—is exempted from Sweden’s travel ban from June 30. Travelers who can now enter must “present a certificate showing a negative result for ongoing COVID-19 infection from a test conducted within 48 hours prior to arrival.” People under 18, those with a long-term residency status, or visitors who satisfy a handful of other requirements can forgo the test. Vaccination doesn’t preclude you from needing the test, but it does mean you don’t need to undergo the recommended quarantine.
As of June 28, fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. can enter Switzerland and will not need to quarantine or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. They will just need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated travelers will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test from within 72 hours of travel, or a negative COVID rapid antigen test result from within 48 hours of travel.
Travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will need to fill out an online form before entering Switzerland.
Effective August 2, vaccinated Americans can enter England, Scotland, and Wales without a mandatory quarantine, the British government announced on July 28.
Fully vaccinated Americans arriving into England, Scotland, and Wales are required to submit a predeparture negative COVID-19 test taken prior to arrival and will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test on day 2 after arrival. Those vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to provide proof of U.S. residency.
Northern Ireland hasn’t yet announced whether it will update its existing policies for U.S. travelers—currently a 10-day quarantine and three COVID tests, one prior to departure and tests on day 2 and day 8 after arrival.
Children age 11 and younger are exempt from the U.K.’s testing requirements for international arrivals.
Everyone entering the United Kingdom from abroad must fill out a passenger locator form before arrival, on which they will provide U.K. border control with their contact details, including their phone number and the address of their U.K. accommodation.
Unvaccinated Americans arriving in the U.K. are required to quarantine for 10 days and take three COVID tests—one within 3 days prior to departure to the U.K., and two (reserved in advance) after arrival, on day 2 and day 8 of the 10-day quarantine.
This article was originally published on May 6, 2020. It has been updated frequently, most recently on August 3, 2021, to include current information.
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