As per the latest news, several European countries are easing their travel restrictions and are preparing to welcome tourists from a selected set of countries with a few conditions. Tourism had come to a standstill across the world after the travel ban. If you had to put your European tour on hold due to the Covid-19 situation, now is the time to revisit your plans and find out what needs to be done to finally have a summer vacation.
Who can travel to Europe right now?
After more than a year, Europe is all set to see vacationers coming back to visit here. But, tourism is not completely open for all. Each country here is preparing their policies to allow the entry of tourists. There also are certain terms and conditions to get the approval.
People from only a selected number of countries are currently allowed to enter and the chosen ‘safe countries’ are Singapore, Israel, Australia, Rwanda, New Zealand, Thailand, and South Korea. People from these countries can travel to Europe whether they are vaccinated or not. As each country in the EU reviews its terms and conditions, you can expect to see more countries added to this list.
So far, several countries in the European Union countries have eased their travel restrictions to allow entry to the vaccinated people. Their conditions are that they are allowed as long as the last vaccination was done at least 14 days before the travel date. The said vaccine must be among those approved by the European Medicine Agency (EMA). Yet, the final decision is still pending which is expected to be out anytime soon.
Travel Restrictions for people travelling from third countries
The EU Council has come forward with a few guidelines for the citizens of the third countries, that have managed to mitigate the pandemic, to be eligible for entry into any of their member countries. These apply to those non-essential travellers who want to visit any of the EU countries. All the Schengen countries, non-EU members such as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein, except Ireland, are on board with these decisions.
- Citizens can enter only if the positive cases in their country is under 75 per 100,000 inhabited.
- There must be a steady decrease in the number of cases and a specific number of tests to be conducted per day.
- The test positivity rate of their country should not be over 4%.
- The overall management and response to the coronavirus as well as the specific variant in that country are also taken into account.
- The travellers must present their vaccination certificate, immunity status, and latest PCR test result at the time of entry. The PCR test must be taken within 48 hrs of the departure time.
- The member states of the EU will verify the validity, authenticity, and integrity of the presented vaccine certificate.
- Decisions were also made to impose temporary travel restrictions to Europe from another country should the cases in that country show a spike.
- The non-vaccinated children of the vaccinated parents will be allowed to enter.
Recommendations are also placed for those EU countries, that have waived the quarantine and test requirements for the EU tourists, to extend the same courtesy to the vaccinated non-EU tourists as well.
Travelling within Europe
Travel within Europe has not been smooth since the coronavirus attack, last year. Now, many of the countries have opened their borders and EU tourists have started their vacations, even if it is small in number. Once you gain access to one of the countries, the EU citizens are currently able to travel to other countries.
Citizens from third countries will soon have a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ that allows them non-restricted travel within the EU borders. This certificate will be considered and approved according to the inoculation status, test results and the status of the recovery from the infection. This soon-to-be-approved travel pass will ease the trouble of cross-border travel within Europe.
As per this travel pass, the holder need not undergo the quarantine and test routine in any of the EU member countries. The Green Certificate will be in the form of a QR code which can be accessed on any mobile device. The primary countries that will be testing this will be France, Netherlands, and Malta.
Are Schengen borders open?
Currently, only the citizens of European countries have easy access across the Schengen borders. It is also applicable to the vaccinated travellers who are allowed entry into Europe as well. Once the digital certificate comes into effect, the Schengen borders will be open to all who are eligible, under the conditions. The exceptions are in the case of Norway, which has banned the entry of non-essential travellers from all EU member countries until 24th May.
Travel Restrictions/Permissions by some European countries
There are no restrictions on entry into Albania.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also allow international travellers into their land with a negative PCR certificate.
Cyprus and Estonia have shown the green light to the vaccinated citizens of some 60 odd countries.
Greece allows quarantine-free entry for international travellers if they can show a negative COVID certificate and also fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) 24 hrs before the arrival.
Malta allows entry from June 1 onwards for vaccinated travellers.
Turkey is also under the agreement to allow travellers into their country if they can meet the immigration rules and show a negative PCR certificate as long as not coming in from India, Brazil or South Africa.
The commencement of the holiday travel to Europe has provided enough hope to all that everything will be back to normal sooner than later. At this juncture, one of the most important facts that you need to keep in mind while visiting Europe is that each country may still have their set of rules and guidelines. Though the general guideline put forward by the EU Council applies to all member countries, there may be exceptions or additional restrictions to be followed.
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