EU Removes United States from “Safe Travel” List
The European Union has removed the United States from the “safe travel” list along with four other countries. This was already rumored based on reports from last week, but today’s meeting made it official.
Following a review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted. The United States, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia were removed from the list.
Non-essential travel to the EU from these countries or entities is now subject to temporary travel restriction. This means Covid-19 travel restrictions like quarantine and testing requirements are now back in place for citizens of the United States among others. As stipulated in the Council recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed regularly and, as the case may be, updated.
The European Union’s safe list includes countries where the number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days must not be above the limit of 75. Citizens of “safe” countries can visit the European Union for non-essential travel. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the US had 588 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 30 August 2021, member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
- Bosnia and Hercegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- New Zealand
- Republic of Moldova
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
You can see the press release from the Council of the EU here.
What Does This Mean?
The answer is that we simply do not know yet for sure, and most likely you will need to check rules for each specific country.
The guidance is non-binding for EU member states. That means that it remains up to each individual country in the European Union to decide whether to adopt the new policy for Americans. Countries can also choose to accept proof of vaccination to waive travel restrictions.
52.1% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated as of Saturday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So it’s very possible that this will affect only about half of Americans.