European Countries Add Covid Restrictions for Americans
Americans planning to visit Europe in the near future will have more hoops to jump through, especially if they are unvaccinated. Many popular tourist destinations welcomed back Americans earlier in the summer, but now some countries have announced new entry restrictions.
The European Union removed the United States from its list of Covid “safe countries” earlier this week. It also advised its 27 member states to reconsider allowing entry to nonessential US travelers.
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.
The new EU guidance is non-binding for 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. But some have done so in recent days.
Check out the list of countries below, where new restrictions have been added. It mostly applies to unvaccinated Americans. But even vaccinated tourists that travel from the U.S., or have recently been there, are affected.
The article was last updated on September 10 to add France besides the originally listed countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden.
Belgium added the United States to its list of “red zone” high-risk countries. American tourists can only travel to Belgium if they can present proof of full vaccination. U.S. travelers who cannot present a valid vaccination certificate cannot travel to Belgium for non-essential reasons. There are some exclusions, such as having an EU citizenship or residency.
Bulgaria reclassified the United States as a ‘red zone’ country, making all Americans ineligible for entry unless they qualify for certain exceptions.
“Under the Bulgarian Ministry of Health order, countries are classified as green, orange, or red zones based on their COVID-19 risk,” the embassy wrote. “That means persons arriving from the United States, regardless of their citizenship, are prohibited from entering Bulgaria.”
Starting September 4, Denmark has adjustment its entry rules for U.S. visitors as it reclassified the country to ‘orange’ status. This means that U.S. residents able to prove full vaccination will still be permitted to enter Denmark with no testing or isolation requirements. Denmark considers someone to be fully vaccinated when at least 14 days have passed since the completion of a full course of an approved vaccine.
Unvaccinated American are only allowed if they can prove a “worthy purpose.” That includes jobs, business meetings, certain professions, students, close family relations or other urgent business, but does not include tourism. They will be required to test and isolate upon arrival, unless they can provide proof of a previous Covid-19 infection.
France has removed the United States from its safe travel list. A French government decree issued on September 9, moved the United States and Israel from the country’s “green” list, down to “orange.” That is effectively a ban on nonessential travel to France for unvaccinated visitors.
Under France’s rules, unvaccinated travelers from United States will still be allowed in provided they have an essential reason for travel, however they’ll need a negative Covid-19 test before travel and must quarantine for seven days upon arrival.
Germany already had the United States listed as a “high-risk” country, even before the EU did so. It requires American tourists either be fully vaccinated or provide proof of their prior recovery from COVID-19 infection.
Unvaccinated Americans need to quarantine for a full 10 days or reduce their isolation period by submitting a negative test result after the fifth day. This regulation is in place until September 30 for now.
On August 31, Italy became the first European country to announce tougher coronavirus requirements for American tourists after the new EU guidance.
Any traveler from the U.S., or who has been in the country in the previous two weeks, must present a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of their arrival in Italy. The Italian Ministry of Health says that the new requirements apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors. They must also fill out a digital passenger locator form, which aids contact tracing efforts if a traveler is exposed to COVID-19 during their trip. Children under 6 are exempt from testing.
Unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for five days after they arrive and then be tested for coronavirus again, even if their initial test was negative.
On September 1, new regulations for travelers entering Latvia went into effect. The new regulations permit vaccinated travelers who can present either a US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) paper vaccine certificate, an interoperable digital EU certificate (either in an electronic smart device or printed out) or a vaccination certificate issued in specific other countries including the EU, the EEA countries, Switzerland or the United Kingdom to enter Latvia for nonessential purposes without a negative COVID test or requiring self-isolation.
Netherlands considers the U.S. as a “very high-risk area”. It requires Americans to be fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated American travelers will be denied access starting September 4.Those hose who are fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 10 days upon entering the country. Additionally, starting September 6, vaccinated U.S. travelers over 12 years old will need to present proof of a negative PCR or antigen test performed within the 24 hours prior to their departure.
Starting September 6, Spain requires either proof of full vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from Covid-19. To enter Spain, all travelers must submit health information to the Spain Travel Health portal, which generates a QR code to show when entering the country. The system also sends each traveler an email with the QR code.
Tests must have been taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, while antigen tests can be no more than 48 hours old. Certificates of a person’s previous recovery are valid from 12 to 180 days from the date that the first positive test was performed. However, children under the age of 12 are exempt from these requirements.
Sweden has announced a ban on nonessential travel from the U.S., based on “EU recommendations regarding travel into the EU from third countries.” The ban will go into effect on September 6. This means that permanent residents of the U.S. can not enter Sweden for non-urgent reasons, regardless of vaccination status.
There are some exceptions. Americans will still be able to travel to Sweden to start a course of study, for urgent family reasons, or if they hold citizenship of an EU country or a Swedish residence permit.