As the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, the government has placed EU travel restrictions on all non-essential travel to and from the EU.
These restrictions went into effect on March 12, 2020, and will be in place for an initial period of 30 days. The restrictions apply to all travellers, including those holding valid visas or residency permits.
The purpose of the travel restrictions is to reduce the risk of further spread of the virus within the EU.
What are the COVID Entry Rules for Travellers to European countries?
Travellers to Europe should be prepared for rules and regulations to be in place. Because of the omicron coronavirus variant, many countries have tightened their rules, but some have let them go a little bit. DW Travel has put together this summary of EU rules.
In Europe, many countries have tightened their entry rules because of the rise in omicron coronavirus variant infections. But others have decided to loosen them up a little.
Tourists, tour operators, hotels, and restaurants all have to be very flexible. The situation in each country can change very quickly.
Several countries outside of the EU should be able to travel freely to the EU, the European Union says. This includes Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, and a lot of other countries.
Tourism in Europe is on the rise, though some places have strict rules. Here is a quick look at the most recent rules and the most important facts.
The European Union
An overview of EU travel rules, including information on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, can be found on the European Commission’s web page.
The Reopen EU platform has a lot of information about quarantine rules, testing requirements, and more in the EU’s 28 member states, like Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland, which aren’t in the EU.
You can also get the Reopen EU smartphone app so you can get the most up-to-date information while you’re out and about.
Please keep in mind that each member state has its own rules for letting people from outside the EU or Schengen zone into their country.
Member states may require that you have a negative COVID test when you arrive, or that you be quarantined after you enter. In addition, some EU countries have put in place rules about social distance, curfews, and wearing masks.
The European Union COVID traffic light system
The EU has put in place a traffic light system to make it easier to see how each member state is doing when it comes to diseases.
People in the bloc can see three colours – red, orange, and green – showing high, medium, and low risks. Grey areas show places where not enough information is available.
Keep in mind that the information here is not complete. As a guide, it is always up to date. All travellers to and from Europe, the EU, and the Schengen Area are strongly advised to check with the national, state, and local authorities in the countries they are visiting.
EU Digital COVID certificate
Europe’s parliament approved a digital COVID certificate that can be used to travel across the EU. It has now been used across the whole bloc. They have been vaccinated, tested negative for the virus, or been well enough to go back to school.
Those who make the document are test centres and health authorities. It has been available in all EU member states since July 1, 2021.
At this point, only COVID-19 vaccination records were done by an official. A government-mandated body in the European Union can be put on the certificate, but this could change. Outside of the European Union, vaccinations from outside the EU aren’t yet approved by the EU.
Who is Allowed to Travel Into the EU?
EU members have agreed to follow a recommendation from the Council about how to travel from countries outside the EU to the EU.
On 22 February 2022, the Council made changes to the recommendation to make it easier for people from outside the EU to come into the EU, and they did it again. The Member States agreed to apply these changes on March 1, 2022.
EU citizens and residents, their families, and people who have an important reason to come to Europe should be able to do so. This is what the law should say.
It was proposed that the Temporary Protection Directive be used to help people fleeing Ukraine on March 2, 2022. Operational guidelines were also put in place by the Commission to help border guards in the Member States handle arrivals from Ukraine more quickly and efficiently.
Members of States are encouraged to make it easier for people to cross the EU-Ukraine border. Even if they aren’t properly documented (e.g. do not have testing, vaccination, or recovery certificates).
According to the Council Recommendation on travel to the EU during the pandemic, people who have fled war zones should be able to come to the EU without having to meet any requirements.
Vaccinated and recovered persons
EU countries should lift the temporary ban on non-essential travel to the EU for people who are vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine or a WHO-approved vaccine.
As long as they have had the last dose of the primary vaccination series at least 14 days and not more than 270 days before they arrive, or they have had an extra booster dose.
Countries in the EU should also let people who have recovered from COVID-19 go on non-essential trips. If they have an EU Digital COVID Certificate or a non-EU certificate that is deemed equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Children over the age of 6 and under the age of 18 who meet the same rules as adults should be able to travel.
All other kids over 6 and under 18 should be able to travel with a negative PCR test taken at least 72 hours before they leave. People who come to the EU may have to go through more tests after they arrive. Otherwise, they may be quarantined or isolated.
Children under the age of 6 who are travelling with an adult should not have to take a test or meet any other extra rules.
Countries on the EU list
When the epidemiological situation in a country improves enough. The Council can add it to the list of countries from which all travel should be allowed. No matter how many vaccines a person has had. The following countries are on the list right now:
- China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
Travel restrictions should also be eased for the special administrative areas of China, Hong Kong and Macao, over time.
As part of the group of entities and territorial authorities that aren’t recognized as states by at least one member state. Travel restrictions for Taiwan should be gradually eased as well.
The last time the list was changed, the Council did it on January 17, 2022. This list is looked at every two weeks.
EU residents should include people from Andorra and Monaco as well as people from San Marino and the Vatican. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are all countries that belong to the Schengen Agreement.
The Council’s recommendation also has an “emergency brake” mechanism that allows the Member States to act quickly. In a coordinated way to keep coronavirus variants from coming into the EU.
The Commission will look at the Council’s recommendation by April 30th, 2022, and see if they can move to a person-based approach.
Overstay caused by travel restrictions
If you are in the Schengen area and have a short-stay visa, you can stay there for up to 90/180 days if you can’t leave before it expires.
If the visa holders were forced to stay for more than 90 or 180 days. They should have been given a national long-stay visa or a temporary residence permit by the national authorities.
Member States are encouraged to let third-country nationals who couldn’t leave their country because of travel restrictions get administrative sanctions or penalties off their backs.
Due to the temporary travel restrictions, overstays should not be taken into account when applying for a new visa.
Nationals of visa-waived third countries who have remained in the Schengen area beyond the permitted 90-day stay
For nationals of visa-free third countries who are forced to stay beyond the extended 90/180 days. The national authorities should extend the validity of the authorizations for legal stay. Issue a new one, or take other steps to make sure they can stay on their land.
Information is available on the websites of the governments of the countries that are part of the EU.
Expired travel documents due to an unexpectedly extended stay abroad
EU citizens and their families should be able to enter the EU even if they don’t have a valid passport or visa.
If they can show that they are EU citizens or family members of an EU citizen in another way. They should be able to enter the EU.
n this case, having an expired passport should be seen as proof by other means. There should be a way for family members to show that they are related to an EU citizen at all times
Consular assistance for EU citizens abroad
If you need help outside the EU, there isn’t an embassy or consulate in your home country. You can go to the embassy or consulate of another EU country.
Information about the rights of EU citizens to diplomatic and consular protection outside of the EU. As well as how to get it.
People who were stranded because of the COVID-19 pandemic have been brought back to Europe by the European Commission. The European External Action Service is both parts of the European Union.
They should contact their Member states if they need help outside of the EU, and they should do that.
The EU travel restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of the pandemic. However, they should be relaxed as soon as possible to allow for the free movement of people and goods.
The health and safety of EU citizens is our top priority, and we must do everything we can to contain this virus.