(updated May 19, 2021) Ah the million dollar question: when will the EU be open to US travelers? We don’t have a definitive answer right now – though we wish we did! – but the EU agreed on 5/19/2021 to open borders to vaccinated travelers and to travelers coming from what they deem “safe” countries. In an April New York Times article, Ursula von der Leyen said “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union. Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.”
Let’s break this down and look at some more questions.
What vaccines are approved by E.M.A?
Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson
What countries are in the European Union?
There are 27 countries in the European Union. See a list of them here.
How will vaccinated travelers show proof of immunity?
There has been a lot of talk about a Vaccine Passport or some sort of a vaccine certificate to show proof of immunity. We’re not clear on what exactly this looks like, but once you are vaccinated, make sure you keep your vaccination certificate in a safe place and even make a digital copy of it.
So when will the EU be open?
It is still unclear exactly when vaccinated US travelers will be able to travel to the EU, but it sounds like borders will open just in time for summer travel.
But what about Greece and Croatia?
Yes, Greece and Croatia are a part of the EU. Yes, Greece and Croatia are open to travelers from the US who have been fully vaccinated. No, we don’t know how exactly that works (if you’re a political science pro, give us the scoop!). Here’s the intel on those two countries:
- Greece: Open to travelers from the US who are fully vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated (and over five years old), you will need to have a negative COVID-19 test within three days of travel to avoid additional quarantining. More details here.
- Croatia: Open to US travelers. You will need to show proof of vaccination and have a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel. More detail here.
Are any other countries in the EU set to open?
On April 29, President Macron of France announced plans for reopening. Per that timeline, beginning June 9 vaccinated travelers will be allowed in France. Fernando Valdes Verelst, Spain’s secretary of state for tourism, said on April 28 that Spain plans to be open for travelers in June. And beginning May 16, Italy opened to US travelers arriving via “COVID-tested flights.” But before you start booking your trip, talk to your travel advisor about what other protocols are in place in the destination – like if museums and restaurants are open or if there is a curfew – so you know what to expect.
Remind me, does this apply to the United Kingdom?
No, the United Kingdom is no longer a part of the European Union so it has its own restrictions for travel. Currently, travelers must have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of departure to the UK, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, and take addition COVID-19 tests on days 2 and 8 of quarantine. See the most up to date info here.
Okay, I’m ready to get vaccinated. How do I get it?
If you have not gotten the vaccine yet and want to, visit this page on the CDC website to learn more. If you have health concerns related to the vaccine and/or traveling, talk to your doctor to make a decision that is best for you.
Will children under the age of 16 be able to travel even though they can’t get the vaccine?
Von der Leyen did not clarify what this means for younger travelers, and this is a big question about travel all over the world. Right now, you will want to look at traveling with children on a country by country basis, and your travel advisor can help you determine what destination is best for you.
What do I need to do to prepare for travel to Europe?
There are a few things you can do in preparation for travel:
- If you are vaccinated, make sure you have your card in a safe place. While we don’t know what you will need to show proof of vaccination, this card will be important no matter what.
- Dust off your passport and check the expiration date. If it is going to expire soon, renew it. And remember, many countries – including many countries in Europe that are a part of the Schengen Agreement – require your passport to be valid three months after your intended date of departure. Learn more about when to renew your passport here.
- Get travel insurance. Things can change, so you want to make sure your trip is protected.
- Talk to your advisor! Even if you don’t know exactly when you can travel to Europe right now, you and your advisor can make a plan and you’ll be one step ahead of the game once travel is allowed.
Where can I travel right now?
There are a lot of destinations open to US travelers right now, but the protocols can change at any time. There are many resources online with up-to-date travel information, and we’ve rounded up many of them on this page. Keep in mind that even though a country may be open, the local protocols may make the experience less than ideal. Your travel advisor can talk to our partners on the ground to get the inside scoop to help you make your decision.
No matter where you want to go in the world, now is the time to start planning. With vaccinations widely available in the US, people are eager to get back to traveling and destinations are booking up quickly. Reach out to your advisor, and start planning your next travel experience.