When can Americans fly to Europe? EU announces new travel rules

·2 min read
 (AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

European Union ambassadors met on Wednesday to finalise plans to allow fully vaccinated people to fly to Europe without quarantine or Covid testing.

The US is expected to be included on a so-called “green list” of countries, from which all tourists will be allowed to enter the continent.

Residents of seven countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Israel, are currently allowed into the bloc for non-essential travel.

The US and UK, which now have low incidences of Covid-19 and high rates of vaccination, are expected to be added to that list in the coming days.

It will consider countries that have fewer than 75 Covid new infections per 100,000 people — the current eligible rate is below 25.

The US has 35 per 100,000, and the UK has 44, according to recent figures.

The EU’s “green list” will also take into consideration the vaccination rates, and instances of variants, in non-EU countries.

It is all in the hope of salvaging some of the lucrative summer tourism season in 2021, after a disastrous 2020.

Just under 50 per cent of the adult population in the US is fully vaccinated, having received full doses of one of the approved vaccines. For the EU, it is 16 per cent.

Either way, EU ambassadors also agreed to ease restrictions for all fully vaccinated persons.

In order to be eligible to travel it is expected individuals will have to wait until 14 days after their second dose.

A formal adoption of the EU’s plans will follow on Thursday, with a signing-off by EU trade ministers. The list of eligible countries will be updated every two weeks.

Talks are continuing over how to make US vaccine certificates eligible as proof of immunity for visitors.

Leading the push to open up are diplomats from countries such as Greece, Italy, and Spain that are more heavily dependent on tourism. They argue that increased levels of vaccination make the existing measure of infection rate less relevant.

Greece had already moved to accept US visitors with proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test.

Much of Europe remains under a “Do Not Travel Advisory” per the US State Department website, though it is thought that this may also change in the near future.

Current exceptions for Americans in the EU that are classified at the lower advisory level of “Reconsider Travel” are Spain, Denmark, Estonia, and Austria.

The UK, Bosnia, Albania, and Belarus are the non-EU countries that currently fall under that classification.

The Independent has contacted the State Department for comment on any update on advice to US travellers to Europe.

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