After a 1 year ban of all non-essential travel to Europe, there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. According to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, vaccinated U.S. tourists will soon be able to travel to the E.U. It could even happen as early as the summer!
Last year, Covid cases soared in the U.S. and have now reached close to 32 million. Thankfully, vaccination efforts seem to be working. This past weekend, 138.6 million Americans have received their first dose of the vaccine. The vaccination rate is quickly progressing and it’s estimated that by July, 70% of adults in the U.S. will be vaccinated. The successful vaccination campaign and subsequent decline in Covid-19 cases have influenced the executive branch of the E.U. to reopen its borders.
What do we know so far?
Vaccinated Americans will be able to enter the E.U. by using vaccine passports or certifications. Most recently, there have been ongoing talks between U.S. and European authorities on the logistics of proof of vaccinations. Ideally, there’ll be a standard type of passport that can be used for travel in both directions between Europe and the United States. The vaccine certificates will contain pertinent information regarding immunity to Covid-19, vaccination records, and Covid testing results.
As long as U.S. travelers have been fully vaccinated with European Medicines Agency (EMA)- approved vaccines, they’ll get the green light. The EMA has already approved Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer/BioNtech, and Moderna vaccines, all of which are currently being used in the U.S.
Once the new travel policy is recommended, it’s expected that all 27 countries in the E.U. will open to vaccinated Americans. Nonetheless, each country may still choose to impose extra restrictions on travelers.
What we don’t know
Since the announcement of relaxing the European travel ban was just made, there are a lot of unanswered questions. It can’t be stressed enough that vaccinated travel during a pandemic will serve as a testing ground for what’s to come.
There’s no firm date on when Europe will be opening its borders to vaccinated U.S. tourists. But as mentioned before, the European Commission is hoping it will take effect by the summer. With that said, the decision will heavily weigh on the Covid situation worldwide. If it worsens, there’s no guarantee Europe will go along with its plan.
Secondly, it’s a possibility that not every country in the E.U. will agree to the change in policy. To avoid further transmission of the virus, some E.U. countries with high rates of Covid may continue to stay closed. And if they do allow entry, each region may maintain specific health measures including quarantine and Covid testing.
There’s also no information on whether or not unvaccinated children or other family members will be permitted to enter the E.U. Although pharmaceutical giants are testing their vaccines on younger age ranges, adolescents and children have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Plus, authorities will need to acknowledge global socioeconomic differences and vaccine access. There are many countries including Vietnam, South Africa, and Nigeria, with very low vaccination rates.
European countries allowing U.S. tourists (as of April 28th, 2021)
At the moment, the following countries are accepting vaccinated and/or unvaccinated travelers from the U.S.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
Before traveling abroad, make sure you do your due diligence and research your destination so that you’re informed of any last-minute policy changes. Continue to check the country’s corresponding U.S. embassy websites daily. But, we at Solgaard think it’s safe to say that the world’s moving in the right direction.