COVID-19 has caused many of us to put many of our travel plans on hold during 2020. At the moment travel to Europe is almost impossible with few direct flights and travel bans in place for American citizens across many countries.
Naturally, many people are wondering when US citizens are going to be allowed back into Europe for tourism, so this article is going to explain a little about what’s going on. It reveals where you can and where you can’t visit in Europe right now and when this may be likely to change.
Where Can’t Americans Visit in Europe Currently?
Currently, all 27 European Union countries and all Schengen member states are blocking entry to non-resident American citizens. This list includes:
- The Netherlands
These rules have been set in place due to the very high infection rates of coronavirus occurring in the United States at the moment. They are likely to remain in place until the case numbers start to fall across all 50 states.
Are There Any Exceptions to These Rules?
Yes, there are some exceptions. Just to say that you are an American citizen doesn’t mean you won’t be allowed to enter a European country automatically.
If you are a resident of another European country or a nation designated safe from COVID such as New Zealand or Japan then you can still enter the region.
Additionally, close family members of residents and those arriving to carry out an essential function such as business, or medical research are granted permission too.
With regards to what “essential function” means, each individual country is implementing its own specific rules on what exceptions may be made. Therefore it’s sensible to check before planning a trip to see if you fit their unique criteria.
However, the list of safe countries is under regular review. Thus, if the nation you are a resident of experiences further outbreaks then you will be barred from entry again.
How Often is the EU Travel Restriction List Reviewed?
At the moment European countries are reviewing their restrictions once every fortnight. Assuming the transmission rates in the United States improve dramatically at any time, officials may consider the situation to be safe enough to allow American tourists to arrive in Europe.
The restrictions on travelers are not intended to be permanent and the rules are likely to be reversed once the crisis is over.
Annually over 15 million American tourists visit Europe and spent over $144 million in 2018 alone. It is therefore in the interest of European countries to encourage US citizens back to their shores as soon as possible to soothe their badly affected travel industries.
Thus you can be sure that once the situation surrounding COVID improves, that travel bans will be lifted at the first opportunity.
What Countries Can I Visit In Europe Now?
As of July 2020, it is possible for Americans to fly to the United Kingdom and Ireland and enter their borders without being turned away. However, there is a catch to doing so.
Both countries require American visitors to self-isolate for 2 weeks from arrival. This is legally enforceable and breaking this quarantine could lead to fines and other legal ramifications.
Whilst it is possible to get to both of these European countries, it is still difficult to actually explore and take part in normal tourist activities. This is expected to remain the case until the situation in the US improves.
What Other COVID-19 Restrictions Are In Place in European Countries?
When travel starts up again, American travelers are going to have to come prepared to follow certain rules and regulations. At the present moment, face masks must be worn on the streets and in public places across many countries, which is being enforced by law. This is likely to remain until a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
Being a responsible traveler is going to be more important than ever once things start opening up again. Especially if COVID is still in circulation. For that reason be sure to follow these health tips when visiting other countries:
- Wear a face mask when you go outside
- Sanitize your hands often
- Avoid crowded areas where you can’t socially distance
What Other Countries Are Blocked From Entering Europe?
Since borders across Europe started reopening in July after the initial outbreaks of COVID-19 eased, most countries around the world have remained barred from entry. The USA is just one of these.
At the moment the only people that are permitted to enter Europe are from the following countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
COVID-19 is probably the most serious crisis the world has had to face in a generation and it has been especially devastating to the travel industry. Whilst there are many safety restrictions in place right now however, these are not expected to be permanent.