The EU Has Agreed to Lift Travel Restrictions on American Tourists

The decision opens the door to non-essential European travel

Seascape at sunset, Camogli, Liguria coast, Italy

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The 27 member countries of the European Union announced on Wednesday a recommendation to begin lifting restrictions on tourists from the United States. The decision, which was adopted in a meeting of EU representatives in Brussels, would allow Americans to enter the EU for non-essential travel. National governments will still have the final say over the requirement of test results and proof of vaccination for entry.

For the past several months, the EU has been hard at work on a joint digital travel certificate for travelers who have been vaccinated, tested negative, or have recently recovered from the virus. The certificates will allow travelers to move between European countries without quarantine or undergo additional coronavirus tests upon arrival.

Several EU countries have already begun using the certificates, including Germany, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Denmark. The rest of the EU is expected to begin adopting them on July 1, 2021. 

The EU's certificate system may now be an option for American travelers. Its rollout, however, is complicated by several factors, including the lack of official vaccination certification in the U.S.

Non-essential travel from the U.S. has been suspended in the EU as a precaution to avoid the spread of COVID-19, although several countries have already begun welcoming American visitors. "The moment that we see that a big part of the population is double-vaccinated and can prove that they are safe, travel will pick up again," said Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said this week. "And I would expect that over the course of this summer."

In addition to the U.S., five other countries—North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Lebanon, and Taiwan—have been added to the EU's tourist travel list.

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