EU Approves Plan to Allow Vaccinated Visitors and Countries With Low COVID-19 Infection Rates
EU Approves Plan to Allow Vaccinated Visitors and Countries With Low COVID-19 Infection Rates

EU Approve Plan to Allow Vaccinated Visitors and Countries With Low COVID Infection Rates

The EU approved a proposal to allow vaccinated tourists from outside the European Union to visit this summer. They also voted to relax the criteria and release a new list of "safe" travel countries. The safe countries, which visitors could enter without vaccination, are those with 75 or less Covid-19 cased per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days.

To enter the EU, travelers must have received one of the EU-approved vaccines. However, an official reopening timeline still hasn't been set and countries are still free to set their own entry rules.

When can vaccinated travelers visit EU countries?

Speaking at a press conference this week, Christian Wigand, spokesman for the European Commission, said the EU "will now recommend that member states ease some of the current restrictions" for those who have been vaccinated. No precise timeline has been given.

However, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in an April 25th interview with The New York Times that vaccinated US travellers are expected to be permitted to travel to Europe this summer. The EU is preparing to publish a list of COVID-safe countries for reference, as it prepares to open to visitors from countries with a good epidemiological situation.

a hand in blue glove holding a card

The EU suggests policy for its member states, but individual countries ultimately set out their own rules. For example, Italy is now welcoming American travellers on COVID-safe flights; while France is preparing to welcome vaccinated travellers from non-EU countries on June 9th. Some European countries that are not EU members, like Iceland, have already opened their borders to vaccinated travellers.

Will I need to have received a specific vaccine?

It is important to note that the vaccines received must have been approved by the European Medicines Agency, which includes the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. This could potentially be extended to vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation's emergency use listing process.

The WHO has listed the Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines for emergency use.

Do I need a vaccine passport?

This hasn't yet been clarified. It is expected that travellers will need to corroborate vaccination with documentation that is compatible with the EU's proposed Digital Green Certificate, which it estimates may be in use by June. It is unclear what is acceptable proof of vaccination.

Cover Photo: Getty Images