Start planning that European bucket list trip: On April 25, the president of the European Commission told the New York Times that the EU will welcome fully vaccinated American tourists this summer, after more than a year-long ban on travel to Europe. From timelines to knowing which counties will allow visitors, here's what to know and how to plan a trip to Europe:
Can Americans Travel to Europe?
Not yet, but soon. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission said, “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines." The Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson are all approved in both the U.S. and Europe, which, she said will enable "free movement and the travel to the European Union."
What Countries Can Americans Travel to in Europe?
The good news? Americans should be able to travel throughout all of the European Union. “Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.," said Von der Leyen.
What Countries Are Part of the European Union?
The Union currently counts 27 EU countries, which consists of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. The Schengen Area, in which citizens--many non-EU nationals-- can freely circulate without being subjected to border checks, encompasses most EU countries, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania. Additionally, the non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have joined the Schengen Area.
When Can Americans Travel to Europe?
An official date has not been set for Americans traveling to the EU, but it's clear that the ban on travel is set to change, adding that the United States was “on track” and making “huge progress” toward achieving herd immunity (or the vaccination of 70 percent of adults) by mid-June.
Do I Need a Vaccine Passport to Travel to Europe?
A digital health certificate, or vaccine passport, could be required for Americans to travel in Europe. Recently, the European Union has endorsed the idea of an electronic version of the certificate, which could be ready by June, just in time for Americans to travel to the EU. It looks like each individual country in the EU will be able to set its own rules for travel requirements.
This begs the question:
Where Should You Plan to Go in Europe This Summer?
It looks as if all countries will be open to US visitors soon, but a handful have already started welcoming American tourists. Here's where to start if you want to visit Europe right now. Note: Not all of these countries are members of the EU.
Greece: A vacation that offers culture, incredible food, and beautiful beaches, Greece has now opened its borders to travelers from the United States provided they show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.
Iceland: For outdoor adventure lovers, U.S. citizens can now visit Iceland, part of the Schengen Area, if they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or can provide proof of prior infection. Here are10 Icelandic wonders you can see for free.
Croatia: An idyllic summer vacation destination, Croatia, a Schengen Area, has waived pre-arrival testing requirements for vaccinated tourists. See which Croatian island is best for you.
Montenegro: For some of the most stunning (and under-the-radar) beaches, Americans can now visit Montenegro with a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination. And did you know that you can cruise to this country? See our Kotor port review.
Georgia: Looking for some of the best wine in Europe? Americans can now visit Georgia with a proof of full vaccination. This country made our Budget Destinations List in 2019 for good reason.
Additionally, President Emmanuel Macron of France said that the country would be opening to Europeans and Americans next month (May), based on the creation of a “special pass” for those who are vaccinated. He stated, “We will progressively lift the restrictions the beginning of May,” Macron said, for both European citizens as well as Americans. “We are working hard to propose a very concrete solution, especially for U.S. citizens who are vaccinated, so with a special pass, I would say.”
We say, Bon Voyage.