The European Union (EU) has removed six countries, including the United States, from the list of countries approved for relaxed travel restrictions for non-essential travel. This past May, the EU had recommended that member states allow fully vaccinated travelers from the United States to be allowed entry without restrictions. The other countries or entities removed from the list are Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia.
The EU restrictions on non-essential travelers from third countries requires that the country in question have no more than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. Also, there must be progress in vaccinating the population. Other previous criteria include stable or decreasing trends in new cases, the number of tests performed, a maximum of 4% positivity rate among all tests conducted, the overall response to COVID-19 in the country and the reliability of the available information. Reciprocity is also taken into account on a case-by-case basis.
The EU’s recommendations are not legally binding, and its member states are not required to adopt them. While the EU recommends uniform rules, member states often adapt differing variations of the recommendations. This means travelers must frequently check entry requirements in their intended destinations, as the situation can change at any time due to the developments of variants, such as the Delta strain, or changes in infection rates caused by various factors.
SCI members may check the US State Department Travel website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html) or the Reopen Europe website (https://reopen.europa.eu/en) for the latest developments. They may also contact SCI’s Hunter Information Service (www.safariclub.org/contact) for the latest information as their travel dates near. Destinations open or reclose to travelers without warning, so it’s a good idea to get trip cancellation or some form of travel insurance to cover any border closures or other COVID-19 developments that may occur.
There are 27 European countries in the EU: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, 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 associated countries of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, along with the areas of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican also participate in the EU recommendations on travel restrictions due to COVID-19.