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When can U.S. citizens travel to Europe?

After months of staying at home and lockdown orders across the nation, the main question that seems to be on everybody’s mind is” “When will Americans be able to travel to Europe again?”

With 2021 shaping up to be better than last year, many people are looking to dust off their luggage and hit the road, especially to popular sites like Paris, Venice, Berlin, and thousands of other destinations. 

However, will Europe be ready to open by that time? At the moment, there are a handful of countries looking to open before the summer season officially begins. 

Let’s take a look at some of the countries that plan to open their borders soon and when we can expect to travel again.

Not planning anything for the rest of the year? Don’t forget to learn more about the ETIAS requirements for Americans, which will become mandatory for U.S. citizens who want to travel to Europe in 2022 and beyond! 

Which European countries are opening for American citizens?

In a surprising new interview with The New York Times, the head of the European Union’s executive body noted that all vaccinated Americans will be able to travel to the EU this summer.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, noted that, “All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.” 

The EMA, also known as the European Medicines Agency, is the EU’s regulator in charge of checking medicinal products before they hit the market. 

At the moment, the EMA has approved all three vaccines that are currently being given in the United States: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson.

Although Ms. von der Leyen did not offer specific details, such as when the borders would open, this news has sparked hope for travellers who have had enough of stay at home orders.

Some of the most popular EU countries for travellers include France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Greece.

The push for countries to open by summer

In fact, countries that heavily rely on tourism, such as Italy and Greece, have been pushing the European Union to speed up the process in time for the tourist season. 

Greece is especially keen on welcoming back tourists. So much that it announced that it would reopen for all tourists in mid-May, as long as they have a certificate of vaccination, proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or that they recovered from the coronavirus. Likewise, all travellers will be subjected to random testing after they have arrived in the country.

In a similar vein, Spain said it would reopen to tourism once 30 to 40 percent of its entire adult population is vaccinated. At the moment, around 8% of the population is fully vaccinated.

What about non-EU countries?

Europe is made up of 50 countries, which naturally leaves 23 countries that are not part of the European Union. 

What about travelling to the rest of Europe?

Thankfully, some countries are already open. The majority of the Balkans, for example, are welcoming tourists with only a few restrictions. 

Montenegro, known for its amazing beaches and historical old towns, only requires a negative PCR test (taken within 72 hours before arriving) or proof of vaccination. 

Its neighbour to the south, Albania, has no requirements, although travellers may be subjected to a health screening upon arrival. 

Likewise, Bosnia and Herzegovina only asks travellers to have a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before arrival. 

Turkey, a vibrant country that straddles both Europe and Asia, requires all visitors to have a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours or less before their arrival. 

To the east, Ukraine is allowing all travellers to enter provided that they have a negative COVID-19 test as well as proof of medical insurance that will cover all expenses related to coronavirus treatment. Why not take the opportunity to see the beautiful historic centre of Lviv or catch some sun in Odessa? 

The future of travel after COVID-19

Many countries, especially those in the European Union, are keen to develop so-called ‘vaccine passports’ so that travellers can seamlessly present their vaccine certificate in order to enter a country. 

The European Union has begun issuing “digital green certificates” that specify whether a traveller has been vaccinated, recovered, or tested negative for COVID-19.

European citizens can use these certificates to travel to or enter public places, such as libraries or malls, without added restrictions.

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