Updated: EU recommends restrictions on travel from the U.S. for unvaccinated

Alfresco dining in Athens. The EU is recommending that member countries reinstate restrictions for U.S. visitors, based on recent Covid numbers.
Alfresco dining in Athens. The EU is recommending that member countries reinstate restrictions for U.S. visitors, based on recent Covid numbers.

EU officials have reinstated their recommendation to restrict nonessential travel from the U.S., just months after 27 EU member states added the U.S. to a safe travel list in mid-June.

In a statement, the Council of the EU said that following a review, the U.S. should be removed from the safe travel list along with Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia.

The recommendation could affect unvaccinated travelers the most. An infographic provided by the Council indicated that fully vaccinated travelers should still allowed to travel to the bloc, followed by "essential travelers," and then "nonessential travelers from countries on the EU list," which applies to "all travelers" from that country.

However, the council added that its recommendation was not "a legally binding instrument" and that each EU member state would be responsible for implementing or reimposing travel restrictions. Specifically, it said, "this is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers."

A country-by-country guide to current EU travel protocols is available here

In a statement, the U.S. Travel Association's senior vice president of public affairs and policy, Tori Emerson Barnes, said that the restriction recommendation was "a disappointing development." 

"We encourage the E.U. to remain open to vaccinated Americans, and likewise urge the United States to take immediate steps to begin welcoming vaccinated individuals and restoring our travel economy," she said.

The EU is currently reviewing its travel restriction recommendations every two weeks, with countries that have fewer than 75 new Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14-day period, among other criteria, eligible to join the safe list.

On Aug. 27, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that the U.S. had recorded approximately 600 new Covid cases per 100,000 people for the two weeks ending Aug. 22.

Update: This report was updated with new information about the effect of the recommendations on vaccinated travelers.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated that the nonessential travel restrictions would affect travel to the U.S. The restrictions would be on U.S. travelers to the EU.


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