3 Things To Know About The European Union Removing The US From Safe Travel List
Photo Credit: Westend61

Photo Credit: Westend61

3 Things To Know About The European Union Removing The US From Safe Travel List

COVID-19 , Europe , news
DeAnna Taylor
DeAnna Taylor Sep 1, 2021

Travel news sources are all ablaze with the European Union’s recent decision to take the United States off of its safe travel list. The announcement comes just months after the US was added back to the list, but as COVID-19 cases increase due to the Delta variant, countries are once again hesitant to welcome travelers from certain nations.

The removal left many travelers confused about what exactly is going on. The short answer— it’s complicated. But, we wanted to try to break down some key facts surrounding the removal from the safe travel list— and how that affects upcoming trips for US passport holders.

Removal from the safe travel list is not an actual travel ban

The biggest misconception around the removal is that EU nations have once again closed their borders to US passport holders. This is not true— as yet. The removal is simply a recommendation across the EU and from there, the 27 individual countries are allowed to make their own decisions on a ban. So far, there have not been any updates on EU countries closing the borders.

“The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed,” the Council notes in its decision published on August 30.

Vaccinated travelers can still travel and patron indoor places

vaccine passports
Valentin Russanov

For weeks now, the rule has mainly been that those who are fully vaccinated— and those who can provide a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of travel— can travel to European Union countries. With the latest announcement, many experts are bracing for stricter rules. This could mean only accepting fully vaccinated travelers, and they may still need to show proof of a negative test.

According to USA Today, that could happen as soon as two weeks from now.

Germany did reimpose restrictions on unvaccinated Americans. Those who are unvaccinated or unable to show proof of recovery will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival. The quarantine period can end on the fifth day with proof of a negative coronavirus test. 

Additionally, countries like France and Italy have implemented a special digital pass that allows vaccinated travelers to enter certain indoor businesses and spaces.

If you are planning EU travel, travel insurance is recommended

With things being very uncertain right now, it is best to pay the extra money for travel insurance for European (or any) upcoming trips. In the past, most airlines and hotels have been very accommodating when it comes to ever-changing travel updates and bans, but that is not guaranteed this go round.

Most travel insurance plans reimburse you for cancelled or delayed travel. You can find more about travel insurance here.