EU lifts travel restrictions for US tourists and 13 other countries

The European Union on Friday lifted travel restrictions on American travellers along with over ten other countries after over a year.

Apart from the US, the EU has lifted restrictions on non-essential travel from 13 other countries including Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Singapore, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, and China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity).

According to an EU statement, the criteria for determining the non-EU countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover, in particular, the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, and economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively.

Last year on June 30, the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. This recommendation included an initial list of countries for which member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders.

The list is reviewed every two weeks and, as the case may be, updated.

On 20 May, the Council adopted an amending recommendation to respond to the ongoing vaccination campaigns by introducing certain waivers for vaccinated persons and easing the criteria to lift restrictions for third countries.

At the same time, the amendments take into account the possible risks posed by new variants by setting out an emergency brake mechanism to quickly react to the emergence of a variant of interest or concern in a third country.

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 statement read further.

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