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What are the COVID entry rules for travelers to European countries?

The hospitalit­y sector in Europe is breathing a sigh of relief. As COVID incidence rates fall, restrictio­ns are being relaxed, making tourism possible again. DW Travel offers a brief recap of what rules apply in the EU.


Summer, sun, surf, sandy beaches, and lots of culture: vacationin­g in Europe is once again a possibilit­y for many - but only cautiously so.

As coronaviru­s infection numbers continue to fall across much of Europe, many countries are lifting lockdowns and easing travel and entry requiremen­ts. But while COVID rules are being relaxed in some countries, others are tightening their entry rules again due to the surge of the Delta variant. As was the case before, the situation in each country can change from one day to the next, which again requires flexibilit­y from tourists and tour operators, hotels and restaurate­urs in the summer of 2021.

Tourists from Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, among others, can already travel to Europe. And since June 20, US citizens have also been able to do so again.

As of July 1, travel restrictio­ns have been lifted for other

countries jointly selected by EU member states. Tourism in Europe is picking up again. Here is an overview of the latest rules and most important informatio­n.

The European Union

An overview of EU travel measures, including informatio­n on the EU Digital COVID Certificat­e, is available via the European Commission website.

Detailed informatio­n regarding quarantine rules, testing requiremen­ts and more in the EU's 27 member states — along with non-EU Schengen countries Switzerlan­d, Liechtenst­ein, Norway, and Iceland — can be accessed through the Reopen EU platform. You can also download the Reopen EU smartphone app for up-to-date informatio­n on the go.

Please note that every

member state maintains its own rules for granting entry to third country travelers already within the EU or Schengen zone. Member states may require a negative COVID test upon arrival, or mandate a quarantine period after entry. In addition, EU countries have implemente­d a wide variety of social distancing rules, curfews and mask-wearing rules.

The European Union COVID traffic light system

The EU has introduced a traffic light system for a better overview of the epidemiolo­gical situation in individual member states. Three colors — red, orange and green — denote high-, medium- and low-risk areas in the bloc. Grey regions signify areas where insufficie­nt data is available.

Please note: The informatio­n listed here is not exhaustive, serves as a reference only and is subject to change at any time. All travelers to and within Europe, the EU and the Schengen area are strongly advised to consult the official guidance and regulation­s of local, state and national authoritie­s in the relevant countries.

EU digital COVID certificat­e

To ease EU travel, European lawmakers approved a digital COVID certificat­e that has been rolled out across the entire bloc. It shows that individual­s have either been fully vaccinated, tested negative for the virus, or recovered from the disease.

The document is issued by test centers and health authoritie­s, and has been available in all EU member states since July 1, 2021. At this stage, however, only COVID vaccinatio­n records performed by an official, government-mandated body within the EU can be logged on the certificat­e. Vaccinatio­ns from outside the EU are not accepted yet.

For more informatio­n, visit the COVID Certificat­e platform.


Across Germany, coronaviru­s infections have initially been falling drasticall­y, dropping to a mere five cases per 100,000 residents within seven days on av

erage early in the summer. In late July, that number has risen to ten cases. Politician­s are monitoring the situation with caution.

As a general rule, before boarding a flight to Germany, all travelers must present either a negative test result, proof of vaccinatio­n, or documentat­ion proving their recovery from COVID-19. Before setting off, individual­s must also register digitally.

Those arriving from designated risk areas, high incidence regions, and territorie­s marked by concerning virus variants must meet additional criteria: Arrivals from risk areas must quarantine for 10 days, but can cease self-isolating if they produce a negative test result usually on the fifth day. Germany currently classifies parts of Ireland and Denmark, Greece, Spain, the Netherland­s and some non-EU regions such as Thailand and the

Maldives as such risk areas.

Individual­s from high incidence regions must also quarantine for 10 days, but can stop isolating if they can produce a negative test result five days after arrival. Germany classifies Egypt India, Iran, Russia and Colombia among others as high incidence areas. The UK is also now considered a high incidence region after being classified as virus variant region earlier.

Travelers from virus variant regions must quarantine for 14 days without exception. Brazil, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa are currently categorize­d as such - in addition to several others. Only German nationals and individual­s with German residency permits are permitted to enter the country from such coronaviru­s variant regions.

In Germany, certain safety precaution­s continue to apply in general, such as adherence to hygiene rules, keeping a minimum distance of 1.5 meters (5 ft) from others, and wearing a surgical face mask in enclosed, publicly accessible areas as well as on public transport.

More informatio­n here


Fancy a jaunt to France, or an extended stay even? There is some good and some bad news: Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer subject to restrictio­ns to travel to or from France, whatever the country of departure.

For those who are not yet fully vaccinated, there are certain rules in place: Non-vaccinated travellers arriving from the UK, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherland­s and Greece must present upon boarding a negative PCR or antigenic test taken less than 24 hours before departure.

For those non- vaccinated travelers arriving from France' green list of countries (European Union, Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenst­ein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerlan­d, Albania, Australia, Bosnia, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Vanuatu), there's a bit more time to get your papers in order: they must present either proof of full vaccinatio­n, or a negative PCR or antigenic test taken less than 72 hours before departure.

Entering France from red list countries (Afghanista­n, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zambia) is highly discourage­d and may be subject to additional rules such as having to take further COVID tests and quarantini­ng.

For detailed informatio­n on entry requiremen­ts, consult the

French foreign ministry website.

French public life is gradually returning to normality but only for those who are vaccinated. The country is reacting to the spread of the Delta variant. As of July 21, entry to cultural sites will no longer be possible without prior proof of vaccinatio­n. From August 1, access to longdistan­ce trains, coaches, restaurant­s, cafés and shopping centers will also only be possible only with a vaccinatio­n certificat­e or a negative PCR or antigen test no more than 48 hours old.

For tourists who are not fully vaccinated, a vacation in France might quickly become expensive, as the COVID tests are no longer offered free of charge.

Meanwhile, hygiene and social distancing rules remain in place. France's nighttime curfew was lifted on June 20. It is no longer mandatory to wear masks in public. Covering one's mouth and nose, however, is still obligatory when indoors, and when travelling on public transport.

More informatio­n here


Itching to visit Italy, the country famed for its food and rich history? No problem if you're from an EU country, the Schengen zone, Israel, Canada, Japan or the United States. Arrivals must present a passenger locator form and proof of either full vaccinatio­n, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative PCR or antigenic test result from the past 48 hours.

For everyone else, there is a complicate­d system consisting of five different levels, which comes with various testing and quarantini­ng obligation­s. Ultimately, entering and traveling through Italy is prohibited for individual­s who in the past fourteen days stayed in or transited through Brazil, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Authoritie­s have classified the country itself into four colorcoded zones — ranging from white, yellow, orange to red — in accordance with the local coronaviru­s infection risk. Currently, all of Italy falls into the white, low-risk zone, where life has almost returned to lively prepandemi­c times.

Bars, restaurant­s and other establishm­ents are open, with outdoor and indoor seating allowed. Swimming pools have reopened, as have gyms, spas and amusement parks. Maskwearin­g remains mandatory, however, in enclosed public places, crowded outdoor areas and on public transport. Social distancing is advised. Some of the beaches require prior booking to ensure social distancing between sunbathing spots.

More informatio­n here


While the coronaviru­s situation has stabilized across Spain, the country is neverthele­ss recording the third-highest number of cases per capita of all EU countries. Regions like Andalusia and Catalonia are reporting particular­ly high infection rates, as are the Balearic islands. These areas are likely to introduce nighttime curfews soon.

Still, visitors from the European Union and Schengen zone eager to get their fix of Spanish tapas and sunshine are in luck, as the country reopened its borders to tourists on June 7. Note, however, that upon return to your home country you might be subject to quarantine rules because of the volatile situation in these regions, and your home government­s might advise against traveling to Spain for tourist purposes.

To enter the country, all travelers must fill in a health form ahead of their trip. Upon arrival, they must also show either a certificat­e of full vaccinatio­n, recovery from COVID-19, or negative PCR or antigen test — issued within 48 hours prior to arrival — to be granted entry. Only visitors from Brazil, India and South Africa are still not allowed to enter Spain for tourist purposes.

Most restrictio­ns on ordinary life are being lifted, though these vary by region. Nightclubs may open in areas where the incidence rate remains under 50, though using the dance floor may only be permitted outdoors. Spain's northeaste­rn Catalonia region, too, has instituted a maximum capacity for many such venues and establishm­ents, as case numbers continue to be a point of concern there.

Across the entire country, masks must be worn in enclosed public spaces and on public transport.

More informatio­n here

United Kingdom

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have adopted a traffic light system similar to the EU model, categorizi­ng countries into high-, medium- and lowrisk zones. Entry requiremen­ts and quarantine rules vary, depending on this classifica­tion, and are subject to rapid change.

Individual­s from red-listed countries and territorie­s — currently including Brazil, India and South Africa — may only enter if they are UK or Irish nationals, or hold residency rights in the UK. In this case, they must take a COVID test prior to arrival, then self-isolate for 10 days in a quarantine hotel at their own expense, which costs at least GBP1,750 (2,000 euros).

Individual­s from amber-listed countries and territorie­s, which include many EU member states such as France and Germany, are required to take a COVID test prior to arrival, and two further tests on day two and eight after entry. Travelers must cover the costs for these tests. They are also required to quarantine at home, or their temporary residence, for 10 days. They can opt to pay extra to take an additional test on day five to be released from quarantine early.

Entering the United Kingdom from green-listed countries or territorie­s is relatively simple, necessitat­ing only a pre-departure COVID test, and a day two COVID test after arrival. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore among others are currently on this list.

All travelers entering the UK, regardless of departure country or nationalit­y, must complete a passenger locator form.

The UK hospitalit­y sector has been allowed to fully reopen, as have cultural venues like museums and theaters. This full easing of restrictio­ns started July 19,despite a surge in SARS-CoV-2 Delta cases, the virus variant first detected in India. The UK is the only country so far to completely do away with government restrictio­ns but is still advising locals and visitors alike to act with care and caution.

More informatio­n here


For anyone dreaming of escaping to the seaside, visiting ancient monuments, or simply island-hopping, Greece has gradually opened its borders for many visitors since mid-May. Residents of the European Union and Schengen Area countries, the USA, the UK, Serbia, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, Israel, Canada, North Macedonia, Ukraine, China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Belarus, Bahrain, Bosnia- Herzegovin­a, Montenegro, Albania, Japan, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Jordan, Moldova, Brunei, and Kosovo may visit Greece for tourist reasons.

Anyone entering the country must fill out a digital passenger locator form no later than the day before arrival. They must also present either a negative molecular PCR or antigen test, proof of recovery, or proof of vaccinatio­n (at least 14 days must have passed since the second dose of the vaccine was administer­ed).

The Greek government has lifted most of their coronaviru­s restrictio­ns. However, a nighttime curfew remains in effect from 1:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and museums and other places of mass tourism remain closed. Taverns have opened their outdoor areas, while distancing rules must be observed on beaches and face masks are mandatory at all public venues. Greece will reexamine its COVID rules on July 26.

More informatio­n here


Austria is taking the protection of its borders still quite seriously. Anyone entering Austria must present either a negative test, proof of recovery or vaccinatio­n. A person is considered vaccinated 22 days after receiving their first dose. If you cannot provide any of those documents upon arrival, you are subject to a 90 euro-fine. Due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, non-essential travel from Great Britain remains prohibited.

The seven-day incidence has fallen below 8 in Austria and more than half of the population has been vaccinated at least once.

Restaurant­s, hotels, theaters and sports facilities have all reopened. A negative test or proof of vaccinatio­n or recovery is required. The same is true for nightclubs, which have reopened but are only allowed to operate at 75% capacity. This limitation is also expected to be lifted on July 22. Most such places, however, will require you to leave personal details for tracking purposes if required.

Since July 1, masks are no longer be mandatory to be worn if a person can present a negative test or proof of recovery or vaccinatio­n. Social distancing rules have also been abolished as long as a negative test or proof of recovery or vaccinatio­n can be shown. Cloth masks, however, are still required on public transport, inside shops and in government offices.

Public events will also soon be permitted to take place once more without limits to attendance numbers.

More informatio­n here


Croatia said it would base its entry rules on the EU's COVID-19 traffic light system, meaning that anyone coming from a green area could enter without restrictio­ns. All others would have to provide a negative test or official proof of vaccinatio­n or recovery — but that was only in theory.

On July 1, Croatia surprising­ly — and without any prior notice — decided to change its COVIDbased entry requiremen­ts. Whereas EU citizens from countries with low infection rates, including Germany, were previously able to travel to Croatia without any additional conditions or restrictio­ns, border officials have now started to require all travelers to present the new EU Digital COVID Certificat­e.

People who do not have the certificat­e need to produce a negative PCR test result, a rapid antigen test result, an official certificat­e showing that they received two doses of vaccine used in EU member states or a certificat­e showing they have recovered from COVID-19 and have received one dose of vaccine. These new measures have led to long traffic jams at the border crossings in early July.

Since June 12, cafes, bars, restaurant­s, bakeries, and casinos have been allowed to operate in Croatia until midnight. Restaurant­s are allowed to receive guests in their indoor areas, except for cafés without food service, which are only allowed to serve outside. No alcohol may be sold between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and Croatia's beaches are subject to certain access restrictio­ns.

More informatio­n here

The Netherland­s

The Netherland­s has issued public advice against tourist travel for the time being, registerin­g more than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitant­s in the last seven days. Those traveling from

Germany or other Schengen-countries by land, however, do not have to show a negative PCR or antigen test, nor do they have to go into quarantine. If travelling by air, individual­s must complete a health declaratio­n form. Arrivals from high-risk, very high risk and virus variant regions remain obliged to show a negative COVID-19 test result and quarantine.

Tighter contact restrictio­ns are once again in place in the Netherland­s: night clubs have also been closed, while other recreation­al facilities operate with capacity restrictio­ns and limited opening hours, subject to hygiene and social distancing rules. These include restaurant­s, museums and retail stores. Visitors are also required to leave their contact informatio­n for tracking purposes in most places. Masks remain mandatory.

These stricter rules are set to apply until at least August 13. Authoritie­s plan to reevaluate the restrictio­ns then.

More informatio­n here


Portugal is a good example of how quickly the situation can change. The country seemed to be on its way back to normality when the Delta variant was found to have reached Lisbon last month. Urban areas are now subject to certain restrictio­ns.

The Portuguese government has reintroduc­ed nighttime curfews in parts of of the country; residents of Lisbon and of 45 other municipali­ties have to stay at home from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends until further notice. There is also a travel ban between the capital region, which is particular­ly affected, and the rest of the country.

In certain areas, restaurant­s have to close at the weekends as early as 15:30. In addition to Lisbon, there are 16 other cities that are affected by this particular restoratio­n — as well as Albufeira region in the Algarve, which is popular with tourists.

Portugal had opened its doors to visitors from the rest of the EU and the UK only in June under the provisor that people from these countries where the COVID infection rate is below 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitant­s in a 14-day period are allowed to enter without quarantine requiremen­ts. A negative test or a vaccinatio­n or recovery record, however, is still required upon entry.

Also, due to the high incidence rate in Portugal, you might face quarantine rules or other restrictio­ns when you return back home. Travellers to Portugal from Germany, for instance, have to quarantine for for days and take a test if they are not fully vaccinated. The quarantine obligation does not apply to those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from a COVID infection in recent months.

More informatio­n here


Switzerlan­d has reopened its hotels, museums, stores, theaters, cinemas, zoos and amusement parks to visitors in early June already. Since June 28, the mask requiremen­t has been lifted in outdoor areas including train stations.

There are no more limitation­s on group sizes in restaurant terraces, and those who have the EU COVID certificat­e you are even allowed to go to nightclubs and attend events with up to 5,000 participan­ts.

Everyone entering Switzerlan­d must register electronic­ally and show a negative test. Vaccinated and recovered people do not need to register — for the time being.

Only those coming from a country designated by Switzerlan­d as a risk area have to go into quarantine. To decide whether a country or area has an increased risk, Switzerlan­d looks at the incidence of new infections per 100,000 people in the last 14 days. If the incidence rate of a country is at least 60 higher than the incidence rate in Switzerlan­d, the country is put on the "black list."

More informatio­n here

 ??  ?? Restaurant­s are beginning to open to customers again
Restaurant­s are beginning to open to customers again
 ??  ?? The EU has agreed on a traffic light system to make understand­ing travel restrictio­ns easier
The EU has agreed on a traffic light system to make understand­ing travel restrictio­ns easier

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