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Who Can Travel To Europe And The UK?
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Many people want to travel to Europe again to see the historical sites and enjoy the rich culture and culinary delights. United States citizens haven't been able to cross the Atlantic for leisure since the opening weeks of the pandemic. However, things may finally be changing for tourists.

The London Eye and cherry blossom trees on a clear day,...

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/04/23: The London Eye and cherry blossom trees on a clear day, London. ... [+] (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Countries That May Fly To Europe Now

The European Union currently has relaxed entry requirements for select "third countries" outside of Europe.

Current countries on the list (as of April 29, 2021) include:


New Zealand



South Korea


China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)

It's possible for international travelers to self-quarantine in these countries first for at least ten days so that they may enter the EU for non-essential travel. This self-quarantine also waives a mandatory self-quarantine.

Travelers can anticipate needing to take a pre-travel diagnostic test no longer than 72 hours before departure.

Vaccinated Americans May Visit Europe This Summer


Most of continental Europe has only been open to essential travelers since the start of the pandemic. Even for people who could get into Europe, countries have had rolling lockdowns and non-essential service closures when infection rates rise. That means no bars, restaurants or museums are open to patronize.

Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more available, governments are more receptive to restarting leisure travel. In an April 25, 2021, interview, European Union President Ursula von der Leyen said that fully vaccinated Americans may be able to visit Europe as soon as mid-July.

A critical threshold seems to have at least 70% of the U.S. population vaccinated for international travel. The U.S. can reach the 70% mark by mid-June if current vaccination trends continue. Currently, the United States is outpacing the EU with vaccinations. As the populations in both continents increase their vaccination rates, the borders may reopen.

Europe Travel Opens To European Residents First

The first step to restarting tourism and leisure travel across Europe is forming a joint agreement between the Schengen nations. This framework is currently called the "Green Pass." Leaders are working together to make a reopening plan that lets EU residents travel between countries. The initiative hopes to launch this pass to residents in the second half of May 2021.

Since the pandemic began, each country has its own travel restrictions. It is common for many to only allow visitors from bordering nations.

Another requirement to travel can be having a vaccine passport. European residents will need to show proof of receiving a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If the nations reach an agreement, an EU resident from any country can travel to another EU bloc nation once fully vaccinated, similar to pre-pandemic travel in the Schengen Zone.

It's unclear if travelers can present a paper proof of vaccine like the current CDC form or if there will be a mobile app that verifies the vaccine to help prevent fraud. There may be a scannable QR code that lets travelers quickly move about.

Non-EU Residents May Return Later

The European Union is committing to allowing U.S. travelers to return to the EU in the foreseeable future. There isn't a target reopening date, but it can be as soon as summer 2021 if the health threat reduces.

Americans might be some of the first international travelers to have the chance to come to continental Europe for leisure travel. A Guardian news report indicates the EU is in advanced talks about launching a vaccine passport with the United States. Unfortunately, the United States hasn't made contact with the United Kingdom for a similar move.

American visitors can expect to follow the same vaccine passport protocols as EU residents once a travel system launches.

The European Medicines Agency currently approves these COVID-19 vaccines:



Johnson & Johnson

Because of the post-Brexit chasm, Americans will probably only want to stay within the EU bloc to avoid unnecessary self-quarantines if they are taking an extended tour of Europe and want to fit a stop in the UK too.

Current Europe Travel Restrictions

In general, Americans cannot travel to the Schengen Zone of the European Union. This 27-member bloc is primarily the western and central European countries that most tourists visit, like France, Italy and Spain. Other nations are open to leisure travelers, but local social distancing guidelines and entry requirements may apply.

Here is a look at some European destinations that Americans can fly to before the EU reopens.


Iceland was one of the first non-continental European countries to reopen to international travelers. The one caveat is that incoming visitors must be fully vaccinated and travel at least 14 days after receiving the final dose.


Greece is open again to leisure travelers from select nations, including the United States. Travelers can waive the mandatory quarantine and a diagnostic test by being fully vaccinated. The unvaccinated will need to take a pre-travel test to avoid the 10-day self-quarantine.


France currently isn't open to unessential international travel, but President Emmanual Macron mentions the country is developing a special travel relationship with the United States. This pass may allow U.S. travelers to visit in summer 2021 if the broad EU agreement fizzles out. Other nations that heavily depend on tourism have similar desires to make travel corridors with the United States until a continent-wide approach passes.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) hopes to reopen to American travelers as soon as May 17, 2021. Now that Brexit is complete, the UK travel restrictions are separate from what the EU does.

Other European Nations

Several nations not part of the 27-member EU bloc in central and eastern Europe are welcoming American tourists. Travelers will need to be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID test within 72 hours before arrival.

Some of these nations include:







The entry requirements vary by nation, and it's critical to complete the necessary steps before flying. Overlooking a mandatory action can result in a 10-day self-quarantine.

These requirements are similar to most Caribbean and Latin American nations that are open to American tourists.

US Entry Requirements

Re-entering the United States can be similar to the steps necessary to fly into Europe. Returning Americans age two or older will need to obtain a re-entry test no more than 72 hours before flying back to the United States.


The first leisure flights to Europe may resume from the United States to Europe as soon as this summer, but travel for EU residents must resume first. American tourists hoping for a multi-nation European getaway should expect to be fully vaccinated to cross the Pond. Until the European continents reopen, travelers can visit select countries like Iceland and Greece by meeting the nation's entry requirements.

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