With summer approaching and vaccination rates rising, some EU countries are moving faster than others when it comes to opening borders.
BERLIN: As vaccination rates rise and summer draws closer, hopeful holidaymakers who’ve already had their COVID-19 shots may be holding their breath to see where they can vacation in Europe this summer. The EU’s new “Digital COVID Certificate” is due to kick in from July 1 to facilitate travel within Europe, and member states recently agreed on recommendations to allow fully vaccinated tourists from abroad back into the bloc. But for now, the reality is still a patchwork of restrictions, with member states applying different policies in different ways.
With the situation varying from country to country, here’s a breakdown of some of the rules — and exemptions — in place for vaccinated travelers across the EU.
France, the world’s number one destination for international tourists, reopens to many fully vaccinated visitors from around the world as of June 9. Under new rules, vaccinated people traveling from the EU and countries on France’s “green” list, including South Korea, Japan, and Israel, can avoid COVID-19 testing requirements altogether. Unvaccinated travelers from these regions can enter with a negative test.
Spain opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from many countries around the world on June 7. People entering Spain from what it deems “risk” areas — including many EU members and most other countries in the world — can avoid quarantine requirements by showing proof of full vaccination with a jab approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) at least 14 days before arriving, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test.
Greece is open to tourists from around 50 countries, including all EU states, the US, Canada, Russia, and China. To enter Greece, travelers must have either a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test, or proof of recovery from COVID-19. The Greek government lists the following vaccines among those accepted: Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Johnson and Johnson, Sinovac, Sputnik V, Casino Biologics, and Sinopharm.
On May 25, Cyprus announced it was opening its borders to tourists from dozens of countries including all EU and EEA states, Canada, Egypt, Serbia, the UK, and the US. The country has a traffic light system in place and tourists from “orange” or “red” countries are subject to testing rules.
However, fully vaccinated passengers with valid vaccination certificates are entirely exempt, no matter the color code of the country they come from. Cyprus accepts all vaccines approved for use in the EU as well as the Sputnik V and Sinopharm shots.
Germany and beyond: Vaccination certificates, but only on limited terms
Most travel to Germany from outside the EU and Schengen Area is still limited to urgent journeys only. However, Germany has begun accepting COVID-19 certificates in certain cases where travel is permitted. While passengers arriving by plane must usually get tested before departure, those who can provide proof of vaccination instead are now exempt.
Other EU countries including Denmark, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Austria, Poland, and Lithuania are taking similar approaches to Germany for now; maintaining restrictions on most non-essential travel from outside the EU while waiving some test and quarantine requirements for vaccinated people. Some EU countries also have bilateral deals in place to mutually recognize national vaccination certificates. For example, Hungary waives entry restrictions for vaccinated travelers from countries including Turkey, Slovenia, and Serbia.