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Navigating the EU's Latest Travel Restrictions

The European Union (E.U.) has removed the United States from its list of Safe Travel countries. The non-binding resolution is a recommendation and applies to unvaccinated travelers. Individual nations within the 27-country bloc, however, can make their own determinations and recommendations for which visitors it will allow into their borders.

Those planning a fall trip to Europe may be wondering where they stand and whether or not they can visit. So far, there have been few changes.

“The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument,” the Council said in its announcement. “The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation.”

Rampant coronavirus cases in the U.S. prompted the E.U.'s move. The U.S. has fallen out of the E.U.'s criteria for COVID safety, which requires no more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 during the previous 14 days. Currently, the U.S. is more than 250 cases per 100,000.

For those thinking of visiting, it's important to note that travel restrictions for U.S. travelers in Europe are not uniform at the moment. For example, only vaccinated visitors are allowed to come to France while other countries allow unvaccinated travelers who have negative COVID-19 tests.

For those making the decision whether or not to keep their plans for European travel in place, the best place to turn for information on each European country's changes after this announcement will be the U.S. State Department, which publishes the most up-to-date travel information and advisories.

For those planning trips or who have vacations already booked, travel advisors are an invaluable resource. Advisors keep abreast of entry requirements in all destinations and will be able to provide their clients with up-to-date information, work to make any changes or adjustments to their clients’ itineraries, rebook anything that is canceled and pre-book activities and dining, if necessary.

Travel advisors will also be able to provide in-depth, insider information on what it is like on the ground in a particular destination so that their clients know and understand what the experience will be like when they travel. They can answer questions such as if travelers need to wear masks and where or if vaccination cards will be needed to enter entertainment venues or restaurants.

One of the ways to ensure that you are getting expert advice is to turn to a travel advisor who is a specialist in the European country you are planning to travel to. Advisors who are devoted to particular areas of expertise travel to those destinations frequently and are able to illustrate exactly what to expect from landing at the airport and clearing customs to getting to the hotel, dining out, going to museums, shopping and more.

It is still possible that many European countries, especially those heavily reliant on tourism, will leave their entry requirements untouched; however, since the E.U. is remaining open to vaccinated U.S. visitors, one way to ensure entry is to get a vaccine.


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