This story was updated on September 11, 2021.
It’s been less than two weeks since the European Union removed the U.S. from its ‘safe list’ of countries for nonessential travel, and already some of the most-visited of the bloc’s 27 member states have reacted by clamping down with additional Covid-19 travel restrictions for Americans.
The E.U. recommendation is non-binding, so it’s up to each individual country in the bloc whether to impose additional restrictions. Already, it’s clear that travelers will not find one universal policy throughout the E.U., as a messy patchwork of different rules and regulations is emerging across the continent.
Here are the European countries where it has become more difficult for Americans to travel.
E.U. Countries Where Americans Are Virtually Banned Outright
Sweden: As of September 6, the U.S. is now off Sweden’s list of “safe countries.” This means American tourists are not permitted to enter Sweden for non-essential reasons, regardless of vaccination status. The U.S. had previously been exempted from Sweden’s entry ban for non-E.U. residents.
Norway: U.S. travelers are not allowed to enter Norway, with the exception of those visiting close family members. Travelers must show a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken 24 hours prior to departure and must also take a test upon entry. (More: U.S. Embassy)
Bulgaria: Two days after the E.U. removed the United States from its “safe travel list,” Bulgaria put the U.S. on its “red zone” list. Individuals arriving from the United States, regardless of their citizenship, are prohibited from entering Bulgaria. American tourists may visit Bulgaria, however, if they arrive from a country on the “green list” or “orange list,” and present either proof of vaccination against Covid-19, a recent negative Covid test result, or proof of recovery from Covid-19. (More: U.S. Embassy)
E.U. Countries Where Americans Now Face Tighter Restrictions
France: The United States is now on France’s “orange list.” That means fully vaccinated U.S. travelers may enter the country without testing, while unvaccinated travelers may not enter France for non-essential reasons. Beginning September 30, children aged 12-18 must also be vaccinated to enter restaurants and cafes as well as cinemas, sports centers and concert venues. While in France, travelers must download and activate the TousAntiCovid mobile application, which requires proof of Covid health status, to dine at restaurants, bars and cafes and to enter top tourist attractions and other indoor venues. (More: French Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
The Netherlands: The Dutch have imposed some of the toughest new restrictions on American travelers. As of September 4, the Netherlands considers the U.S. to be a very high-risk area. Only fully vaccinated Americans may enter the country AND they must comply with a mandatory quarantine requirement. In addition, travelers also must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test or a negative antigen test performed within 24 hours prior to departure for the Netherlands. (More: U.S. Embassy | Netherlands Entry Checklist)
Demark: Unvaccinated Americans are now banned from entering Denmark. Previously, all U.S. travelers could enter the country with only a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery. The entry requirements for vaccinated tourists remains the same.
Italy: All travelers from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, must now present a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of their arrival in Italy. Unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for five days after arrival and then get tested again. (More: Italian Health Ministry)
Spain: Since September 6, Spain requires U.S. to show proof of full vaccination and submit health information to the Spain Travel Health portal, which generates a QR code to show when entering the country. The system also sends each traveler an email with the QR code. (More: U.S. Embassy | Spain Travel Health FAQs)
Belgium: The U.S. is on Belgium’s list of “red zone” high-risk countries. American tourists can only travel to Belgium if they can present proof of full vaccination. U.S. travelers who cannot present a valid vaccination certificate cannot travel to Belgium for non-essential reasons unless they hold an EU citizenship or residency. (More: U.S. Embassy)
E.U. Countries Where Restrictions Have Not Changed
As of now, most European Union countries have not imposed additional restrictions following the removal of the United States from the “safe travel” list. But protocols can change on a dime and travelers should keep an eye on policies that affect not only entry into a country but restrictions on the ground, such as requirements for travelers to show proof of vaccination for various activities. Here’s a rundown of restrictions that remain in place in popular European tourist destinations:
Germany: Even before the E.U. put the United States off the “safe travel” list, Germany had classified the U.S. as a “high risk” area for Covid-19. Travelers who have been in the U.S. within 10 days of entering the Germany must be fully vaccinated or able to demonstrate why travel is essential. Travelers who can prove they were previously infected with Covid through a positive PCR test taken between 28 days and six months before arrival, and who show no relevant symptoms, are considered to be fully recovered. (More: German Embassy)
Portugal: To enter Portugal, U.S. travelers must present either an E.U. Digital Vaccination Certificate or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure or negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure. Once in Portugal, travelers must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to stay at a hotel or vacation rental property. Travelers who test positive for Covid while in Portugal will face a 10-day quarantine at their own expense. (More: U.S. Embassy)
Greece: Before entering Greece, U.S. travelers must complete the passenger locator form and show either proof of full vaccination, or a negative PCR test result for Covid-19 performed within 72 hours of arrival, or a negative antigen test result performed within 48 hours of arrival. (More: U.S. Embassy)