EU Suggests Lifting Non-Essential Travel Ban On US Travelers

The European Union has formally recommended that member states lift restrictions for US travelers. While some countries had already allowed vaccinated US tourist backs, the decision would open all 27 countries to Americans, possibly unvaccinated ones too. Let’s find out more about the EU’s call.

EU Suggests Lifting Non-Essential Travel Ban On US Travelers
Airlines have been responding to the EU’s reopening to US travelers. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Big step

After being tipped earlier this week, the EU has officially lifted the travel ban on the US today. This means the US will join the ‘white list,’ allowing free travel from the US once again. The move comes over a year after the EU first banned Americans from entering its borders after COVID-19 first broke out.

Individual countries will still have the power to add their own restrictions. This could include testing, quarantines, or proof of vaccination. However, considering a conference of EU-wide ambassadors approved the decision, it’s unlikely that severe restrictions will remain in place much longer.

Delta Airbus A330-300
Greece, Spain, France, and Italy are among those who have already allowed vaccinated Americans to visit quarantine-free. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Notably, the move will also allow non vaccinated Americans, including children under 12 who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, to enter all 27 EU countries. The decision has been made to help rescue the European tourism industry, which has been crippled over the last year. International arrivals to the EU fell 70% in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to CNN.

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One-way street

While the European Union has added the US to its lowest risk level, there is yet to be any reciprocation. The US ban on travel from the EU since March 2020 remains in effect, with President Biden extending the ban in January once again. This means only permanent residents, US citizens, and few others can enter the country if they’ve been in the EU in the last 14 days.

In recent days, the US has sounded the alarm about the spread of the Delta variant in the UK and other parts of Europe, potentially delaying any lifting of the travel ban. This means while Americans can enjoy Europe, the same does not apply in reverse.

Lufthansa, Vaccinations, Germany
The United States remains out of bounds for EU citizens for this summer and possibly beyond. Photo: Tom Boon | Simple Flying

Indeed, the health situation in the US has changed rapidly. From being the worst-hit country in the world in January, the US has since led an exceptional vaccine rollout and rapidly reduced its infection rate. However, this turnaround means that the US is a lot more cautious about virus variants than before, prolonging the ban.

Back in action

While the EU’s decision will take a few days or weeks to enact, airlines will be quick to schedule capacity. While the US and European carriers have both ramped up flights to select destinations, the white list addition will open up countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland (not an EU member but member of the Schengen area), and others.

Expect to see a flurry of capacity increases in the coming days, as airlines rejoice at another important market opening, even if it is partial.

What do you think about the EU’s decision to open up to all US travelers? Let us know in the comments!