EU Removes the United States From Its Safe Travel List. American Tourists May Face Restrictions

by Natasha Gabrielle | Published on Aug. 30, 2021

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A couple take a selfie outdoors while on a European vacation.

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If you're traveling to a country within the EU soon, you should be aware of potential travel restrictions.

American travelers hoping to visit countries within the EU may need to re-check the rules and, in some cases, reconsider traveling at this time.

On August 30, the EU removed the United States from its safe travel list. The U.S. had previously been on the safe travel list since mid-June. Now, EU member nations will decide whether they want to restrict American tourists or impose additional restrictions to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Keep reading to learn more.

The United States is no longer on the EU's safe travel list

In addition to the United States, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia were also removed from the safe travel list.

The European Council publishes a safe travel list, which is based on COVID-19 infection rates in other countries. To be considered safe, a country should have no more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.

It's important to note that travelers from countries no longer on the safe travel list aren't automatically banned from entering EU countries. Each country within the EU can establish its own rules and outline its own border policies. Some countries may choose to update their entry restrictions in the coming days.

It's recommended that EU countries impose fewer travel restrictions for tourists coming from countries on the safe travel list. For countries no longer on the list, the European Council recommends that EU member nations set temporary restrictions for nonessential travel. Member countries may make exceptions for fully vaccinated travelers if they collect proof of vaccination.

What does this mean for American travelers?

Because of this change, travelers from the United States may find that EU countries impose further entry restrictions. Such restrictions may include the following:

  • Banning unvaccinated American travelers
  • Setting COVID-19 testing requirements
  • Setting quarantine requirements

If you have plans to travel throughout Europe, keeping updated on the ever-changing entry requirements is essential. You want to make sure that you know what's required of you before you board your plane. If you're not yet vaccinated, getting vaccinated may improve your chances of being able to travel throughout the EU. Depending on what entry changes occur, it may make sense to revise your plans. For some, this may mean postponing their trip altogether.

Be flexible and prepare for extra rules and extra costs

As you look ahead and make travel arrangements, remain as flexible as possible. Rules can change at a moment's notice. If you don't check and re-check the entry regulations, you may be in for an unfortunate surprise during your trip. To avoid pitfalls, check vaccination, testing, and quarantine requirements often.

You should also include extra money in your vacation budget. Travel costs more money amid the pandemic. Having to pay for COVID-19 testing and quarantine costs can get expensive. You want to feel comfortable knowing that you have plenty of money budgeted.

Travel is also taking longer during the pandemic, and there are frequent flight delays and cancellations. Many airlines are operating with fewer flights and limited staff. That means you'll likely be waiting, and your trip may not go as planned. Having patience will help make your travel experience less stressful.

Consider booking your travel plans with a travel credit card that includes trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. If you have a covered trip, your travel credit card issuer may reimburse some costs associated with the inconvenience of a delayed or canceled trip. For example, they may reimburse you for canceled airline or tour tickets, or they may reimburse you for hotel and toiletry costs while you wait out a lengthy travel delay.

Stay on top of the news to make sure that your travel plans are still a good idea. You may need to make adjustments if the country you're planning to visit imposes strict restrictions. If you're beginning to make travel plans, check out our list of top travel credit cards.

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