Europe COVID-19 Restrictions Update
Starting from March 1, 2022, the European Union Member States are advised to remove the ban on non-essential travel for citizens of third countries who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as for those who have recovered from the virus.
Updating the recommendation on the temporary restriction of non-essential travel into the EU, the bloc’s Council has noted that the newly introduced recommendation comes in the light of the evolution of the pandemic, as well as the high share of the world population vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The amendments introduced to respond to the evolution of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination uptake and administration of booster doses, and the recognition of a growing number of certificates issued by third countries as equivalent to the EU digital COVID certificate,” the Council noted in a press release issued today, on February 22.
The same also highlights that the updated recommendation will start to apply on March 1.
According to the Council, the EU countries should permit entry for non-essential travellers who are vaccinated with one of the vaccines that have received the green light by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).
Yet, for travellers vaccinated with vaccines approved by WHO but not by the EMA, pre-departure COVID-19 test results may be required.
All travellers must have been vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip to the EU country, but at most 270 days ago in order to be permitted to enter as vaccinated persons. Those whose vaccination date is older than nine months must receive a booster dose in order to be permitted to enter the country.
Similarly, travellers who have been ill with COVID-19 in the last 180 days and have recovered from it must also be permitted to enter the bloc, even for non-essential purposes such as tourism.
“A negative PCR test before departure could also be required for persons who have recovered from COVID-19, as well as for persons who have been vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine but do not hold an EU or equivalent certificate,” the Council notes.
The Council also reminds the Member States to permit entry for children between six and 18 years old who are travelling with a negative PCR test performed at the earliest 72 hours before departure. Children under the age of six must be exempt from all entry restrictions.
Due to the new recommendation, travellers from the countries with which the EU has reached an agreement on recognizing their COVID-19 certificates will benefit the most. The countries that so far have such an agreement with the EU are as follows:
- Cabo Verde
- El Salvador
- Faroe Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Arab Emirates
- The United Kingdom
- The Vatican