The list of dates when European countries have or are expecting to relax borders is growing and now is the time that most people are locking down summer travel plans. However, it can be confusing–with changing travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, Covid-19 testing and which people a country is allowing in.
Here’s an explainer on what has been announced so far in regard to traveling internationally to a country in the EU over the summer in terms of what you need to have to travel.
Do I need to be fully-vaccinated in order to travel to the EU?
No, the EU has decided that it will not discriminate against people who have not been able to get vaccinated in time for summer, but many EU countries are opening first to vaccinated people, so it is more likely that you will be able to go earlier (in May and June) if fully-vaccinated.
Read the small print–some countries are only allowing in vaccinated travelers from certain countries (possibly just EU for now) and others have specific requirements to allowing in vaccinated travelers–Croatia, for instance, is only permitting entry to vaccinated travelers who can prove they have paid for the entirety of their hotel stay (presumably to ensure that travelers are staying in the country and not using it as a jumping-off point to visit the rest of Europe).
Do I still need a Covid-19 test before departure if I have been fully vaccinated?
Whilst some EU countries have already announced that vaccinated passengers can visit (Estonia, Poland, Croatia, etc.), other destinations have not yet announced if there will be different rules for vaccinated people than others.
Some will likely want proof of negative Covid-19 test results regardless. Iceland, for instance, is currently asking all vaccinated passengers to be tested upon arrival. If a holiday is booked and paid for and very far away, it would be wise to arrive in a destination country with all the possible tools to speed up the arrival process and indeed, ensure entry.
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Do I need the EU’s Digital Green Certificate to travel?
People will be able to travel with the piece of paper that the doctor provided at the point of vaccination or testing for Covid-19, but there is no doubt that downloading an application onto a phone will make things much easier.
Queues will be much more speedy when custom officials can read a QR code off someone’s phone, rather than searching through different country’s documents for the needed information. Some countries, such as Estonia for instance, also have requirements about documents being in certain languages (in this case, Estonian, English or Russian).
At the moment, each EU country has their own process (plus the U.K. has announced it is going to be using a NHS application) so if departure dates are in May or early June, download the application for the destination country. In mid-June, the EU is expecting to launch a joint application that all countries in the bloc can use–at this point, it would be best to download this one too.
Are the Russian and Chinese vaccinations accepted?
To those EU countries that have already announced entry is permissable for the vaccinated, many are not allowing entry to people who have had the Russian or Chinese vaccines, with the exception of Estonia, who is allowing any traveler to enter if they have had one of the nine global vaccines.
Hungary is itself using the Russian vaccine to administer doses to its population and Germany is considering the move, as reported by NPR, but not before it has been approved by the European Medecines Agency (EMA). Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner in charge of the European Vaccine Effort has said that even if the Russian vaccine was approved, it would not arrive in time to make enough of a difference to the EU’s vaccination campaign.