Travel News Traveling to Greece

Report: EU May Ban Americans from Entering After Borders Reopen

Written by Charlie

The EU may be about to ban Americans from entering after the July 1 reopening date. This is a developing story about a report that should be issued soon.

This is a breaking story and something that is still developing. The New York Times has said that the European Commission is working on a report that will be presented to member nations before the reopening date of July 1.

Report: EU May Ban Americans

There are two lists being compiled, according to the NY Times. One has the US, Brazil, and Russia on it and would ban people coming to Europe from those countries. The other list (actually two more lists being debated)that has allowed countries has countries on it like China, Uganda, Cuba, and Vietnam.

The list of countries that would be banned is in response to the virus numbers that are climbing in those countries. This list would be revisited every two weeks to see how the virus numbers are improving/not improving.

What About Countries Like Greece That Have Already Said They Will Welcome Americans?

Here is the thing – any nation in the EU bloc can refuse to follow the recommendation. But, such a refusal would mean that countries could close internal borders to that/those countries that do not follow the recommendation.

Read: What it is Like to Travel to Greece During Covid-19

This may sound like a huge thing but many internal borders closed during the refugee crisis (mostly land borders) and more closed during the last few months. So, it is possible and it would mean that a country like Greece would have to decide which they value more – open borders with other EU nations or American tourists.

If they go for American tourists, it will mean that Americans can only enter Greece by flying on airlines direct to Greece or with Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, British Airways – any airline that would have its point of entry into the EU being Greece.

But, if this list is being revisited every two weeks, it could be that countries just go along with the recommendation. This could also be something to leverage the US into opening its own borders to Europeans again since testing is in place in some EU arrival points and could be installed in other locations if they wanted to make sure any/all visitors entering the EU are virus-free.

Bottom Line

The European Commission will be making their recommendation before the July 1 reopening date. At present, it appears that the US may find that their citizens will not be welcome in Europe after it opens to other countries like Cuba. But, this is a fluid situation and one that could change by mid-July.

At present, if you planned on traveling to Europe in July, I would recommend postponing those plans (if you don’t want to wait till the last minute) or maybe think about going somewhere else this summer.

There are Americans that can enter – people that have dual citizenship with an EU nation, a resident permit, immediate family who are nationals, etc. I just returned from the US to Europe using a resident permit and it was not an issue at all. 

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

42 Comments

  • Well, that’s not too encouraging.

    Let’s hope the NYT information is wrong.

    I’m ready to pull the plug on my vacation July 1 should it not be any clearer despite the face we are not supposed to leave until the middle of August.

    At least I did get direct flights from the US to ATH both going and returning to be safe

    • It is a total let down. And massive shame. The reality is if you open your economy and test a lot there will be spikes in cases. I’m sure more people have had it than we know, almost double. I am not defending the US administration at all, but I just feel like if we had better relations with the EU at the moment it would be different. The fact that China is on both those lists is also really sad. Also what happened to these decisions being made by EASA list and not by whole countries of origin?

      • Well, the good news is the Senate is considering a domestic travel bill that would allow us to write off a significant portion of our domestic vacations through 2022.

        This could go on for awhile until a safe and effective vaccine is readily available for most of the world.

        I guess on the flip side keeping my money in the US will actually go a lot further if this passes. It’s still not the same as being at my favorite cafeneo in Naxos having a nice 200 ml ouzo Babatzim on ice with grilled octopus, kalamata olives and pita or going to Siena Italy having a great bottle of Brunello di Montalcino with some well paired cheeses and meats.

        • Did you see the US pulled out of talks with the EU for them to tax global tech companies, last week? It was literally a way for the EU to get revenue by taxing Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. And they wondered why the US wasn’t into that agreement (google EU global tech tax). The EU was absolutely livid that Mnuchin pulled out of these talks and this just screams retaliation. In reality though, this benefits the US by keep Americans stateside this summer and not spending there. But I had personal reasons for trying to go this summer and actually had the time for an extended stay in Greece for the first time in my adult life. Come fall I will not have any time again, so I am holding on to hope that somehow Greece greenlights Americans for July. I don’t have dual citizenship but do have family there, not immediate family though (mom’s side’s cousins, aunts etc).

          • That’s interesting, Constantine.

            My wife and I have considered getting dual citizenship

            I have a ton of vacation time to use this year so I’m somewhat in a similar spot

            Heck, we cannot even act like we are in Greece with all the church festivals cancelled this year.

      • Maybe it is also about the fact that with 28 million tests you have 2.3 million confirmed cases, where Germany for example has tested 5 million with only 0.19 million cases confirmed. If you can do the math you would discover that the US is testing more, but obviously is still focusing on suspected cases.

        In addition to that the trend is still going upwards, as without the ability to follow advice from medical scientists and not politicians, the chance of improvement is quite low.

        • 1. According to the latest immunological and serological studies, the overall lethality of Covid-19 (IFR) is about 0.1% and thus in the range of a strong seasonal influenza (flu).
          2. In countries like the US, the UK, and also Sweden (without a lockdown), overall mortality since the beginning of the year is in the range of a strong influenza season; in countries like Germany, Austria and Switzerland, overall mortality is in the range of a mild influenza season.
          3. Even in global “hotspots”, the risk of death for the general population of school and working age is typically in the range of a daily car ride to work. The risk was initially overestimated because many people with only mild or no symptoms were not taken into account.
          4. Up to 80% of all test-positive persons remain symptom-free. Even among 70-79 year olds, about 60% remain symptom-free. Over 95% of all persons develop at most moderate symptoms.
          5. Up to 60% of all persons may already have a certain cellular background immunity to Covid-19 due to contact with previous coronaviruses (i.e. common cold viruses). The initial assumption that there was no immunity against Covid-19 was not correct.
          6. The median age of the deceased in most countries (including Italy) is over 80 years (e.g. 86 years in Sweden) and only about 4% of the deceased had no serious preconditions. The age and risk profile of deaths thus essentially corresponds to normal mortality.
          7. In many countries, up to two thirds of all extra deaths occurred in nursing homes, which do not benefit from a general lockdown. Moreover, in many cases it is not clear whether these people really died from Covid19 or from weeks of extreme stress and isolation.
          8. Up to 30% of all additional deaths may have been caused not by Covid19, but by the effects of the lockdown, panic and fear. For example, the treatment of heart attacks and strokes decreased by up to 60% because many patients no longer dared to go to hospital.
          9. Even in so-called “Covid19 deaths” it is often not clear whether they died from or with coronavirus (i.e. from underlying diseases) or if they were counted as “presumed cases” and not tested at all. However, official figures usually do not reflect this distinction.
          10. Many media reports of young and healthy people dying from Covid19 turned out to be false: many of these young people either did not die from Covid19, they had already been seriously ill (e.g. from undiagnosed leukemia), or they were in fact 109 instead of 9 years old. 11. The claimed increase in Kawasaki disease in children also turned out to be false.
          12. Strong increases in regional mortality can occur if there is a collapse in the care of the elderly and sick as a result of infection or panic, or if there are additional risk factors such as severe air pollution. Questionable regulations for dealing with the deceased sometimes led to additional bottlenecks in funeral or cremation services.
          13. In countries such as Italy and Spain, and to some extent the UK and the US, hospital overloads due to strong flu waves are not unusual. Moreover, this year up to 15% of health care workers were put into quarantine, even if they developed no symptoms.
          14. The often shown exponential curves of “corona cases” are misleading, as the number of tests also increased exponentially. In most countries, the ratio of positive tests to tests overall (i.e. the positive rate) remained constant at 5% to 25% or increased only slightly. In many countries, the peak of the spread was already reached well before the lockdown.
          15. Countries without curfews and contact bans, such as Japan, South Korea, Belarus or Sweden, have not experienced a more negative course of events than other countries. Sweden was even praised by the WHO and now benefits from higher immunity compared to lockdown countries.
          16. The fear of a shortage of ventilators was unjustified. According to lung specialists, the invasive ventilation (intubation) of Covid19 patients, which is partly done out of fear of spreading the virus, is in fact often counterproductive and damaging to the lungs.
          17. Contrary to original assumptions, various studies have shown that there is no evidence of the virus spreading through aerosols (i.e. tiny particles floating in the air) or through smear infections (e.g. on door handles or smartphones). The main modes of transmission are direct contact and droplets produced when coughing or sneezing.
          18. There is also no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of face masks in healthy or asymptomatic individuals. On the contrary, experts warn that such masks interfere with normal breathing and may become “germ carriers”.
          19. Many clinics in Europe and the US remained strongly underutilized or almost empty during the Covid19 peak and in some cases had to send staff home. Millions of surgeries and therapies were cancelled, including many cancer screenings and organ transplants.

          • Very good post Sam and I agree. I think the reactions by most countries are currently a vast over-reaction.

          • Mmh, with a lethality of just 0.1% and currently 121,000 deaths in the US alone this would mean 121 Million infections , or in other words every third American was/is infected. Bad with numbers or alternative facts?

    • Sam, it looks like Emirates now pushed back their Newark to Athens route to August 1 now. Delta is still on from July 16. But I am going to call them and I have no expectation at this point that I’ll go now. I think the they successfully killed the American market in Greece this summer tbh. Now Greece is just focused on trying to at least get the UK there by July 15th. Are you seeing the similar move to Aug 1 with Emirates that I am?

      • Yes, I’m seeing that, too. Delta does their flight schedule changes mostly on Saturdays so be on the lookout tomorrow.

        Greece will not let UK citizens in starting July 15…some rumors that US citizens will be the same but who knows.

        If we don’t know anything by the weekend of the 4th, I’m pulling the plug

  • Thanks Charlie. Delta still has my flight on for July 16th. You think the whole month of July is now out of the question? I don’t think Greece would choose US tourists over open borders to all. Buit maybe they would have deals in place with certain countries not to shut down if they let them in. If Greece, Italy and Portugal all allowed US tourists in, would other countries really shut their borders to them? So maybe if Greece moves together with a few other EU countries who want US tourists, it could make it very difficult for other member states to shutdown their borders (shutting down to 4 countries is harder than to just 1). I also don’t think the UK would move like that if Greece decided to let US citizens in. Do you think Delta would wait until last minute to cancel a flight or they would give at least a couple weeks notice if July 15 looked out of the question as well? I don’t see the situation in the US changing drastically within two weeks. Also, what happened to the EASA list? certain cities like NYC are going down in cases. Florida is very far from the NYC airports. There seems to be some gaps in the logic behind this so far. I just think some of this is political to be honest and reflects poor relations at the moment. Regarding Greek Americans, it will be a big shame. Wondering how they will navigate that.

    • Constantine, keep checking your delta.com account for any changes. I know from experience they don’t always email you when changes occur.

      Your July 16 flight is still on as of now. American is starting their non-stop service from ORD-ATH on Aug 6. I wonder if Delta was tipped off to something weeks ago with the July 16 start date?

      Let’s also keep an eye on the American Embassy in Greece and see if any news comes from there this week or next.

      There will be many Greek business devastated if Americans are now allowed to vacation this year. Unlike tourists from some other countries, Americans spend the most per capital by a significant amount.

      I was really looking forward to going to Fira and Mykonos this year without the throngs of daytime cruise shippers swarming the islands.

      • Sam, will do. Let’s keep close on this one. Delta is still on for July 16th. If it changes when they make the official announcement next week, then that will be a sign July is completely off the table. I hope you are right about July 15th. I just did some more research and the US has tested just under 28 million people so far. Germany is the closest EU country with that rate and has tested 5 million. So yes, there will be more cases reported here because of testing. I hope Greece is lobbying hard along with some other countries to not let this happen. If a few of them get together and say “we are opting to let US citizens in this summer” then it will be harder for other eu countries to enforce border shuts in response. Hopefully this was leaked to get some negotiations going between the US and the EU. This is really a lose lose for everyone and the guidelines just don’t make sense. Good luck with Cuba, China, Uganda and God knows where else. This is absolutely mental at this point. And agree on the Greek businesses. There are 1.5 million Greek Americans here, as you know. Even if only a third go that is massive loss. I personally have 13k wrapped in this trip just on accommodations, all going to Greek hands. This is such a lose lose; I hope smarter heads prevail on this one.

        • I just looked at the Emirates EWR non-stop flight to ATH this summer. It does not start until July 15, one day prior to the Delta non-stop from JFK to ATH.

          I wonder if Delta and Emirates either know or are banking on the EU and/or Greece being open beginning July 15 which would be two weeks after the July 1 “reopening”? Another new “allowed in” list from EASA should be available by then as well.

          • Sam – I was watching and saw Emirates had made that change to July 15 about a week or so ago. Unfortunately my only way to know is if Delta changes the flight again; in the past they canceled the flight with almost a month advance notice. I just hope if these flights get cancelled they do it by next week and not last minute.

          • I am a little surprised about Emirates. They had been having scheduled flights when everyone else had cancelled and I thought they had worked something out with Greece since it was a fifth freedom flight. But, I guess not?

  • I’ve got Delta booked SEA-AMS for an 11 month trip around the world.

    So, I’m going to find a way to get there.
    How much more control do all of these politicians want to place on people?
    Should we just get dog collars and everyone can be tracked for the rest of our lives?
    Maybe we can just give 100% of our income to politicians so they can do whatever they want?

    More security theater for a disease that 99.7% of people survive (source CDC website)

    • Yeah. When is your flight? I could go to the UK, stay for 14 days, then go to Greece.

      • Constantine, good idea.

        Currently, I was booked to fly to Iceland for a month (plus Greenland, then Faroe Islands).

        Now, I’m trying to get to Northern Europe and do Sweden for a week or so.
        Trying to get married… then start 11 months of RTW travel.

        So, at this point, I’ll take anything!

        I just hope cooler heads prevail in government here (lol, right?)

        • Maybe if there wasn’t an election this year, things would be different! 🙂 11 months of travel sounds great and fun – and potentially quite minimal with tourist traffic! Love your country options for Europe! It is too bad that Denmark wouldn’t sell Greenland to the US and then we would have a great “domestic” location to hit this summer! lol

  • Epidemiological medical authorities know that travel restrictions are not effective or rather that is the common consent currently. On the other hand if cases per 100K in the US were similar to the EU I believe US citizens would be allowed in.

    • You are actually supposed to look at hospitalizations per 100k. US has better per capita hospital and death rates than several eu countries. This has turned political and banning a massive market like this is not going to help anything besides ensure several countries’ recessions last way longer than they would and that relationships are further damaged. It is a lose lose. But little to do with health. It’s like keeping borders shut for the flu.

      • I am not sure what exactly is going. Obviously the top medical authorities disagree: The WHO definitely says travel restrictions are ineffective.

        One thing I do know for a fact is that governments do lie. I think we need to replace what we call “government” with simple rules, protection of rights, and let people live and create their own lives without interference from no one. Protests work! Voting is way to slow.

        • Love this!

          We are being sold a story all the time, while the government plunders for themselves. It’s a fact.

          I don’t think everyone would agree on *what* to do next, but, I think we all agree, this isn’t working anymore.

  • Hi all! Even if you were allowed to travel TO the EU, you would still have to go to self-quarantine for 14 days, so… no gain, here.

    • It will depend on the Schengen country one travels to. Germany, yes, right? But, not Switzerland or Greece (as well as some others).

  • The every-two-weeks thing could be a negative for some countries, particularly those who may be closer to the EU’s “criteria” and would slip into the “bad boy list” in another round.

        • From what I am hearing, Greece is pushing back hard against this new ruling. The US and Russia (along with the UK) make up about 25% of their tourism economy.
          From what I understand, Greece may go along with the first border refusal but not past the initial two weeks. Anything past that may see Greece going at it alone with their borders, even though it would mean that internal borders would be monitored. Doing that is not really that big of a deal anyway, just a checking of all IDs and visas before departing Greece for another Schengen country.

          • Thanks for the Charlie.

            Looks like Delta just cancelled all nonstop flights to Athens until August 1. Not sure what to do at this point. Leaning towards just calling it quits. If I push back to August 1 who is to say that won’t get canceled then as well.

          • Well, I pulled the plug and cancelled by trip to Greece yesterday. Too many uncertainties about getting there and even having to possibly quarantine when getting back home. We will try to go back later in May, 2021 as long as there is an effective vaccine available then.

            Now, I’m hosting the American Trip Act passes the House soon as I am now 100% focused on domestic travel for the rest of 2020.

  • If Greece were to allow US citizens, can a US citizen transit the UK, Doha, and/or Turkey en-route to Athens? I know the UK has no entry restriction, just the 14 day quarantine, but can a US citizen connect there w/o issue? Assume Turkey is ok to transit as they allow US citizens in now as far as I know.

    • This is what I am waiting to find out about! If all EU nations and EU+ nations adopt such a measure, Greece would only be able to accept those visitors if they agreed to allow internal EU borders to be closed. But, maybe they would make an agreement to allow those visitors but only allow them to depart back to non-EU countries? I know this could be done.

    • This would reinforce what I have been thinking for a bit – that the EU was using these closure “leaks” as a way to force the US to reopen their borders to Europeans. At this point, I think the US has nothing to lose from reopening to Europeans. Also, European countries can all have measures in place for incoming visitors that have that country as their final destination (like Greece is doing). I am surprised that they will allow people from Uganda, for example, where testing is not at the same scale as other countries. Hopefully, the EU and the US will agree on something soon!

  • Really disappointed to hear this, still hoping that the EU works something out with the US or Greece decides it’s in their interests to allow Americans in with all the money/business that will bring.
    Since the EU is allowing China in this does sound more about politics then actually controlling the virus.
    You all had great points and Sam you had very interesting points/data, thanks for sharing.
    I think I need to look into both dual citizenship and a residence permit.
    Keeping fingers crossed and thanks for the information!

    • The last day has revealed what may really be happening – social distancing and masks alone have worked to keep the virus well under control. Places that were and still are mostly care-free are now seeing substantially increasing cases, which are not because of increase testing alone.

      The mistake Europe is making is having a travel ban. The number of positive cases that would enter Europe would be simply diluted and insignificant but the economic and social damage will be significant to many people and businesses. Plus I will have to go without my beloved Tartare for a whole year!

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