With reports out in the last couple of weeks that the US would not be opening their borders to European visitors (for the most part) for a while yet (and when they do, it will likely require a vaccination certificate), now we have reports that the EU may put the US on the ban list again. Here is what that could mean.
EU to Shut the Doors to Americans – Again?
The EU council is reviewing a list of countries and recommendations regarding the bans that they have on visitors from countries with higher epidemiological numbers. The US is one of the countries on the list for consideration and an announcement could come this week or next.
The US was removed from the banned list back in June and that opened the doors to a host of Americans that had been chomping at the bit for a European summer vacation. Some cities and countries have seen more Americans than others and many are still expecting them to come for the next month – at least. A lot of travel has been booked and American airline companies have adapted to it as well with a host of flights from US airports to European cities.
What Would this Ban Mean for Vacationers?
But, if the ban comes through, what does this mean for anyone from the US who has travel booked to Europe? Let’s break it down.
This Would be a Recommendation
First of all, the EU member nations are not required to act on this. This would come from the European Commission which only has the power to make a recommendation. Granted, recommendations of this nature are almost always followed by at least most of the member nations but they do not have to. So, it will remain to see which countries would actually follow through on the recommendation.
Countries Could Form Their Own Rules
Which brings us to point number two – there were already EU member nations that had bucked the trend of the closure to Americans before the EU as a whole was ready to open. They included Greece, Italy, and Spain as well as some other countries on the continent that had never really closed to American tourists in the first place (but which were not great points of transit to EU countries for a long time, either). So, even if the EU majority does accept the recommendations, that does not mean the country you are visiting will. If you are visiting one of the Mediterranean countries – which, incidentally need tourist dollars more than other countries – chances are pretty good they will go on their own system of data and you could still enter.
I will say that, at least for Greece, I do not think there is any way they will close the borders to Americans. That means that, as I have said for a while, if you are flying to Greece, I highly recommend one of the many non-stop options between the US and Greece to ensure you have no trouble arriving there.
Could Change in Two Weeks
Third is that this list that is considered is one that is considered every two weeks based on the data. That means that even if the US does go on it this Thursday, they could be off it again two weeks from now. So, no reason to worry and cancel your European adventure that takes place in late August/September just yet. Remember that these kinds of bans are part of the current travel space so you just need to be flexible.
Airlines Would Reimburse
Lastly, if they do ban US visitors and the ban holds for a while, you will still be able to get your money back from the airline or move your travel to another date. Just don’t worry right now – this is something that could happen and if it does, it still doesn’t mean your vacation is ruined.
I would just hold off right now on any kind of prepaid hotel/tourist experience. With even a non-chain hotel, chances are good you could at least get a voucher since this is out of your control but no reason to test that if you don’t have to. I always prefer skipping prepaid options – even before Covid – because I never wanted to be locked in.
The European Commission could put the US back on the banned list this Thursday. But, that does not automatically mean your vacation plans to Europe this summer are ruined. There are still chances it could be ok but you will need to be flexible.
I’m heading to Italy later this week for about a week. Do you know who this would apply to transiting via an EU airport, such as CDG or AMS? For example, if my flight to Italy (which we assume will remain open to Americans), transits through CDG (let’s assume France says stay away to Americans). Would I still be able to transit via CDG given I will not be exiting but only transiting?
Also have read that the most likely recommendation is to not allow unvaccinated non-essential American entry.
I am in the same boat with you Sam. I am fully vaccinated and due to fly to Italy this weekend then will go to Paris via train then return from Amsterdam. I assume once you are in the EU zone, you should be okay?
I just did that not too long ago. Most countries won’t allow pass through. You will have to abide by every country rules.
It definitely depends – some countries will not (like Switzerland) while others do but have protocols that have to be followed for transit (like Germany). I guess we will have to wait and see what happens Thursday but I think you should be fine. Really hope your Italian vacation goes well and you get to enjoy Greece next year!
Why are US borders closed to Europeans? What is the rationale?
Excellent question. There really isn’t any at this point since the US is allowing people in from other countries without as low numbers or robust a vaccination program as the EU has. The only thing I could even imagine at this point is that it is a political move since Trump had wanted to open them back in January and Biden scuttled that plan. But that would be just stupid to draw it out this long so who knows?
Biden owns more and more of the pandemic every day. He is lucky Trump was so bad or he would look even worse.
Europeans are not outright banned from entering the United States. The law just say that anyone (except us citizens) who’ve been in Europe in the prior 14 days cannot enter the United States. One could technically bypass this rule by traveling to a third country (let’s say Mexico) and stay there for 14 days before taking a flight to enter the United States. Does this policy make any sense? Probably not.