EU Opens Border to Travelers from 15 Countries, Not Including U.S.

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

The European Union will start opening its borders to non-EU countries starting Wednesday, July 1, 2020. However, travelers from certain countries will not be allowed inside the bloc. 

What Happened? 

As the EU moves forward with reopening amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is choosing to only allow travelers from countries deemed to have succeeded in controlling the spread of the virus. 

The EU recently lifted most internal border closures on June 15. 

Who Does This Impact? 

The traveler’s country of residence, not his or her nationality, will be the determining factor as to whether he or she is permitted to travel within the EU. 

According to the Council of the EU, travelers will not be allowed to travel within the EU if they reside in a country subject to travel restrictions. This resolution is still being implemented on a country-by-country basis, and some EU member states are opting out.

However, for countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, there are some exemptions from the restrictions: 

  • EU citizens and their family members 
  • Long-term EU residents and their family members 
  • Travelers with an essential function or need, as listed in the Recommendation 

The EU has provided a list of countries from where travelers are allowed, which is current as of publication: 

  • Algeria 
  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • Georgia 
  • Japan 
  • Montenegro 
  • Morocco 
  • New Zealand 
  • Rwanda 
  • Serbia 
  • South Korea 
  • Thailand 
  • Tunisia 
  • Uruguay 
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity 

The Council of the EU will review this list of countries every two weeks. The Council developed certain criteria that will help determine which countries could see their travel restrictions lifted. According to the Council, countries should meet the following criteria: 

  • Number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
  • Stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • Overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account 

How is Envoy Global Responding? 

Envoy is following the situation closely and will update clients on a case-by-case basis. Broader updates will be announced as details become available. 

What do I Need to do Next? 

Please review all planned EU travel with respect to the above residency requirements. For any specific questions, please consult with your immigration service provider. Envoy clients are encouraged to reach out via the Communication Center with further questions. 

Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Hannah In-Chan, EMEA Immigration Manager; Kathrine Ayers, EMEA Immigration Specialist and Stephanie Lewin, Head of Global at Envoy Global. 

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.