Council Updates List of Third Countries Eligible for Non-Essential Travel, Adds Israel

European Council Belgium

The European Council has updated its list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted, according to a press release published by the Council.

Israel, which is included on the list and specifically mentioned in the press release, is the newest addition to the Council’s recommendations.

The entire list is as follows:

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

The Council recommends that Member States lift travel restrictions and open their borders for nationals of the third countries listed above.

In addition, the Council recommends lifting travel restrictions for the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao. However, lifting travel restrictions for nationals of any Chinese territory or China itself is subject to the confirmation of reciprocity from China, which has been requested but not confirmed for several months.

The European Council first started keeping a list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted beginning on 30 June 2020. The list focuses specifically on travel for non-essential purposes, and is reviewed and updated if needed every two weeks.

The newest addition of the Council’s list was published on 6 May 2021.

On 3 May 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal to further ease travel restrictions for non-essential purposes, as reported by

The Council’s recommendations are not legally binding for any individual Member State to follow. As a result, many Member States have ignored the Council’s continuously updated list of third countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted.

Certain Member States have in fact tightened both their external border controls in addition to their internal Schengen/EU border restrictions.

In addition, the Council has repeatedly called for Member States to act in a coordinated manner when adding, removing, or lifting travel restrictions for certain groups of people. However, most Member States have not followed this recommendation either.

No Member States have yet announced that they will be following the Council’s updated list of recommendations.

To read the Council’s updated list on their press release, click this link.  

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