Although the COVID-19 pandemic has all but disappeared from the news headlines this does not mean that the virus has gone away or that travel restrictions between countries have been entirely lifted. Despite a sharp decrease in case numbers in almost every European country, COVID-19 is still having an effect on travel. Temporary restrictions remain in place for a number of countries outside the European Union (although these are being gradually eased) while some EU member states still impose conditions on foreign nationals visiting their countries. Many of the conditions for entering, or travelling through, European Union member states only apply to citizens of non-EU states.
EU country by country updates on travel restrictions
The following is a guide to the travel restrictions and health measures currently in place across the EU and in the Schengen countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland as they pertain to non-EU nationals:
Austria – The 3-G Rule (the requirement to be vaccinated, recovered or negatively tested) was lifted by Austrian authorities in May and no proof of vaccination is now required although it may be helpful to have one in case of any change in requirements.
Belgium – Visitors from EU and Schengen countries as well as those from a “white list” of safe countries require a valid certificate of vaccination or recovery certificate but there is no quarantine requirement.
Bulgaria – Since the start of May, 2022 all entry requirements for Bulgaria were lifted regardless of the country of origin or nationality.
Croatia – There are no requirements for any COVID-19 documentation or for quarantine on arrival.
Cyprus – Only travel documents (passport and flight boarding card) are required for visiting Cyprus and the requirement to fill out a Passenger Locator Form was also lifted in early 2022.
Czech Republic – The Czech Republic, or Czechia, currently has no restrictions on visiting foreign nationals and does not require certificates of vaccination, recovery or negative COVID-19 test result.
Denmark – No requirement for vaccination, recovery or negative COVID-19 test certificates.
Estonia – All travel restrictions have been lifted in Estonia with no requirement for COVID-19 documentation now necessary.
Luxembourg – One of the few European countries still imposing coronavirus measures, Luxembourg requires non-EU visitors to show proof of being fully vaccinated or proof of recovery from the virus. The vaccination certificate, however, is only valid for nine months after the last injection but lasts indefinitely for those who have received a third booster shot.
The Netherlands – Holland imposed a travel ban on most travellers from outside the EU and Schengen zones. Visitors require proof of double vaccination which allows a person to enter the Netherlands for up to 270 days after vaccination was completed or for an indefinite for those who have had a booster jab. An EU Digital COVID Certificate (or similar accepted proof) is required and non-EU or Schengen travellers must also complete a Vaccine Declaration COVID-19 form. Alternatively, travellers recovered from coronavirus must fill out a COVID-19 Recovery Declaration form.
Poland – The Polish Border Police operate a list of categories of countries and nationalities who are allowed enter the country.
Spain – Regardless of the country of origin, all travellers over the age of twelve arriving in Spain must provide documented proof of EU-authorised full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken prior to departure or documented proof of COVID-19 recovery. If more than 270 days have elapsed since the last full vaccination shot then it will also be necessary to have received a booster dose.
The following countries have no COVID-19 certificate or quarantine requirements:
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.
While the information supplied is as accurate as possible at the time of publishing, the COVID-19 situation can change dramatically almost overnight. Travellers to any EU or Schengen country should always check for changes and updates with regard to measures in place in the intended destination country before departing and take whatever steps may be appropriate or necessary.
Travel Insurance Advised
Travel insurance is always a good idea but even more so at present. Coronavirus case numbers may currently be low across Europe but there is no way of predicting what will happen in the months ahead. A new, more communicable and more virulent strain of the virus could emerge and change the travel picture drastically in a very short span of time.
Travel insurance, and particularly health insurance, while abroad may seem unnecessary but could be crucial if catching the disease while abroad. Unexpected bills for testing and treatment should be taken into consideration as well as possible hospital or medical bills in severe cases.
Even without falling victim to COVID-19 there still exists a (slight) possibility of being quarantined or stranded abroad due to flight restrictions should the situation suddenly change. Even the minimum level of insurance can go a long way towards paying off unwanted medical and accommodation expenses should the need arise and for a relatively small cash outlay.
ETIAS Roll Out
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is slowly being rolled out as part of initial testing, and although it may not affect eligible citizens at present it will do in the near future. ETIAS is an online (only) process which gathers personal and other information regarding the applicant and, based on the information supplied and checked, an ETIAS is either granted or denied.
The ETIAS is a form of electronic visa which is digitally linked to a passport and allows the holder to enter any of the EU member states. It should be noted, however, that having ETIAS approval does not guarantee entry into a European country as the final decision still rests with the border security forces of the country in question.
An ETIAS is not yet a mandatory requirement but will become so in 2023 eligible citizens will need to complete an ETIAS application form if travelling to Europe in the near future. An ETIAS will be valid for a period of three years after issue and once expired it will be necessary to go through the application process once again as well as pay the accompanying fee which is currently expected to be around €7.00 for applicants between the ages of 18 and 70. Younger or older travellers will be exempt from paying the ETIAS fee.