The EU Looks Set to Reimpose Travel Restrictions on US Visitors

  • European Union officials told Reuters and The New York Times the EU would be removing the US from its list of “safe” countries.
  • Five other countries — Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia — are also expected to have restrictions reimposed. 
  • Vsitors traveling to the EU from “safe” countries are not required to be quarantined, but only need to provide vaccination proof or a negative COVID-19 test.

The European Union may move to reimpose travel restrictions on US visitors from Monday, according to a report first published by Reuters on Friday.

Two EU officials told Reuters on Friday that the European Union was starting procedures to remove the US from its list of “safe” countries who could travel to the EU without additional quarantine or testing requirements. 

On Sunday, The New York Times spoke with three diplomats who said that after the US was removed from the “safe list” it would be up to individual European countries to determine whether or not to impose restrictions. 

Currently, countries on the EU’s safe list can travel to the 27-nation bloc without quarantine by showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival, according to the European Council

For a country to qualify for non-essential travel to the bloc, it must meet two guidelines. First, the country must have no more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over two weeks, according to EU guidelines. And second, the country should also have a “stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period” compared to 14 days before. 

Data from The New York Times coronavirus tracker indicates that the US meets the first requirement but not the second. In the last week alone, there were 47 new cases for every 100,000 US residents, the tracker shows. The US recorded a million new cases in the last 14 days, the tracker indicates — an uptick of 20% from 14 days ago.

Five other countries — Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia — are also expected to be dropped from the EU’s list, EU diplomats told Reuters.

The recommendations made by the European Council, however, are not mandatory. Member states can decide whether they will abide by the Council’s suggestions. 

Europe started opening up its border to other countries in the summer to shore up its economy. The United States was listed as a safe country on June 18 by the European Council after a swift vaccination rollout that saw case numbers fall.

Airline carriers started increasing their flights between Europe and the US after the announcement, eager to stem losses from border closures, reported CNBC. The impending restrictions are likely to set carriers back once again. 

The European Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider. 

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