Following a review in the context of the recommendation on the phasing out of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU, the Council adopted the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which the travel restrictions should be lifted, updated. Specifically, Chile, Kuwait and Rwanda were added to the list and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Moldova were deleted.
Temporary travel restrictions apply to non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I. However, Member States retain the option to lift these restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers.
The Council’s recommendation for the phasing out of these restrictions is reviewed every two weeks and updated as necessary.
From 23 September 2021, Member States should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries, on the basis of the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation:
- Chile (new)
- Kuwait (new)
- New Zealand
- Rwanda (new)
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- China, subject to reciprocity
Travel restrictions in China’s special administrative regions – Hong Kong and Macao – are also expected to be phased out.
In the category of entities and local authorities not recognized as a State by at least 1 Member State, travel restrictions for Taiwan should also be gradually removed.
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City should be considered EU residents for the purposes of this recommendation.
The exemption criteria were updated on May 20, 2021. It examines the epidemiological situation, the overall response to COVID-19 and the reliability of the information and sources available. On a case-by-case basis, reciprocity must also be taken into account.
The countries associated with the Schengen area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) also subscribe to this recommendation.
On 30 June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on the phasing out of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU. This contained an initial list of countries for which Member States should gradually lift restrictions. The list is reviewed every 2 weeks and updated if necessary.
On May 20, the Council adopted a recommendation for change in response to ongoing vaccination campaigns. Vaccinated people will benefit from certain exemptions and the criteria for lifting restrictions for third countries will be relaxed. At the same time, the amendments provide for an emergency braking mechanism to react quickly to interesting variants (“variant of interest”) or variants of concern (“variant of concern”) in third countries.
The Council recommendation is not legally binding. It is the responsibility of the authorities of the Member States to ensure follow-up. They can only gradually lift travel restrictions to the above countries, in full transparency.
It is not the intention of a Member State to lift travel restrictions for third countries that are not on the list before a joint decision has been taken.
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