As COVID-19 vaccine rollouts continue to progress in the U.S. and abroad, a handful of European countries, including Iceland and Croatia, have started opening up to vaccinated travelers. Will others follow suit?
European countries vaccinated travelers can visit
Not all of Europe is closed off to travelers from the United States and elsewhere. Some countries have recently announced policies that allow travelers who have received their COVID-19 vaccine to enter.
As of April 1, anyone can travel to Croatia if they present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate (the final dose must be administered at least 14 days before arrival); can present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Croatia (if it’s a rapid test, a second test must be taken 10 days after the initial test if your stay in Croatia is longer than 10 days); or were diagnosed with and recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days prior to arrival. Children under seven years of age are exempt.
The U.S. Embassy in Croatia reminds travelers that tourists who meet the above requirements will only be permitted to enter Croatia if they provide evidence that they have paid for their Croatia accommodations in advance and in full prior to arrival at the border.
Effective February 2, the northern European country of Estonia has declared that those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter the country without having to submit to an otherwise mandatory 10-day quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements. The Estonian government has said that vaccinated travelers must still adhere to any public health measures that are in place in Estonia.
As of February 1, 2021, any fully vaccinated traveler from any country is allowed to enter Georgia as long as they present documentation confirming their COVID-19 vaccination status. (If the vaccine required two doses, proof of both doses must be provided.)
Unvaccinated travelers arriving from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, the European Union, Israel, Kazakhstan, Norway, Northern Ireland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, or the United States must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result conducted within 72 hours prior to travel at the Georgian border. On their third day in Georgia, travelers must submit to a second PCR test.
On March 9, 2021, Greece tourism minister Harry Theocharis said that those who are vaccinated against COVID-19, have antibodies, or test negative for COVID will be able to travel to Greece this summer, Reuters reported. “Greece is ready with a complete protocol for summer 2021,” Theocharis said at the global tourism trade fair ITB Berlin. He added that Greece wants to be ready to start its summer travel season by May 14.
Currently, only residents of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland can enter Greece, as well as those traveling from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Those coming from other countries can only enter Greece for essential travel purposes.
All arrivals into Greece must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 72 hours before their entry to Greece.
Travelers entering Greece must complete a passenger locator form online, which includes the address of their stay while in Greece. Upon completion of the form, they will be provided with a unique Quick Response (QR) code via email on the day of their scheduled arrival in Greece, according to the Greek government.
Effective March 18, 2021, any travelers—including those from the United States—who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can enter Iceland and will not be subject to COVID-19 testing or quarantine measures. Previously Iceland’s policy stated that proof of vaccines simply allowed those who were already authorized to travel to Iceland (namely Icelandic and EU citizens and residents) to skip the country’s quarantine and testing requirements.
Travelers must provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated (so two doses if two doses are required) with a vaccine that has been certified for use by the European Medicines Agency, which includes the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“Our experience and data so far indicate very strongly that there is very little risk of infection stemming from individuals who have acquired immunity against the disease, either by vaccination or by prior infection,” stated Iceland’s chief epidemiologist Thórólfur Gudnason. Iceland also allows travelers who have been previously infected with COVID-19 to enter the country without quarantine and testing.
Most of the rest of Europe has a ban on non-essential travel for US citizens. As more people are vaccinated, more will open up.
Among the many things this pandemic has taught us travelers is that patience is a virtue. As we wait to see how European governments continue to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we will need to hang onto a bit more patience.
So many of us cannot wait to get back to Europe. And, we most certainly will. It has always just been a matter of when .
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