Coronavirus travel rules: European countries’ border restrictions and travel measures explained

Across Europe, governments have opened their borders after months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

But, despite the holiday season now being in full swing, some are now shutting down again to head off a COVID-19 resurgence.

For countries outside of the bloc, the EU has opened its external borders to a select group of countries, based on their coronavirus outbreak. The list is updated every fortnight.

As of August 8, citizens of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China can enter. The US, Montenegro, Morocco and Serbia are among the countries on the banned list. But member states are not, however, legally obliged, to follow the EU’s recommendation.

Given the pace of change, Euronews has compiled a handy guide to the situation in each European country.

Albania — commercial flights have resumed since June 15

All EU nationals and residents are eligible to enter Albania at the moment.

The country can be reached with flights from Germany, Italy, the UK, Serbia, Austria, Greece and Turkey.

Passengers at all terminals are expected to pass through a “disinfection tunnel” and undergo “body temperature measurement”. Anyone with body temperature higher than 37.5°C “shall be interviewed by the company doctor”.

Austria — no restrictions for Austrian green list’s countries

Entry from EU+ countries (including UK, Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and San Marino) is allowed with no restrictions except for arrivals from Croatia, parts of Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania. In this case, travellers should either self-isolate for 10 days – at their own expenses – or present a negative PCR test which is not older than 72 hours.

Entry from third countries is prohibited though seasonal workers in the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors may be exempt from this ban.

More info can be found here, as well as an updated list of nationals allowed to enter Austria.

Belgium — quarantine/PCR test required for travellers from many European regions

If travellers visit certain parts of several countries in Europe, they must quarantine or take a COVID-19 test upon returning to Belgium.

These include areas of Bulgaria, Cyprus, certain regions in Germany, several French departments, Greece, several areas in Croatia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, some provinces in the Netherlands, large swathes of Spain and the United Kingdom, among others.

All air travellers to Belgium must fill a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” and hand it over to the border authorities.

Non-essential travel to and from outside the EU and Schengen countries remains prohibited.

Bosnia and Herzegovina — has reopened for tourism since July 16

Bosnia opened borders on July 16 to EU and Schengen citizens carrying a negative coronavirus test not older than 48 hours.

There is still a travel ban for all other foreign nationals, although people with special circumstances (like medical treatment, a business meeting, a funeral or who are in the company of a spouse that is a Bosnian national) may be allowed entry. However, a negative COVID-19 test may still be required.

Bulgaria — has welcomed back tourists from 46 countries without restrictions

Bulgaria opened its borders on June 1 to EU countries, the UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Serbia and North Macedonia citizens, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website.

Travellers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Ukraine are allowed in too with no need to present a negative COVID-19 test.

The list of countries not subject to a travel ban or quarantine obligation is updated periodically and can be found here.

Arrivals from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Albania, Kuwait, Moldova, Israel and any other third country must hand a negative COVID-19 test. Tourists from these countries must meanwhile submit a declaration acknowledging the have been informed of the country’s anti-epidemic measures and with risks associated with COVID-19 to health inspector at the border.

Croatia — Citizens of EU+ countries can travel without restrictions

Borders remain open to EU, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and Holy See citizens. This also includes the families of the mentioned nationals.

However, entry from third countries may also be permitted for business, study and even tourism reasons, providing relevant documentation, listed here. In these cases, it is obligatory to present a negative PCR test that is not older than 48-hours upon arrival. Travellers who fail to present a test that fulfils these criteria must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The government has advised all travellers to fill an online form in order to shorten border checks.

Cyprus — many countries removed from safe list

Cyprus resumed tourist travel on June 9 after closing its borders for almost three months.

Authorities have created three lists based on countries’ epidemiological situation, which detail if passengers from these destinations are allowed to enter and under what conditions.

The lists are updated weekly by the Ministry of Health and can be found here.

All passengers, regardless of their nationality, need to fill out a form called Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours before their flight departure.

List A: “Low-risk countries” (no restrictions)

These countries include: Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Korea, Latvia, New Zealand and Thailand.

List B: “Possibly low risk but greater uncertainty” (entry permitted with negative COVID-19 test)

Passengers coming from these countries need to test negative for the virus no later than 72 hours prior to their arrival and include: Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Holy See (Vatican City State), Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

List C: “Greater risk” (entry not permitted unless the traveller is Cyprus resident or is included in this list).

These countries are all those not listed above, including Portugal, Luxembourg, Romania and Montenegro.

Czech Republic — Another country added to the red list

EU countries have been divided into groups dependent on risk.

All EU member states except Spain are now in the low-risk green group, meaning travellers can enter the Czech Republic with no restrictions. They are joined by Andorra, Australia, Iceland, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Federal Republic of Germany, Norway, New Zealand, San Marino, Thailand, Tunisia, Switzerland, Vatican City State and UK.

Spain is currently classified as “red” and tourists need to present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival.

Entry is prohibited to all other third-country nationals, except for cases listed here.

Denmark — countries added to the high-risk list

Denmark’s borders have been closing again to many European countries, but this is subject to change based on a set of health measures and analysis. Parts of the bordering areas in Sweden have also been reopened. The list of closed countries is updated weekly.

France, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom Belgium and the Netherlands are among the high-risk countries on the list as of October 14.

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