COVID-19: traveling from a country outside the EU

EU Travel Restrictions

The EU is working with Member States to contain the spread of the virus and help national healthcare systems cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

To slow the transmission of the virus, EU leaders agreed on 17 March 2020 to a coordinated temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU, applied until 30 June 2020.

In June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU and the possible lifting of this restriction. The recommendation was last updated on February 22, 2022.

Who should be allowed to travel to the EU?

According to the recommendation, the following categories of people should be allowed to travel to the EU, under certain conditions:

  • people vaccinated and recovered
  • essential travelers
  • non-essential travelers from countries on the EU list

People vaccinated and recovered

Travelers should be allowed to enter EU territory if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • they completed the scheme complete primary vaccination course with an EU or World Health Organization (WHO) approved COVID-19 vaccine, and less than 270 days have passed since the last dose of that regimen
  • they received a booster dose an EU or WHO approved COVID-19 vaccine
  • they are restored COVID-19 within 180 days of travel

Member States should use the EU digital COVID certificate or equivalent certificates issued by third countries as proof of vaccination and recovery.

For people vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine, Member States could also require a negative PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure and apply additional measures such as quarantine or isolation.

A negative PCR test performed before departure may also be required for people who have recovered from contracting COVID-19, as well as for people who have been vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine, but who do not have EU certificate or equivalent.

Essential travelers

Where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of persons should be exempt, regardless of their country of origin:

  • them EU citizens and their family members
  • them long-term EU residents and their family members

Travel should also be allowed for travelers with an essential function or needamong which:

  • healthcare professionals, elderly care professionals, healthcare researchers
  • frontier workers, seasonal workers in the agricultural sector, personnel in the transport sector and seafarers
  • highly skilled workers if their employment is necessary and their work cannot be postponed or carried out abroad
  • diplomats, staff of international organizations, military personnel and aid workers
  • passengers in transit
  • passengers traveling for imperative family reasons
  • people in need of international protection or traveling for other humanitarian reasons
  • people traveling for study purposes

Travelers on non-essential travel from countries on the EU list

The list of countries for which Member States should gradually lift travel restrictions is reviewed and, where appropriate, updated every two weeks. Non-essential travelers from countries on the list should be allowed to travel to the EU.

The list was last updated on January 17, 2022 and includes the following countries:

  • Bahrain
  • Chile
  • China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
  • Colombia
  • Indonesia
  • Kuwait
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay

Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China:

In the category of territorial entities and authorities not recognized as States by at least one Member State, travel restrictions for Taiwan should also be gradually lifted.

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered EU residents for the purposes of this recommendation.

The criteria for determining the non-EU countries in respect of which the current travel restriction should be lifted relate in particular to the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, and to economic considerations. and social. They are applied cumulatively.

The following criteria relating to the epidemiological situation are taken into consideration when deciding whether a non-EU country should be on the list:

  • the number of new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fourteen days must not exceed 100
  • the number of new cases in a certain period compared to the previous fourteen days must stabilize or show a downward trend
  • the testing rate must be greater than 600 tests per 100,000 population in the last seven days
  • the percentage of positive tests among all tests for COVID-19 infection taken in the last seven days must not exceed 4%
  • the nature of the virus present in a country, in particular if any variants of concern or to follow the virus have been detected
  • the country’s overall response to COVID-19

It is also necessary to take into account the reciprocity regularly and on a case-by-case basis.

The European Commission will review the recommendation no later than April 30, 2022 and determine whether or not to keep the list of countries. The Commission should submit a report to the Council and could submit to it, if appropriate, a proposal to delete the list.


children aged over 6 and under 18 who fulfill the conditions laid down for adults should be allowed to travel.

In addition, all other children over the age of 6 and under the age of 18 should be allowed to travel with a negative PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure. Member states could require additional testing after arrival, as well as quarantine or isolation.

No additional tests or requirements should be applied to children under 6 years old.

Emergency braking mechanism

When, in a third country or region, the epidemiological situation deteriorates rapidly and, in particular, a variant of concern or to be monitored has been detected, Member States should adopt a urgent and temporary restriction of all travel to the EU.

This emergency brake should not apply to EU citizens, long-term EU residents or certain categories of essential travelers, which should nevertheless be subject to appropriate testing and quarantine measures, even if fully vaccinated. These restrictions should be reviewed at least every two weeks.

If the emergency brake mechanism is triggered, EU countries should discuss possible coordinated measures within the Council, in close cooperation with the European Commission.

The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the Member States remain responsible for the implementation of its content.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have also agreed to this recommendation as countries associated with the Schengen area.

Re-open EU is also available as an app

Organize your trip on Re-open EU

Re-open EU is an application and a website offering all the essential information regarding borders, available means of transport, travel restrictions, public health and safety measures such as physical distancing or wearing a mask, as well as other practical information for travelers.

You can use the trip planner to safely plan your trips between EU countries.

All information is available in the 24 official EU languages.

Consular assistance to EU citizens

Under EU law, citizens have the right to seek help from the embassy or consulate of any EU country other than their own if they find themselves in a situation where they need assistance outside the EU, and an embassy or consulate of the EU Member State of which they are a national is not not available.

The European Commission and the European External Action Service are helping bring stranded EU citizens home from around the world, while member states are providing advice on how to handle travel restrictions. EU citizens in need of assistance outside the EU are encouraged to contact their Member State of nationality.

Infographic – A common approach for COVID-19 measures on travel within the EU

Icons depicting the earth globe, a suitcase and the EU flag.
View full infographic

Moving within the EU?

The Council adopted a recommendation establishing common criteria and a common framework for travel measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendation helps Member States to take decisions in a coordinated way.

According to the recommendation, COVID-19 measures should be applied at the level of individuals rather than at the level of a regionwith the exception of areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels (“dark red” areas).

To know more:


Leave a Comment