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Europe 2021: all you need to know about travel to the EU

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

Photo: Anna Shvets, Pexels

Follow our blog post series detailing all the rules by country

Our new blog post series will delve into the rules for travel to some of the most popular countries in the EU. Every week, we will focus on at least one different EU destination, and we will provide you with the info you need to understand travel rules and the links you should follow to keep yourself informed of regulation changes.

Our focus will be on travel for tourism or to see family or lovers.

We've already covered a few countries, check them out:



Which country would you like to learn about next? Let us know in the comments section!

Europe is reopening borders, again

A little over a year ago, when our blog was just starting, I wrote a post about Europe reopening for tourism. At the time, I could never imagine this would still be an issue over a year later.

Despite all, we should focus on the fact that things are looking brighter for travelers, at least a bit. Vaccination is a game-changer and, even for those coming from risk areas, travel for family or relationship reasons are permitted now in most EU countries.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate makes travel much simpler, at least for EU residents

Since July 1st, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has been making it easier for travelers to provide proof of negative Covid test results, vaccination certificates or Covid recovery, which are required for entry to most countries.

The certificate is free of charge and can be presented on digital form or printed. The certificate also has a QR code and is available in English and the national language of the country of emission. If you live in the EU and want to know how to get your certificate, just check the website of the European Commission and select your country.

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland also provide the certificate.

One of the biggest advantages of the certificate is that it’s the first step into unifying travel procedures regarding Covid. If you tried travelling to or around the EU in the last year, you know why that’s so important. There were different rules for each country, even if you were just stopping to wait for a connecting flight. It was complex and stressful to keep track of all the regulations before and during the trip!

Even though individual countries can still change the requirements for circulation of EU travelers, they must inform the other EU countries and justify why the extra restrictions are necessary.

Check out the most important rules* of the certificate:

  • no more quarantine for certificate holders, unless they come from high risk areas;

  • standard validity period for tests: 72 hours for PCR tests and, where accepted, 48 hours for rapid antigen tests;

  • fully vaccinated persons should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine 14 days after having received the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for the entire EU.

  • children under 12, when accompanied by the parents, will be exempted from testing or quarantine if the parents are also exempted.

Travelers coming for outside of the EU, however, still need to carry all the paperwork

But there is interest in having more countries adopt some kind of travel certificate for health information. The idea is that the European experience sets the standard for similar initiatives.

And what are the restrictions for non-EU travelers?

If you live in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Israel or one of the countries listed here, rest easy! The EU will gradually lift travel restrictions.

If, however, you live in countries like Brazil, India, South Africa or other higher risk areas, it’s better to postpone your trip to the EU or be ready for the many Covid tests and quarantine, besides making sure your trip is allowed.

Important reminders:

You still need to check entry regulations of the countries you’re travelling to several times. Make sure you know all the rules when planning your trip but confirm everything before buying tickets and on the week and day before your trip. Remember to include the countries you stop in for connecting flights as well. Despite the efforts to have similar rules all over the EU, many countries still have their own restrictions.

The best sources of information are the official government pages of the destination countries (follow our blog post series for country-specific information), but Re-Open EU and the IATA website are excellent starting points.

Take a copy of the latest travel rules of your destination country with you. They change often and sometimes even airlines or immigration officials from countries other than your destination may not have been updated on the latest changes.

* The information presented here is based on rules valid on July 13, 2021.

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