European Union Has Agreed To Open Borders To Vaccinated Travelers

Greece is already open to Americans. France says it is opening June 9. Spain has said it is opening. Now the European Union has come to an agreement to accept vaccinated visitors this summer, and this is expected to be passed by member states. The specific re-opening date when Americans will be able to enter without a Covid-19 test or quarantine remains to be set, as countries determine how they plan to verify vaccination.

According to a spokesperson for the EU,

E.U. leaders will need to give formal approval next week to the plan that was agreed by their ambassadors on Wednesday, but their sign-off is not in doubt.

The E.U. plans to recognize vaccines that are approved by its own regulatory agency, and that includes all of the vaccines in use in the United States (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) as well as AstraZeneca. It does not include China’s Sinovac’s Coronavac or Russia’s Sputnik V. Full vaccination will be required, meaning a single Johnson & Johnson shot is acceptable while a single Pfizer shot is not. Restrictions on travel could be put back into place if infections spike in a specific country.

Meanwhile the E.U. is working on its own ‘Covid passport’ scheme of verifying vaccination or testing to relax travel restrictions within the Schengen area of European countries.

Cases in Europe are on the decline, and vaccination is becoming more widespread. That, together with any seasonal effects, should put Europe in a strong position against the virus in the coming weeks.

Europe is rushing to open because countries within Europe are already opening. Put another way, the European Commission is ‘leading from behind’. Countries that are reliant on tourism are planning to go ahead whether Europe has its own framework or not.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. FYI – small typo. ‘ this is *accepted* (expected?) to be passed by member states’

  2. YAY! And now all we need is for the CDC to follow science and allow fully vaccinated US citizens TO RETURN to the US without a covid test. (If anyone knows Dr. Walensky, please forward this to her.)

  3. And now all we need is for the USA to follow science and open its borders to fully vaccinated people, rather than follow xenophobia and keep it shut. But I suspect that Biden doesn’t know what science is, which is only one better than his predecessor who couldn’t even spell it. But here’s hoping.

  4. Come on, UK and US! Get on board (no pun intended) and open the damn borders and stop mandatory quarantines and COVID-19 tests for fully vaccinated travelers!!!

  5. Never mind. I see it’s a running blog of news headlines, the EU thing is three articles down as of this comment.

  6. Completely agree with Don.

    The CDC Is a joke… so stop wearing masks here but still need a test to come back home!

  7. What I want is a place where I can get a certified copy of my vaccine to share when needed or I want to For those that don’t want it fine, don’t care. For the EU and other places that require or prefer a Vaccine, it would be nice for us to have something certified to share like the way they do in NY. The process is voluntary as would be the decision to go to or engage in a place that only supports the vaccinated. I know here in PA, the information exists.

  8. @Gary

    Note Sinopharm (which is Chinese) will be accepted. All vaccines which have WHO (emergency) approval are fine. That is Biontech-Pfizer, Moderna, Oxford Astrazeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Sinopharm.

  9. The CDC has caught up to the science on mask wearing outside the travel context for people who have been vaccinated. Now it’s time to apply the same knowledge to travel, both in terms of allowing visitors in and in terms of allowing Americans to return without testing if they are vaccinated. By now any adult in the U.S. who wants to have a first dose of a vaccine has had the chance, and before long anyone who wants to be fully vaccinated can be. Stop holding vaccinated people hostage to the unvaccinated.

    To facilitate this, there needs to be a recognized standard for what constitutes proper documentation, and serious fines or prison terms for anyone engaged in making or using fake vaccine documents.

    I think there still does need to be the possibility to enter the U.S. with a negative PCR test as an option, instead of vaccination, for those from places where they haven’t had a chance yet. These people should be given a J&J shot on the spot.

  10. I’m disappointed they’ll accept Sinopharm as a valid vaccination. Check some of the news about it’s failure as vaccine. If the EU sees a rise in cases, they’ll blame tourists in general and reverse the new policy.

    Third dose of Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine needed for some in UAE after low immune response
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/third-dose-of-sinopharm-coronavirus-vaccine-needed-for-some-in-uae-after-low-immune-response/ar-BB1eO95C

    WHO experts voice “very low confidence” in some Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine data
    https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/exclusive-who-experts-voice-very-low-confidence-some-sinopharm-covid-19-vaccine-2021-05-05/

  11. @Don – amen brother! I just went through this earlier in the week. But CDC is famous for leading from behind so don’t hold your breath.

    And what a difference in the way carriers handle travelers now. God bless Ethiopian! Full service, fully catered business lounge in ADD and on the flight. Get to FRA and you can’t even have a simple drink of water in the lounge. And forget about the UA flight to the US. They’re still treating it like nothing has changed in the last 6 – 9 months. Minimal meal service, wine in a small plastic cup, you unwrap everything, dump it out of the tins, in business no less. FA’s must go into a bunker after meal service is completed. Thank you Sara Nelson and the union!

  12. @Nun
    The links you shared, the Reuters article first paragraph: ” but overall confidence in its ability to prevent the disease, a document seen by Reuters shows”.
    The MSNBC article first paragraph: “A “very small number” are being invited to receive a third shot ”

    This is the same for all vaccines, unknown/incomplete side-effect data, and very few but non-zero cases of insufficient immunity.

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