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  • The EU is Planning to Lift Restrictions For Non-Essential Travel – Here’s What You Should Know

    Visiting the European Union (EU) for non-essential travel will become a lot easier next month. On March 1, 2022, the European Union’s non-essential travel ban is set to expire, opening a door for travelers who are eager to plan a trip to the EU. Lifting this ban will allow tourists to enter the EU once again, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect considering that Europe’s high travel season is slowly approaching. Allowing more tourists to visit the EU for non-essential travel during this time is sure to be a tremendous economic boost.

    Why Was the Ban Put Into Place?

    The ban was put into place to try and help slow the spread of the coronavirus. It put a temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU for travelers who reside in third countries. Though, due to the increasing rate of vaccinations worldwide, the EU is now recommending that its members drop the ban starting March 1, 2022. The ban would be lifted for those who are fully vaccinated and/or those who can prove that they’ve recently recovered from COVID.

    What is Considered to be a Third Country?

    According to the European Commission, the definition of a third country is “a country that is not a member of the European Union as well as a country or territory whose citizens do not enjoy the European Union right to free movement.” 

    Will I Have to be Vaccinated to Visit the EU?

    The lifting of the ban only applies to individuals who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or those who have recently fully recovered from COVID within the last 180 days. In order to be considered fully vaccinated, you had to of had your last COVID vaccine dose at least 14 days ago but no longer than nine months ago. The vaccine you received must also be one that was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

    What Vaccines Are Approved by the European Medicines Agency?

    Even if you’ve received a COVID vaccine, to fit the EU entry requirements, the vaccine you’ve received must be one that was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The vaccines that are accepted by the EMA include:

    • Comirnaty
    • COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen
    • Nuvaxovid
    • Spikevax
    • Vaxzevria

    If you’ve received a vaccine that is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) but not approved by the EMA, you may still have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test when traveling to the EU.

    Will I Have to Show Proof of a Negative COVID Test to Enter?

    Depending on what EU country you plan on visiting, you may have to show proof of a negative COVID test, regardless of your vaccination status. Be sure to do your research ahead of time on the country you plan on visiting so that you are familiar with their testing requirements, as well as their rules and restrictions.

    When you travel back into the United States after your trip, you will need to show proof of a negative viral COVID test taken within one day of your flight. You will need to show this information to your airline before you can board. Make sure that you know where you can get COVID tested in the country that you’re visiting.

    Do Children Have to Follow the Vaccination and Testing Requirements?

    Anyone under the age of 6 years old does not have to follow the vaccination and testing requirements to travel to the European Union.

    What is the Vaccination Rate Worldwide?

    According to Our World in Data, as of February 27, 2022, 62.7% of the total world population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. This percentage is expected to increase due to the fact that roughly 22.83 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine are given each day.

    How Can I Get a Passport For My Trip?

    If you’re planning a trip to the European Union, you’re going to need to obtain a passport. If you need to renew your current passport or need to obtain a new passport, Swift can help! You can get the process started on the Swift website. If you have any questions about obtaining a passport for your upcoming trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us. A member of our team will be happy to assist you. As always, no matter where you plan on traveling in the world, we’ll get you there!

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