Editor’s Note: This blog was updated on July 2nd, 2020.
On July 1st, 2020, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and all the countries that are a part of the European Union opened their borders to non-essential travel – but there’s a catch. Though it’s true that the European Union is reopening borders, they aren’t reopening for everyone. Only travelers from certain countries will be allowed to enter, and unfortunately, the United States won’t be making the cut.
While this news is disheartening, it’s important to note that this ban goes both ways. As of July 1st, 2020, the United States still has their borders closed to many locales including all of the countries that are located in the European Schengen area and the Republic of Ireland. With these travel bans come a vast number of questions, including when these bans will be lifted, and when travel may return to normal once again.
If you’re like the millions of other people across the United States that are confused about Europe’s travel ban, here’s everything you should know:
What Countries Can Enter Europe?
As of July 1st, 2020, residents of the following locations can travel to Europe:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- San Marino
- The Vatican
China could soon be added to the list if they open up their borders to residents of Europe.
Are There Are Exceptions to Europe’s Travel Ban?
These restrictions do not apply to European residents, citizens, health workers, farm workers, transit passengers, people seeking asylum, humanitarian workers, diplomats, students, and people who need to travel for critical family matters.
You can read the full list of exceptions here.
How Often Will Europe’s Travel Ban List Be Updated?
Europe’s travel ban list will be updated every two weeks. Countries on the list may be removed if their country’s situation changes for the worse, and countries may be added to the safe list if their country’s situation significantly changes for the better.
Why is America on the Travel Ban List?
The European Union has stated that it’s far too risky to allow Americans to travel to Europe. As the number of Coronavirus cases in the United States continues to grow, the EU is afraid that Americans traveling to Europe will only increase the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Europe.
Likewise, the United States has banned many European countries from traveling to the US, which has further pushed the EU to keep America on the travel ban list.
I Already Have a Hotel and Flight Booked to go to Europe in the Near Future- What Should I Do Now?
You should be able to get a voucher, credit, or possibly a refund for your hotel stay and/or your previously booked flight. Make sure that you check with the hotel and/or airline that you have reservations with to find out what your options are.
I’m An American Citizen But Live in Europe, Does This Ban Apply to Me?
First and foremost, in these uncertain times, you should always check with the border control of the specific European country you are looking to travel to before making travel plans.
The rules associated with the travel ban are based on the country in which travelers are residents in. This means that as an American citizen, if you can provide proof that you are also a resident of a country that’s on the approved Europe travel safe list, you may be allowed to enter Europe.
What is the Full List of Countries That Are on America’s Travel Ban List?
As of July 1st, 2020, the following locations are on America’s travel ban list:
- European Schengen Area
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
When is America’s Travel Ban Expected to be Lifted?
There’s no date set for when America’s travel ban will be lifted. In May, President Trump stated that when the U.S. does come up with a plan to reopen its borders, travelers will be allowed from some low-risk countries.
Though we are in uncertain circumstances at the moment, rest assured, the Swift team will do our best to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. The state of travel is ever-evolving. We’re all having to exercise patience and working together is more pivotal now than ever before. It is our hope that one day, travel will fully resume and we’ll get to enjoy the wonders of the entire world again. Until then, we will do all that we can to keep you up to speed.