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EU travel restrictions: Everything American travelers need to know

(CNN) – It was too good to keep.

While the summer saw large parts of Europe open up to American visitors, giving them the chance to fulfill lockdown dreams of eating gelato in Italy or touring the art museums in Paris, the end of the season has brought new restrictions and the doors to the continent are starting too close.

The news has prompted various European countries to update travel restrictions for Americans, while some have banned entry to US travelers altogether.

Not surprisingly, the changes have caused a great deal of confusion, especially for those planning to travel to Europe in the coming months.

Here’s a look at the stricter rules and what they mean for American travelers.

Can Americans still travel to Europe?

More countries may soon restrict access to Americans.

Clara Margais / Picture Alliance / Getty Images

Yes, they can. Only a few countries have so far restricted all non-essential arrivals from the United States. Since the EU Council was issued, Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden are the only ones restricting all access.

Although at least one destination – Greece – has ruled out imposing new travel restrictions in the near future, it is safe to say that Americans, especially those who are unvaccinated, are likely to face more restrictions in the days and weeks to come.

What are the new EU rules?

However, its advice is not binding. There is no pressure for countries to adopt this measure and they can ignore it if they choose.

This means that there is no rule that covers the continent. Instead, each country of destination has the freedom to adopt or ignore the Council according to its own preferences.

Given how appreciated American visitors are to Europe’s tourism economies, it is likely that any decision to limit their arrival will be made with great reluctance.

What do EU rules mean for Americans traveling to Europe?

Much more bureaucracy, uncertainty and research, that’s for sure.

Ultimately, this means that travel to European countries is likely to be more difficult for Americans in the coming weeks, but not necessarily impossible.

When the rules change, it is up to individual travelers to check whether they are entitled to travel. Although airlines can also do pre – departure checks, they do not have to do so to sell tickets.

It’s worth checking out CNN Travel’s Unlocks the world guides for current information where relevant or the US Embassy in the country of destination. And keep checking because the rules can be changed with just a few days notice.

Some countries may keep their doors open, but tweak requirements such as Covid tests before departure, quarantine arrangements or proof of vaccination.

What countries can Americans visit in Europe?

Croatia is still open to Americans.

Croatia is still open to Americans.

DENIS LOVROVIC / AFP via Getty Image

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain are currently all open to fully vaccinated Americans.

The restrictions that exist vary from country to country. Many destinations require travelers to submit a negative Covid test upon arrival, while some have both test and quarantine measures for vaccinated visitors.

France currently has no travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans, but a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival is required before they can enter Italy. A mandatory 10-day quarantine is imposed on fully vaccinated American travelers visiting the Netherlands, while those traveling to Germany must give a negative Covid test result before entering.

Fully vaccinated Americans can visit the UK, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

However, different test and / or quarantine measures have been implemented in each country.

Is the trip to Europe safe?

No travel during the pandemic is completely without the risk of covid, even for vaccinated travelers, and the best way to be safe is to stay at home and minimize exposure to the virus.

That said, if safety protocols such as worming, social distancing and hand disinfection are followed, there is no reason why travelers should not have a safe trip to Europe. Statistically, most Western European countries have lower covid prices than the United States.

There are still Covid hotspots – Montenegro recently saw a huge increase in cases – so it’s worth checking out the US Embassy’s travel advice on the destination. Again, it is a matter of research.

Will more countries close their borders?

It’s not entirely clear. As several European countries have introduced new restrictions for US travelers based on EU advice, it is possible that others will follow suit in the coming weeks.

The restrictions have arisen due to the proliferation of Covid’s Delta variant in the United States, with cases reaching their highest number in many months throughout July and August. As the numbers remain high in September and colder months that are expected to give rise to the spread of the disease, more restrictions seem likely.

What should I do if I have booked a trip to Europe?

If you have booked travel to a country that is still open to Americans, you should not encounter any problems provided you follow all the recommended advice.

However, if the rules have changed since you booked, many hotels and airlines acknowledge Covid’s problems and restrictions and may offer refunds if you have booked directly. It’s worth asking.

As with any trip during the pandemic, however, there is a risk that you will end up out of pocket.

Luis Araujo, chairman of the European Travel Commission, a non-profit organization that promotes tourism on the continent, emphasizes that American travelers are still a top priority for Europe despite the rule changes.

“American travelers are crucial to Europe, and most European destinations are still open to American visitors and are eager to welcome them back to our beaches,” Araujo told CNN Travel in a statement.

“That said, we must accept that we are still living through the reality of this ongoing pandemic and will experience some setbacks on our path to recovery.

“Travelers from the United States must still be aware of health measures and respect the rules of their destination.”

Should I book future trips to Europe?

As mentioned above, with any travel plans in the ongoing pandemic, there are risks that they may need to be changed or canceled. If you are looking for an escape completely free from bureaucratic hassle, insecurity and stress, perhaps the answer is a simple no.

But Araujo insists that US citizens should “continue to plan their trips to Europe”, while “keeping track of all the latest travel and cancellation policies”.

He adds: “Travelers are best advised to check Open the EU website again and the websites of national tourist offices, which contain all the information and safety requirements that are updated regularly, including information on tests, passenger leaflet forms, as well as any other available health measures.

“With current vaccination levels and safety protocols in place, safe international travel is absolutely possible, with this summer season proving it.”

Which European countries have banned unvaccinated American travelers?

The Netherlands is now demanding that vaccinated Americans be quarantined.

The Netherlands is now demanding that vaccinated Americans be quarantined.

Ramon Van Flymen / ANP / AFP / Getty Images

Denmark, Finland, France, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain have all banned non-essential unvaccinated American travelers. At the same time, all non-essential American travelers are prohibited from visiting Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden, regardless of their vaccination status.

What vaccinations are accepted in Europe?

To be considered a fully vaccinated visitor, travelers must have been administered a full dose of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen – two weeks before their trip.

Can I travel to Europe with unvaccinated children?

The new rules do not affect children who are too young to be vaccinated. Those under the age of 12 can travel with vaccinated adults to European countries where American travelers can enter. But while for 12 years are exempt from all restrictions in some countries, others require a negative Covid test.

People between the ages of 12 and 18 are subject to the same rules and restrictions as adult travelers. Again, it is worth double-checking for each destination if variations of these guidelines are introduced.

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