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UPDATE: US to lift travel ban for vaccinated Europeans on November 8th

Fully vaccinated travellers from Europe will finally be able to visit the US from November 8th the White House announced on Friday.

UPDATE: US to lift travel ban for vaccinated Europeans on November 8th
Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP
The United States announced on Friday it will lift Covid travel bans on all passengers from November 8th if they are fully vaccinated and undergo testing and contact tracing.

“The new US policy on travel that will require foreign travellers to the US to be fully vaccinated, will enter into force on November 8th,” the White House said in statement.

The easing of travel restrictions, imposed 18 months ago by Donald Trump as the Covid-19 pandemic first erupted, marks a significant shift by Biden and answers a major demand from European allies at a time of strained diplomatic relations.

Effectively the change means vaccinated travellers from Europe will be able to once again visit the US.

US nationals living in Europe and their close family members had been able to travel home across the Atlantic despite the ban but the strict rules had caused misery for many.

The initial announcement that travel restrictions would be eased was made in September and was greeted warmly in Europe.

German vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted: “Great news – for German and European investments, our exports and transatlantic relations” while the Air France chief described it as “great news”.

European countries have long since opened their borders to vaccinated American tourists, but despite diplomatic pressure in recent months the government in Washington had refused to reciprocate the move until now.

At the end of August the EU removed the US from its travel safe list. Following this move several European countries banned unvaccinated travellers from the US.

Member comments

  1. Sad thing is now it’s paradoxically actually easier for Europeans to travel than Americans. They have the luxury of testing BEFORE they leave home. If positive, stay home. We Americans who miss Italy have to risk testing positive while we’re overseas which is a luxury only the most priveleged can afford. Us plebs can’t risk having to add on 10 more days in a quarantine room to our trips. It’s actually easier for Americans to get into Europe than get home. Even while the US is one of the worst countries in the world for Delta many European countries will let us in just showing the CDC card. If someone can explain how this makes any sense I’d love to hear it. It’s extremely frustrating and also detrimental to the vaccine effort in the US. Either the vaccines work or they don’t but the policy of forcing vaccinated to test before returning home makes it look like they don’t. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.

    1. Agreed. Going to France was easy – I just showed that I was fully vaccinated. I came back to the US from Paris last week – from a country that is over 85% vaccinated to my own country that isn’t even 60% yet, but I had to get a negative test in Paris first. Crazy.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example. 

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