It’s been a great week to be an American traveler. Not only have more and more countries begun to ease their restrictions, giving American travelers more options for vacations this summer, but the European Union has updated its list of countries whose citizens and residents should be allowed to travel to its member states – and the US found themselves on the list.
A positive decision that is bound to thrill US-based travelers, here’s everything you need to know about this story and a reminder of which of the most popular EU destinations are already accepting American travelers.
Americans In Europe – The Statistics
Whilst the US’s neighboring countries, Mexico and Canada, are the destinations that are most popular with American travelers, there is still huge demand amongst Americans to visit Europe. Western Europe proved to be the most popular region, with almost 12 million trips recorded from the US, closely followed by Southern Europe, which welcomed just over 11 million American travelers in 2019. Northern Europe saw nearly 9 million visitors from the US, whilst Central and Eastern Europe welcomed 4.32 million.
The pandemic has seen the total number of Americans heading to the continent fall dramatically, as the unprecedented travel ban prohibited Americans from visiting EU nations for non-essential reasons. The total number of Americans who visited in 2020 is thought to be fewer than 7 million. However – 458 days since Americans were first prohibited from entering – the US has been added to a “White List” of countries that are allowed to visit the bloc for nonessential reasons.
US Added To “White List” – What This Means For Travelers
On Friday, the EU approved an expanded white list, which saw the likes of Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand also added. China is also set to make the list, providing the country confirms reciprocity.
In order to make the white list, countries must now have under 75 cases of Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, whereas the previous threshold countries had to meet was 25 cases per 100,000 people. As well as this measurement, the EU is also taking into account vaccination rates and how a country controls the prevalence of any new variants of Covid-19.
Whilst this is undoubtedly a positive step in the right direction, it does come with some caveats. This is only a recommendation from the EU, and individual member states of the EU still have the power to refuse access or set their own entry requirements, such as testing and quarantine arrangements, should they wish to do so.
EU Countries That Have Announced They Are Reopening For Americans
However, encouragingly there have been several countries in the EU that have already committed to allowing both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to enter in the coming few days. Portugal is set to allow American travelers to enter providing that they can show a negative PCR test or an antigen test that shows they have recovered from the virus. France is also allowing Americans to enter; vaccinated travelers must show proof of vaccination, whilst unvaccinated travelers must provide either a negative PCR or antigen test. Spain has also decided to allow vaccinated Americans to visit once more without the need to take a test, whilst Greece will allow both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to enter providing they can show proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test result or proof of recovery.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com