As the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies, with air raids being carried out and a wave of refugees to the West being spurred, Europe has been met with a large-scale crisis of the kind never seen since World War II. For that reason, travel to the Old Continent may soon come with its own challenges, especially in the Eastern front, where action is centered.
Although Russia’s military advances have been restricted to Ukrainian territory, neighboring nations have been severely affected by the incursion, especially those West of Ukraine that are aligned with the United States and other NATO partners. Here, you will find the latest U.S. travel advice for Belarus, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, and even Russia.
U.S. Travel Advice For Hungary
Bordering Ukraine to the West, Hungary is an European Union (EU) country and NATO member. A popular stopover on most European itineraries, it boasts some of the most impressive architecture in Eastern Europe and natural wonders. Every year, millions of American visitors marvel at the grandeur of Budapest and the vastness of Lake Balaton.
Although the U.S. does not discourage travel to Hungary in light of the recent events in Ukraine, it still lists it as a Level 4 destination, meaning Covid levels are very high. In order to minimize risks of contracting serious symptoms from Covid and avoid facing restrictions, Americans are advised to get vaccinated before traveling to Hungary.
Recently, as a result of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, a large influx of refugees from the country has amassed at the external EU border in Hungary. As reported by Al Jazeera, more than 85,000 people escaping Ukraine have already crossed into Hungary, with more expected as East-West tensions escalate.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Hungary?
In general, entry to Hungary is currently allowed to most categories of foreign travelers, including Americans. U.S. arrivals are required to present a negative PCR test within 72 hours of entering, unless they can present a vaccination certificate. Vaccinated travelers are also exempt from any quarantine requirements.
Americans do not need to obtain visas when traveling to Hungary or any other country in the Schengen Area, as long as the trip does not exceed 90 days out of every 180-day period. However, from 2023 Americans will require travel authorization to visit Hungary, as well as several other European countries.
U.S. Travel Advice For Belarus
Russia’s only obvious ally on this list, Belarus is a landlocked country located north of Ukraine that very few tourists visited even before the crisis. Kept under a tight regime by its disputed president Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus was part of the extinct Soviet Union before it formally collapsed in the early 1990s.
The U.S. Department of State currently advises against all travel to Belarus, citing Covid health risks, an “arbitrary enforcement of laws”, targeting of foreigners, and even risk of detention. Belarusian authorities have been known to be particularly hostile to U.S. citizens, with Americans in the vicinity of public demonstrations reportedly facing arrest.
U.S. nationals who are currently in Belarus are also advised to depart immediately, as both Russian and Belarusian military presence along the border with Ukraine threatens stability in the region. On February 28, 2022, the U.S. suspended all consular operations in its Minsk Embassy until further notice, further limiting assistance to Americans still in Belarus.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Belarus?
Although travel to Belarus is highly advised against, the country is open to foreign visitors who are either fully vaccinated against Covid, or are able to present a negative PCR test in the 72 hours before entry. The primary vaccination course must have been completed at least one month before arrival, but not more than a year prior.
Americans are also not allowed to enter Belarus without holding a valid visa, and may be kept from leaving when attempting to leave through land borders even when in possession of a valid tourist visa. Foreigners staying in Belarus for more than five days also require registration with the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Ministry of Interior.
U.S. Travel Advice For Poland
West of Ukraine, Poland is another Eastern EU nation that attracts millions of tourists each year. With several of its destinations ranking among the most popular in Europe, including the metropolitan capital of Warsaw, and the picturesque cities of Krakow, Wroclaw, and Gdańsk, this Slav nation is also being greatly affected by the war.
However, similarly to Hungary, there is no mention of the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine on the official U.S. travel advice, which still mentions Covid-19 as the sole travel risk for Americans in Poland. The country is also a Level 4 destination, with the United states considering infection levels in the country to be “very high”.
As the one closest to the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where several in Ukraine have taken refuge as Russia troops invade the East, Poland has been a leading EU responder. Welcoming tens of thousands of Ukrainians daily, the nation may be now facing the largest wave of refugees since the Second World War.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Poland?
Those who have been vaccinated against Covid can enter Poland restriction-free and under usual pre-pandemic regimes, while non-immunized Americans could face a 7-day quarantine if failing to present either a valid recovery certificate or negative Covid test undertaken within 48 hours of arriving.
Recently, the European Union has set a 9-month validity period for existing vaccine passes. Now, Americans who were immunized more than 270 days ago will need to present proof of a booster shot in order to continue to enjoy their travel freedoms. As an EU country, and thus subject to EU law, these rules also apply in principle to Poland.
U.S. Travel Advice For Moldova
Commonly deemed the least visited country in Europe, Moldova is a lesser-known nation surrounded by Romania and Ukraine, and one that over the years has developed a complex relationship to both the West and Russia. Though it has close historical ties to Romania, with which it shares a language, Moldova was aligned with Moscow during the Soviet period.
As a non-EU and non-NATO country in Eastern Europe, tensions in Moldova have been particularly high since the war began, with the U.S. advising its citizens to avoid all travel to Moldova due to the armed conflict in neighboring Ukraine. On this list, this is the only advisory for a non-hostile nation mentioning the war, mostly due to Moldova’s complicated status.
There is an ongoing unresolved conflict between the Moldovan government and the breakaway state of Transnistria, a self-declared country backed by Russia that is internationally considered to be a part of Moldova. Since fighting started, flights into and out of Moldova have been limited.
Besides the war in Ukraine, which can have serious implications for U.S. citizens traveling to Moldova, the U.S. also discourages travel due to Covid-19, and urges U.S. citizens in Transnistria specifically to leave immediately “via commercial or private means”. For all those reasons, Moldova is currently a Level 4 destination.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Moldova?
All foreigners entering Moldova must have at least one of the following documents: proof that they have received two doses of an approved vaccine, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of crossing the border, a negative rapid antigen test performed in the 48 hours preceding entry, or confirmation of presence of Covid antibodies, not older than 90 days.
Those unable to provide border officials with at least one of the above documents will be required to quarantine for 14 days. The self-isolation period can be reduced upon presentation of a negative PCR or rapid antigen test no earlier than day 7. Additionally, arrivals must complete a pre-departure form within 72 hours of entering Moldova, which can be found on this link.
When visiting Moldova, foreign citizens are advised to enter through official checkpoints. Namely, they should avoid crossing into Moldova from Transnistria, which is not recognized as an official entry point. As of February 28, all checkpoints between Transnistria and Ukraine are also temporarily closed, although the Ukraine-Moldova border remains open.
U.S. Travel Advice For Slovakia
Yet another Slav country on this list, Slovakia was once a satellite state of the Soviet Union (USSR) through its own union with the Czech Republic, then named Czechoslovakia. Since the disintegration of the USSR, it gravitated towards the West and joined a number of Western Alliances, including both the European Union and NATO.
At present, the U.S. is advising all Americans not to travel to Slovakia due to Covid risks, classing the Eastern European country as a Level 4 destination. Although Slovakia is still a safe destination regarding the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, it is one of the observing countries most affected by the crisis due to its proximity to Ukraine.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Slovakia?
When entering Slovakia from a country outside the Schengen space, which is a borderless zone comprising most countries in the European Union, Americans must be able to present a vaccination certificate in accordance with validity rules established by the EU. Two-dose vaccination certificates issued more than 270 days ago may no longer be valid.
There are no direct flights from the United States to Bratislava, Slovakia`’s capital. Unvaccinated U.S. citizens can also enter Slovakia, as long as they are not arriving into the country directly from outside Schengen. Many European destinations such as France, Spain, and the Netherlands are in Schengen, while others like Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Croatia are not.
U.S. Travel Advice For Romania
South of Ukraine, Romania is a unique Eastern EU country with a lot to offer to American visitors. From fairytale medieval castles in the historical region of Transylvania to the resort-packed Black Sea coast, it is rich in both History and tourist attractions. Unfortunately, Dracula’s home country has also been listed as Level 4.
According to the Department of State, Americans should refrain from traveling to Romania due to health risks related to Covid. Although infection numbers have been declining, Romania remains one of the least-vaccinated countries in the European Union, with about 43% of its population being fully immunized.
When it comes to the Ukrainian crisis, Romania has also been welcoming refugees from its neighbor. They have also closed airspace to Russia, in line with an EU-wide ban on Russian flag carriers. Additionally, NATO has also ramped up presence in Romania. For now, no acts of Russian aggression against Romania were documented.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Romania?
Currently, all U.S. travelers are allowed to travel to Romania irrespective of vaccination status. International arrivals will be quarantined on arrival unless they present either a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test issued within 72 hours of entering Romania, or proof of recent recovery not older than 180 days. Completing a Passenger Locator Form is also required.
As Romania is not a Schengen Area country, U.S. citizens can travel there for 90 days out of every 180-day period, irrespective of time spent in other Schengen or EU countries. Romania has also been offering digital nomad visas to Americans working remotely who would like to travel the country for a longer period.
U.S. Travel Advice For Russia
Bordering Ukraine to the East, the transcontinental behemoth that is Russia is the only nation actively, and explicitly, involved in the current war. Despite current animosities, it is still a dream destination for millions of Americans, who used to travel every year to visit the Red Square in Moscow or wander the charming streets of St. Petersburg.
Right now, it is very challenging traveling to Russia due to both Europe and the U.S. closing their airspace to Russian planes, and the veiled threats of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has been clear in telling Americans to avoid all travel to Russia or leave immediately if already in the country, due to the “unprovoked and unjustified attack” in Ukraine and Covid risks.
What Are The Entry Requirements For Russia?
Despite the war, select categories of foreign travelers are still technically allowed to visit Russia, as authorities are yet to issue a blanket ban on Westerners entering. As the U.S. Embassy in Russia states, Americans are permitted to travel to the Russian Federation under “certain conditions”, which are available on this link.
U.S. citizens need a valid visa in order to enter Russia, which can be arranged at a Russian consulate abroad. Right now, both issuance of visas and commercial air traffic to Russia are limited due to the suspension of consular services, as well as several sanctions imposed on the country by the U.S. and its partners.
While most countries bordering Ukraine are still safe from the effects of war, and particularly those that are members of NATO and the European Union, Americans are advised to follow any developments closely and make sure they are well prepared when facing adversities while abroad. We also advise our readers to purchase travel insurance before traveling, especially during these uncertain times in Europe.
Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com