The framework of Covid entry requirements for countries part of the EU bloc will begin to change starting February 1, according to the latest reports.
The EU Council made an announcement on Tuesday that they are now officially recommending that member states remove their current entry restrictions, and replace them with a “person-based” approach going forward.
New Guidance Includes Lifting Restrictions For Those With A Covid Certificate
While most travel restrictions throughout the EU are currently based on a person’s departure country, the recommendation suggested by the Council is to shift a traveler’s entry requirements based on whether they hold a Covid digital certificate or not.
“This means that a traveler’s COVID-19 vaccination, test or recovery status, as evidenced by a valid EU digital COVID certificate, should be the key determinant. A person-based approach will substantially simplify the applicable rules and will provide additional clarity and predictability to travelers,” the EU Council stated in their press release about the new recommendation.
This week’s news follows the reports made last week about the EU’s plans to have no additional requirements for vaccinated travelers. Here are the full details about the new approach.
The plan is to begin facilitating free movement throughout the EU for those travelers holding one of the following documents for travel:
- An EU Digital Covid Certificate, indicating that the traveler has been vaccinated with at least two doses of the Covid vaccine over the previous 270 days.
- A health certificate proving full recovery from Covid-19 that’s been issued over the past 180 days (maximum).
- A negative Covid test result: rapid antigen tests should not be older than 24 hours, and PCR tests can be from 72 hours of travel.
- All travelers not holding an EU Digital Covid Certificate will be subject to a Covid test 24 hours before or after arrival to the EU region.
- Exceptions include children under 12, essential workers and cross-border commuters.
EU CDC To Continue With Covid Health Map
The latest reports also mention that the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) will continue with its weekly updates on their Covid health map.
The current ECDC health map bases a country’s Covid risk status by measuring their 14-day vaccine uptake, testing rate for Covid-19 as well as notification rate.
“Based on this map, member states should apply measures regarding travel to and from dark red areas, where the virus is circulating at very high levels. They should, in particular, discourage all non-essential travel and require persons arriving from those areas, who are not in possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate to undergo a test prior to departure and to quarantine after arrival,” as stated by the EU Council this week.
Covid Certificates To Be Valid For 270 Days Or Less
In other related news, EU member states will also reduce the validity of all accepted vaccine certificates for travel to the region. When this goes into effect on February 1, certificates will only be valid for up to 270 days.
Each EU nation might have a different validity period for their accepted Digital Covid Certificate, so you’ll have to check the latest guidance before traveling to the region.
Will I Need A Covid Digital Certificate To Travel To Europe?
Wondering if this will change all entry requirements for Europe? Not necessarily. Even though the recommendation was made by the EU Council, it does not mean that all members of the EU bloc (27 countries that are part of the European Union) will implement all of the recommendations.
According to the SchengenVisaInfo website, all EU member states “are subject to the obligations and the privileges of the membership.”
This recommendation doesn’t apply to European countries outside of the EU. At this time, nations that are not a part of the bloc include Albania, Georgia, Iceland, Belarus, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, Serbia and more. You can see the full list here.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories