COVID-19: The Council has removed Argentina, Australia and Canada from the list of countries whose travel restrictions must be lifted

After reviewing the recommendation to lift temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities whose travel restrictions should be lifted. In particular, Argentina, Australia and Canada were removed from the list.

Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not included in Annex I is subject to temporary restrictions. This does not affect the ability of Member States to lift temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union for travelers who have received full vaccinations.

As foreseen in the Board’s recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed every two weeks and updated as necessary.

Based on the criteria and conditions set forth in the Recommendation, Member States should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders of residents of the following third countries as of January 17, 2022:

  • the two seas
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Indonesia
  • Kuwait
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Travel restrictions for China’s special administrative regions in Hong Kong and Macao should also be gradually lifted.

In the category of territorial entities not recognized as a state by at least one member state, the travel restrictions imposed on Taiwan should also be gradually lifted.

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City must be considered EU citizens for the purposes of the recommendation.

The criteria for determining the third countries from which current travel restrictions should be lifted were updated on May 20, 2021. They cover the epidemiological situation and the general response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the information and data sources available. On a case-by-case basis, reciprocity should also be taken into account.

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The associated Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) also share this recommendation.

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On 30 June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation to phase out temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union. This recommendation included the first list of countries in which Member States should begin to lift travel restrictions at external borders. This list is reviewed every two weeks and updated as necessary.

On May 20, the Board adopted a recommendation to amend the original recommendation to take into account ongoing vaccination campaigns. For example, certain exceptions have been made for people who have been vaccinated and the criteria for deregulation for third countries have been relaxed. At the same time, emergency brakes were introduced to take into account the potential risks posed by the new variables and to be able to respond quickly to the emergence of a “variable under surveillance” or a variable of concern in a third country.

The Board’s recommendation is not a legally binding document. The authorities of Member States remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. You can also decide – with complete transparency – to gradually lift travel restrictions for the countries listed.

A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions on third countries not included in the list until a coordinated decision has been taken to do so.

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