What You Need to Know About the European Travel Ban

There’s a lot of uncertainty in air travel right now,and things seem to be changing almost on a daily basis. Parts of Europe started opening back up for leisure travel as of July 1, but at least so far, U.S. citizens are not on the welcome list. As an American traveler, here’s what you need to know.

UK and EU border control

The ban is not permanent
European health officials in charge of making entry decisions will review the list of permitted countries every two weeks and make adjustments accordingly based on the country’s Covid-19 status (is it controlling the spread sufficiently?)

Your trip may qualify for an exception
The travel ban is mainly for non-essential, tourist travel. If you’re a student, health worker, an E.U. citizen, or traveling for a family emergency, you probably qualify for an exception. The full list of exceptions can be found here.

There is also buzz that some exceptions may be made for “love.” This would include couples who have been split up for months, and parents and children. So far, only Denmark has the “love” exception, but Sweden is also looking at this policy and the idea is gaining traction across Europe.

Is the entire continent off limits to me as an American?
Nope! Anglophiles will be happy to hear that Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England (the United Kingdom) are open for business. You will have to self-quarantine for 14 days and be prepared to pay a hefty £1,000 fine if you don’t abide by the rules. Please note: don’t think you can get around the travel ban just by entering via the U.K. U.S. passport holders are out of luck crossing into the E.U. unless you can prove you live in a E.U. country or have family who do.

What if I’m an E.U. citizen who lives in the United States?
Every country is different, so please check with your home country’s border control before you get on a plane. You can still be denied entry in some countries and the situation is fluid.

What if I’m an American but I’ve lived in Paris for years?
Again, every country is different. Best to check with the country you live in to find out what documentation they require and be prepared to prove you have a residence there.

I’m an American citizen, but I’ve been quarantining in an E.U. country since March. Am I free to move around the continent?
Restrictions are mainly to keep the spread of Covid outside the E.U., so if you live in an E.U. country, you probably can move around inside the region. Please consult with Re-open E.U. for more up-to-the-minute information.

What if I already bought an airline ticket to Europe this summer? Is there anything I can do?
The airlines instituted fairly relaxed policies since Covid-19 hit. Reach out to the airline or, if you booked on CheapAir, directly with our personal travel advisors, to check on your options. Refunds and/or credits for future travel for U.S. citizens are the rule rather than the exception these days. Same goes for your hotel stay. You’ll find hotels are offering flexible cancellation and credits for guests who are unable to travel due to Covid-19 travel bans.

We know these are challenging times. When you do travel please keep in mind our tips for traveling safely, and know that we at CheapAir.com are ready to help.

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