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EU Restricts USA Travelers

The European Union started accepting non-essential travelers this week, but one nation not on their list of approvals is the United States. This is a temporary situation, but it has left many travelers wondering what it means for their future travel plans. AAA Travel is here to help break down the facts on this restriction.

Are USA travelers the only one being restricted?

No. In fact the approved list is quite precise. As of July 1, European Union nations, as well as the non-E.U. European nations of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein began opening their borders to residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Residents of Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican will also be allowed entry.

European nations may individually lift restrictions on travel as time progresses.

Residents of the United States are not allowed to enter the European Union unless they qualify for an exception.

What are the exceptions?

Americans are still granted access to Ireland and Britain, both of which lie outside Europe’s Schengen Area. Both Ireland and Britain require mandatory 14-day quarantines on arrival. Britain will fine £1,000 (about $1,230) for violating quarantine rules.

The restrictions do not apply to European citizens or residents “independent of the purpose of travel,” according to the official recommendation, nor to health workers, seasonal farm workers, diplomats, humanitarian workers, transit passengers, asylum seekers, students and “passengers traveling for imperative family reasons,” among a handful of other exceptions.

American citizens living in one of the countries on the approved list. What are my options?

The rules are based on the country of residence. American citizens may be allowed to enter Europe if they are residents in one of the countries on the approved list. At the same time, citizens of approved countries who reside in the United States may not be allowed entry. In either case, before traveling, it’s best to check with the border control authority of the European country that you wish to visit.

Did Iceland and Portugal change their restrictions?

Recently, Icelandic officials stated the country would be open to visitors from the United States and other places, provided they submit to a Covid-19 test on arrival. This has changed. Iceland is welcoming visitors only from Europe. The same is true in Portugal, unless travelers are also Portuguese residents or qualify for some other exception.

What are the options for refunds and postponements?

If you have already booked a flight to Europe, you should be entitled to either a flight credit or a refund, depending on when you booked and what type of ticket you purchased. The same may be true for resorts, hotels, and additional travel service providers. Contact your AAA Travel agent to help you navigate the rules and regulations for your individual travel plan.

How long will this restriction be enforced?

European officials will review the terms of this restriction every two weeks.

You may find yourself looking for additional information. AAA Travel is here to help. Speak to a AAA Travel Counselor now, call 1-800-222-7448.