The EU borders remain closed for non-EU citizens

EU travel restrictions: Western Balkans countries still banned

The EU Council updates the list of countries for which travel restrictions shouldn’t be in place. This as a result of the review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU.

From 8 August member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions for several countries. The list includes: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China is subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican belong to the same category as the EU residents.

The criteria for removing travel restrictions is in line with the epidemiological situation and containment measures. It also includes the decreasing trend of COVID-19 cases in these countries in the last two weeks. In the meantime, reciprocity is a factor for reviewing the travel restrictions.

For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, there are categories of people exempt from the restrictions. They include, EU citizens and family members, long-term EU residents and their family members. Also, travelers with an essential function or need.

The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The member states are responsible for implementing it. A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions before agreeing in a coordinated manner.

Reviewing the list

The Council will review the list of third countries regularly.

On 16 March 2020, the Commission adopted a communication recommending a temporary restriction of all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU for one month. EU heads of state or government agreed to implement this restriction on 17 March. The travel restriction was extended for a further month respectively on 8 April 2020 and 8 May 2020.

On 11 June the Commission adopted a communication recommending the further extension of the restriction until 30 June 2020 and setting out an approach for a gradual lifting of the restriction on non-essential travel into the EU as of 1 July 2020.

On 30 June the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, including an initial list of countries for which member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders. This list was updated on 16 July and 30 July.

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