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When can I travel to Europe again?

Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we're here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure – whether that's a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we've got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates to keep you up to date and ready to go.

Wanderlusting Americans are asking, “When can I travel to Europe again?” We break down the current border restrictions and let you know where U.S. citizens can travel to in Europe. You can also use our interactive global map to keep track of travel restrictions around the world.

Keep in mind that countries update their entry requirements regularly and travel advisories from the State Department change frequently nowadays, too. Check official government and embassy websites for the latest information before you make a booking.

Here is the information we’ll cover:

view of older town in Europe

Europe, EU, Eurozone…where can I travel?

Great question! Let’s start off by defining a few important terms. Europe as a continent is not the same as the European Union (EU). The EU was set up to politically and economically unite neighboring countries to help ensure peace in the region. It currently has 27 member countries. Nineteen of the EU countries use the Euro (€) as their official currency. Collectively, these 19 countries are called the Eurozone.

There’s also the border-free zone, called the Schengen area, where internal borders have been abolished. Typically, U.S. citizens are issued 90 days visa-free to travel within the Schengen area. This is what allows you to take a bus from Portugal to Spain or a train from France to Slovenia without needing to pull out your passport along the way. 

Before the end of 2022, the EU will implement the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which aims to “increase security and help prevent health threats to the bloc.” This new system will require Americans to fill out an application, and those 18-70 years old will be required to pay €7 to enter the EU. There will be no charge to those under 18 and over age 70. Application approval lasts three years, so travelers won’t need to reapply or pay a fee again within that time frame. The start date of ETIAS has not yet been announced, but keep an eye here or on our regularly updated Travel Brief for the latest news.

Eager to know the latest travel updates? Read our travel news briefing, updated weekly!

Yellow tram on rails coming out from a tunnel

Who is allowed to travel to the EU?

The Council of the European Union has set out recommendations for lifting travel restrictions, indicating which third-country nationals (i.e. non-EU citizens) should be allowed entry within EU borders for non-essential travel (i.e. tourism). “Everyone who is fully vaccinated with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency should be able to travel to the EU for any purpose. … In addition, when the epidemiological situation in a country improves sufficiently, the Council can include it on the list of countries from where all travel should be possible, regardless of vaccination status,” according to the European Commission

The last update of the list (released on November 18, 2021) includes the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
  • Colombia
  • Indonesia
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Namibia 
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Peru
  • Rwanda 
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Korea
  • United Arab Emirates 
  • Uruguay

Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Singapore and Ukraine were removed from the list in this last update.

The list is reviewed and updated regularly by the European Commission.

The EU Commission has proposed banning air travel into Europe from some countries in southern Africa due to a new COVID-19 variant. Some European countries, such as England and Malta, have already implemented such a ban.

Are there exemptions?

Yes. For non-EU citizens from a country not listed above, there are exemptions from the restrictions for those who have been fully vaccinated with an EU-authorized vaccine (which includes BioNTech and Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen, also known as J&J) and for what has been deemed essential travel. This includes students, healthcare professionals, passengers in transit, family members under some conditions, among others. Each country within Europe defines its own specific criteria for what qualifies as essential travel. 

Someone closing the airplane window

When will Americans be able to travel to Europe again?

Vaccinated Americans will face fewer hurdles or restrictions than those who are not fully vaccinated. One reason is because the USA was removed from the EU’s “safe list” (the list of countries mentioned in the previous section) on August 30, 2021. Previously, after more than a year of closures, EU officials recommended to Member States in mid-June that they reopen external borders to U.S. citizens, regardless of vaccination status. Now, however, that is no longer the case since the USA was removed from the safe list.

However, this is a recommendation, which means it’s strongly encouraged given the open-border policy between member countries. Consequently, there are two things to keep mind about this recommendation. One, Member States are not required to re-open for tourism, so they can still restrict Americans from visiting despite the recommendation. Two, while a country may decide to re-open its borders, it will also enforce its own specific requirements for entry, which could include proof of being fully vaccinated and/or a recent negative COVID-19 test result. The overall good news is that Americans can travel to many countries in Europe, despite being removed from the EU’s safe list.

Be sure to review the State Department’s travel advisories to understand the risk level for your intended destination.

When can Americans fly to Europe?

While there may be fewer flights available than pre-pandemic times, airlines are still flying direct to Europe from the USA. Some airlines have actually launched new routes to certain countries as they reopen their borders earlier than others. For example, Delta launched a direct flight between Boston and Iceland, and there are direct flights on United from the US to Croatia, Greece and Iceland.

Keep in mind that although Americans can fly into Europe, entry requirements and restrictions vary by country. If you are planning a multi-country trip, be sure to check requirements based on the country you will be traveling from, or sometimes the countries you have been in during the last two weeks.

Where can U.S. citizens travel to in Europe?

The EU maintains this handy map, which contains many details on member countries. You’re able to find out coronavirus measures of the country, tourism entry conditions and any restrictions on entering the country by plane, train, car, etc. You can also find out whether you need to quarantine upon arrival or are required to present a negative COVID test result. 

When you click on the tool’s map icon and then the Earth icon, you’ll see the answer to this question: What are the rules to enter this country from outside an EU Member State or Schengen Associated country?

Don’t forget that everyone, including U.S. citizens, are still required to submit a negative test prior to boarding their flight back to the US. While a majority of states lifted mandates and requirements for returning residents, they generally advise travelers to follow CDC guidelines. Check the latest from your state to ensure you’re in compliance when returning home.

Read more: Everything you need to know about PCR tests

two people who traveled to Europe jumping off cliff

Plan your next adventure: Tips for booking flights, hotels and car rentals with confidence

Austria

Austria went into a nationwide lockdown on November 22 for a maximum of 20 days. The country is currently closed to tourists until December 13. The below guidelines were in place prior to the lockdown and will be in effect again after it ends.

Entry is permitted to Austria unless traveling from a high-risk virus-variant country. To enter Austria, you’ll need one of the following: a vaccine certificate, negative COVID test (PCR within the last 72 hours or antigen within the last 48 hours), proof of past infection (within the last 180 days) or proof of antibodies within 90 days of the test date. With such proof, you will not need to quarantine if you have been in a low-risk country in the last 10 days. If you’ve been in a high-risk country, you may not need to self-isolate if you are able to show proof of full vaccination or past infection.

With regard to vaccination certificates, Austria considers individuals to be vaccinated starting on the 22nd day after the first dose, which lasts for 90 days from the vaccination date. Upon receiving the second dose, the validity extends for another 270 days. Any vaccine that requires just one dose is valid starting on the 22nd day after that dose and for 270 days from the original vaccination date.

Belgium

To enter Belgium from the USA as a tourist, it is now a requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Croatia

Americans can travel to Croatia and stay visa-free for up to 90 days. This beautiful country along the Adriatic has opened its borders for U.S. citizens who want to travel for tourism purposes!

Those departing from the United States may be allowed in Croatia if they can provide one of the following: a certificate of vaccination, a negative PCR test, a medical certificate of having recovered from COVID-19, or there is the option to test and self-isolate upon arrival (at your own expense). Some travelers may be exempt. The U.S. Embassy in Croatia provides additional details, such as “Tourists are also required to show the proof of booked or paid accommodation or ownership of a home or a vessel when entering Croatia.” You can speed up your entry into the country by filling out this form prior to departure.

Cyprus

Looking for a postcard-perfect getaway on the Mediterranean? The gorgeous island of Cyprus is welcoming visitors again!

Although the United States is on Cyprus’ Red List, citizens are still allowed to enter the country for tourism under special conditions. First, all travelers must obtain a Cyprus Flight Pass. Those who are unvaccinated must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding a flight to Cyprus. Those who are fully vaccinated can upload proof of their vaccination status to the Cyprus Flight Pass portal to bypass pre-travel testing requirements. Upon entry in Cyprus, all travelers regardless of vaccination status must complete another test upon arrival at their own expense and self-isolate until results are received.

Denmark

Fully vaccinated Americans are able to travel to Denmark. Unvaccinated individuals may not enter the country for tourism, but can if they have a “worthy purpose,” as define by the government.

Here are the qualifications fully vaccinated travelers must meet:

Entry must occur 14+ days after your last vaccine dose from a European Medicines Agency (EMA)-approved vaccine to be exempt from testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival in Denmark. Proof of vaccination status must be on a document that includes: your name, your date of birth, what disease you were vaccinated against, the vaccine name, your vaccination status, and the date of vaccination (both first and second dose if your vaccine had more than one dose).

England

Planning a trip across the pond to England? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Fully vaccinated travelers will need to pre-book and pay for a post-arrival COVID-19 test for day two of their stay (either PCR or an antigen lateral flow device, LFD, test). They are also required to complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours of arrival.
  • Unvaccinated travelers must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test within 3 days of their arrival in England and complete a passenger locator form within 48 hours of arrival. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 10 days, as well as pre-book and pay for a post-arrival COVID-19 test to be taken on days two and eight.

Children ages 17 and under will not have to quarantine on arrival in England.

From November 26, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe are on England’s red list. This means that a temporary flight ban is in place and all travelers who have been in these countries must quarantine and take tests.

France

We’re excited to add France onto the list of European countries that Americans will be able to travel to again! Entry for tourism is allowed again, but the rules are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors. Those who are not vaccinated or are partially vaccinated cannot travel for tourism purposes and must show proof of a permitted reason for entry into the country (as well as undergo self-isolation and a series of COVID-19 tests).

Travelers who are vaccinated will need to present proof of vaccination, such as the CDC card, and won’t be required to test or quarantine. All travelers must also fill out this certificate of international travel.

Only those who are vaccinated can obtain a special pass that will have a QR code allowing them entry into indoor venues such as restaurants and museums, and on public transportation. Apply for your pass at least a few weeks prior to your trip.

Germany

Whether you’re looking forward to a liter of frothy beer or the incredible fairytale castles of Bavaria, fully vaccinated US residents can now start planning their getaway to Germany. Americans are required to show proof of full vaccination to enter the country for tourism. Find out more on the official German Missions in the United States site.

Greece

Get excited: Greece is open for American tourists! There are some guidelines and requirements you must be aware of and/or complete prior to entry. Be sure to check these boxes:

  • Fill out a Passenger Locator Form at least 48 hours before arrival
  • All visitors ages 12+ must have proof of a negative PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival or negative results from a rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival
  • Fully vaccinated travelers who have had their last dose 14+ days ago do not need to test negative if they can show proof of vaccination status. Accepted vaccines are on the government site.
  • Those who have recovered from COVID can show proof of infection from the past 30 to 180 days
  • Random health checks are in place, regardless of vaccination status. If selected, the health check is mandatory.
Americans who want to travel to Europe can now visit Iceland again

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Iceland

Americans can now travel to Iceland! All are required to complete a preregistration form prior to departing to Iceland. Entry rules differ based on whether you are fully vaccinated (or have recovered from COVID-19) or are unvaccinated. Read all details on traveling to Iceland from the U.S. Embassy and the Icelandic government before you book your trip.

Those traveling from a high-risk area (website only available in Icelandic) are subject to stricter measures.

Ireland

Ireland has reopened its borders to U.S. citizens. To enter, travelers must show proof of full vaccination, or recovery from COVID in the past 180 days, or negative RT-PCR test results taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Post-arrival quarantine is no longer required. All travelers need to fill out a passenger locator form.

Italy

After the European Commission removed the USA from its safe list, Italy was the first country to update its entry requirements. Now, all travelers from the U.S. must have proof of a negative test result (molecular or antigen) taken within the previous 72 hours and submit a passenger locator form. Those who are fully vaccinated (more than 14 days since the last dose) must also show their CDC vaccination record card. If you are not vaccinated and do not have a medical certificate confirming recovery from COVID (from within the previous six months), you will be required to self-isolate for five days upon arrival and then get tested again. 

Malta

Do you want to soak up the sun on the shores of this stunning Mediterranean archipelago? Good news: It’s possible! Those traveling from the USA will need to submit a Public Health Declaration form and a valid vaccination certificate (required to be submitted through the VeriFLY app). Without proof of full vaccination, travelers are required to provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Exact requirements vary by age. Check the Maltese government website for more details.

Malta will temporarily ban travel to and from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe as of November 28, 2021.

Netherlands

The USA is in the Netherlands’ “high-risk” category for COVID-19. As such, entry into the country his only allowed if the purpose of travel falls under one of the exemption categories, such as full vaccination. Depending on your purpose of travel and vaccination status, you may be required to take a COVID-19 test. Self-quarantine is waived. All travelers must complete a health form.

Norway

Travelers from the USA can enter Norway again. Those who are fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months must provide proof to enter. Travelers who do not fall into those categories must have a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 24 hours.

Portugal

Mainland Portugal is welcoming tourists from the United States once again, but the country is returning to a “state of calamity” on December 1. To enter, travelers need proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or a rapid antigen test performed within 48 hours of departure. Children under 12 aren’t required to present a test. Travelers also need to fill out a passenger locator form prior to departure.

Slovenia

Want to venture around one of the most sustainable destinations? You’re in luck because Slovenia has begun reopening businesses and accommodations and allowing some U.S. tourists back in. We say “some” because the country is only welcoming non-essential travelers who have been fully vaccinated or can show evidence of recently recovering from a COVID-19 infection. See the “Entry and Exit Requirements” section.

Spain

Spain is allowing visitors from the USA if they can show proof of vaccination. Each traveler must also obtain and present a QR code generated through Spain Travel Health. This can be done via the website or through the SpTH app, available in Google Play and the App Store. See more from the U.S. Embassy in Spain.

Sweden

Foreign travelers ages 18+ must present either a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry, proof of recovery or proof of full vaccination. These requirements do not apply for flights originating from Denmark, Finland, Norway or Iceland.

Switzerland

Ready to hike or plan a ski vacation to the picturesque Swiss Alps? Americans can enter Switzerland for tourism purposes only if they are fully vaccinated. “Minors can always enter the country accompanied by adults who are also entitled to enter,” according to the Swiss Government Travel Check Website. Travelers may also need to submit this entry form.

Some other European countries

Outside of the EU, other European countries are allowing entry from the US. These include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. There may be testing, quarantine or other documentation requirements in place, so be sure to carefully read the government’s guidelines in addition to reviewing the epidemiological situation before booking any travel.

an island in the middle of a lake in Europe

Read more: 5 tips for safe flights and comfortable travel during the pandemic

If I’m already in Europe, can I travel to other countries in the EU?

Some countries only take into account where you claim residency, while others refer to the country you have been in 10-14 days prior to entry or crossing the border. If you travel to one of the European countries that are welcoming U.S. citizens, you may be able to fly or drive into other countries in the EU. Be prepared, though, to potentially self-quarantine or provide a negative COVID test result or proof of vaccination. It’s important to check if your desired destination (and any transit locations) has guidelines about this.

What should I do if I decide to travel to one of the countries where Americans are welcome?

First, we recommend checking what the exact entry requirements are for Americans traveling to their desired European destination. Use our interactive global map or check the government’s website to see if you need specific documents. This may include proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or prior infection, a negative test result (and within a specific time frame of departure), proof of accommodations and requirements to quarantine upon arrival. 

Next, educate yourself on change and cancellation policies before you book your flight from the U.S. and your accommodations in Europe. If you want peace of mind, you can book flexible flight tickets. This way if you need to reverse course at the last minute, you won’t need to scramble to learn what your options are.

Finally, repeat the first recommendation leading up to your trip. If a mandatory quarantine goes into effect two days before you travel to Europe, you won’t be exempt just because you booked a flight months in advance.

Travelers also need to be aware of requirements to return to the United States. Vaccinated travelers must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of their flight to the US. Those who are unvaccinated will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results within 24 hours of travel.

a bottle of hand sanitizer and a mask

Travel is tricky these days, and it can be hard to know when it’s safe to travel to Europe from the USA and beyond. You need to do additional research and jump through a few more hoops than “the good old days of travel.” But that doesn’t mean that a head-clearing vacation isn’t worth the effort.

Just remember as you travel through Europe that you still need to take the same CDC-recommended safety precautions that you would in the United States. Wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, don’t touch your face, and stay six or more feet away from others whenever possible. If you have more questions, we’ve answered your top COVID-19 questions.

Discover where you can go

Making plans to get back out there? Find out which borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

COVID-19 travel info graphic for Skyscanner's interactive global map.

Frequently asked questions

Does the government require me to stay home after I travel abroad?

While there are no mandates, the CDC recommends that unvaccinated travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel (even if the test comes back negative). If you don’t get tested, quarantine for 10 days. However, some state and local governments may require a quarantine period for those returning from out of state. Check the CDC and your local government’s guidelines for details.

How long should travelers quarantine for after returning to the USA?

Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine but should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. For unvaccinated travelers, the CDC recommends getting a viral test 3-5 days after travel along with a full 7-day quarantine (even with a negative test result). Without testing, it is recommended to self-quarantine for 10 days.

Should I avoid traveling internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The CDC recommends delaying non-essential travel until you are fully vaccinated. However, there are no mandates in place restricting U.S. citizens from traveling domestically and to some foreign countries. If you choose to travel, follow CDC travel guidelines to help reduce your risk of exposure.

Do I need a negative COVID-19 test to return to the U.S.?

Yes. All air passengers must provide a negative COVID-19 test. Those who are fully vaccinated must take the test within 3 days of departure. Unvaccinated Americans must take the test within 24 hours of their flight to the United States.

This page was last updated on November 26, 2021. To our knowledge, the information on this page was correct at the time of publication. However, given the nature of the COVID-19 crisis, information will vary by location and change at short notice and over time. We will do our best to keep this page up-to-date, however this cannot be guaranteed.