Coronavirus travel rules: European countries’ border restrictions and travel measures explained

Across Europe, governments have opened their borders after months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

But, despite the holiday season now being in full swing, some are now shutting down again to head off a COVID-19 resurgence.

For countries outside of the bloc, the EU has opened its external borders to a select group of countries, based on their coronavirus outbreak. The list is updated every fortnight.

As of August 8, citizens of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China can enter. The US, Montenegro, Morocco and Serbia are among the countries on the banned list. But member states are not, however, legally obliged, to follow the EU’s recommendation.

Given the pace of change, Euronews has compiled a handy guide to the situation in each European country.

Albania — commercial flights have resumed since June 15

All EU nationals and residents are eligible to enter Albania at the moment.

The country can be reached with flights from Germany, Italy, the UK, Serbia, Austria, Greece and Turkey.

Passengers at all terminals are expected to pass through a “disinfection tunnel” and undergo “body temperature measurement”. Anyone with body temperature higher than 37.5°C “shall be interviewed by the company doctor”.

Austria — no restrictions for Austrian green list’s countries

Entry from EU+ countries (including UK, Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and San Marino) is allowed with no restrictions except for arrivals from Croatia, parts of Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria and Romania. In this case, travellers should either self-isolate for 10 days – at their own expenses – or present a negative PCR test which is not older than 72 hours.

Entry from third countries is prohibited though seasonal workers in the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors may be exempt from this ban.

More info can be found here, as well as an updated list of nationals allowed to enter Austria.

Belgium — quarantine/PCR test required for travellers from many European regions

If travellers visit certain parts of several countries in Europe, they must quarantine or take a COVID-19 test upon returning to Belgium.

These include areas of Bulgaria, Cyprus, certain regions in Germany, several French departments, Greece, several areas in Croatia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, some provinces in the Netherlands, large swathes of Spain and the United Kingdom, among others.

All air travellers to Belgium must fill a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” and hand it over to the border authorities.

Non-essential travel to and from outside the EU and Schengen countries remains prohibited.

Bosnia and Herzegovina — has reopened for tourism since July 16

Bosnia opened borders on July 16 to EU and Schengen citizens carrying a negative coronavirus test not older than 48 hours.

There is still a travel ban for all other foreign nationals, although people with special circumstances (like medical treatment, a business meeting, a funeral or who are in the company of a spouse that is a Bosnian national) may be allowed entry. However, a negative COVID-19 test may still be required.

Bulgaria — has welcomed back tourists from 46 countries without restrictions

Bulgaria opened its borders on June 1 to EU countries, the UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Serbia and North Macedonia citizens, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website.

Travellers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Ukraine are allowed in too with no need to present a negative COVID-19 test.

The list of countries not subject to a travel ban or quarantine obligation is updated periodically and can be found here.

Arrivals from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Albania, Kuwait, Moldova, Israel and any other third country must hand a negative COVID-19 test. Tourists from these countries must meanwhile submit a declaration acknowledging the have been informed of the country’s anti-epidemic measures and with risks associated with COVID-19 to health inspector at the border.

Croatia — Citizens of EU+ countries can travel without restrictions

Borders remain open to EU, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and Holy See citizens. This also includes the families of the mentioned nationals.

However, entry from third countries may also be permitted for business, study and even tourism reasons, providing relevant documentation, listed here. In these cases, it is obligatory to present a negative PCR test that is not older than 48-hours upon arrival. Travellers who fail to present a test that fulfils these criteria must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The government has advised all travellers to fill an online form in order to shorten border checks.

Cyprus — many countries removed from safe list

Cyprus resumed tourist travel on June 9 after closing its borders for almost three months.

Authorities have created three lists based on countries’ epidemiological situation, which detail if passengers from these destinations are allowed to enter and under what conditions.

The lists are updated weekly by the Ministry of Health and can be found here.

All passengers, regardless of their nationality, need to fill out a form called Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours before their flight departure.

List A: “Low-risk countries” (no restrictions)

These countries include: Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Korea, Latvia, New Zealand and Thailand.

List B: “Possibly low risk but greater uncertainty” (entry permitted with negative COVID-19 test)

Passengers coming from these countries need to test negative for the virus no later than 72 hours prior to their arrival and include: Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Holy See (Vatican City State), Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

List C: “Greater risk” (entry not permitted unless the traveller is Cyprus resident or is included in this list).

These countries are all those not listed above, including Portugal, Luxembourg, Romania and Montenegro.

Czech Republic — Another country added to the red list

EU countries have been divided into groups dependent on risk.

All EU member states except Spain are now in the low-risk green group, meaning travellers can enter the Czech Republic with no restrictions. They are joined by Andorra, Australia, Iceland, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Federal Republic of Germany, Norway, New Zealand, San Marino, Thailand, Tunisia, Switzerland, Vatican City State and UK.

Spain is currently classified as “red” and tourists need to present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival.

Entry is prohibited to all other third-country nationals, except for cases listed here.

Denmark — countries added to the high-risk list

Denmark’s borders have been closing again to many European countries, but this is subject to change based on a set of health measures and analysis. Parts of the bordering areas in Sweden have also been reopened. The list of closed countries is updated weekly.

France, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom Belgium and the Netherlands are among the high-risk countries on the list as of October 14.

Estonia — opens to EU+ citizens

EU citizens, those in the Schengen area, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican can now travel to Estonia if they are without symptoms.

Citizens from other countries not mentioned on the list will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Finland — changed its rating of the epidemiological situation

From September 11, Finland will allow arrivals in without mandatory testing or quarantine when they are coming from a country with fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in the last fortnight.

Leisure from all EU, Schengen countries, and the UK will be allowed to travel to Finland from November 23, even with rates above the aforementioned amount. However, travellers will need to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. They will also be quarantined 72 hours upon arrival and will need to take a second test. When this second negative result comes in, they will be able to travel around Finland freely.

On October 12, Cyprus, Latvia and Lichtenstein were removed from the safe list.

France — suggested voluntary quarantine for Spaniards and Britons

Travellers from EU member states as well as Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, the Holy See, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Uruguay have been allowed to visit the county since June 15 without a health certificate or any form of quarantine upon arrival.

But passengers from Spain and the UK are asked to submit to a voluntary quarantine, “in reciprocity” to current regulations in place in both countries, France’ Foreign Affairs Ministry has explained.

Per the EU Council’s recommendation, France reopened its borders to 15 non-member states on July 1.

Germany — more risk areas added

As of October 7, a number of places have bee added to risk areas.

These include Targovishte Oblast in Bulgaria, and the Vukovarsko-srijemska, Sisačko-moslavačka, Krapinsko-zagorska županija counties in Croatia.

In Lithuania, Kaunas County is now considered at risk, as well as the administrative districts of Kraj Zilina, Prešov, Bratislava, Nitra and Trnava in Slovakia.

Same for Zasavska, Gorenjska, Osrednjeslovenska, and Savinjska in Slovenia, and Nógrád, Baranya, Hajdú-Bihar, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Komárom-Esztergom and Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg in Hungary.

The Netherlands – except for Zeeland – Romania and Curacao are considered entire risk areas.

All travellers not included in this list can enter Germany with no restrictions.

Germany has offered to hisse for the coronavirus test for people entering the country from high-risk regions in the first three days of their arrival.

Greece — tests necessary for some countries

Travellers from Czech Republic and Poland will be required to have negative COVID-19 test, performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece.

Updated information on Greece’s travel restrictions can be found here, as well as the mandatory passenger locator form to be completed prior to arrival by ALL travellers.

Hungary — borders closed from September 1

Hungary will close its borders to foreigners from September 1 and citizens returning from abroad will be obliged to self-quarantine either for a period of 14 days or until they produce two negative tests taken two days apart.

The country had opened its borders without restrictions to citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area (excluding the United Kingdom) and of Switzerland on 21 June.

It had opened its border with Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Serbia on June 12 without the need for going into quarantine.

Iceland — foreign nationals need registering

Iceland reopened to EU and UK travellers on June 15.

Tourists are tested upon arrival. A few hours later, they get the result on their phone, after downloading a tracking app.

The test, free for a period of two weeks, will cost 15,000 Icelandic Krona (€100) from July 1. Children born in or after 2005 will be exempt.

Authorities are yet to clear procedures for those who test positive.

The government decided that all foreign nationals currently in the country, who cannot leave due to travel restrictions, quarantine or isolation, will need to register in order for their stay to be yasal.

Ireland — all EU/EEA countries removed from the green list

The Irish health authorities currently require anyone coming into Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days, upon arrival, including Irish residents.

As of October 12, the Irish green list has been completely cleared of all EU/EEA countries.

Arrivals have to complete a passenger locator form, although exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Italy — quarantine required for two EU countries

Borders in Italy opened June 3 to citizens from the EU, UK, Schengen area, Andorra, Vatican City, San Marino and Monaco, following a nationwide lockdown which came into force on March 9.

Travellers arriving from Bulgaria and Romania, however, have to self-isolate for 14 days, as well as all passengers that have not come from one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, UK, Andorra, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State.

Until July 31, entrance to Italy is forbidden for most passengers who in the 14 days prior to arrival stayed in or transited through any of the following countries: Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Kosovo, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Oman, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Serbia.

All travellers coming to Italy need to fill in a passenger form on the Foreign Ministry website, which also has updates on travel restrictions for Italy.

All Italian passenger cruise ships have suspended activity until further notice.

Latvia — introduces 10-day quarantine for risk countries

Since October 10, Latvia has introduced a ten-day quarantine from travellers from high-risk countries.

These include Andorra, Czechia, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium with skyrocketing cases.

Also: France, the UK, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Croatia, Poland, Monaco, San Marino, Sweden Italy, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Liechtenstein, Greece and Germany.

Only five countries are on the low threat list: Latvia, Finland, Norway, Cyprus and the Vatican.

This list is updated on a weekly basis.

Lithuania — reduced restrictions on entry for Baltic countries

Lithuania has opened its borders to citizens from the EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK provided the incidence of COVID-19 in the country they reside in has not exceeded 16 cases per 100,000 people in the population over the last 14 calendar days.

Requirements to self-isolate when arriving from these countries have been lifted.

However, Vilnius introduced a 14-day isolation requirement for its nationals or residents arriving from 50 countries most affected by COVID-19 including Sweden, Russia, Belarus, Portugal, and the US. Previously, they were only “advised” to self-isolate.

Luxembourg — no tourism allowed for third-country nationals

Luxembourg’s border with Germany reopened on May 15 and travel has not been restricted with other European nations, although travel from outside Europe is banned.

Luxembourg is also adhering to the list from the EU allowing travel from Australia, Canada, China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity at EU level), Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

Malta — third-country nationals need to have spent time in green list countries to enter

Malta’s Tourism Ministry announced that it will reopen tourism travel on July 1.

On that date, borders reopened to travellers from Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Switzerland, the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Croatia, and Greece.

Restrictions were lifted on July 15 for people coming in from Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Italy, United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Rwanda, Uruguay, Japan, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia, Lebanon, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan.

Montenegro — borders opened under safe epidemiological condition

Entry to Montenegro is allowed from countries on the green list, which includes EU Member States, along with Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine.

Any travellers from countries on the yellow list will need to provide a negative result for COVID-19 which has been given in the last 72 hours.

Such countries on the yellow list include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The Netherlands — non-essential travel to be avoided within the country

The Dutch government is restricting non-essential travel from people from third countries until July 1, but EU citizens – including British nationals – can now enter the country.

However, travellers from Andorra, Austria (Innsbruck and Vienna), Belgium (Antwerp, Brussels-Capital Region, provinces of Liège and Walloon Brabant), Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark (Copenhagen, Faaborg-Midtfyn and Slagelse), France (Paris, the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-et-Marne, Essonne, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines, Sarthe, Rhône, Gironde, Haute-Garonne, Gard, Var, Vaucluse, Hérault, Alpes-Maritimes and Loiret, Côte-d’Or, Seine-Maritime, Nord, Corse-du-Sud, Haute Corse, l’Ain, Ille-et-Vilaine, Isère, Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Pas-de-Calais, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn-et-Garonne, Aveyron, Bas-Rhin, Haute-Marne, Indre-et-Loire, Landes, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Seine-Maritime, Tarn, Vienne, Ariège, Aube, Charente, Doubs, Gers, Haute Loire, Haues-Pyrénées, Haute Vienne, Oise, Somme and Saône et Loire), Greece (all Greek islands), Hungary (Budapest), Malta, Monaco, Portugal (Area Metropolitana de Lisboa and Leziria do Tejo), Romania, Spain, Switzerland (Cantons of Geneva, Freiburg and Vaud) are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Like many other nations, there are strict requirements around shaking hands, maintaining social distancing and hand-washing.

Norway — quarantine required from certain European hotspots

Norway has closed its borders and only travellers for fellow Nordic countries — Denmark, Iceland, and Finland — were able to return on June 15. Sweden was excluded from the measure.

“Travellers from EEA/Schengen countries with acceptable levels of infection” have been able to visit the country since July 15.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will update the map showing areas with exemptions of quarantine duty on 10 July and the list will be updated at least every second week.

Norway currently has a 10-day quarantine for those returning from international travel.

From October 10, any arrivals from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Vaitcan City must self-quarantine for 10 days.

Poland — quarantine required for travellers from outside the EU

Borders reopened for EU nationals on June 13 with no quarantine condition, and some international flights from within the bloc have restarted. Poland’s external EU border remains closed, except for specific circumstances.

Portugal — flight from outside the EU only allowed for essential travels

Nationals of EU countries, Schengen area and passengers on flights from the UK, Brazil, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the US, Canada, Venezuela and South Africa are allowed in the country.

Border controls have been in place since March 16. There is currently no requirement for arrivals to go into quarantine, except in The Azores and Madeiras island.

The border with Spain reopened on July 1.

Russia — PCR test required upon arrival

It has drawn up a list of 13 countries that it could resume flights with: United Kingdom, Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Finland, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

International flights were halted in March. On June 8, Russia said it will partially reopen its borders as the country eases coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that travelling abroad for work, medical or studying purposes will be allowed, as well as for taking deva of relatives.

He also said Russia will let in foreigners seeking medical treatment or taking deva of family members.

Romania — some international flights remain suspended

People coming from EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein may enter but they must self-isolate for 14 days if the incidence rate in their country of origin is greater than the one in Romania.

Note that direct passenger flights from Sweden, Portugal, UK, USA, Iran and Turkey are suspended.

Serbia — PCR test required for four EU countries

Serbia’s borders are open.

Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Northern Macedonia travellers, however, are required to provide a PCR test.

Slovakia — no restriction for “low-risk” countries

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom, Vatican City have been added to the list of “low-risk countries and territories”.

More information here.

Slovenia — quarantine required for travellers from high-risk countries

Slovenia reopened borders to citizens coming from many countries on May 15.

The country now operates a colour-coded system with a green list — most of the countries on the list are European, as well as Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay — which are not subject to restrictions.

Anyone entering from a country with high levels of COVID-19 will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Spain — health check for all air/sea passengers upon arrival

Spain reopened its borders to EU member states, Schengen area countries and the UK on June 21. None of these travellers have to self-isolate.

Portugal had been the only exception to the above, but the border between the two countries reopened on July 1. The country also opened up to the list of non-member states approved by the EU Council.

Sweden — non-essential travel ban from countries outside the EU

Sweden has introduced border restrictions but it only applies to non-essential travel from countries outside the EU/EEA, except the UK and Switzerland.

That restriction came into effect on March 19 and has been extended until October 31.

Switzerland — added Luxembourg to list of high-risk countries

Switzerland, which brought in border controls on March 13, will reopen borders to all EU countries, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on June 15, instead of July 6 as previously planned.

The government is also reopening borders to non-EU and non-EFTA workers on July 6, as it announced on June 24.

Any foreign nationals who currently try to enter Switzerland without a valid residence or work permit will be refused entry.

Air passengers from abroad are currently only able to enter the country through the airports at Zurich, Geneva and Basel.

Turkey — borders are opened

Turkey has opened its border to foreign travellers, except for the land border with Iran. Arrivals may have to go through health checks.

UK — removed countries from travel corridors list

England requires people arriving from abroad to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, but scrapped this rule on July 10 for a number of countries it deems “low-risk”.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have introduced broadly the same rules as England but may differ slightly.

Several countries that were previously on a list of travel corridors have since been removed, meaning passengers coming from those destinations will have to quarantine.

People arriving from Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Gibraltar, Germany, Greece (except Crete and Mykonos, Lesvos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, Zakynthos), Greenland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, San Marino, Sweden and the Vatican do not need to quarantine.

Travellers from other countries in Europe will be subject to a 14-day quarantine – but this can be checked on the UK government website.

As in other countries, certain professions are exempt from these rules, such as healthcare workers travelling to deliver healthcare in the country. Upon arrival, those who are required to self-isolate need to provide their journey and contact details.

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