Restriction of non-essential travel to the European Union
Looking back, we must highlight some important moments: on March 16 the Commission issued a Communication recommending a temporary restriction of non-essential travel from third-party countries to the EU.
A few days later, on March 26, 2020, the heads of state or government of the European Union agreed to apply this restriction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 30, 2020, Council Recommendation EU 2020/912 on the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the European Union and the possible lifting of said restriction was adopted. In it, a list of third-party countries whose residents were exempt from the restrictions in force until then was established, as well as a list of new categories of people also exempt from said limitations, regardless of their place of origin.
Later, on July 16, the Council of the European Union adopted a new Recommendation changing the previous list of countries, and deleting Serbia and Montenegro due to the worsening of their epidemiological situation.
With regard to the list of third-party countries, the lifting of restrictions should not be considered to be of immediate effect, but will continue to be subject to criteria of progressivity and reciprocity at all times. Following the amendment made to the Council Recommendation, the complete list of countries whose residents are not affected by the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU is included below.
Which third-party countries can enter Europe?
This list will be updated in accordance with the guidelines of the Council of the EU.
The Recommendation establishes exemptions to the application of these criteria of refusal of entry to citizens of third-party countries. There is a list of these exemptions and more information in our post European Union Travel Restrictions and Exemptions
Criteria for the selection of third-party countries
These countries were chosen using criteria such as the epidemiological situation and its containment measures, as well as economic and social considerations that were applied cumulatively. Specifically, these first 15 states were chosen taking account of:
- “A figure close to or below the EU average of new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the last fourteen days, as of June 15, 2020;
- A stable or downward trend of new cases appearing during that same period compared to the previous fourteen days; and
- The overall response to COVID-19, taking into account the available information on aspects such as testing, surveillance measures, contact tracing, containment, treatment and notification of cases, as well as the reliability of the information and data sources available and, if necessary, the total average score in all dimensions of the International Health Regulations (IHR). In addition, the information provided by the EU Delegations based on the checklist in the annex to the Communication of June 11, 2020 must be taken into account”.
The main factor in deciding whether to apply the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU to a person in a third-party country was residence in that third-party country for which the restrictions had been lifted, and not nationality.
Every two weeks and as appropriate, the Council will review and update the list of third-party countries above. Travel restrictions may be lifted or reintroduced (totally or partially) for a country depending on the changes that occur in any of the conditions mentioned initially.
If you need more information, contact our global mobility experts.