Taking a European vacation this year is about to get easier. The European Union’s council has recommended to its 27 member countries that they drop pre-departure COVID testing requirements for vaccinated travelers beginning March 1. The council recommends that travelers who received the final dose of a vaccine regimen more than 270 days before arrival should have had a booster shot within 180 days of arrival to skip testing.
The recommendation is non-binding, but several countries have already announced they will be dropping the testing requirement for travelers who qualify.
"The updates will further facilitate travel from outside the EU into the EU, and take into account the evolution of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination uptake worldwide and the administration of booster doses," the European Commission said.
Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and Greece have said they will adjust their entry protocols to allow fully vaccinated visitors in without testing. Denmark has already dispensed with border restrictions and social distancing rules. Americans traveling to Sweden will need a test to enter directly from the U.S. through March 31, but once in Sweden there are no restrictions. Germany has added the U.S. to its list of low-risk countries, meaning Americans no longer have to fill out a pre-arrival registration form and those fully vaccinated don’t need a negative test.
Outside the E.U., Iceland is dropping all COVID measures including vaccination and testing requirements as well as domestic restrictions. Fully vaccinated passengers no longer need to test before arrival to Norway or the U.K. or on Day 2 of their U.K. stay. Switzerland has also eliminated testing, distancing and mask measures.
We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves and other countries make announcements. The going remains easier for fully vaccinated travelers, but there is still complexity to the protocols for travel from country to country within Europe, so as always consult your travel advisor about requirements for your destination. Nevertheless, we’re always happy to report when travel gets easier.