Semi-officially, Americans can again visit the European Union (E.U.) without an “essential purpose."
On Friday, the European Council recommended the bloc lift travel restrictions on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the United States. Additional countries listed include Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China. According the CNN, the gradual reopenings would be “subject to confirmation of reciprocity.”
According to the European Council, the above countries were approved due to their "epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources." In addition, the United States recently set up “expert working groups” with the European Union (along with Canada, Mexico and the U.K.) to safely restart travel. So, it would appear the U.S. is willing to reopen its borders to travelers from these destinations.
Note: While the E.U. is recommending to its member states to reopen to the select international visitors, the final say will still be given to each country. Some countries—France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Malta and Croatia included—have already opened to Americans with their own set of requirements and protocols. Requirements such as proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test or even a quarantine period may still be implemented by the member countries.
Back in April, the E.U. announced that fully vaccinated Americans would be able to visit the bloc this summer, although no reopening date was set at the time.
NPR reports that the European Union has continued to work on a joint digital travel certificate for those vaccinated or recently tested or recovered from the virus. The free certificate, which will contain a QR code with advanced security features, would allow travelers to move about the bloc without having to quarantine or undergo additional testing after the initial arrival. Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland all reportedly already use the program, with the rest expected to start using it July 1.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.