President Biden says the end of the European travel ban is in sight

Jul 15, 2021

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President Joe Biden says the ban on Europeans traveling to America could be lifted soon, or at least we could finally have a date for the ban to be lifted.

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After a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, July 15, Biden said, “I’ll be able to answer that question too, within the next several days, what is likely to happen,” Mr. Biden said. “I’m waiting to hear from our folks in our COVID team as to when that should be done.”

Anger had been growing in Europe over the continued ban on Europeans coming to the United States, even as Europe began allowing American tourists to come in June.

The original ban ordered most foreigners who have visited a list of restricted countries in the past 14 days not be allowed to enter the United States.

The ban was originally enacted by the Trump administration in March 2020.

It had banned entry to the United States for non-nationals who have been in the U.K., Ireland, 26 Schengen Area countries, China, Iran and/or Brazil in the last 14 days. There were reports in November 2020 that the White House was considering lifting that ban on travel from Europe. However, that was extended under President Biden.

The Biden Administration had resisted pressure for months to reopen borders to Europeans.

Celia Belin — a visiting fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution — spoke to Bloomberg about the ban, which she’s been urging to be overturned for months. She told the news site, “In a democracy such as this one and with the alliance of democracies that Biden is hoping for, this arbitrary randomness of the travel ban and the discriminatory nature of it, I feel that’s a stain.”

As of Jan. 26, the U.S. required all travelers — including U.S. citizens — coming from abroad to have a negative COVID-19 test. The test must be taken no more than three days prior to scheduled departure.

The Schengen Area includes the following 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Related: What is the Schengen Area?

Featured image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Joe Biden holding a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on July 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. 

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