Skip to content

UPDATE: Could the European Union really ban Americans again?

Aug. 11, 2021
6 min read
UPDATE: Could the European Union really ban Americans again?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

This post has been updated with new information

The European Union has reportedly backed away from an immediate decision on whether or not Americans should continue being allowed into the 27 member countries’ borders. Speculation has been rampant that the EU may eventually vote to again ban Americans in light of the skyrocketing numbers of cases of the delta variant of COVID-19 in many parts of the United States.

The Washington Post reporting Aug. 11, "On Monday, after rumors circulated that the European Union would reimpose restrictions on U.S. travelers, the bloc decided against it, for now.. "

Still, according to Post, "If the picture does not improve in the next two weeks, the council may remove the United States from the safe list, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly."

Reuters news agency initially reporting last week that European Union would review the list of countries that are eligible for relaxed entry rules this week.

According to an EU official quoted by Reuters, the block was considering rescinding the permissions granted to some Americans for entry that have been in place since earlier this summer.

Right now, the European Union has a so-called coronavirus safe list of two dozen countries, including the United States.

On Monday, Reuters, still quoting anonymous EU officials said they had backed off any bans on Americans for now, "The European Union will not change its safe travel list this week, an EU official told Reuters on Monday, allowing non-essential travel from the United States to continue for the time being despite a surge in COVID cases there."

Naveed Jamali is a national security expert and the author of “How to Catch a Russian Spy.” He told TPG, “With the lack of a universal approach to masks and vaccines in the states, why wouldn’t the EU be worried about Americans bringing COVID? I’m worried about them spreading it here.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

It’s not just the delta variant that has the EU rethinking allowing in American tourists. Many Europeans remain angry that the U.S. is still closed to European tourists.

Related: Biden administration considering requiring vaccination for foreign visitors

As we reported last month, President Biden told the press in a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 15 that an announcement on easing the restrictions could come “within the next several days,” but that hasn’t happened so far.

Bloomberg says the U.S. is now above the EU’s limit of no more than 75 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The current United States official caseload is close to 270 cases per 100,000 — and increasing, according to Bloomberg.

A majority of the 27 member states would need to approve any ban, and it would remain up to individual countries to determine their own rules for entry.

European countries heavily reliant on tourism reopened their borders to vaccinated U.S. citizens early. They include Iceland, France, Spain, Croatia, Portugal and Greece— countries that may be unlikely to completely restrict Americans.

For now, Americans can breathe easier as any change in the rules is not imminent.

Related: Secretary of State says US borders will remain closed for EU citizens

In any case, Bloomberg’s source says any ban on Americans would most likely not apply to those who are fully vaccinated. That would severely limit the impact on Americans since most European countries are already requiring vaccination for entry.

Tim Jue, a San Francisco-based reporter covering airlines and travel, told TPG if a full ban happens, it will be “heartbreaking for those travelers who have made or are making plans to travel to Europe again, myself included. And it’s going to further slow the recovery of international travel, which will be a bigger disappointment for those who depend on open borders to make a living.”

Read more: Reopening Europe: When can you visit again? A country-by-country guide

JohnnyJet founder and editor-in-chief John E. DiScala told TPG, “I don’t blame the EU for potentially banning Americans with our out-of-control COVID-19 numbers and most Americans’ blasé approach. The good news (is) if they do follow through with the ban, I bet some countries like Greece will still allow us to enter without quarantine.”

Any new restrictions would hit the EU’s travel sector hard. The resumption of transatlantic flights has helped the EU aviation market recover a bit over the past few months. Bloomberg reports that, according to OAG data, European airlines are currently at 70% of pre-pandemic capacity.

Read more: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

The EU reopened to fully vaccinated American tourists beginning in June.

Travelers to most EU countries already have to be vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved in the EU, which means any vaccine approved for use in the U.S. will be accepted — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer.

Brian Summers is editor-at-large for travel site Skift and told me:

“As travelers, most of us want to get back to normal as soon as possible. We certainly don’t want to backslide. An intrepid group of Americans returned to Europe this summer, having fun like the good old days. But we must remember we are still in the midst of a once-in-century pandemic. The worst is probably past us, but the recovery path is not linear. If Europe thinks its best course of action is to limit American visitors, travelers will need to accept it. On the bright side, peak tourism season is nearly over. Let’s hope by next summer it is all sorted out and Americans can return, en masse.”

Jue said, “This recovery is going to be one step forward, one step backwards. We may hit some speed bumps, but I’m confident these closed borders are only temporary and won’t last as long as they did last year. Not with safe, effective vaccines out there.”

Additional reporting by Victoria Walker and Caroline Tanner.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.