EU agrees to lift restrictions for American travelers

Jun 16, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

The European Union has added the United States and several other countries to its travel “white list” on Wednesday, allowing vaccinated visitors to forgo quarantine requirements and move more freely between the 27 EU nations.

Two sources close to the matter have confirmed to CNBC that the EU has agreed to add the U.S. and seven other countries or territories — Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macau, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Taiwan — to the list of nations from which travel is allowed.

It remains unclear if the addition of the U.S. to the list will take effect immediately, though the approval is a promising sign for Americans.

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Countries added to the EU’s “white list” will be allowed to travel throughout the 27 member nations with fewer restrictions. (Photo by jayk7/Getty Images)

Member countries will be allowed to permit residents of nations on the white list, which already includes Japan, to enter without having to follow previously strict quarantine mandates and to more freely move between EU member nations.

The list will also make it easier for certain travelers to transit through EU countries during flight layovers and connections — something that has been a struggle for many recently.

Some travelers have reported problems transiting through EU countries for flight layovers and connections. (Photo by Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images)

The EU is still looking for the U.S. to relax its travel restrictions on EU countries before the transatlantic corridor will fully reopen.

The changes come amid concerns about reopening while cases of COVID-19 grow caused by new strains of the virus. EU officials are urging member countries to step up their inoculation efforts before international travel restrictions are fully relaxed.

EU officials are urging member countries to step up the pace of their vaccine rollouts to protect against new variants of coronavirus before travel restrictions are eased. (Photo by Marko Geber/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, England has delayed lifting lockdown restrictions by an additional month, citing a rise in the number of illnesses due to the virus’ Delta variant.

Notably missing from Wednesday’s EU announcement is the U.K. An EU official told CNBC that the country has been left off of the white list because of the Delta variant, although more than half of the population is fully vaccinated.

Recently, several EU nations and some not in the EU agreed to adopt digital vaccine passports that will streamline the process for vaccine verification. The U.K. is not participating. From July 1, anybody who is fully vaccinated and has one of the digital passport certificates will be able to move freely between EU Member States.

Emily McNutt contributed to this story.

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