Jun 16, 2021 - World

EU adds U.S. to its safe travel list

Passengers boarding a Ryanair plane on Crete Island in Greece

Passengers boarding a Ryanair plane on Crete Island in Greece. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

EU member states agreed to add the U.S. to its safe travel list during a meeting Wednesday in Brussels, allowing Americans to travel to the bloc for nonessential reasons, reports Reuters.

Why it matters: The EU banned nonessential travel from the U.S. last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as American vaccinations increase, the EU is easing up, per CNBC.

  • "The EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism or border policy, but has been working for months on a joint digital travel certificate for those vaccinated, freshly tested, or recently recovered from the virus. EU lawmakers endorsed the plan last week," NPR writes.
  • The move comes as good news for the many Americans who hope to vacation this summer. Around 72% of Americans are planning summer trips this year, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

The big picture: The EU's expansion of its safe travel list includes seven other territories as well — Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.

  • The recommendation is nonbinding and individual countries can still decide to require a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine period, per Reuters.

Of note: The omission of the U.K. was a "notable absence," but the decision was made due to a recent rise in coronavirus cases there driven by the variant first discovered in India, according to CNBC.

What's next: The change will be formalized on Friday, AP reports.

Go deeper