THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
The European Union recently announced it would be relaxing border restrictions for entry into member states from July 1st, but travel from the US to Europe remains subject to stricter criteria which means that, for most Americans, travel from the US to continental Europe won't be possible in the short term. The new rules apply to the Schengen Area of free travel, which does not include the UK or Ireland. Here are some of the key takeaways for how the new rules affect Americans traveling from the US:
The EU say that from July 1st, member states should permit entry to travelers from an initial list of 14 countries, which includes Canada, but does not include America. The BBC recently reported that this was due to the continued spread of Covid-19 in the States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, discussing the situation, said "We certainly don't want to reopen in a way that jeopardises the United States from people travelling here and we certainly don't want to cause problems anyplace else", but suggested that a solution could be found "in the coming weeks". The EU say they will review the permitted list every two weeks, meaning these rules could change in the not too distant future.
In their list of exemptions, the EU specifies that "The temporary travel restriction must exempt nationals of all EU Member States and Schengen Associated States, as well as their family members" - so if you hold, for example, a passport for the US and Italy, you and your family members should be exempt from the restrictions.
The term 'Family Members', according to the EU definition, includes:
• - Your spouse, or registered partner (based on the legislation of EU member states),
• - Direct descendents who are under the age of 21 or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner,
• - Dependents or members of the household of the individual who holds primary right of residence in the European Union, or those with serious health conditions who are dependent on the care of said individual
According to the exemptions, the EU says that "third-country students starting or continuing their studies in the EU in the academic year 2020/21", so US based students with EU placements should be exempt.
Exemptions are in place for diplomats, skilled workers, medical professionals, seasonal workers and other key workers. Full details can be found at the link at the end of this article.
The EU say that "Visa holders present in the Schengen area who cannot leave at the expiry of their short-stay visa must contact the authorities of the Member State in which they are located to ask for an extension of their visa. A visa may generally be extended to allow for a total stay of 90 days in a 180 days period."
If, for example, you are traveling from the United States to another non EU country which involves your flight landing in an EU country, you should be exempt. The EU explain that "Passengers travelling from a non-EU country to another non-EU country may transit through the international transit area of airports located in the Schengen area. Rules regarding airport transit visa requirements continue to apply."
Although Ireland and the UK aren't in the Schengen area, anyone with an Irish or UK passport should be able to travel to Europe.
As travel restrictions are eased, there are other more specific circumstances where exemptions exist for travel from a country like the US which is not on the EU's current permitted list. For the full details from the EU with guidance on who should be able to travel, go to the EU's Travel Restrictions web page.
If you have a question which hasn't been answered by the EU's report, feel free to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly ask on your behalf.