European Union Agrees to Add U.S. to List of Safe Travel Countries | Health News

The European Union is recommending that its member countries begin lifting restrictions on travelers from the United States.

During a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, bloc members agreed to add the U.S. to the list of countries they are gradually removing restrictions on for non-essential travel. The U.S. will be added to the list of countries the EU deems safe enough based on epidemiological thresholds.

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The ban on non-essential travel for American tourists is expected to be lifted on Friday, just in time for the summer travel season and more than a year after it was implemented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move will allow Americans to travel to the EU for non-essential reasons, such as tourism or visiting family, even if they are not vaccinated. While all travelers could be allowed to enter the bloc without restrictions, the European Commission recommended that a negative COVID-19 test still be required before travel.

However, any rules to be enforced are ultimately up to each individual country.

Currently, the European Union has no uniform COVID-19 travel policy but has begun implementing its Digital Green Certificate. The certificate is proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus.

Several European countries have already started to use the certificate for residents and visitors, and it is expected to be in use in all 27 member countries by July 1. The free certificates will allow people to move more freely between European countries without having to undergo quarantines or additional COVID-19 testing upon arrival in a country.

While the Digital Green Certificate is meant for EU citizens, Americans and other foreigners can obtain one if they convince European authorities they qualify.

In addition to the U.S., other countries the EU is recommending to be added to its safe travel list are Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, Hong and Macau.