December 5, 2021

COVID-19: Council adds Argentina, Colombia, Namibia and Peru to list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted

Following a review in the context of the recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel within the EU, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities to which travel restrictions should be lifted. In particular, Argentina, Colombia, Namibia and Peru have been added to the list.

Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I are subject to temporary travel restrictions. This is without prejudice to the possibility for Member States to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers.

As stipulated in the Council recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed every two weeks and, if necessary, updated.

Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, from 28 October 2021, Member States should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:

  • Argentina (new)
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia (new)
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Namibia (new)
  • New Zealand
  • Peru (new)
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Travel restrictions are also expected to be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong and Macao.

In the category of entities and local authorities not recognized as states by at least one member state, travel restrictions for Taiwan should also be gradually lifted.

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered EU residents for the purposes of this recommendation.

The criteria for determining the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted were updated on May 20, 2021. They cover the epidemiological situation and the overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the information and sources of data available. Reciprocity must also be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.

The Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also participate in this recommendation.

Background

On 30 June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel within the EU. This recommendation included a first list of countries for which Member States should start lifting travel restrictions at the external borders. The list is reviewed every two weeks and, if necessary, updated.

On May 20, the Council adopted an amending recommendation to respond to the current vaccination campaigns by introducing certain exemptions for people vaccinated and by relaxing the criteria for lifting the restrictions for third countries. At the same time, the changes take into account the potential risks posed by the new variants by putting in place an emergency braking mechanism to react quickly to the emergence of an interesting or worrying variant in a third country.

The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the Member States remain responsible for the implementation of the content of the recommendation. They can only gradually lift travel restrictions to the countries listed.

A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions for unlisted third countries until this has been decided in a coordinated manner.


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