The European Council has adopted recommendations related to the lifting of the temporary restrictions of non-essential travel into the EU that were initially imposed in March. The Council’s recommendations represent guidelines to be implemented by the individual EU Member States. It is important to note that Denmark and Ireland will not participate in the adoption of the recommendations, while the recommendations are binding on the non-EU Member States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
Under the recommendations, participating Member States should start lifting non-essential travel restrictions at their external borders for residents of the following countries as of 1 July 2020:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- People’s Republic of China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
The lifting of travel restrictions are determined based on the traveler’s place of residence, not the traveler’s citizenship. Member States have discretion to continue to restrict entry to residents of some of the countries listed above, but they should not unilaterally decide to lift the restriction on non-essential travel into the EU for a particular third country before the lifting of travel restriction has been decided in a coordinated manner by the other Member States for that country.
The list of countries for which restrictions should be lifted is reviewed by the Council every two weeks and decisions are made based on the average number of COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants as well as a country’s the overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting as well as the reliability of available information and data sources.
Even where temporary travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of persons should be exempted from the travel restrictions:
- EU Citizens, as well as citizens of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom, and their family members;
- Non-EU citizens who are long-term residents or who hold national long-term visas, as well as their respective family members.
EU Member States have discretion to impose self-isolation/quarantine requirements on travelers exempt from the restrictions, as long as such self-isolation/quarantine requirements are applied to citizens of all countries.
The Council’ recommendations do not impact the current special travel permissions on essential travel as implemented by the individual EU Member States.
For additional information on this topic, please contact our EMEA immigration team at [email protected].