UPDATED February 2021
If you’re wondering when you’ll be able to travel to Europe again, the answer changes daily. Because of the spread of COVID-19 variants, current restrictions on travel are actually more severe than the first lockdown of 2020 in March.
While the UK and the EU (now separate due to Brexit as of 12/31/20) have different entry requirements, most countries are expected to require a negative COVID test for entry.
International passengers into most European countries will require a negative COVID-19 test result within the past 72 hours and/or a 10-14 day quarantine on entry. Source.
When Will I Be Able to Travel to Europe?
1. Travel within each European country
- Check before you travel as the situation changes on a daily basis. Here’s a good source for current travel restrictions country by country.
2. Travel within Europe and the UK
- Travel may be permitted between some countries in the EU (or Schengen zone) without the need for a 14 day quarantine.
- Here is the official list of travel corridors from the UK government website.
3. Travel between Europe and the US
- The complete list of country travel restrictions for Coronavirus Source
- US travelers are allowed into England with a 10 day quarantine on arrival. As of January 18, 2021 a negative test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of arrival will also be required. Note Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland may have different guidelines.
Traveling to UK & Europe from USA
The US Dept of State’s health advisory is currently Global level 3, meaning reconsider travel to the UK. Source.
All international arrivals into the UK will need to follow these guidelines and provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel (effective January 18,2021).
- What you need to know if your flight is into or out of London’s Heathrow Airport
- What you need to know if your flight is into or out of London’s Gatwick Airport
- National Express coach service is operating
- National Rail trains may be on a reduced schedule as are TFL London underground trains
- Check first before traveling. Currently hotels, pubs and restaurants are closed during lockdown.
- Most essential stores and shops (food, hardware, chemist/drug) are open but require wearing a mask.
- Masks are required on all public transportation, buses, trains and taxis.
SCOTLAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND
- Check before travel. Scotland and Northern Ireland may have different guidelines than England.
- You may not be able to cross the border into Scotland or Ireland from England.
Traveling to USA from UK & Europe
Until further notice, due to presidential proclamation; travelers who have been to these areas in the last 14 days may not be allowed into the US or if they are they will be subject to enhanced screening:
- United Kingdom, including England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
- Republic of Ireland
- European Union – Schengen zone
This presidential proclamation hasn’t changed under the Biden administration.
U.S. citizens in the United Kingdom are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted under the rules. This means you may not go on holiday. If you are visiting the UK, you may return home to the United States.
As of September 14, travelers into the US are no longer being directed to 15 regional airports. Source This is a welcome change for anyone who’s seeking to return to the US without the inconvenience of flying into an airport far from home.
My Best Advice
- Use the Tripit app, which I’ve found invaluable on past trips, to access COVID-19 travel guidance within the app.
- If you’re a US resident who wants to travel to Europe you may want to wait until travel restrictions are lifted or you have had the vaccine.
- Get travel insurance but be aware travel companies may exclude COVID-19 from their coverage. You can still be covered for trip cancellation and ordinary medical expenses.
- If you book and pay for a trip through a reputable tour company, you should be reimbursed if your trip is cancelled due to future travel restrictions. Some tour companies are holding off offering tours until guidance on restrictions is clear.
- My advice? I’m as antsy as you are to get traveling but I’ll wait to consider booking a holiday until lockdowns and quarantines are no longer needed.
If you’re thinking of traveling from the US to the UK and Europe in the near future keep in mind these general guidelines.
- You’re allowed to travel into Europe including France, Italy and Spain or the Schengen (most Europe countries including Norway and Iceland) area for up to 90 days without a visa. Your US passport needs to have at least 3 months left once you return to the US. So if your visit to Europe is for 30 days, you’d need 4 months left on your passport.
If you’re ready to relocate, my moving abroad checklist can help you get started. For complete advice on traveling into Heathrow or Gatwick airports and central London, check out my advice here. Please leave any questions in the comments below. Stay safe and see you soon.