UPDATED October 12
Here’s the latest on when you can travel to Europe again. Keep in mind travel restrictions are changing daily as infection rates change.
For US passport holders, traveling to Europe has become a game of whack-a-mole. Each country has different entry requirements, but most if not all EU countries will only allow international passengers into the country with a negative COVID-19 test result or a 14 day quarantine on entry. Source.
The transition into lockdown and quarantine was slow and confusing, and I predict the exit will be just as chaotic. But keep reading as the light is on at the end of the Eurotunnel.
When Will I Be Able to Travel to Europe?
1. Travel within each European country
- As the situation changes on a daily basis, check before you travel. 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.
- The UK is continually updating a green list of countries from which travelers do NOT have to quarantine on return to the UK.
- Until the UK leaves the EU formally at the end of 2020, the UK and the EU will have open borders unless otherwise specified.
3. Travel between Europe and the US
- Travel from the US to some European countries is still expected to remain closed. Source
- US travelers are allowed into England with a 14 day quarantine on arrival. Note Wales, No. Ireland and Scotland may have different guidelines.
- Note that Croatia is not a member of the EU or Schengen zone.
- Travel into the US from Europe is still restricted to US citizens, legal permanent residents and immediate families- see below
Traveling from the US to UK & Europe
The US Dept of State’s health advisory is currently Global level 3, meaning reconsider travel to the UK. Source. Currently you can travel into the UK as long as you’re willing and able to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. You will be contacted and there are fines for non-compliance.
Within the past month, England has allowed and then restricted travel between other EU countries with less than 30 hours notice. As this changes by the day, please check here to get the latest information for US residents.
- All flight arrivals at Heathrow are operating from terminals 2 & 5 (currently no temperature checks)
- All flight arrivals at Gatwick will arrive at the North terminal (currently no temperature checks)
- National Express coach service is now operating
- National Rail trains are on a reduced schedule as are TFL London underground trains
- Hotels, restaurants and self catering accommodations are open unless a local lockdown is in force.
- Most stores and shops are open but require wearing a mask.
- Most pubs and restaurants are open on with social distanced seating. Local lockdowns may change this.
- Masks are required on all public transportation, buses, trains and taxis.
SCOTLAND AND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
- Check before travel. Rules will likely follow the UK 14 day quarantine but Scotland and No. Ireland have not relaxed local travel restrictions on the same timeline as England.
- If you travel into England, you may not be able to cross the border into Scotland or Ireland.
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.
Traveling from UK & Europe to the US
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
US citizens and permanent residents of the US are still permitted to return to the US. Here’s the latest TSA advice for what to expect when flying and also FAQs for flying. Also travelers may be expected to self-isolate for 14 days once home.
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
- If you’re a US resident and want to travel to Europe you may have to wait until travel restrictions are lifted. When infection numbers come down the EU should review the ban but it would help if the US removed their travel restrictions on European travelers entering the US.
- 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.
- As of October 1, Heathrow Airport is expecting to have quick testing ability soon which would allow travelers can avoid quarantine. But don’t hold your breath. Testing here in the UK hasn’t been a rousing success story.
- My advice? I’m as antsy as you are to get traveling but I’ll wait to consider booking a holiday until you’re sure you won’t have to quarantine at your destination.
Please leave any questions in the comments below. Stay safe and see you soon.
If you’re ready to relocate, my moving abroad checklist can help you get started.