UPDATED JULY 6
Here’s the latest on when you’ll be able to travel to Europe this summer.
It’s no secret that most European countries who rely on tourism are very motivated to salvage what they can of the summer holiday season. Does this mean you can throw your flip flops in a suitcase and fly? Not just yet love. The transition into 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.
The next few months will be a real test to see if all the sacrifices to contain and control the virus are working. I’m grateful the weather is warm and sunny for now, although it does make it tough to stay indoors. Hopefully we’ll all be able to take a well earned break soon.
When Will I Be Able to Travel to Europe?
There’s three different stages of travel getting back to “normal’
1. Travel within each European country
- Most countries have relaxed previous travel restrictions and quarantines within their own borders.
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 as of July 10
- 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 European countries will continue to remain closed as of July 10
- US travelers are allowed into England with a 14 day quarantine on arrival. Note that as of July 6, Wales, No. Ireland and Scotland are still closed.
- Travel into the US from Europe is still restricted to US citizens, legal permanent residents and immediate families- see below
Is there anything more confusing right now than trying to decide when you can travel!!?
So what does this mean for you if you’re trying to plan an international trip from US to Europe?
Here’s the bullet points. These may change but I’m doing my best to keep them updated as news changes.
Traveling from the US to UK & Europe
The US Dept of State’s health advisory is still Global level 4, meaning avoid all international travel if possible.
Currently most of the EU’s borders are open for travel between EU countries. US visitors are still not able to enter most European countries. Expect border openings to be subject to change with little notice.
- French borders are open to most EU countries as of June 15.
- Travel between the UK and France is open.
- Hotels, B&B’s, campsites and gites across most of France were allowed to open June 2
- Spain’s borders are currently open to visitors from the EU and the UK
- Portugal is currently not on the list of countries UK visitors may travel to without needing to quarantine for 14 days
- Italy is on the list of countries that do not require a quarantine on return
- 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 very reduced schedule as are TFL London underground trains
- Hotels, restaurants and self catering accommodations are scheduled to start to re-open from July 4 and on.
- Most “non-essential” stores and shops are open.
- Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to re-open July 4.
- Masks are required on all public transport.
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 are not allowed into the US:
- United Kingdom, including England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
- Republic of Ireland
- European Union – Schengen zone
US citizens and permanent residents of the US are permitted to return to these 15 airports in the US. According to DHS there will be enhanced security screening once landing but they’re not specified. Also travelers are expected to self-isolate for 14 days once home.
In March, my partner returned to the US and chose to fly into DFW airport as the closest to home. His temperature wasn’t taken on landing nor did he experience any long delays in going through customs. Go figure.
I hope this policy will be reviewed soon as it’s no longer relevant. At the moment these countries have a much lower rate of infection than the US. Until the US president has released these travel restrictions, chances are these restricted countries won’t be open to US travelers.
My Best Advice
- If you’re a US resident and want to travel to Europe you may have to wait until November. If infection numbers come down the EU will review the ban. It would also help if the US removed their travel restrictions on European travelers to enter 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.
- My advice? I’m as antsy as you are to get traveling but I’ll wait until at least mid July to consider booking a holiday. By then most countries should be fully open – barring a second wave. Doesn’t it make sense to allow time for everyone to get used to social distancing in public spaces? If I’m shelling out good money to travel, I want to be able to eat in restaurants and walk along beaches without worry.
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.