Europe (Euronews)

Coronavirus travel rules: European countries’ border restrictions and travel measures explained

By October 5, 2020 No Comments
A terrace on St. Mark's Square in Venice reopened after the three month lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection. 12 June 2020

Across Europe, governments have opened their borders after months of closure during the coronavirus pandemic.

But, despite the holiday season now being in full swing, some are now shutting down again to head off a COVID-19 resurgence.

For countries outside of the bloc, the EU has opened its external borders to a select group of countries, based on their coronavirus outbreak. The list is updated every fortnight.

As of August 8, citizens of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China can enter. The US, Montenegro, Morocco and Serbia are among the countries on the banned list. But member states are not, however, legally obliged, to follow the EU’s recommendation.

Given the pace of change, Euronews has compiled a handy guide to the situation in each European country.

Albania — commercial flights have resumed since June 15

All EU nationals and residents are eligible to enter Albania at the moment.

The country can be reached with flights from Germany, Italy, the UK, Serbia, Austria, Greece and Turkey.

Passengers at all terminals are expected to pass through a “disinfection tunnel” and undergo “body temperature measurement”. Anyone with body temperature higher than 37.5°C “shall be interviewed by the company doctor”.

Austria — no restrictions for Austrian green list’s countries

Entry from EU+ countries (including UK, Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and San Marino) is allowed with no restrictions except for arrivals from Sweden, Portugal, Bulgaria and Romania. In this case, travellers should either self-isolate for 10 days – at their own expenses – or present a negative PCR test which is not older than 72 hours.

Entry from third countries is prohibited though seasonal workers in the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors may be exempt from this ban.

More info can be found here, as well as an updated list of nationals allowed to enter Austria.

Belgium — quarantine/PCR test required for travellers from many European regions

If travellers visit certain parts of several countries in Europe, they must quarantine or take a COVID-19 test upon returning to Belgium

These include areas of Bulgaria, Cyprus, certain regions in Germany, several French departments, Greece, several areas in Croatia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, some provinces in the Netherlands, large swathes of Spain and the United Kingdom, among others.

All air travellers to Belgium must fill a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” and hand it over to the border authorities.

Non-essential travel to and from outside the EU and Schengen countries remains prohibited.

Bosnia and Herzegovina — has reopened for tourism since July 16

Bosnia opened borders on July 16 to EU and Schengen citizens carrying a negative coronavirus test not older than 48 hours.

There is still a travel ban for all other foreign nationals, although people with special circumstances (like medical treatment, a business meeting, a funeral or who are in the company of a spouse that is a Bosnian national) may be allowed entry. However, a negative COVID-19 test may still be required.

Bulgaria — has welcomed back tourist from 46 countries without restrictions

Bulgaria opened its borders on June 1 to EU countries, the UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Serbia and North Macedonia citizens, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website.

Travellers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Ukraine are allowed in too with no need to present a negative COVID-19 test.

The list of countries not subject to a travel ban or quarantine obligation is updated periodically and can be found here.

Arrivals from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Albania, Kuwait, Moldova, Israel and any other third country must hand a negative COVID-19 test. Tourists from these countries must meanwhile submit a declaration acknowledging the have been informed of the country’s anti-epidemic measures and with risks associated with COVID-19 to health inspector at the border.

Croatia — border crossing restrictions are extended until September 30

Borders remain open to EU, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and Holy See citizens. This also includes the families of the mentioned nationals.

However, entry from third countries may also be permitted for business, study and even tourism reasons, providing relevant documentation, listed here. In these cases, it is obligatory to present a negative PCR test that is not older than 48-hours upon arrival. Travellers who fail to present a test that fulfils these criteria must undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The government has advised all travellers to fill an online form in order to shorten border checks.

Cyprus — many countries removed from safe list

Cyprus resumed tourist travel on June 9 after closing its borders for almost three months.

Authorities have created three lists based on countries’ epidemiological situation, which detail if passengers from these destinations are allowed to enter and under what conditions.

The lists are updated weekly by the Ministry of Health and can be found here.

All passengers, regardless of their nationality, need to fill out a form called Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours before their flight departure.

List A: “Low-risk countries” (no restrictions)

These countries include: Australia, Finland, Germany, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand and Thailand.

List B: “Possibly low risk but greater uncertainty” (entry permitted with negative COVID-19 test)

Passengers coming from these countries need to test negative for the virus no later than 72 hours prior to their arrival and include: Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Holy See (Vatican City State), Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

List C: “Greater risk” (entry not permitted unless the traveller is Cyprus resident or is included in this list).

These countries are all those not listed above, including Portugal, Sweden, Luxembourg, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.

Czech Republic — unmarried partners of EU citizens residing can now enter

EU countries have been divided into groups dependent on risk.

All EU member states except Romania are now in the low-risk green group, meaning travellers can enter the Czech Republic with no restrictions. They are joined by Andorra, Australia, Iceland, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Federal Republic of Germany, Norway, New Zealand, San Marino, Thailand, Tunisia, Switzerland, Vatican City State and UK.

Romania is currently classified as “red” and tourists need to present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival.

Entry is prohibited to all other third-country nationals, except for cases listed here.

Denmark — four countries added to the high-risk countries list

Denmark’s borders have now reopened to most European countries, but this is subject to change based on a set of health measures and analysis. Borders to Sweden and Portugal are still closed, and a list of open or closed countries is updated weekly.

Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Slovenia have been added to Denmark’s high-risk countries list on September 26.

Estonia — reduced its safe list to four countries

Opened borders to Baltic neighbours on May 15 and to the rest of the EU, the Schengen area, and the UK on June 1.

“Travel documents and medical symptoms are checked” at points of entry, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Those coming from countries with a high infection rate will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

As of September 25, only Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Vatican are considered as a safe country.

Finland — changed its rating of the epidemiological situation

From September 11, Finland will consider an average of 25 new COVID-19 cases per day during the last 14 days, instead of 8 to 10 as it was previously applied, according to its Ministry for Interior.

Currently, Finland’s COVID-19 list of safe countries includes Latvia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Poland, the Vatican and San Marino.

Also from 13 July, Finland is allowing work-related travel and other essential traffic from the following non-EU countries: Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China (provided that reciprocity is confirmed in the EU).

Restrictions on travel to Finland have been extended for the UK, Spain, Poland, Portugal, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden and some other European nations.

France — suggested voluntary quarantine for Spaniards and Britons

Travellers from EU member states as well as Andorra, Australia, Canada, Georgia, the Holy See, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Uruguay have been allowed to visit the county since June 15 without a health certificate or any form of quarantine upon arrival.

But passengers from Spain and the UK are asked to submit to a voluntary quarantine, “in reciprocity” to current regulations in place in both countries, France’ Foreign Affairs Ministry has explained.

Per the EU Council’s recommendation, France reopened its borders to 15 non-member states on July 1.

Germany — lifted general travel warning

Travellers from the Bulgarian regions of Blagoevgrad, Dobrich, and Varna, as well as travellers from Romania’s Argeș, Bihor, Buzău, Neamt, Ialomita, Mehedinti and Timis regions, and Australia’s Victoria state, will need to undergo quarantine or present a negative test upon arrival.

The same applies to travellers coming from the Belgian town of Antwerp, and from those arriving from the Spanish regions of Catalonia, Navarra and Aragon, as well as from all other “high-risk” countries listed here, which include Luxembourg, Russia and the US.

All travellers not included in the above list can enter Germany with no restrictions.

Germany has offered to pay for the coronavirus test for people entering the country from high-risk regions in the first three days of their arrival.

Greece — random test upon arrival

Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, China, UK, Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Vatican City, Norway and Iceland arrivals are permitted without restrictions. The same applies to all EU arrivals – except for tourists from Malta, Bulgaria and Romania. They need to present a negative COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours.

Travellers from third countries are allowed only for essential reasons.

All visitors from air, land or sea, are subject to random tests upon arrival. If they are positive, they will be contacted and placed on a 14-day quarantine at the expenses of the Greek state.

Entry via land from Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey entry is permitted only for essential travel.

Updated information on Greece’s travel restrictions can be found here, as well as the mandatory passenger locator form to be completed prior to arrival by ALL travellers.

Hungary — borders closed from September 1

Hungary will close its borders to foreigners from September 1 and citizens returning from abroad will be obliged to self-quarantine either for a period of 14 days or until they produce two negative tests taken two days apart.

The country had opened its borders without restrictions to citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area (excluding the United Kingdom) and of Switzerland on 21 June.

It had opened its border with Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Serbia on June 12 without the need for going into quarantine.

Iceland — foreign nationals need registering

Iceland reopened to EU and UK travellers on June 15.

Tourists are tested upon arrival. A few hours later, they get the result on their phone, after downloading a tracking app.

The test, free for a period of two weeks, will cost 15,000 Icelandic Krona (€100) from July 1. Children born in or after 2005 will be exempt.

Authorities are yet to clear procedures for those who test positive.

The government decided that all foreign nationals currently in the country, who cannot leave due to travel restrictions, quarantine or isolation, will need to register in order for their stay to be legal.

Ireland — green list reduced to four countries

The Irish health authorities currently require anyone coming into Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days, upon arrival, including Irish residents.

As of September 28, the Irish green list also includes Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein.

Arrivals have to complete a passenger locator form, although exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Italy — quarantine required for two EU countries

Borders in Italy opened June 3 to citizens from the EU, UK, Schengen area, Andorra, Vatican City, San Marino and Monaco, following a nationwide lockdown which came into force on March 9.

Travellers arriving from Bulgaria and Romania, however, have to self-isolate for 14 days, as well as all passengers that have not come from one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, UK, Andorra, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino and the Vatican City State.

Until July 31, entrance to Italy is forbidden for most passengers who in the 14 days prior to arrival stayed in or transited through any of the following countries: Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Kosovo, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Oman, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Serbia.

All travellers coming to Italy need to fill in a passenger form on the Foreign Ministry website, which also has updates on travel restrictions for Italy.

All Italian passenger cruise ships have suspended activity until further notice.

Latvia — restricted travel within Baltic region travel bubble

Opened its borders to Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania on May 15. Since June 1, there have been no border checks with Lithuania.

Latvia, however, restricted the entry conditions applying to people coming from Estonia on September 11, bursting the travel bubble within the three-country Baltic region.

From June 3, residents of EU and EEA countries, as well as Switzerland, have also been able to enter the country without being submitted to a 14-day quarantine if the country they travelled from has a 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases not exceeding 15 per 100,000 population.

Flights to and from European countries where the number of cases per 100,000 within the last 14-day cumulative period is between 15 and 25 can also resume.

The country is among the EU member states which reopened its borders on July 1 to 15 non-EU countries.

Lithuania — reduced restrictions on entry for Baltic countries

Lithuania has opened its borders to citizens from the EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK provided the incidence of COVID-19 in the country they reside in has not exceeded 16 cases per 100,000 people in the population over the last 14 calendar days.

Requirements to self-isolate when arriving from these countries have been lifted.

However, Vilnius introduced a 14-day isolation requirement for its nationals or residents arriving from 50 countries most affected by COVID-19 including Sweden, Russia, Belarus, Portugal, and the US. Previously, they were only “advised” to self-isolate.

Luxembourg — no tourism allowed for third-country nationals

Luxembourg’s border with Germany reopened on May 15 and travel has not been restricted with other European nations, although travel from outside Europe is banned.

Luxembourg is also adhering to the list from the EU allowing travel from Australia, Canada, China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity at EU level), Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

Malta — third-country nationals need to have spent time in green list countries to enter

Malta’s Tourism Ministry announced that it will reopen tourism travel on July 1.

On that date, borders reopened to travellers from Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Switzerland, the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Iceland, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Poland, Spain, Croatia, and Greece.

Restrictions were lifted on July 15 for people coming in from Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, Italy, United Kingdom, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Rwanda, Uruguay, Japan, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia, Lebanon, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan.

Montenegro — borders opened under safe epidemiological condition

Entry to Montenegro is allowed without quarantine, so long as you are coming from a country with a rate of transmission less than 25 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Travellers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Turkey, Israel, Poland, Romania, Italy and Ukraine must, however, present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival.

The Montenegro government is keeping an up to date list of countries where people are allowed to enter from without entering quarantine.

French, UK and Spanish citizens need to self-isolate upon arrival, as well as travellers from all those countries not mentioned in that list.

The Netherlands — non-essential travel to be avoided within the country

The Dutch government is restricting non-essential travel from people from third countries until July 1, but EU citizens – including British nationals – can now enter the country.

However, travellers from Bulgaria, Romania, Sweden, and Croatia, selected areas in Spain (including Greater Barcelona and Segrià ), one area in Portugal (Vale do Tejo, this includes Lisbon), one area in Belgium (the province of Antwerp), and one area in the United Kingdom (Leicester), are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Like many other nations, there are strict requirements around shaking hands, maintaining social distancing and hand-washing.

Norway — quarantine required from certain European hotspots

Norway has closed its borders and only travellers for fellow Nordic countries — Denmark, Iceland, and Finland — were able to return on June 15. Sweden was excluded from the measure.

“Travellers from EEA/Schengen countries with acceptable levels of infection” have been able to visit the country since July 15.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will update the map showing areas with exemptions of quarantine duty on 10 July and the list will be updated at least every second week.

Norway currently has a 10-day quarantine for those returning from international travel.

From August 22, any arrivals from Britain, Austria, Greece and Ireland, whether European tourists or returning Norwegian holidaymakers, must self-quarantine for 10 days.

Poland — quarantine required for travellers from outside the EU

Borders reopened for EU nationals on June 13 with no quarantine condition, and some international flights from within the bloc have restarted. Poland’s external EU border remains closed, except for specific circumstances.

Portugal — flight from outside the EU only allowed for essential travels

Nationals of EU countries, Schengen area and passengers on flights from the UK, Brazil, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the US, Canada, Venezuela and South Africa are allowed in the country.

Border controls have been in place since March 16. There is currently no requirement for arrivals to go into quarantine, except in The Azores and Madeiras island.

The border with Spain reopened on July 1.

Russia — PCR test required upon arrival

It has drawn up a list of 13 countries that it could resume flights with: United Kingdom, Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Finland, Vietnam, China, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

International flights were halted in March. On June 8, Russia said it will partially reopen its borders as the country eases coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that travelling abroad for work, medical or studying purposes will be allowed, as well as for taking care of relatives.

He also said Russia will let in foreigners seeking medical treatment or taking care of family members.

Romania — some international flights remain suspended

People coming from EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein may enter but they must self-isolate for 14 days if the incidence rate in their country of origin is greater than the one in Romania.

Note that direct passenger flights from Sweden, Portugal, UK, USA, Iran and Turkey are suspended.

Serbia — PCR test required for four EU countries

Serbia’s borders are open.

Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Northern Macedonia travellers, however, are required to provide a PCR test.

Slovakia — no restriction for “low-risk” countries

Slovakia reopened its borders to Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland on June 10.

The country’s borders to Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic were opened a few days earlier, on June 5.

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Monaco, New Zealand, Germany, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom have since been added to the list of “low-risk countries and territories”.

More information here.

Slovenia — quarantine required for travellers from high-risk countries

Slovenia reopened borders to citizens coming from 18 countries on May 15.

The country now operates a colour-coded system with a green list — most of the countries on the list are European, as well as Australia, Canada Japan, Rwanda, New Zealand, and Uruguay — which are not subject to restrictions.

Neighbouring Croatia has been added the country’s red list, meaning passengers arriving from there face an obligatory two-week quarantine.

Anyone entering from a country with high levels of COVID-19 will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Spain — health check for all air/sea passengers upon arrival

Spain reopened its borders to EU member states, Schengen area countries and the UK on June 21. None of these travellers have to self-isolate.

Portugal had been the only exception to the above, but the border between the two countries reopened on July 1. The country also opened up to the list of non-member states approved by the EU Council.

Sweden — non-essential travel ban from countries outside the EU

Sweden has introduced border restrictions but it only applies to non-essential travel from countries outside the EU/EEA, except the UK and Switzerland.

That restriction came into effect on March 19 and has been extended until October 31.

Switzerland — added Luxembourg to list of high-risk countries

Switzerland, which brought in border controls on March 13, will reopen borders to all EU countries, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on June 15, instead of July 6 as previously planned.

The government is also reopening borders to non-EU and non-EFTA workers on July 6, as it announced on June 24.

Any foreign nationals who currently try to enter Switzerland without a valid residence or work permit will be refused entry.

Air passengers from abroad are currently only able to enter the country through the airports at Zurich, Geneva and Basel.

The Swiss authorities have not imposed any quarantine measures on persons entering the country. However, you must comply with the government’s hygiene and social distancing rules.

Turkey — borders are opened

Turkey has opened its border to foreign travellers, except for the land border with Iran. Arrivals may have to go through health checks.

UK — removed countries from travel corridors list

England requires people arriving from abroad to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, but scrapped this rule on July 10 for a number of countries it deems “low-risk”.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have introduced broadly the same rules as England but may differ slightly.

Several countries that were previously on a list of travel corridors have since been removed, meaning passengers coming from those destinations will have to quarantine.

People arriving from Austria, Croatia, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium, Andorra, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago the Bahamas currently, Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and Slovenia need to self-isolate after they cross the UK’s border.

As in other countries, certain professions are exempt from these rules, such as healthcare workers travelling to deliver healthcare in the country. Upon arrival, those who are required to self-isolate need to provide their journey and contact details.


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