The number one question on everyone’s lips right now is “when will this pandemic be over?” The number two question (probably) is “when can we travel to Europe again?” On March 17 the EU passed a travel ban prohibiting international visitors from entering Europe for 30 days. Since then, the ban has been renewed every month, plunging travelers to a nightmarish Groundhog Day-esque reality that keeps us wondering when we’ll be able to freely explore our world again. Not much has changed for us since March.
Flights are running on limited schedules between the US and Europe, but that doesn’t guarantee you can actually get in. The vast majority of European countries are only allowing entry to those with EU passports or residency permits, close family members of EU residents, and some countries are allowing essential workers and students. All that to say that, unless you meet very specific criteria, you’re not allowed in.
Technically each member state of the EU is free to do as it pleases. Pretty much every country, however, has decided to stick to the collective agreement and not open any borders unless it’s part of a coordinated effort to do so. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some slight deviations, which may prove intriguing to travelers. These are the European countries US citizens are currently allowed to visit.
North Macedonia is welcoming US citizens with no testing or quarantine restrictions, though airports are conducting thermal screenings for all travelers.
Serbia is welcoming US citizens who can show negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours. Negative antigen tests are also acceptable.
Albania is welcoming US citizens with no testing or quarantine restrictions, though travelers can expect health screenings at the airport upon arrival.
Belarus is welcoming US citizens with no testing or quarantine restrictions.
While US travelers are allowed to visit Ireland, they’ll have to show proof of a negative PCR test upon arrival, and still abide by a mandatory 14-day quarantine. If you take another PCR test no less than five days after arrival, and obtain a negative result, the quarantine length may be shortened. Those who arrive without a negative PCR test could be fined $3,000 and face up to six months in jail.
Malta is one of the few loopholes in the EU travel ban. US travelers can visit Malta if they transit via a “safe corridor country” that allows US visitors, like Turkey. As long as you stay in that corridor country for 14 days before traveling to Malta, you’ll be allowed to enter the island. Travelers must also fill out a Public Health Travel Declaration and Passenger Locator form before departure.
As long as you have evidence of a negative PCR test result, or a positive antibody test result, you’ll be allowed to enter Montenegro. Neither test result can be older than 72 hours. No quarantine will be required for those with a negative test.
In late January, Romania became the first European country to lift quarantine for travelers with both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. Previously the country required travelers from high-risk “yellow list” countries — including the US — to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Now that quarantine is no longer required for travelers who can show proof of their vaccine, as long as it’s been at least 10 days since the second dose.
Travelers to the UK must have a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure, and quarantine for 10 days. Given the appearance of the new COVID-19 variant in the UK, it’s strongly discouraged to travel to the UK for leisure. Because of the new variant, the country is in national lockdown. President Biden has also banned incoming travel from the UK.
A version of this article was previously published on September 29, 2020, and was updated on January 28, 2021, with more information.