The U.S. Is Off the E.U's. 'Safe List.' What's the significance here for Americans Traveling to Europe?

The coalition dropped the United States from the list of countries considered safe and recommended restricting travel for unvaccinated American travelers. But changes, assuming any, will not be immediate. Here's what you need to know. 

On Monday, the European Union removed the United States from its "safe list" of countries whose residents can travel to its 27 member states without requirements such as quarantine and testing. This generated confusion, with some people composing on social media that Americans have been banned from visiting Europe. That is not actually what the recommendation means. Americans have not been explicitly prohibited from going anywhere in Europe. But immunization status may soon affect travel, even more than it did before. Here's a gander at what the new developments mean for vaccinated and unvaccinated people: 

The U.S. Is Off the E.U's. 'Safe List.' What's the significance here for Americans Traveling to Europe?
The U.S. Is Off the E.U's. 'Safe List.' What's the significance here for Americans Traveling to Europe?

What just happened? How might this change my Trip to Europe? 

Since June, the United States has been on the European Union's "safe list" for travel, which cleared the way for American travelers to visit numerous E.U. member countries without quarantine. As well as taking the U.S. off the safe list on Monday, the European Council of the European Union, the coalition's governing body, released a recommendation urging member countries to issue travel restrictions for visitors from the United States who are unvaccinated against the coronavirus. The European Union is encouraging authorities across Europe to reinstate the sort of obligatory quarantine and testing requirements that seemed to be in transit out, though just for unvaccinated travelers. 

Ultimately it's up to a given country to decide to assume it wants to issue new requirements, however. 

How does this affect vaccinated travelers? 

In case you are fully vaccinated with an E.U.- approved vaccine, which includes those manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson, the requirements you face entering an E.U. country should not change. Numerous member states have already been urging travelers to bring confirmation of immunization and forgoing quarantine requirements for those who can show verification of inoculation. 

Countries could decide to add new restrictions, but it's unclear if any will. Still, you'd be wise to have your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine record card helpful regardless of where you are headed. 

What might be said about unvaccinated travelers? 

As of Monday afternoon, it was not yet clear how the new recommendation would change travel for unvaccinated Americans beyond signaling that some European officials would like them to stay away. 

om Milanovic, a marketing manager for the Spanish tourism authority, said that many worried people had called him Monday, wondering on the off chance that they needed to cancel upcoming trips. But so far the European Union's recommendation has not changed Spain's requirements even for unvaccinated travelers, he said. 

"Any U.S. citizen regardless of their status is still all set," he said, adding that the country issues new guidelines each week. The current guidelines, which hold until Sep. 5, continue to categorize the United States as "generally safe," meaning Americans don't have to show a negative antigen test before traveling to Spain. 

The Italian National Tourist Board said that it would issue an authority position on what the European Union's recommendation means for travel later this week. Currently, all visitors from the United States need to be fully vaccinated or take a coronavirus test 48 hours ahead of appearance in Italy. (If they have tested positive in the past they need a certificate affirming recovery.) Some airlines, such as Delta Air Lines, may also require vaccinated travelers from the United States to take a coronavirus test before flying. 

Tourism authorities from several other countries said that they were not at liberty to discuss the new requirements, but rather as far as they were aware of the E.U's. the recommendation didn't change anything immediately. 

Does this mean all European countries are currently requiring unvaccinated travelers to quarantine? 

No, but it underscores how quickly rules and regulations continue to change. Unvaccinated travelers should be prepared to keep hitting refresh on the entry requirements for their chosen area until the moment they set out to the air terminal. It's also worth remembering that well before this recommendation, some countries were already requiring unvaccinated travelers to quarantine. 

Consider the possibility that I am vaccinated, but my children aren't. 

Assuming children are too young to even consider getting vaccinated, the new recommendation does not affect them, an European Union authority said. 

Imagine a scenario where I'm unvaccinated, but travel is essential. 

The new recommendation makes an exception for essential travel. 

Does this mean that as of this week, I can safely assume that every one of the Americans on my flight has been vaccinated? 

No, this does not change anything yet. There is no guarantee that the person sitting next to you on your flight has been vaccinated. 

I presently feel compelled to cancel my excursion, would I be able to get my money back? 

You can certainly attempt. 

Kate Kilcoyne, a travel adviser for All-Travel, a Los Angeles-based travel agency, said that it's too early to know how airlines and cruises will respond to this new development, but her clients have generally had more success receiving credits rather than cash refunds when canceling their travel plans. 

Tammy O'Hara, a travel agent for Million Miles Travel Agency, a boutique organization based in New York, echoed this point. Most hotels, she has found, are more willing to offer full refunds than airlines, she added. 

Standard travel insurance may not be too helpful, said Svetlana Stein, the president of L&B Travel, LLC, an agency in Los Angeles. 

"Coronavirus is presently considered a foreseen situation and is often not accepted as a covered reason for cancellation," she said. Ms. Stein urged travelers to buy insurance that offers a "cancel under any circumstance" feature thus.

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