Schengen Visa News

EU Advises Member States to Remove Travel Restrictions for 3 Third Countries & Introduce Them for Moldova & BiH

After reviewing the recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other regional entities and authorities whose travel restrictions should be lifted. In particular, Chile, Kuwait and Rwanda were added to the list and Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Moldova were removed from the list.

Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restrictions. This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers.

As provided in the Board’s recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed every two weeks and updated as appropriate.

Based on the criteria and conditions set forth in the Recommendation, as of September 23, 2021, Member States should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:

Australia Canada Chile (new) Jordan Kuwait (new) New Zealand Qatar Rwanda (new) Saudi Arabia Singapore South Korea Ukraine Uruguay China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong and Macao.

Within the category of regional entities and authorities not recognized as states by at least one member state, the travel restrictions imposed on Taiwan should also be gradually lifted.

Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered residents of the European Union for the purposes of this recommendation.

The criteria for determining the third countries from which current travel restrictions should be lifted were updated on May 20, 2021. They cover the epidemiological situation and the overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of available information and data sources. Reciprocity must also be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.

The associated Schengen states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) share this recommendation.

On 30 June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union. This recommendation included a preliminary list of countries for which Member States should begin lifting travel restrictions at external borders. The list is reviewed every two weeks, and updated according to status.

On May 20, the council adopted an amendment recommendation to respond to ongoing vaccination campaigns by offering certain exemptions to people who have been vaccinated and facilitating criteria for lifting restrictions imposed on third countries. At the same time, the amendments take into account the potential risks posed by new variants by putting in place an emergency braking mechanism to respond quickly to the emergence of a variant of interest or concern in a third country.

The Board’s recommendation is not a legally binding document. The authorities of Member States remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They can, with complete transparency, only gradually lift travel restrictions towards the listed countries.

A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions on third countries not included in the list before a decision has been taken in a coordinated manner.

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