EU Recommends To Drop Pre-Travel COVID Testing For Entry

EU Recommends To Drop Pre-Travel COVID Testing For Entry

The European Union Council is recommending member states eliminate pre-departure COVID-19 testing and quarantine procedures for travellers who are fully vaccinated.

From 1 March 2022, the European Council advised people who received vaccines authorised in the EU to be able to enter the EU without prior testing if they received the last dose of their primary vaccination series at least 14 days and no more than 270 days before arrival.

Those who received a booster dose and those who recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days of travel would also be allowed to enter without pre-departure tests.

The guidance is non-binding. EU member states can ignore the advice however, EU member states have generally followed the EU Council’s advice since the pandemic began.

“The updates will further facilitate travel from outside the EU into the EU, and take into account the evolution of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination uptake worldwide and the administration of booster doses, and the recognition of a growing number of certificates issued by third countries as equivalent to the EU digital COVID certificate.”

The European Commission

Recognised Vaccines

According to the EU, member states should allow entry for non-essential travellers who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine that’s accepted by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization. 

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved:

  • Pfizer and BioNTech 
  • Moderna 
  • AstraZeneca 
  • Nuvaxovid
  • Johnson & Johnson 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved:

  • Pfizer and BioNTech 
  • Moderna 
  • AstraZeneca 
  • Nuvaxovid
  • Johnson & Johnson 
  • Sinopharm 
  • Sinovac 
  • Bharat Biotech 
  • Serum Institute of India 

However, travellers with vaccines approved by the WHO but not approved by the EMA may have to undergo pre-departure testing.

EU Says Booster Shots Needed

All travellers must have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip begins.

If travellers received their last vaccine dose over 270 days ago but haven’t received their booster shot, the EU will class them as unvaccinated. 

Similarly, travellers who’ve recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days can enter the EU for non-essential purposes if they can provide proof of recovery.

EU members states have set up a digital system called EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) which is digital proof that the holder has been vaccinated, has received a negative test result or has recovered from the virus. EUDCC is universally recognised by all member states.

Alternatively, the EU can decide to automatically recognise certificates issued by other countries, by adopting equivalence decisions.

So far, 35 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system.

The countries and territories with recognised Covid Certificate:

AlbaniaNorth Macedonia
BeninSan Marino
Cabo VerdeSerbia
El SalvadorSingapore
Faroe IslandsSwitzerland
MoldovaUnited Arab Emirates
MonacoUnited Kingdom
MoroccoThe Vatican
New Zealand

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