Europe Imposes New COVID-19 Restrictions

Europe Imposes New COVID-19 Restrictions

The recent wave of COVID-19 cases is hitting Europe with a vengeance with a number of countries seeing record numbers of daily infections.

European countries such as Austria, Germany, and Hungary registered record-high numbers. Amid the rise in cases, various nations are imposing tighter COVID-19 restrictions, which is impacting travellers visiting Europe.

Although some countries introduced partial lockdowns, other countries are desperate to avoid implementing full or medium-scale lockdown measures similar to 2020 given the economic harm they can do, instead opting for more COVID rules and COVID passports.

If you're planning to travel to Europe this winter, here are some things you need to take note of and how they might affect your plans.

European Countries Imposing Restrictions

COVID passes are becoming the norm across Europe. The passes are used to access a number of public spaces from bars and movie theatres to Christmas markets. Here are European countries that have imposed restrictions aside from requiring COVID passes and may affect your travel plans.

The Netherlands 

The Netherlands was the first European country that has imposed a partial lockdown since summer. On 12 November, the partial lock was announced and will last at least for three weeks and include the closure of bars, restaurants, and essential shops from 8 pm, with non-essential retail and services such as hairdressers to close at 6 pm.

The Netherlands also extended the vaccine passport requirement for certain places, and citizens have to wear face masks in indoor places, such as stores and libraries. 


Austria announced a lockdown on unvaccinated people over the weekend. Unvaccinated people are refused entry to restaurants, hairdressers, and events. COVID-19 tests will no longer be considered valid entry passes. The restriction for unvaccinated people will last at least until Christmas and New Year's Eve, according to the Austrian government.

The stricter measures are not only in place for Austria's citizens, non-vaccinated tourists will also have to comply. The government hopes the restrictions will allow winter tourism to go forward.

Around 65% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated, which is one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe. 


Germany has tightened COVID-19 restrictions in several states, including Berlin. The government announced only fully vaccinated people and those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 can enter restaurants, museums, cinemas, and concert venues. 

Germany’s parliament will have a vote on a new legal framework for COVID-19 restrictions and will announce it this week.

Planning to Travel to Europe 

People travelling during the holiday season may be looking forward to seasonal events like Christmas markets, concerts, and New Year's Eve celebrations. Travellers can still visit Europe as long as they can prove their vaccination status

Typically unvaccinated travellers will find extra restrictions no matter where they go, but they vary from place to place. Unvaccinated travellers from outside the EU face tougher restrictions such as quarantine or travel bans, depending on where they are coming from and where they're going. 

It is likely that EU member states will continue to impose restrictions over the winter as cases increase.

If you have plans to travel, it is recommended that you check the rules of the country of your destination. Rules could be reintroduced or extended with little-to-no notice depending on the state of the infection.

Do you need to renew your passport? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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