EU Introduces New Individual-Based Travel Rules

The EU Council has adopted new recommendations regarding travel rules. The traveler's idividual-based approach will become effective as of February 1st.

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The European Union Member Countries have been advised to lift the current entry rules based on the COVID-19 situation in a given country and introduce new travel restrictions according to the individual situation of a traveler. 

The new recommendations were already adopted by the EU Council and will come into effect as of February 1st. It is the same day when the EU Member States will apply the new validity of COVID-19 vaccination certificates - shortened to 270 days at most.

What do the new travel entry rules mean in practice?

From February 2022, a vaccination, recovery status, or negative test, as evidenced by a valid EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate should be a major determinant for entry requirements to any of EU countries. An individual-based attitude can significantly facilitate the applicable restrictions and will make it clearer for travelers how to prepare for a trip. 

It is up to the particular EU Member States whether they will decide to apply the individual-based recommendations for entry to their countries. However, all countries must stop executing additional travel requirements that have complicated travel amid the emergence of the Omicron variant. 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will still be updating the maps showing the risk of COVID-19 infection on a weekly basis. This map is the reference point for the Member States to apply travel restrictions. 

As the Omicron has proved to be a less severe variant, many EU Member States have already relaxed travel restrictions by removing testing requirements and shortening the quarantine period. The new EU recommendations will be the next step on the way to end the COVID-19 emergency phase caused by the Omicron. 

Who will be affected by the new rules?

All restrictions are to be lifted for holders of the EU Digital COVID Certificate that proves that a traveler has received the full vaccination dose within the last 270 days, recovered from coronavirus within the last 180 days, or performed a PCR or antigen rapid test within the last 72 hours or 24 hours, respectively. 

A traveler who does not hold an EU Digital COVID Certificate will need to take a coronavirus test 24 hours before or after arrival in a given country.

This requirement does not apply to children younger than 12, cross-border commuters, or those traveling with essential needs.

Katarzyna Żyła

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