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  • Writer's pictureMartha Vignati

European Union Set to Scrap COVID Testing for Fully Vaccinated Travelers




Europe is finally going to fully open up with no testing requirements for full vaccinated travelers across all European Union countries by the April Easter holidays. As part of a new protocol approved by the European Council on Feb. 22, unvaccinated children aged six to 17 will also be allowed to enter any EU country with proof of a pre-departure PCR test.

Unvaccinated adults who can provide proof of a recent COVID infection within the past 180 days may also enter, although they may be required to test before arrival. The plans to make uniform entry rules across the EU bloc will apply to all non-EU arrivals, including visitors from the U.S. and the U.S. and are set to come into force from March 1.

Italy, the Netherlands and Cyprus are the only EU nations that still require fully vaccinated arrivals to provide proof of a recent COVID test upon arrival. The new EU protocol is likely to result in all three countries dropping those testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers. But as a recommendation and not a legally binding rule, member states are free to deviate with their own laws if they choose.

Pre-empting the EU announcement, Portugal, Greece, France and the Finland all revealed plans last week to drop pre-departure testing requirements for fully vaccinated arrivals. The new protocol will align closely with an earlier decision by the EU on Jan. 25 to coordinate travel rules for people crossing borders within the bloc.

As with the earlier EU protocol, booster vaccine rules are to be standardized for all travel to the EU. An expiration date of 270 days is to be set for a primary course of vaccination, meaning that proof of booster dose will be needed after nine months. The decision to allow testing in lieu of proof of vaccination for under 18s will come as a relief to families with unvaccinated children who have faced a patchwork of different travel regulations across when trying to plan their holidays. But the new protocol still leaves room for divergence between countries and some confusion for travelers, since it does not cover domestic COVID pass laws.

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