The EU Won't Reopen Its Borders To U.S. Travelers

by Julie Scagell
passengers queue at Eurowings airline check in counter at Duesseldorf airport as the coronavirus pan...

Other large countries exempted include Russia, India, and Brazil

The European Union will be reopening their borders to 15 countries outside of the 27 member states on July 1 — The United States will not be one of them.

On the list of 15 nations that will now be able to travel to the EU is Australia, Japan, South Korea, and China — where the original virus began — as well as 11 others. The EU will be reevaluating the list every two weeks but the conditions they have set are that coronavirus infection rates must be equal to or better than the EU, leaving the U.S. with a tragically long way to go.

The EU has roughly 116 million more people than the U.S. and is currently reporting roughly 1.5 million coronavirus cases according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is sitting at 2.4 million cases reported and the highest number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the world.

According to NPR, the EU diplomats said it was “highly unlikely” that the framework would be changed any time soon. It’s up to each EU member state to decide how they will manage the list of countries allowed to cross their borders but the European Council said they will unilaterally lift travel restrictions on a “non-listed” country. Travelers from other big countries like Russia, Brazil, and India also did not make the list.

The EU will also require reciprocal easing of travel bans to allow a country to be added to the list and, to date, the U.S. currently bars most travelers from 26 European countries (exempting the UK). In late May, Trump said Europe was “making progress” and many believed travel restrictions would be lifted, but nothing has transpired since that time.

“Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually were 10 other infections,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said last week of the actual likely cases in the U.S.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe annually, and around ten million Europeans travel to the U.S. every year for business and vacations. This ban will deliver further economic impacts on both sides, most specifically the already hard-hit tourism industry.

Denmark and Ireland have opted out of the common border policy, and will not be impacted by this decision, according to Bloomberg. Additionally, U.S. citizens with residence permits in EU countries, European citizens living in the U.S., as well as students, medical professionals, and diplomats will still be allowed to travel to the EU.