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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that fully vaccinated Americans would be able to travel to the European Union this summer in a Sunday interview with the New York Times.

However, the final decision on whether to allow travel to an EU member state will come from each country individually, as decisions about borders are made by the member state, and not the European Commission, according to EU guidelines,. 

For example, Greece — who earlier this month lifted quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers and those testing negative for Covid-19 from key tourism markets, including Europe, the UK and the United States — is able to waive its rules because it is within Greece’s powers to do so. 

But other European countries, like Belgium for example, have decided to introduce additional criteria at its external borders for all travelers. 

As it stands, if you are outside the EU and want to make a non-essential journey to an EU country that has opened, there are a few more hurdles to cross: 

  • You will need to apply for a vaccine certificate from the country you are travelling to before you travel.
  • The vaccine certificate you were given by your home country will need to be recognised by the EU country you are travelling to.
  • You will need to take a coronavirus test in-line with the rules set by the country you are travelling to.

Some countries may waive all, or some of these rules, or set stricter criteria.

Plus, while a Digital Green Certificate, or vaccine passport, has been recommended by the European Commission, they have not yet been adopted – and countries will be able to opt out. 

The proposed Digital Green Certificate would allow those with the required armfuls of approved anti-Covid pharmaceuticals or antibodies from having had the virus, to travel freely. Negative tests could also be used to qualify.

The certificates were initially recommended by the commission only for EU citizens travelling within the EU, with a plan to launch them in June. However, EU spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz told CNN that discussions with the US are underway to open the certificates up to US citizens with proof of vaccination to automatically be eligible for one.

The on-going talks are focused around how US citizens would be able to apply for the certificate.  

The question is if people will apply for an individual application with the country they intend to visit, or if they receive a EU wide pass after the EU country recognizes a non-EU country’s vaccine documentation.

“In both cases, the rules for acceptance of proof of vaccination would be the same as for EU nationals: vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorization have to be accepted, but Member States can decide to accept other vaccines in addition,” according to the EC’s proposal.

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