EU to let in more tourists as Dutch restrictions ease; U.S. still not permitted

Travelers waiting or their luggage at Schiphol
Travelers waiting or their luggage at SchipholkruwtDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

The European Council chose to open up European Union borders to 14 countries on Tuesday from July 1. The most notable absences from the list are Brazil, Russia and the United States, with their statuses open to re-evaluation every two weeks.

Beginning on Wednesday, residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, as more coronavirus-related travel restrictions ease. Those arriving from China will also be allowed in, on the condition that China also permit travellers from the European Union.

These countries were selected based on their data on their current handling of the Covid-19 situation, including the number of new Covid-19 cases over the past 14 days, and per 100,000 inhabitants, a stable or decreasing trend in new cases compared to the prior two-week period, and handling of tests, surveillance, contact tracing, and transparent reporting. The United States, currently the hardest hit country in the world with over 2.4 million coronavirus cases, is not only not on the approved list, but was rumored to be firmly on a second list of countries whose residents will not be allowed in the Schengen area for the time being.

"Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation. If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied," the European Council said in a statement.

Dutch-specific restrictions easing

Further border restrictions have also been eased for Netherlands residents traveling within the EU in recent weeks, adding to the eased restrictions that came into effect on June 15. Since then, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ travel advisory has added Denmark in its list of 'Code Yellow' countries, meaning that holidaymakers are no longer be advised against traveling to that country.

Cross-border travel for Netherlands residents is now allowed throughout the entire Schengen Area, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the exception of the United Kingdom and Sweden, which will remain on 'Code Orange' for the time being. For all travel outside of Europe, 'Code Orange' advisories remain in place, the Ministry said. However, they added that it is expected that some of these advisories may be downgraded over the course of the summer.

The Ministry also noted that a number of countries in Europe have specific measures in place which either bar border access to people from the Netherlands, or control their access upon arrival. These countries include Finland, Greece, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

Greece is easing restrictions on travelers from Wednesday, meaning that most of its borders will be open to tourists, according to NOS. However, travelers to Greece will have to fill in a health questionnaire at least 48 hours prior to entering the country. The form, containing questions regarding the traveler's previous movements, can be downloaded from the Greek government's website. Travelers will have to have the completed form with them, either in physical form or on their smartphone, when entering the country. 

"Going on holiday abroad is possible once again. But it won’t be as carefree as before the pandemic; there remain risks. The virus is still among us and the situation is uncertain. In all countries, measures are still in force to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. Holidaymakers will have to follow the rules," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok.

As a result, the Ministry advised holidaymakers from the Netherlands to pay attention to local regulations around Covid-19, and to be mindful of the fact that stricter measures may be reintroduced at short notice.