Fully vaccinated Americans will be welcome in Spain and France this week, as European countries continue to ease pandemic restrictions and boost international tourism after a long hiatus, using their own policies before rolling out an EU-wide vaccine passport scheme out in July.
As of Monday, Spain is it open to international tourists who have been fully immunized with a Covid-19 vaccine approved by either the World Health Organization or the European Medicines Agency at least 14 days before arrival.
American travelers must present a certificate proving their vaccination status and a health monitoring form on arrival, where minors over 6 years (those under 6 are excluded) travel with vaccinated adults who must pass a negative Covid test or a certificate describing recovery from the disease within the last 90 days.
France is also ready to reopen for international tourism on Wednesday and US tourists do not want quarantine for seven days after arrival must follow similar, albeit more burdensome, rules for Spain.
As well as proof of vaccination – France determines a longer period of four weeks for the Johnson & Johnson shot – travelers must show a negative Covid test when boarding.
Once rolled out in early July, Americans will also be able to use the EU-wide vaccine certificate program to prove their status, which will hopefully resolve ambiguities in what different countries consider acceptable evidence of immunization.
International leisure travel has slowly returned to Europe after more than a year of severe restrictions closing the tourism sector. France and Spain are not alone in welcoming tourists back before the 27-strong bloc does so jointly, with Cyprus and Greece being two of several European countries heavily dependent on tourism that have not been willing to wait. while the bloc has ruled out EU-wide rules. The rules imposed on Americans are tougher than in some other countries with certain low-risk countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore as well as those traveling within Europe who often do not have to provide tests or be vaccinated.
What to look for
New variants, both within Europe and for visiting countries, may lead to changes in the rules, possibly at short notice. Thousands of Britons hurried at home after learning Portugal would be removed from the country’s “green list” that exempts travelers from quarantine this week. Some countries, like Spain, are too enforcement quarantines in endangered countries, such as India, even though travelers have been vaccinated.
What we do not know
It is unclear how countries around the world will view different vaccines when it comes to international travel, especially some produced in Russia and China that do not have the same amount of public data available as many Western vaccines. Two Chinese-produced vaccines, by Sinopharm and Sinovac, have been approved in an emergency by the WHO, usually a benchmark regulator in terms of international recognition.
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