It has been a bit of an open secret, but hundreds of Americans are still traveling freely back and forth between Europe, even without the requisite dual citizenship or family ties. Several European Union nations have made exceptions for “essential business” and loosely defined and enforced such exception. But new quarantine and test requirements come into effect on Monday in Austria which other European countries are considering. The result could make it even more difficult to enter Europe for those conducting business.
Confirmed: Austria Will Require Quarantine For Third Party Nationals, Even With Negative COVID-19 Test
Austria has announced stricter quarantine measures for third party nationals effective Monday, July 27, 2020. Starting Monday, Austrians, EU and EEA citizens, and Swiss citizens entering Austria from a high-risk area will need to present a negative PCR test (reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, a COVID-19 molecular test) no more than 72 hours old. Without such a test, a 10-day stay-at-home quarantine is required or a new negative test taken in Austria.
The big change comes for foreign nationals. They too must present a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours only. But even with a negative test, foreign nationals must self-quarantine for 10 days. That essentially defeats the business exception many have used to continue travel to Europe.
Note that an internal source has shared with Live and Let’s Fly that a self-quarantine for 14 days, not 10 days, will be required, but I am going by the published source for now.
This order impacts 32 risk areas, including:
- China – Hubei Province only
- North Macedonia
- Russian Federation
- South Africa
- United States
Note, there are still no transit restrictions and entries for family reasons (such as foreign spouses or for weddings or baptisms) will still be permitted without quarantine mandate. Medical workers, seasonal workers, and diplomats are exempt from quarantine if they can produce a negative PCR test.
Will Other EU Nations Follow?
Let me be clear: this is nothing a rumor at this point. But a European diplomatic contact informed Live and Let’s Fly that these new harsher regulations will not just come into effect in Austria, but across the European Union. At this point, I see no evidence of any similar policy in Germany or Switzerland (and since I do not speak other European languages beyond German, I could not check official sources in France, the Netherlands, or other EU nations).
While at this point we can only confirm this is an Austrian policy, we did want to bring the news to your attention to prepare you in case it is expanded across Europe.
With numbers trending in the wrong direction in many nations, Austria is further tightening entrance requirements for foreign nationals. It remains to be seen if other European Union member states will follow. For those foreign nationals planning on using the business exemption to enter Austria, you’ll need to enter by Sunday night or face a mandatory 10-day quarantine prior to conducting business.
Will this new tightened entrance policy impact you?
Let me be clear: this is nothing but a rumor at this point.
Correct, but it came from a source I deem trustworthy.
Too little, too late. The super-spreaders were allowed in, and Europe will be sorry.
In fact, the majority of the “super spreaders” you cite are primarily European holiday travelers returning home from places like Egypt and Turkey (why testing is now required for them as of Monday). As well, people coming in from Serbia, Ukraine, etc as they have been pouring in using the “business exception.” I have seen only a handful of American business travelers here in Vienna. We all test on arrival – unlike most others. Which is why you will not hear of any outbreak here that was brought on by American business travelers. There are just not that many.
Stuart, how do they determine if you are entering on a business exception? A simple letter from a passenger or just telling immigrations that yep I’m an essential business worker?
Never mind Stuart, i just read on down through the comments & see that you explained it pretty well. 🙂
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim,
Allah wants you to stop writing these crappy articles about flying. You need to encourage people to pray five times a day to Allah or you will all burn in the hellfire in the day of judgment. Don’t be a looser walla. You need to listen to me and stop being a flying freak. I’m not kidding with you the way I wasn’t kidding with my ex-wife.
Thanks Mohammed for your concern.
Allah is begging you to learn the difference between looser and loser, otherwise you too will be condemned to eternal hellfire.
Is That Modi Himself?pretending to be a Muslim? shame on you for getting religions involved.
Go away! say Hi to Modi and stay in India.
Walla I told you to listen to me. If you listen to loosers, then you will become a looser like them. I don’t want you to burn in the hellfire. I know what I am talking about. No traveling or wiring money without my approval. I am the smartest man in the world! My advice to you is worth millions. You need to listen. Stop risking your life and the life of these fools who read these articles. You need to focus on the good stuff. Stay away from sugar and airplanes to avoid chest discomfort walla. Stay away from people and wear mask. Stay indoor and don’t go to your parents house. Take it easy. Take care.
You read these articles too, so… you’re a fool also.
Just landed at VIE on Austrian 094. My second entry using the essential business exemption. At check-in the agent had to get the supervisor to confirm that this flight was still ok to accept the letters of introduction from an Austrian company. Two weeks ago no one questioned anything. Chatted with the station manager who signed off on it and said, “You’re lucky, this is the last flight that we can let you on with the essential business letter.” Not so much lucky I guess as having good friends in Austria who warned me…I happened to hear on Friday this was going to be enacted very quickly and scrambled to switch my plans to this week from next.
24 people on the flight. 4 in Business. All were American. Talked to one near me and he also scrambled to grab this flight before the change.
Immigration was easy as before. Just a health check where you present your test results or (as in my case) your quarantine address pending a negative test result done here. Sitting at the Covid Testing center outside the terminal as I write this and waiting for them to open. Normally they come in three hours, but on Sunday you have to wait until Monday morning for results. As a side note – if anyone is planning on using the testing center here – you no longer need an appointment. They tell you just to walk-in as there is never a wait now. Which was indeed the case on my last trip.
On paper, Austria has been the easiest to enter if you are legitimately here for business. But this will be my last trip for awhile I guess. I have heard, like Matthew, that Germany will follow suit this week. I’m not sure that they have been as generous with letting people in for business, like Austria, but everyone I know there says restrictions are going to tighten as well.
With that, the rise in cases here is not dramatic. I’ve been told that the slow increase is mostly coming from some Eastern European countries with people coming into Austria freely from there. The border crossing from Slovenia is now being controlled as an example. American business travelers will, unfortunately, be cast into this net as well.
I just got back from Sweden last night. On the transatlantic flight there were about 30 passengers on the A330. Everyone I talked to was a dual citizen, US citizen and EU resident, or EU citizen and US resident. Didn’t hear anyone talk about a business exception, I’m not sure anyone other than Stuart is actually using it. They had about 8 tables set up at Dulles for health screenings, but since the crew were exempt and no other arriving flights it only took a few minutes. Strange times.
More than me using it. But I agree that it’s been under the radar and not publicized (for fear from the few of us it would get out of hand). Doesn’t matter though now.
On another note: I can’t believe a Cumstein was at Dulles yesterday at the same time as me! Hope you had a nice time in Sweden.
I actually saw an Austrian plane taxiing right when we landed last night around 5:45pm (I was looking for non-United tails and there weren’t many). Guess you were on that plane. Do you live in the DC area? I’m in Bethesda. Seeing the contrast between here and northern Europe, now we’re tempted to move there for a while.
Were you on the KLM? I recall seeing it taxiing in as we went out.
Oh, and yes, I’m in Maryland as well.
I agree, my two trips here now to Austria this month has felt like getting personal leave from a war zone. What a difference. You only realize how bottled up inside we are as a nation until you get here.
Yes, KLM 651.
It was interesting to see Sweden during this time. We didn’t see anyone wear a mask for 2 weeks and didn’t wear them ourselves either. We did avoid public transit except for the train to ARN yesterday (only 1 other passenger). Was so refreshing just to feel normal again for a few weeks. The only odd thing was the hotel we stayed at in Stockholm the last few nights was deserted. Not really a big problem but it was so different walking around the city with literally no Americans and just a few brave European tourists, since most Swedes leave the city in July.
We’re already planning our next trip. I don’t see any reason to vacation here in the US this year.
@Mitch, do you think I’d be allowed to ender Sweden from the United States as an EU citizen tourist? (My member state now has one of Europe’s lowest rates of new infections).
If so, would I have to present a test? Quarantine in Sweden? Would I get a nasty welcome from the Swedish border guards?
Alternatively, if I was traveling via Madrid or Amsterdam, would there even be any passport control upon arrival in Sweden?
I had no problem entering on a UK passport. That said, I was traveling with my wife and kids who all have Swedish passports, but I’m also pretty sure I could have entered by myself after reading their entry rules.
At check-in at IAD, no questions asked at all. Entering the EU in AMS during our layover, just a quick glance of our passports and the agent asked “where are you going?” We said Sweden and he let us through. Not sure if it mattered where we were coming from or if he just assumed we were going UK>Sweden, which would make sense since the UK was never in Schengen and would explain our mixed passports. There was a holding pen of about 6 people outside the immigration office (all of whom were holding US passports). I told my wife we don’t want to end up in there!
However, once we left the jetway in GOT we were swarmed by police officers checking passports. They thumbed through each passport, made some small talk in Swedish with my kids and then seemed satisfied and let us through. Sweden’s rules are that EU/UK citizens are exempt from the travel ban, so I wasn’t worried even though this check-point was new and totally surprised me (Swedish rules are quite explicit that the ban also does not restrict intra-EU travel, so I didn’t understand why they’d care about a flight from AMS). Perhaps the police officer would have had more questions if I showed her a US passport, or perhaps not, I’m not really sure but didn’t want to find out. But I’m sure you’d have no problem here either with an EU passport, given their rules.
Sweden doesn’t have any sort of quarantine for anyone so it’s a perfect place to go from the US. We also felt very welcome traveling there for two weeks.
Should also mention no COVID testing required. It’s still quite rare in Sweden. Until recently you could only get tested in Sweden if you were hospitalized and doctors suspected you had the virus, or if you worked in the medical field.
So no entry requirements at all, and once you’re there everyone is living a normal life. Perfect place to go if you are a dual citizen.
@Aaron I am a proud Muslim and a descendant of the profit Muhammad. You must be a Jew because Allah told Muhammad that the jews will never like you and never accept you. You will be one of the first to be thrown into the hellfire on the day of judgment.
Someone needs to Teach this Idiot a lesson!
I Don’t think you are a “Muslim”.Maybe your name is “Bernie” or “Goldman”or “Rosenberg”.
Hmm, it’s quite a downer for the US to be on the list of unwanted countries, especially as Trump claims we are the envy of the world how we are fighting the virus. It seems that Europe and the World does not consider 150,000 dead (and rising) a success story!
“Let me be clear: this is nothing a rumor at this point. But a European diplomatic contact informed Live and Let’s Fly that these new harsher regulations will not just come into effect in Austria, but across the European Union.”
Matthew, I love your work, but I think the headline is overstating the situation, which at the moment is confined to Austria? Also, if there was an attempt to expand this testing policy across the whole of the EU, the guidance would come from the European Commission — can your source say whether any guidance from Brussels is forthcoming?
In any event, a few things I’ve noticed recently, which I believe would apply to me as an EU-U.S. dual citizen traveler from the U.S.:
1) France requiring pre-departure tests for allowed travelers from the U.S. (Other countries can get these upon arrival for free, but apparently Americans are required to present one at check-in, which I think is more about conserving resources in France — the assumption is tests are available in the U.S. — more than it is punishing Americans.)
2) Portugal also now requires Americans — and others from high-risk countries — to present a test for entry to *mainland Portugal* when before they were only required for entry to Portugal’s islands (e.g. Azores).
Interestingly, Italy banned travelers from 13 high-COVID countries (e.g. Bangladesh, Chile, etc.) last week from *any travel* to Italy — banned all flights and entry — including Italian citizens in those countries. But, they did leave the U.S. off the list! (Of course, Italian citizens in the U.S. are still technically not allowed to travel to Italy for non-essential travel.)
Dang, @matthew. You’ve really acquired quite a few trolls this week.
Any idea how that will work for someone like me who has a US passport but doesn’t live there and hasn’t been there for a year and a half. I live in Thailand, not on the list of risk areas.
It’s tricky but I imagine if you have a Visa D from Thailand (or a residence permit of some sort), as well as showing that you have been in Thailand during that time, you would most likely be ok. The airlines are the primary gatekeepers for these new rules. If they let you on the plane your odds went up exponentially to be granted entry and it’s doubtful you will be sent back. Almost all of the issues I have witnessed or read about that people have with getting over here start at the airport of departure – and that’s where they get turned away. There are a number of accounts of this happening on different forums. As well I witnessed one family being denied boarding as the guy was trying to bring his entire family on a business exception written for him alone.
A Thai special visa or residency permit is the key though.
It doesn’t hurt to send an email to the local consulate of the country you want to enter, explain your situation, and see what they say. If they say, “all good” you can print that out and take it with you to the airport just in case you encounter an overzealous check-in agent.