As expected, most Americans will be banned from the European Union when borders gradually re-open starting tomorrow. But the key metric will be residence, not passport. That’s a relief for many Americans living outside the USA.
Americans Banned From European Union; Who Is Allowed In The European Union Effective July 1, 2020?
Travel restrictions will be lifted for residents of the following nations:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
*China’s travel restrictions will be lifted only if China lifts travel restrictions against Europeans.
Also, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican are considered EU residents and Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) are invited take part in this recommendation.
All other foreign residents will be banned with three exceptions:
- EU citizens and their family members (no matter their residence)
- long-term EU residents and their family members
- travelers with an essential function or need, as listed in the Recommendation.
In an earlier directive, the EU listed essential functions as:
- Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals;
- Frontier workers
- Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary
- Diplomats, staff of international organizations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions
- Passengers in transit
- Passengers traveling for imperative family reasons
- Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons
Whether you are admitted is up to the discretion of the passport control agent you encounter, unless you arrange written permission or a visa in advance.
What Is A “Resident”?
The restrictions are based upon residence rather than passport or where you might have been. So an American who spent a month in Japan would not be allowed in even though Japan has COVID-19 largely under control. But a Japanese citizen who just spent a month in New York or Florida would be allowed into the EU.
As unseemly as that outcome is, using residency as a bright-line rule makes sense to avoid greater confusion.
Under the new directive, a resident is not directly defined, but encompassed in the following guidance:
Third-country nationals who are long-term residents under the Long-term Residence Directive, persons deriving their right to reside from other EU Directives or national law or who hold national long-term visas, as well as their respective family members.
You’re not a resident of a country if you’ve visited for awhile. You’re a resident of a country if you are an official resident. For example, a Green Card holder in the United States or Aufenthaltstitel holder in the Germany is considered a resident. This is a card that is issued to you and can be used in place of a passport for most internal travel.
When my primary residence was in Germany, I held a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) that I presented with my passport every time I departed or arrived in Germany. It saved me over 100 passport stamps, since residences do not receive a stamp every time they arrive or depart.
EU Nations Can Create Their Own Rules, But…
While this directive is recommended for every EU nation, not every nation must adopt it. Greece, Italy, and Portugal, for example, are already allowing U.S. residents in under circumstances that are far less onerous than the EU-wide restrictions.
However, the EU warns that nations who choose to go their own way may encounter internal border controls until the pandemic is over.
The List Will Change Twice Per Month
Every two weeks the list will be re-evaluated, with countries added (or subtracted) based upon a number of conditions:
- New COVID-19 cases – are new cases close to or below the EU average?
- Trend – are new cases diminishing or at least flatlining?
- International Health Regulations (IHR) score – is country taking a holistic approach to tacking pandemic?
It is no surprise that most Americans will be excluded from Europe during summer. Today the EU clarified that residency, not necessarily passport, will be the determiner of which non-EU citizens are allowed in. For many Americans who reside aboard, that is good news.
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