EU: COVID vaccines for travel to Europe

This website does not belong to, nor is it affiliated with, the EU. The official website of the European Union is

  • COVID-19 vaccine certificates are still an important safety measure for international travel. The European Union and Schengen Area recognise a number of vaccines.
  • Visitors can enjoy a trip to Europe as long as they meet the remaining coronavirus vaccination requirements.

covid vaccine travel europe

COVID-19 vaccines are now part of the health travel requirements to travel to Europe. Some European states still require incoming travellers to be fully vaccinated.

The European Union (EU) recommends that member countries demand proof of vaccination from international arrivals as part of the EU travel restrictions.

Each country makes its own rules for arriving passengers. Most members of the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) took measures in line with this advice.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) was created in 2021 to serve as a vaccine passport for Europe. COVID vaccination certificates issued in many other countries are now accepted as equivalents of the EUDCC.

Does Europe require COVID vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccine requirements in Europe depend on the individual country. Many nations have now removed their vaccine policy, while others maintain it.

Some countries allow passengers arriving from EU nations to enter without a vaccine certificate, but require those arriving from other countries to be vaccinated.

The vaccine used must be one of those approved for use and recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Which COVID vaccine do you need to travel to Europe?

All countries in the EU and Schengen Area accept the following COVID-19 vaccines, which are recognised by the EMA:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
  • Moderna
  • Nuvaxoid
  • Pfizer-BioNTech

Some countries also accept the following vaccines, which have been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO), but not the EMA:

Can I travel to Europe if I get the COVID vaccine?

In most cases, yes. The majority of countries in the EU and EFTA allow travellers to enter from outside Europe if they have proof that they are fully vaccinated.

It is important to remember that the rules and restrictions depend on the destination country. Each European country is responsible for its own policies. These have changed frequently throughout the pandemic, so it is essential to check what you need for the specific country (or countries) you plan to visit.

It is also worth noting that fully vaccinated passengers entering a European country may still be subject to certain restrictions. These may include:

  • Testing before travelling
  • Testing on arrival
  • Quarantine on arrival

Can you travel to Europe without a vaccine?

Yes, many European countries have now reopened their borders to all travellers, including those not vaccinated against COVID-19. However, considering that the pandemic is still ongoing, vaccines and testing are still recommended before travel.

Travelling the EU with a vaccine passport

Travelling between EU or Schengen member states during the pandemic may require an EU vaccine passport or an accepted equivalent from a non-EU country.

The exact rules depend on the country, but most only allow entry to travellers who have 1 or more of the following:

  • Proof of vaccination
  • Proof of recent recovery from COVID-19
  • Negative test result

All of these are displayed on the EUDCC.

This means that it is possible to travel between some European countries without a vaccination. However, by being able to show proof of vaccination, travellers face fewer obstacles when visiting another EU country.

Countries that require a COVID vaccine to travel: Europe

Some EU and EFTA countries still have a requirement for travellers to prove that they are not at risk of carrying coronavirus:

  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Slovakia
  • Spain

Proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test result are also accepted in many cases.

The rules for entry change fairly frequently, so it is vital to check what you need to enter your destination country before travelling.

COVID vaccine to travel to Europe in 2022: What passengers can do now

Travellers who are planning to visit Europe and other areas in 2022 can do the following to prepare for their trip:

PCR & COVID testing to travel to Europe: latest updates

This website does not belong to, nor is it affiliated with, the EU. The official website of the European Union is

  • Europe’s COVID-19 travel rules previously emphasised pre-arrival coronavirus testing, although more and more states are lifting regulations.
  • Some EU Member States still require specific COVID-19 documentation to enter: learn more in the article below.
Read Post  Does tsa pre-check program help in travelling to europe

pcr and covid test travel to europe

Europe is cautiously opening up its borders again and welcoming international travellers.

However, certain European Union states maintain rules and restrictions to be followed by all visitors.

Follow this simple guide to COVID tests to travel to Europe to stay safe during your travels.

Pandemic EU guidelines for Member States updated

The European Union promotes a coordinated approach to travel during the pandemic: EU entry restrictions have provided the basis for measures taken by individual Member States. However, member states can set their own restrictions on foreign visitors.

This article explains Europe’s new COVID-19 travel rules, with a focus on testing requirements for travelling to Europe from third countries.

COVID-19 testing for travel to Europe

Requiring individuals to have a negative coronavirus test before travelling to Europe has been a global way of preventing the virus from spreading across borders.

Mandatory COVID-19 testing for travel to certain European states is one of the measures put forth by the EU.

Travellers should check the specific requirements of the EU Member State they wish to visit to see whether they need a test and which kinds are accepted.

As well as protecting public health in Europe, mandatory testing requirements reduce the chances of getting COVID-19 when travelling.

Which European countries require a COVID-19 test before arrival?

The European Union aims to offer a standardised approach to coronavirus entry restrictions across the bloc. Nevertheless, Member States are free to establish their own regulations meaning that travellers will find some differences between the requirements imposed by each nation.

In some cases, only travellers arriving from high-risk zones, or who have been in high-risk countries in the last 14 days, are required to take a test. It is essential that individuals planning to visit Europe from a third country consult the testing requirements based on where they are departing from.

Airline passengers who arrive without a test certificate usually undergo COVID-19 airport testing and face paying a fine.


Austria currently has no COVID-19 restrictions for visitors.


Belgium removed all COVID-19 entry requirements on 23 May 2022.


Since the beginning of August, all testing requirements for travellers entering France have been dropped.


There are no COVID-19 requirements to enter Germany.


Greece lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on 1 May 2022.


There are no COVID-19 entry requirements to travel to Italy.


All COVID regulations for incoming passengers to Portugal have been lifted.


Passengers arriving from EU and EEA countries, including residents and nationals, do not need to show any COVID-19 documents.

All other visitors must show either proof of 1 of the following:

  • Full vaccination against COVID-19
  • Recovery from the virus within the last 180 days
  • Negative COVID-19 test result

All passengers not in possession of an EU COVID Certificate or equivalent must complete a Health Control Form before departure.

Other European countries that require a COVID-19 test to enter

  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Slovakia

Special cases and exemptions may apply. Coronavirus testing requirements may be introduced or changed at short notice, travellers must ensure they are fully informed regarding entry procedures before departure.

Which type of COVID-19 test is required to travel to Europe?

There are 2 different categories of COVID-19 test:

  • Viral test: detects whether an individual is infected at the time of the test
  • Antibody test: detects whether an individual has been infected in the past

To travel, a viral test is needed as it is important to know whether someone is currently carrying the virus. Within the viral category there are then 2 types of test:

  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT): detect genetic material and are usually more accurate but results can take longer
  • Antigen test: detect viral proteins and are generally less sensitive, but results are available more quickly.

Different European countries have different rules regarding the type of testing, not all authorities accept antibody tests.

PCR tests for travelling to Europe are the most widely accepted given their increased sensitivity and ability to pick up even small amounts of the virus.

How to get a coronavirus test to travel to Europe

Travellers who do need a negative COVID-19 result to enter a European destination need to arrange a test no more than 3 days before departure.

In general, individuals will need to pay to have a Covid test for international travel to Europe at a private clinic. However, some countries, like France, will provide free PCR tests to tourists.

Europol warns Member States about fake certificates

Europol has warned Member States about fake COVID-19 certificates being sold in Europe. Criminals are producing high-quality counterfeit and forged certificates and selling them at airports, stations, and online.

Arrests have been made in France and Spain, the suspects accused of selling fake certificates.

Do I need a COVID-19 test to travel to Europe if I’m vaccinated?

Now that coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out across many countries, immunised travellers may be wondering whether they need a Covid test to travel to Europe.

In most cases, vaccinated people are still subject to the same requirements as non-vaccinated. Some European countries are now accepting vaccination certificates instead of negative test results.

The introduction of an European Digital COVID Certificate could lead to a relaxation of entry requirements, such as testing, for vaccinated EU citizens.

There are currently no common vaccine requirements to travel to Europe, however, vaccine certificates may be used together with other measures in the near future.

COVID-19 testing and quarantine of air travellers

Having a negative COVID-19 test certificate does not usually exempt a traveller from quarantine requirements. If a visitor is subject to quarantine based on the country they have travelled from they will need to self-isolate in Europe despite having a negative test certificate unless otherwise stated.

Read Post  Registering your residence abroad

In some cases, a second negative PCR test can be taken around day 5 of the quarantine period, provided the results are negative the length of the isolation period may be reduced.

The EU favours testing before departure over quarantine when possible. However, the European Union does stress the need for travellers from dark red, high-risk areas to present a negative test result and undergo quarantine.

All passengers should check the latest rules for the European nation they are visiting.

Passenger locator forms for Europe

Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs) are another tool being used by the EU. Their importance was highlighted in Europe’s new COVID-19 travel rules. PLFs allow authorities to trace individuals who have been in close contact with an infected passenger when using transportation services.

The EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action has created a single template for digital passenger locator forms to be used throughout Europe. It is for all types of transport: aeroplane, ferry, cruise, train, bus, and car.

Most EU countries have now removed the PLF requirement.

Getting tested for COVID-19 in Europe

Foreigners who develop coronavirus symptoms whilst travelling should isolate and avoid contact with others as soon as they begin to feel unwell.

Travellers can speak with their nearest embassy or consulate for advice and information about where to go and the procedure to follow. EU Member States also have special coronavirus helplines to call.

Anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 when travelling should follow the instructions of the healthcare professional, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

It is more important than ever for travellers to take out insurance for their trip to Europe to cover any hospital treatment for the coronavirus in a foreign hospital. EU citizens should carry their EHIC card when visiting another EU nation.

Will You Need the COVID-19 Vaccine to Travel?

‘Health passports’ showing vaccination status may be required

Travel items with CommonPass app displayed

The travel industry — not to mention travelers — are eager for a return to normal so people can once again fly, cruise and road-trip like they did before the pandemic. Now that the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway, many are hoping it will be the key to helping us get moving again. Experts offer some answers to the big questions on the vaccines’ likely effect on travel, as well as what won’t change, at least for many months (hint: the need for mask-wearing and other precautions).

Will you need proof of COVID-19 vaccination to fly?

Possibly. Airlines are eager for travelers to be able to avoid quarantine at their destination and for the elimination of blanket travel bans between countries (which will, consequently, help spur air travel’s recovery). Now airlines are also beginning to test digital “health passports” that could reliably prove someone’s negative test results and eventually their vaccination status.

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

They are also able to offer users updated lists of health requirements and alerts for destinations around the world.

The International Air Transport Association is developing a health app, the IATA Travel Pass, that will allow travelers to store verified test or vaccination results on their mobile devices. It’s being tested by more than a dozen international airlines, including Australia’s Qantas and Air New Zealand.

CLEAR, the private prescreening program that allows its members to speed through security checkpoints, is collaborating with the creators of a similar app, CommonPass, developed by the nonprofit Commons Project and the World Economic Forum that is establishing a registry of trusted health care providers and a standard format for reporting results. Passengers will be able to take a COVID-19 test at home, send their test to a lab and have their results uploaded to the CommonPass app. A QR code certifying that they’re clear for entry will be scanned upon their arrival. Eventually, it can and presumably will be used to upload vaccination status, serving as a kind of immunity passport.

Qantas, as well as other airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and United, are testing CommonPass as well.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in November that the airline may make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all passengers flying to or from Australia (where long-haul flights are expected to resume in October).

COVID-19 vaccination may not be required to board domestic flights, however; Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, told the Today show that may be something exclusive to international travel, “whether the airlines do it or international authorities do it.” Even COVID-19 testing requirements, Bastian said in January, would be burdensome for domestic travel. Alaska Airlines has said it has no plans to require vaccinations and believes that things like universal mask-wearing and planes’ highly efficient HEPA filters are sufficient infection-prevention measures.

But the airline (along with American Airlines and a few others) has just begun using a mobile app called VeriFLY, that works like a health passport, allowing international visitors to verify that they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 — now required of all international airline passengers entering the U.S.


One of many questions remaining about these apps: how they might be integrated with traditional paper passports.

Might some countries require COVID-19 vaccination for entry?

Probably, at least as a way for visitors to avoid restrictions such as quarantine. Several African countries already require vaccinations for yellow fever, for instance, so there’s precedent, says Jan L. Jones, a professor of hospitality and tourism at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. “So I do think that some places will require it, specifically. And if they don’t require it, they’re going to require things like quarantine.”

Gavin Delany, founder and CEO of the online trip-planning service Travelstride, agrees, noting that it could be extremely confusing for travelers to suss out different requirements, “as some countries are likely to have tiers of entry rules and vaccination [rules] based on traveler age, perceived risk at the origin country and political element.”

Read Post  The 10 Worst Things to Wear While Traveling

25% off sitewide and 30% off select items

There have been baby steps taken along this path, however. In January, Iceland became one of the first countries to provide vaccine certificates to its citizens to help them avoid certain border restrictions. It will also recognize the vaccine passports from other countries, allowing visitors to skip COVID-19 testing or quarantine rules if they show proof of full COVID-19 inoculation. Sweden and Denmark are also working on similar vaccine passports.

And now the country of Georgia has announced that “citizens of all countries, traveling by air … may enter Georgia if they present the document confirming the full course (two doses) of any COVID-19 vaccination.” Otherwise, depending on their country of origin, they need to be tested for COVID-19 and fill out a special application form. Romania also has testing exemptions for vaccinated visitors.

Asked whether a similar kind of vaccine passport might be issued in the U.S., Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Newsweek in January, “Anything is on the table. Anything is possible, of course.”

There is even a chance that individual states could require visitors to be vaccinated for COVID-19, in the same way they require public school students to show proof of vaccinations for certain diseases, like polio and hepatitis A, says Anthony Harris, M.D., medical director at WorkCare, a consulting company focused on health in the workplace (including airlines and cruise ships). Harris considers it “likely, even though it’s going to be a state-by-state process, that states will elect to mandate vaccinations and proving a record of vaccinations.”

The public appears to support such requirements: A survey of 2,415 adults by The Points Guy found that two-thirds (67 percent) of people who are already vaccinated and have a desire to travel say they are more likely to travel to a destination or with a provider that requires a vaccine passport.


What about cruising?

Cruises have been on hold in the U.S. since the onboard outbreaks last spring, and the big lines, like Carnival and Holland America, don’t plan on restarting until at least June. The CDC wants them to first prove they have effective safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In the meantime, some cruise lines have decided to require that all passengers be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Crystal Cruises, which plans to start cruising the Bahamas July, is the first big U.S.-based line to do so, requiring that everyone aboard be fully vaccinated for at least two weeks before departure, with no exceptions. “At this time, we are unable to accommodate any guest who cannot be vaccinated,” it notes on its website.

The river cruise line American Queen, known for its trips along the Mississippi River, has also declared that beginning July 1, all passengers and crew members will need to have been vaccinated for COVID-19. They’ll also need to be tested for the virus before departure. “I need a new marketing slogan: ‘We’re 200 percent protected,’ or something like that,” says the company’s CEO John Waggoner, who notes that bookings in January jumped 35 percent over December.

In Europe, meanwhile, the British tour company Saga announced that travelers will need to have been vaccinated at least 14 days before cruising, once it begins operating again in May.

A big factor for cruise lines who have yet to announce vaccine requirements will be whether countries they visit ask passengers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, says Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, a travel agency network. “If they want to stop in certain ports of call, some of those countries might require it.”

Once you’re vaccinated, can you travel just like you did pre-COVID-19?

No, no and no, experts say. At least not for a while. The U.S. is still in a crisis stage, as the numbers of COVID-19 cases and related deaths continue to rise. And while the current COVID-19 vaccines (from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) are extremely effective at preventing illness in the people who receive them, vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the coronavirus to others as asymptomatic carriers — the jury’s still out on that at this early point in the rollout. It’s also unclear how long immunity lasts after the two-dose vaccination.

For those reasons, even vaccinated people will need to follow mask-wearing and safe social-distancing recommendations in public, at least “until we reach the herd immunity magic number, which is around 196 million individuals” in the U.S., says WorkCare’s Harris. (The CDC has loosened restrictions for vaccinated individuals in some social settings.)

Another reason we’ll want everyone to keep wearing masks and take other precautions for the near future, adds Harris: “We don’t want a subsegment of the population walking around without masks in a setting that requires masks to be worn. That’s just such an awkward precedent for the remainder of individuals who don’t have access to vaccinations at this point in time.”

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 8. It’s been updated to reflect new information regarding international travel and vaccinations.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *