Home Business Insights & Advice Are UK citizens allowed into Europe right now?

Are UK citizens allowed into Europe right now?

by John Saunders
1st Jun 21 3:33 pm

The summer holidays are fast approaching and whilst cases are falling across Europe, COVID-19 measures remain in place. Naturally, this has got a lot of people wondering if UK citizens are allowed to travel to Europe both now and in the coming months.

Of course, over the last 12 months, a lot of norms have changed in the world of travel and many are still struggling to get to grips with the new rules when entering Europe.

In addition to the pandemic, there are also new rules for travel as a result of Brexit and preparations for the new Europe visa waiver requirements. We look over all of these and explain what to expect before visiting Europe below.

Can I go abroad to Europe at the moment?

The Europe-wide restrictions on UK citizens entering for tourism have ended as have the UK rules on non-essential foreign travel. It is now possible to enter the EU Schengen area once again without needing to meet specific circumstances to visit.

However, whilst the European Union has created a common policy for reopening tourism, each country has its own rules on whose citizens may and may not enter. This means you must check the specific requirements in place before planning a trip just in case.

For example, Austria and France are considering restricting travel from the UK over fears of new variants such as the Indian B.1.617.2 strain currently circulating in Britain. Restrictions such as these are happening on an ad hoc basis and depend on the individual country’s approach to handling the pandemic.

The EU has produced a tool explaining the rules for each member country which can be used to check your precise destination.

What are the rules for travelling to the EU?

When visiting the majority of European destinations you will at the very least need to fill in a passenger locator form and in most cases need to provide a negative PCR test. These both must be completed before leaving the UK.

However, the European Union will also soon roll out the EU Green Pass which allows passengers to quickly and easily show whether they’ve either:

  • Recently tested negative for COVID-19
  • Received a suitable vaccination against Coronavirus
  • Recovered from a case of COVID

What do I need when returning to the UK?

In addition to these rules in place in EU countries, the UK also places limits on returning passengers from foreign countries based on the level of risk of COVID-19.

To enter the country, you will need to fill in a passenger locator form and provide a negative PCR test.

However, depending on your destination, you may need up to 2 additional tests and to undergo quarantine based on how the country you have visited is ranked by the UK’s travel traffic light system.

The UK’s travel traffic light system explained

The UK Government has introduced a traffic light system to evaluate which countries are safe for citizen’s to enter as tourists. This is assessed based on the number of cases reported per 100,000 within a country.

Countries on the green list have the lowest incidence rates of COVID-19 and as a result, you won’t need to undergo quarantine on returning to the UK. However, you will still need to take a PCR test both before and after you arrive in Britain.

Amber list countries however have a medium risk of contracting COVID and therefore you will be required to undergo 10 days quarantine when you get back to Britain. You will also need a negative PCR test result to enter the UK and must book and take additional tests on the 2nd and 8th day of your return.

Red list nations on the other hand have very high incidence rates of coronavirus and therefore have the strictest quarantine measures in place. After arriving from a country on the red list you will need to undergo 10 days mandatory quarantine in a hotel approved by the government and take 2 PCR tests during this period.

What about travel after Brexit?

Brexit has led to a few changes on what UK passengers must have prepared before they travel. These rules affect the evidence you must provide to border authorities and whether your passport will be accepted as valid or not.

For short trips of under 90 days, a visa isn’t necessary. However, from 2022 onwards it will be necessary to hold an ETIAS visa waiver before entering the EU for short trips such as these.

When entering an EU Schengen country you should have

  • A British passport no older than 10 years and with 6 months remaining validity.
  • Appropriate healthcare travel insurance.
  • Proof of return or onward travel.
  • Evidence you have sufficient funds to support yourself on your trip

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