31 Countries That Might Not Let Americans Visit This Summer
Parts of the world are beginning to re-open to global travelers. But before you start planning your summer vacay, there's something you should know: if you're a U.S. citizen, don't bother.
Although there are still a number of coronavirus mysteries that can’t be explained, many nations have managed to gain enough control over COVID-19 that they’ve determined it’s prudent to begin lifting restrictions on non-essential travel. In other words, these countries are re-opening to world travelers… er, well, not exactly all world travelers. Here’s the thing: Apparently, the citizen of the United States have been conspicuously left off the “guest list” in more than 30 of these nations—at least for now.
Here’s what you need to know.
The European Union bans the United States
On June 30, the European Union (EU) adopted a recommendation regarding the gradual lifting of restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Under the recommendation, starting on July 1, travel restrictions will be lifted for countries that meet certain criteria (discussed below). The countries who meet that criteria as of the date of the recommendation are:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China (subject to China agreeing to allow citizens of EU countries to travel to China)
You’ll notice the United States is not on the list. That means for at least the next two weeks (the list is to be reviewed and updated every two weeks), or perhaps longer, U.S. citizens are not welcome in the EU’s member countries.
Which countries are EU members?
The EU has 27 member countries. They are as follows:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
The Schengen associated countries
In addition to the EU, the following four “Schengen associated” countries will be treated as if they were members of the EU, which means U.S. citizens can’t travel there either:
If you still want to travel, check out these 15 crowd-free summer vacations you can still book at the last minute.
Is this even enforceable?
While the EU does not have the power to enforce the travel bans, a country’s failure to act in accordance with the recommendation could lead to the reintroduction of travel restrictions, at least with regard to that country.
What criteria were applied?
To determine which countries the travel restrictions should be lifted for, the EU considered the following criteria, cumulatively:
- Whether the number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants is close to or below the EU average (as it stood on June 15, 2020).
- Whether the trend of the new cases is stable or decreasing.
- What is the country’s overall response to COVID-19, taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information.
In addition, reciprocity is taken into account. For example, China will not remain on the list unless it lifts its restrictions with regard to the EU.
For countries where travel restrictions still apply (e.g., the United States), the following categories of people are exempt:
- EU citizens and their family members
- long-term EU residents and their family members
- travelers with an essential function or need
Despite this blow to our wanderlust, there are some countries where U.S. citizens are already allowed to travel, thanks to the relaxing of restrictions that began taking place in late spring.
Countries where U.S. citizens are welcome
As of July 1, the following are among the nations that have fully lifted their travel restrictions:
- The Bahamas
- Other countries like Turks and Caicos are expected to follow suit throughout the summer.
In addition, the U.K., which withdrew from the EU on January 31, has never banned international travelers, opting instead to require travelers to self-isolate upon arrival, for a period of 14 days. According to the New York Times, although Ireland is an EU country, Americans can travel there as long as they quarantine upon arrival for a 14-day period.
The rejection of American travelers is a blow to American prestige in the world, according to the New York Times, and a repudiation of our government’s handling of the virus. The fact is, however, the United States currently has more than 2,677,000 confirmed cases and more than 127,681 deaths, in each case, more than any other country.
For more on this developing situation, including how life might be different post-lockdown, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.