Right now, only seven European countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Montenegro, and Serbia) allow Americans to visit as tourists. But the president of the European Commission has announced a plan that would allow fully vaccinated people from the U.S. to visit for nonessential reasons—assuming the EU can reach an agreement with the U.S. government.
The plan will rely on figuring out a way to document proof of vaccination. While talk of “vaccine passports” has been controversial in the U.S., travelers have often needed to show their vaccination status to travel to certain countries.
The EU has proposed a “digital green certificate” that can document whether you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, whether you have recently recovered from COVID-19 and can be assumed to be immune, and whether you have recently tested negative for COVID-19. Their hope is that the US government will be able to issue its own, similar certificate—and that you will be able to travel to and within the EU by either showing your U.S. certificate or by using your U.S. certificate to get an EU certificate.
Right now, the EU’s restrictions on travelers are based in part on how common COVID cases are in the country they are traveling from. But if you are vaccinated, the thinking goes, it may not matter how much COVID is in your home country.
If the plan goes through, the EU will recognize people as vaccinated if they have had any vaccine that is authorized by the European Medicines Agency, Europe’s equivalent of the FDA—and all three of the vaccines in use in the US (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) are authorized by the EMA.