Following a review in the framework of the Recommendation on the phasing out of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel restrictions to the EU, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and local authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted. In particular, Rwanda and Thailand were removed from the list and Ukraine was added to the list.
As foreseen in the Council Recommendation, this list will continue to be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary.
Based on the criteria and conditions of the recommendation, the member states are to gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries from 15 July 2021:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- New Zealand
- Republic of Moldova
- Republic of North Macedonia
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- Ukraine (new)
- United States of America
- China, subject to mutual confirmation
Travel restrictions are also to be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Travel restrictions apply to Kosovo under the category of entities and local authorities that are not recognized as states by at least one Member State and Taiwan should also be gradually increased.
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered EU residents for the purposes of this recommendation.
The criteria for determining the third countries for which the current travel restrictions are to be lifted were updated on May 20, 2021. They include the epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the information and data sources available. Reciprocity should also be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.
The associated Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.
On June 30, 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation to gradually lift temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU. This recommendation included an initial list of countries for which Member States should start lifting travel restrictions at the external borders. The list is regularly checked and updated if necessary.
On May 20, the Council adopted an amendment to respond to the ongoing vaccination campaigns by introducing certain exemptions for vaccinated people and relaxing the criteria for lifting restrictions for third countries. At the same time, the changes take into account the possible risks of new variants by providing an emergency braking mechanism in order to react quickly to the emergence of an interesting or worrying variant in a third country.
The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. You can only gradually lift the travel restrictions to the countries listed in full transparency.
A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions for unlisted third countries until this has been decided in a coordinated manner.
 This designation does not affect positions on the status and is in line with UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and the ICJ opinion on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.