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25 February, 2022

16 EU countries that have softened the coronavirus rules for entry and stay

European states are gradually abandoning strict restrictions on the borders and within the country. We will tell you where it is easier to go now, where they are allowed to visit public places without certificates and certificates, and what concessions are expected in the near future.

Photo: Adobe Stock

Entry to Slovenia and Madeira is free, to Austria and Italy — with a PCR test

Slovenia has lifted all coronavirus entry restrictions. From February 19th, 2022, you can enter the country in the same way as before the pandemic: with a passport and a Schengen visa, if required.

Madeira, a Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, has also allowed free entry for tourists. Vaccination certificates and tests are not required before or after arrival on the island. It is enough to have a passport with a valid Schengen visa.

Free entry rules do not apply to mainland Portugal. To enter the European territory of the country, you still need a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test result.

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Piran, Slovenia

The small town of Piran on the Adriatic coast is one of the popular holiday destinations in Slovenia

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Madeira, Portugal

Madeira attracts both tourists and investors: for buying real estate or starting a business on the island you can get a residence permit of Portugal

Austria allowed entry into the country on a negative test result for coronavirus. You need to pass a PCR test no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Austria, a rapid antigen test — 24 hours before. The rule is effective from February 22nd, 2022.

For travelers over 12 years old, entry into the country is also possible if you provide:

  1. Certificate of vaccination against coronavirus with a drug approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization. 
  2. Certificate of recovery from coronavirus no older than 180 days.

If a person does not have any of the listed documents,  they fill a form of permission to enter Austria in advance. Upon arrival in the country, such a passenger is placed in quarantine for 10 days. It can be completed ahead of schedule if you pass a PCR test at your own expense and get a negative result.

Italy will soften the entry rules for citizens of countries that are not members of the European Union. From March 1st, such tourists will not need to have both a vaccination certificate and a negative PCR test at the same time. You will be allowed to enter the country if you have any of the following documents:

  1. Certificate of vaccination with an EMA-approved vaccine.
  2. Certificates of the recovery from coronavirus: no more than 180 days must pass from the date of recovery.
  3. Negative test result for coronavirus: PCR test must be done no earlier than 72 hours, rapid antigen test — 48 hours.

Prior to check-in for a flight to Italy, passengers also have to fill in the electronic entry form.

Quarantine upon arrival in Italy awaits only those who do not have proof of vaccination, past illness or test result. In this case, the passenger self-isolates for five days, after which he takes a PCR test or an antigen test.

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Salzburg, Austria

15 million tourists from different countries visited Austria in 2020 – despite the pandemic and strict entry restrictions

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Rome, Italy

Rome is one of the most visited cities in Italy and the world: every year the Italian capital welcomes about 25 million tourists

Latvia will start accepting PCR or antigen test results for entry into the country. The rule will come into effect on March 1st, 2022.

PCR test must be done no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Latvia, antigen test — 48 hours before.

Instead of a test, you can present a certificate of vaccination with a drug approved by the EMA or WHO. Another option is to show a certificate of the recovery from coronavirus: at least 11 days, but not more than 180, must pass from the date of recovery.

From March 1st, it is not necessary to fill out an electronic application form in order to enter Latvia.

Lithuania will open the border for tourists on March 31st, 2022. Before that, entry into the country is only possible for a valid reason, such as for study or family reunification.

To travel to Lithuania, 48 hours before departure, you need to fill out a special form. When registering for a flight and crossing the border, you will need to present any of the following documents:

  1. Vaccination certificate: Pfizer/BioNtech, Janssen, Mode a, AstraZeneca, Covishield and Nuvaxovid vaccines are recognized. The validity of the certificate for passengers over 18 years old is 270 days. For minors and those who have had a booster vaccination is unlimited.
  2. Coronavirus recovery certificate not older than 180 days.
  3. Negative result of a PCR test for coronavirus, taken no earlier than 72 hours before arrival in Lithuania.

There is no quarantine in Lithuania. Unvaccinated and non-ill tourists from the European Union and Schengen countries, Great Britain, Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican can take a PCR test upon arrival in Lithuania. It is also recommended to pass the test to all those who arrived in the country on the third day of their stay.

Cyprus abolished mandatory PCR testing before and after arrival in the country, but only for vaccinated travelers. The rule will come into effect on March 1st, 2022.

For unvaccinated passengers over the age of 12, the testing rules will remain unchanged. Before departure, you need to do a PCR test taken 72 hours in advance, or an antigen test taken 24 hours in advance. Upon arrival, another paid test is taken at the airport.

All arrivals in Cyprus fill out a form and receive a Cyprus Flight Pass within 48 hours before departure.

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Protaras, Cyprus
Despite coronavirus restrictions, Cyprus remains one of Europe's favorite beach destinations with two million tourists visiting the island in 2021

Where you can freely visit public places and not wear a mask on the street

In Austria visiting public places will be free from March 5th, 2022. But the requirement to wear a mask in supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, post offices and public transport will remain. In enclosed spaces, it is recommended to wear FFP2 respirators.

The easing of restrictions does not apply to Vienna: in the capital, access to restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels remains open only to those who have been vaccinated and have recovered from the coronavirus.

Belgium. Since January 28th, the country has hosted public events again, such as theater performances and football matches. Amusement parks, zoos, playgrounds, swimming pools, bowling centers and casinos are open.

On February 11th, the Belgian government announced further easing of restrictions. Restaurants, cafes and bars can open after midnight with no restrictions on the number of visitors at the table. Nightclubs are open and concerts with a standing audience are allowed.

Access to most public places remains upon presentation of a vaccination certificate, a certificate of a recovered person or a negative test result for coronavirus.

Germany. From March 4th, unvaccinated citizens and residents of the country will be able to visit restaurants with a negative test for coronavirus. Nightclubs will open to vaccinated people: three doses of the vaccine or two doses and a negative coronavirus test will be required to enter.

Denmark. Masks are no longer required in public places and transport. Closed public places, such as restaurants and museums, do not check the vaccination status of visitors, so a certificate is not needed.

Spain has allowed not to wear masks outdoors. But if it is not possible to maintain a distance of one and a half meters, it is mandatory to wear a mask. As well as in public transport and enclosed spaces.

In Catalonia, you no longer need a vaccination certificate to visit catering and fitness clubs. Nightclubs are allowed to operate on weekends, bars and concert halls are also open again without restrictions.

In Aragon, restrictions on the work of bars and restaurants have been lifted, and certificates and certificates are not needed to visit them.

Italy has canceled the mask regime on the streets: from February 11th to March 31st, you need to wear a mask only in enclosed spaces and crowded places.

Vaccinated travelers can get the Italian Super Green Pass and visit public places. But for this, you will need to regularly take PCR tests or tests for antigens for coronavirus.

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Barcelona, Spain
Ease of restrictions will affect Barcelona, the capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia

In Cyprus, unvaccinated citizens and residents of the country can again visit restaurants and cafes, theaters and cinemas, entertainment complexes and stadiums, as well as check into local hotels. To do this, you will need a Cypriot Safe Pass with an antigen test result not older than 24 hours.

Slovakia expects to return to pre-pandemic life by the end of March. The gradual lifting of restrictions will begin on February 28th, but the government is still discussing which measures will be lifted first.

Finland has allowed bars and restaurants to remain open until midnight and sell alcohol until 11 p.m. Entrance to public places is free: references and certificates are no longer checked.

France also allowed not to wear a mask outdoors. Night clubs, parties and discos are no longer banned. Cafes and bars again serve all visitors, and not just those who have taken a table.

The Czech Republic plans to lift all domestic restrictions by March 1st. For example, from February 17th, entry to restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers and sports and cultural events is completely free.

In Sweden, cafes and restaurants have returned to work without restrictions, and references and certificates are no longer checked at public events and exhibitions. If the epidemic situation in the country does not worsen, the remaining restrictions will be lifted by April 1st.

How to travel in the EU during a pandemic: Paris, France
Citizens of non-EU countries need a compelling reason to travel to France. Restrictions do not apply to citizens and residents of France and other EU countries, as well as their relatives

How to travel to the EU without a visa

Many non-EU citizens need a Schengen visa to travel to the region anyway. However since the beginning of the pandemic, getting a visa has become more difficult. Some EU states have suspended the issuance of short-stay visas. And if they do, the processing of the application may take longer than before.

With a passport of a Caribbean country, visa-free entry to the EU states is allowed for 90 days in half a year: the document replaces the Schengen visa for traveling around the region.

Up to 90 day per half a year
visa-free stay in the EU for holders of Caribbean passports

Five Caribbean countries such as St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Lucia, allow you to get a second passport for a period of about six months under the state investment program. The minimum investment amount is $100,000.

Individual cost calculation of the Caribbean passport

A residence permit or citizenship of the European Union gives the right to enter the region even during a pandemic.

With a residence permit, you can stay in the country of residence without restrictions, in other states — up to 90 days in half a year. The exceptions are Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia: they are members of the European Union, but not included in the Schengen area. Therefore, residents of these countries receive a Schengen visa to visit other EU countries.

With an EU passport, you can stay in any state of the region for an unlimited amount of time.

Some EU countries allow foreigners to obtain a residence permit or passport by investment. The list of such countries, for example, includes Malta, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. In Austria, a residence permit is issued to financially independent persons.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent who helps to obtain a residence permit or a second citizenship in the Caribbean and in the European Union. If you want to travel the world without a visa, do not hesitate to contact our investment program experts for more information.

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16 EU countries that have softened the coronavirus rules for entry and stay