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Council of the European Union
New Council recommendations lift all travel restrictions between EU countries and travel into the EU from another country.
On 4 January 2023, EU countries agreed on a coordinated precautionary approach in response to the latest COVID-19 developments in China, taking into account the need for sufficient, reliable data and China’s easing of travel restrictions as of 8 January 2023.
EU countries coordinate in the Council on facilitating free movement in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. They adopt common recommendations on travel measures that are regularly updated and adjusted to the current epidemiological situation.
The latest Council recommendations on travel measures were adopted on 13 December 2022.
Under the new recommendations member states should impose no restrictions on travel on the grounds of public health. However, the recommendations contain some safeguards to cover a deteriorating epidemiological situation or appearance of a new variant of concern.
On this page:
No restrictions should be imposed on free movement between EU countries.
When you travel within the EU you are not required to fill in a passenger locator form or have a valid EU digital COVID certificate providing proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test.
The Re-open EU website provides information on travel and health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in:
It includes all the essential information on borders, available means of transport, travel restrictions, public health and safety measures such as physical distancing or wearing of face masks, as well as other practical information for travellers.
You can use the travel planner to plan your travels safely between EU countries.
Information on Re-open EU is available in 24 languages and is updated frequently. It is also available as a mobile app.
If an EU country considers free movement restrictions are necessary due to a severe worsening of the epidemiological situation these restrictions should be limited to requiring a valid EU digital COVID certificate. Travellers not holding a valid certificate could be required to undergo a test prior to or after arrival.
Infographic – EU digital COVID certificate
Children under the age of 12 should not be required to have a valid EU digital COVID certificate and should be exempted from any further requirement.
Travellers with an essential function or need should not be subject to any measures on arrival that would impede the purpose of the travel, including the possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate. Travellers with an essential function or need include:
Persons living in border regions and travelling across the border on a daily or frequent basis for the purpose of work, education, family, medical care or caregiving should also be exempted from the possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate.
Urgent, temporary restrictions can be adopted when a variant of concern or interest is detected in an EU country or region.
These measures are a so-called ‘emergency brake’ to allow for rapid reaction to worsening conditions. If the emergency brake is activated, EU countries could reintroduce, in addition to the possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate, a requirement to undergo, after entry to their territory, quarantine or self-isolation or testing.
Such measures should be communicated at least 48 hours in advance to the other member states through the integrated political crisis response (IPCR) network.
Transport workers should be exempted from quarantine and, when a test is required, rapid antigen tests (RATs) should be preferred, to avoid transport or supply chain disruptions.
No restrictions on travels into the EU from another country should be imposed.
In case of severe worsening of the epidemiological situation in EU or non-EU countries, member states should decide in a coordinated manner to reintroduce appropriate requirements for travellers prior to their departure.
Travellers should be allowed to enter the EU if they meet one of the following conditions:
EU countries could also apply additional measures on arrival such as additional testing or quarantine.
Children under 12 years of age should not be required to be in the possession of a proof of vaccination, recovery or a test.
Travellers with an essential function or need should not be subject to any measures on arrival that would impede the purpose of the travel. Travellers with an essential function or need include:
An urgent, temporary restriction on all travel into the EU from a third country or region can be adopted by member states:
The emergency brake applies to non-EU nationals who have stayed in that non-EU country or region at any time during the 14 days before departure towards the EU.
Such a restriction should expire after 21 days unless member states decide to shorten it or extend it for an additional period. If the emergency brake is triggered, EU countries should discuss possible coordinated measures in the Council, in cooperation with the European Commission.
Member states should use the EU digital COVID certificate or third-country equivalent certificates as proof of vaccination and recovery.
Where no equivalent certificate exists, EU countries could accept a proof of vaccination, recovery or test issued by a third country if the authenticity, validity and integrity can be verified.
The EU has been working together with member states to contain the spread of the virus and support national healthcare systems in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To slow down the transmission of the virus, EU leaders agreed on 17 March 2020 on a coordinated temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU, which applied until 30 June 2020. In June 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU and the possible lifting of such restrictions. This recommendation had last been updated on 22 February 2022.
The decision on whether to introduce restrictions on free movement to protect public health remains the responsibility of the member states. To avoid fragmentation and disruption of services, and to ensure transparency and predictability for citizens and businesses, the Council adopted a recommendation establishing common criteria and a common framework on travel measures within the EU. This recommendation had last been updated on 25 January 2022.
The new recommendations were adopted by the Council on 13 December 2022.
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COVID-19: travel measures – Consilium – Présidence française du Conseil de l'Union européenne 2022