European countries scrap COVID-19 travel health certificates

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries across the globe introduced travel health certificates.

These documents were a way for nations to monitor and control the spread of the virus through international travel.

As countries attempt to recover from the pandemic and encourage tourism in a post-COVID-19 world, these health certificates are gradually being removed.

Though some European nations maintain certain travel restrictions for foreign arrivals, health certificates are no longer a requirement.

British citizens can now travel to many European countries without facing any entry restrictions.

Schengen nations, including France, Germany, and Spain, have limited or no COVID-19 requirements.

All UK travellers need to follow are standard visa policies, which will soon include the ETIAS visa waiver.

What was the purpose of a travel health certificate?

Travel health certificates were used to help support authorities during the pandemic. They allowed international travel to resume in a safe and managed way, by monitoring positive cases entering and leaving a country.

Before travelling, international passengers were required to complete an online form with their personal details, as well as any COVID-19 information.

Data varied from country to country, but generally included vaccination status, and any negative test results.

Some health forms also required travellers to state whether they were experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms.

This allowed authorities to assess whether a passenger could potentially be bringing the virus into the country.

In addition to pre-screening overseas visitors, the forms acted as a point of contact between local governments and individual arrivals.

If a passenger tested positive for COVID-19, the health forms provided the necessary information to contact all those that had been in close contact with that passenger.

In this way, authorities could interrupt possible chains of infection.

Boosting tourism in Europe after COVID-19

Most European countries have been gradually reopening to international travel over the last year.

Though COVID-19 cases are still high in a number of nations, governments are attempting to manage cases while allowing travel to resume.

Economies have suffered greatly from the drastic decrease in tourism, so boosting this sector is a top priority across Europe.

While strict travel policies have been in place, tourists have taken to travelling to countries that require little or no additional documentation.

This is especially true for non-vaccinated travellers, as many nations have had a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Nations are encouraging tourists by loosening coronavirus restrictions, which includes removing travel health certificates from the list of mandatory requirements.

Restriction-free travel in Europe

Most European countries have removed all COVID-19 requirements for international travel. Currently, only Spain have restrictions in place for visitors wishing to enter the country.

Some nations removed all rules at the start of the year.

The UK was one of the first countries to do this back in March, along with Norway, Poland, Romania, and a number of others. Gradually, all other European countries have followed.

British citizens can now travel to anywhere in Europe (minus Spain) without needing any COVID-19 documents.

Spain’s COVID-19 regulations

Spain is currently the only European country that maintains COVID-19 restrictions for non-EU arrivals. Travellers from the UK can visit Spain, however they must follow the relevant rules and have the correct health documents.

British passengers arriving in Spain must have one of the following: a COVID-19 vaccine certificate, a recovery certificate, or a negative COVID-19 test result.

The vaccine certificate must show that the individual was vaccinated at least 14 days and at most 270 days before, or they have received a booster dose.

Until recently, Spain has also had a travel health certificate, which was mandatory for certain passengers. This requirement was completely removed on 20 September.

Other countries that have removed all rules

Many nations outside of Europe have also relaxed COVID-19 restrictions for foreign visitors. British citizens can now travel to many countries without needing any coronavirus paperwork.

Mexico was the first country in the world to remove all additional rules for arrivals, lifting them all on 1 January.

Other countries without restrictions include: Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Malaysia, Oman, and Vietnam, among others.

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