Latest update on COVID-19 travel restrictions to Schengen area for September 2021
Published on: 16 September 2021

As the autumn tourist season begins, the Schengen area continues to welcome tourists and other non-essential travelers to its 26 Member States amid the ongoing pandemic. Indeed, much of the continent remains open to arrivals. However, those considering travel to Europe should be aware that various travel restrictions to the Schengen area for September continue to remain in place. Today’s blog will therefore examine travel restrictions to the Schengen area for September for two of the most visited destinations in the zone: France and Germany. In addition, you will learn general information about Schengen area travel, including what vaccines are approved for to enter the Schengen area, and the new list of countries considered as high-risk areas.

[Published on 16 September 2021]

Disclaimer: Please note that this update for COVID-19 travel restrictions to Schengen area may vary from the date it was published and is subject to change.

Travel restrictions to Schengen area for September: General guidelines

  • Because the Schengen area has a common-border policy, once you successfully enter in the zone—regardless of which country you enter—you will be able to travel freely throughout it, without being subject to country specific entry restrictions.
  •  The countries which comprise the Schengen area have a general collective agreement regarding travel policy, allowing, in principle, the unrestricted arrival of travelers from an agreed-upon list of countries from its White List (i.e. states considered the most minimally affected by COVID-19). 
  • Keep in mind, however, that various European countries apply the Schengen area entry restrictions differently. (For example, recently Estonia announced that four EU countries had been added to its red list). Because of this, you should check the specific restrictions in place in the European country you are entering. 
  • Is the Schengen tourist visa open for travelers in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Happily, while Schengen area entry restrictions remain in place, most countries are now allowing the entry of vaccinated travellers for tourism and other non-essential purposes. However, restrictions continue to apply for vaccinated travelers from certain countries (for example, Italy currently does not admit tourists from Bangladesh, Brazil, India, or Sri Lanka—even if they have proof of vaccination). 
  • The countries discussed below (and all of the Schengen states) have agreed on the vaccines approved for to enter the Schengen area. The following vaccines are the most commonly accepted: Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca.

Travel restrictions to Schengen area for September: Updates

  • In the final days of August, the EU took the United States—as well as a number of other countries, off its “White List,” which means that it is no longer recommending that Americans be granted unrestricted access to the zone. 
  • Additionally, Estonia just announced that four EU countries had been added to its red list. This new list of countries considered as high-risk areas include Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania and San Marino. 
  • With the EU reserving its right to add or remove countries from its White List, please keep in mind that travel restrictions to the Schengen area for September are subject to change in the coming months. For the latest Schengen area entry restrictions, contact us here.

France

  • France has different entry rules/restrictions for unvaccinated vs vaccinated travellers. In principle, if you are vaccinated and looking to travel to France, you will face significantly fewer restrictions than if you are unvaccinated. 
  • However, vaccinated individuals will still need to provide certain documents in order to enter France. These include the following: 
    • Sworn declaration (via the French Ministry of Interior)
    • Evidence of being vaccinated
  • Unvaccinated travelers seeking entry to France will be subject to a variety of restrictions, which depend on the country they are arriving from (or have spent the past 10 days in). 
  • France, like many countries, classifies other countries according to color (Green, Orange, Red) based on how seriously those countries are affected by COVID-19. 
  • Is the Schengen tourist visa open for France? Generally speaking, yes. In principle, it is now possible to apply for a Schengen tourist to France—with some restrictions. Vaccinated individuals can enter France for tourism from any country. However, unvaccinated travelers will only be able to travel to France for touristic purposes if they are arriving from Green countries (see below for more info). 
  • Green countries are considered by France to be minimally affected by the virus; France therefore subjects arrivals from Green countries to fewer restrictions (relative to those arriving from Orange and Red list countries). In contrast, Red list countries are those which are considered to be most dangerously affected by COVID-19. Travelers from red countries are considered more likely to carry the virus with them into France; arrivals from red countries are subject to the most intense restrictions. 

Green List

  • All of the countries in the European Union, as well as those below, are considered Green countries.
    • Andorra, the Holy See, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland), and Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bosnia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Comoros Islands, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
  • Unvaccinated travelers from Green countries seeking to enter France are subject to the following: 
    • Must present certificate of international travel exception document.
    • Submit a negative pre-flight (minimum 72 hrs prior) COVID-19 test result.
      • Individuals arriving from the following countries will need to submit a negative pre-flight (minimum 24 hrs prior) COVID-19 test result: Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal.
      • Individuals with immunity from COVID due to prior infection may submit evidence of their prior infection instead. 

Red List

  • All of the countries below are considered Red countries:
    • Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Indonesia, Iran, Maldives, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Suriname, Tunisia and Turkey. 
  • Unvaccinated travelers from Red countries seeking to enter France are subject to the following: 
    • Must present certificate of international travel exception document. 
    • Ban on the entry of everyone except those with “pressing grounds”.
    • Submit a negative pre-flight (minimum 48 hrs prior) COVID-19 test result (for PCR tests).
      • Individuals with immunity from COVID due to prior infection may submit evidence of their prior infection instead. 
    • Immediate testing upon entry to France. 
    • 10-day long post-arrival quarantine, overseen by security officials.

Orange List

  • All of the countries not found on the above red and green country lists should be considered an Orange country.
  • Unvaccinated travelers from Orange countries seeking to enter France are subject to the following: 
    • Must present certificate of international travel exception document. 
    • Ban on the entry of everyone except those with “pressing grounds”.
    • Submit a negative pre-flight (minimum 72 hrs prior) COVID-19 test result (for PCR tests). Alternatively, passengers can choose to submit a negative pre-flight (minimum 48 hrs prior) COVID-19 test result (for Antigen test).
      • Individuals with immunity from COVID due to prior infection may instead submit evidence of their prior infection.
      • Individuals entering from the UK will need to submit a negative pre-flight (minimum 24 hrs prior) COVID-19 test result.
    • Possible spontaneous testing upon entry to France. 
    • Week-long post-arrival isolation. 

Germany

  • Germany allows the entry of unrestricted, non-essential travelers from the EU and non-EU Schengen states, as well as the following countries: Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Jordan, Macao, Moldova, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uruguay. 
  • Anyone traveling from a county not listed above can travel to Germany so long as they are vaccinated (and present evidence of this). 
  • Unvaccinated individuals who are arriving from countries not listed above are barred from traveling to Germany unless they have an urgent need. 
  • Vaccinated individuals must therefore present proof of vaccination in order to enter Germany—even if they are from the EU. Please note that Germany only accepts proof of vaccination that is written in English, German, French, Italian, or Spanish.
  • Unlike France, Germany does not classify other countries according to color. Instead of “Orange” and “Red’ lists, Germany puts  “high risk areas” and “areas of virus variants of concern.”
  •  Individuals arriving from countries on the high-risk areas or areas of virus variants of concern lists (or those who stayed in any of the listed countries in the 10 days before their intended arrival) must do the following: 
    • Present a negative COVID-19 test (even if they are fully vaccinated) taken 48 either to 72 hrs before flying, for antigen and PCR tests, respectively. 
    • Self-isolate for 10 days post-entry—even if they are vaccinated. 
    • Where the “variants of concern” list is currently empty, the following countries are on the “high risk” list: 
      • Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominica, Egypt, Eswatini, Fiji, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi , Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Russian Federation, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Sudan, Surinam, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
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