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European Union Considers Travel Ban on U.S. Passengers

European Union Considers Travel Ban on U.S. Passengers
Joe Cortez

A new initiative by the European Union could block American travelers from entering the sub-continent, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. A draft list suggests those flying from the U.S. could be denied entry, after the White House closed off travel from Europe to the United States in March 2020.

American flyers may be banned from entering the European Union, if a draft list of “acceptable travelers” makes it through the parliamentary body as the nations re-open borders. The New York Times reports a draft list is making its way through the EU capital of Brussels, and could put Americans on the list of “Unwelcome travelers.”

Potentially Closed Borders Come as COVID-19 Cases Spike

According to the list seen by the newspaper’s journalists and reportedly confirmed by two other EU officials, the United States would join Brazil, Russia, and up to 51 more nations on a ban list when borders begin to reopen in July. Other countries being debated on draft lists circulating through the commission include China, Cuba, Uganda and Vietnam.

The potential ban list comes as the United States is seeing another spike in cases related to the novel Coronavirus outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are over 2.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases across the nation, with over 119,000 deaths. Collectively, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reports 2.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the majority coming from Russia, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.

Closures May Be Retaliatory Against U.S. Policies

Although officials say that the potential ban lists are tied directly to novel Coronavirus outbreaks, it’s possible that the EU is striking back against the United States for closing borders. In March 2020, the White House released an executive order banning non-essential travel between the United States and over 20 European nations.

“Prohibiting American travelers from entering the European Union would have significant economic, cultural and geopolitical ramifications,” The Times reports. “Millions of American tourists visit Europe every summer. Business travel is common, given the huge economic ties between the United States and the E.U.”

As it stands today, diplomats are reportedly going over the two lists, and debating which nations should go on the ban list. A final list is expected to be finalized this week, with a final announcement set before July 1, 2020. Once implemented, the ban list could be revised as soon as every two weeks, and will be dependent on the curve of COVID-19 cases in the country.

View Comments (46)


  1. John Aldeborgh

    June 23, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    The EU is only hurting themselves if this is being done for political reasons, sounds like politics as usual. The longer the ban goes on, the more we figure out how to transact business without requiring travel. We’re teaching ourselves not to travel! I’m just fine spending my vacation dollars in the USA.

  2. rylan

    June 23, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Sure ban everyone… lets see just how fast major EU businesses and countries can’t make their debt payments as their economies fall into depression.

  3. bostontraveler

    June 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    The EU is doing the right thing. The pandemic is not under control nationally.
    It’s the US that is out of whack here, continuing to impose a ban on EU travelers when infection rates have dropped dramatically in Europe.

  4. lobo411

    June 23, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    1. The list is only an EU recommendation. Member states are still free to do as they please, and tourist destinations aren’t likely to shun what few customers they might attract.

    2. Most Americans have likely canceled their previously booked trips for this summer, and the odds that many will book new trips even if no ban is put into place are pretty low.

  5. cityflyer369

    June 23, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    You are jumping to conclusions and sound pretty salty. A number of European countries have already set up systems to regulate access to the country via index numbers based on the number of recent infections relative to the population size of the traveller’s country of origin. It is highly likely that such a system would also form the basis for travel restrictions on an EU-wide level.

    As for “we’re teaching ourselves not to travel! I’m just fine spending my vacation dollars in the USA”: Europeans have already learned to travel less since the US closed their borders for EU citizens in March.

  6. irishguy28

    June 24, 2020 at 1:15 am

    “the sub-continent”

    I think India will determine its own border policy and not subcontract that out to Brussels!

  7. FEasy

    June 24, 2020 at 2:00 am

    The list of “safe” countries is deliberately apolitical, based on health criteria. Based on those criteria, it is simply impossible to add the USA. Allowing travel from the USA now would make the whole exercise incoherent. The list is meant to be revised every two weeks, so the any ban is temporary and subject to regular review.

  8. El Puerco Volante

    June 24, 2020 at 3:30 am

    Excellent idea. Looking forward to those vacation dollars to stay in US

  9. Gigantor

    June 24, 2020 at 4:32 am

    Canada should follow the lead of the E.U. and keep its southern border closed for the foreseeable future. The behaviour of the US to stem the cases of COVID-19 has beenj a great failure.

  10. Marathon Man

    June 24, 2020 at 6:07 am

    I say ban us! That will teach us to pick competent leaders who make better policies to safeguard all citizens better than the convoluting mess we have now with this orange blob joker yappin about washington

    Of course most trumpers dont even have a passport so whatever

    (Btw I say this as someone w extensive family in Europe and we will miss them for a while. But if this helps change the state of the union then please by all means, send us the message!)

  11. kc1174

    June 24, 2020 at 6:15 am

    No it’s not retaliatory..

    It’s being done for the well-being of their citizens and countries that do not have the coronavirus under control are on the list.

    We do not have coronavirus under control.

    That’s it.

  12. 2stepbay

    June 24, 2020 at 6:20 am

    If I were on the EU side of the fence I’d be adverse to opening borders to US citizens until the Trump Admin demonstrated they actually had a comprehensive, workable plan to flatten the curve. Otherwise, the US chaotic approach to date, which has led to significant cases/deaths and a recent uptick in viral transmissions, will severely compromise actions of other countries who have employed meaningful strategies.

  13. gay

    June 24, 2020 at 6:24 am

    US citizens should be banned from everywhere until Trump is dumped. Trump is the original Ugly American, and he can’t keep his own country safe, no less sending his sheeples across the world to spread the Trump virus.

  14. Global Adventurer

    June 24, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Hopefully it passes. Less loud obnoxious people in the EU.

  15. toxman

    June 24, 2020 at 6:29 am

    It would make total sense. We banned travel to prevent the virus from coming into the USA. Now that we are the epicenter (until Brazil and Russia bump us out of first place) it is logical that other countries should ban travel from the USA to prevent the virus from getting into their country.

  16. PapaJack

    June 24, 2020 at 6:35 am

    The indicator mentioned was that the countries would look at the trends and measures taken to address the pandemic. Right now, certain parts of the US have done a piss poor effort and put politics over science. However, this is happening also in other countries, Brazil and originally the Netherlands and Sweden. We should have enough numbers now to be able to assess with a good degree of certainty the ability of an infected person being able to travel from these countries and what can be done about it.

    As the USA is one big country, Texas residents should be treated the same way as New Yorkers or Dakotans. Until the USA figures out how to contain this virus in a better way, they should not be allowed to travel to these countries.

  17. JMN57

    June 24, 2020 at 6:41 am

    What seems silly here is filtering travelers at the granularity of country. Don’t we believe in testing? Why can’t we develop a multi-step testing process to travel internationally? You get tested within x days of travel, at the airport another quick test is administered. Therefore the probability of anyone on your plane being infected is close to zero.

    The problem with government is that it is easier to regulate dysfunction rather than identify and implement creative solutions.

  18. wyt

    June 24, 2020 at 6:57 am

    From a pure risk assessment standpoint, this is entirely rational. Even for tourist-dependent economies within the EU, the greater part of their income is from EU travelers, who surely will not want to risk infection from Americans, especially when a disproportionate share of Americans with money to travel are Republicans who believe pandemic precautions stop at keeping the Chinese out, and masks are an affront to God.

  19. AJCNL

    June 24, 2020 at 7:05 am

    Of course travellers from the US should be kept out. EU countries largely have the virus under control, that is far from the situation in the US, where the peak is not yet reached and there seems little serious attempt to do so.

  20. Jcmontecarlo

    June 24, 2020 at 7:06 am

    Stay where you are !

  21. kkua

    June 24, 2020 at 7:11 am

    Americans are becoming global lepers with every political misstep. Lepers should be contained in their own colony (we need more compassionate humanitarians like Mother Theresa).

    We did it to ourselves for not heeding medical and scientific advise. This is the consequence we have to accept.

  22. Buzzman

    June 24, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Fully agree if I were in the shoes of the EU ministers, I wouldn’t let anyone in the EU from the USA… clearly the USA is completely out of control which I am sad to say as I am in Spain (since March 10) and will not go home until it gets figured out.

  23. mykeeb33

    June 24, 2020 at 7:18 am

    Doesn’t it make sense to ban the country with the highest number of cases in the world?

  24. the810

    June 24, 2020 at 7:27 am

    This is not a US-specific measure. Reopening of the external border will be gradual, based on the epidemiological situation in individual countries. US is way above the threshold, just like many other countries, therefore it won’t be included in the first wave of reopening.

  25. sjc2679

    June 24, 2020 at 7:38 am

    I like the very US centric criticism here of a potential, not actually yet enforced, not necessarily happening, potential ban.

    Given the rampant numbers in the US and the fact that Europe in general is slowly getting the virus under control whilst it is still rampant in the US (just look at Florida alone for the rapid increase) it would make complete sense. I’m only disappointed that it has taken quite so long.

    I also love the fact that people think companies won’t be able to meet their debt payments if American’s can’t travel. People will work and trade remotely, the whole pandemic has shown the absolutely excess of unnecessary travel previously taking place.

  26. Flyer420

    June 24, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Of course you can characterize the proposed EU policy as “politics” since these days everything is “politics.” The March US ban on EU arrivals was a day late and a dollar short, but it was pumped up to promote the idea of there being something done to protect us. Frankly, the inadequacies of the American government’s response to the pandemic are so glaringly evident, it is hard to see why an EU ban on American travelers isn’t anything more prudent than, say, President Trump’s ban on travel from China.

    By the way, Europe perhaps ought to be called a “sub continent” just like India is, but for the moment, Europe is a continent. (They drew up the rules.)

  27. sfoeuroflyer

    June 24, 2020 at 8:13 am

    Let’s get real. France and Spain both had vastly higher death rates than the US. Further the so called “spike” in cases in the US results from hugely more testing. In Europe and earlier in the US people were only tested when showing symptoms. So the asymptomatic cases were being missed. The US is now testing at a rate of over 500K per day. You test more and you find more. But if the tourist dependent economies of France, Italy, Spain, Greece etc want to commit suicide to make a stupid political point, send them shipments of hemlock. Oh and lets not forget the way the decision will murder their airlines.

  28. Kumar2013

    June 24, 2020 at 8:41 am

    International travel is the easiest to track, screen and filter. There’ a record of each visitor, ID, address and contacts. Plus the number of incoming visitors is a fraction of domestic movement. There’s simply no good reason to restrict intentional visitors but allow freedom of movement within borders, especially now that screening protocols and information about covid is known.

  29. TxPepper


    June 24, 2020 at 8:57 am

    @sfoeuroflyer…..1000 thumbs up for your comment if I could.

  30. D2travel

    June 24, 2020 at 9:13 am

    I think they should since so many Americans can’t be bothered to wear a mask thus creating severe spikes in new cases. I don’t believe the move is political, just another means of trying to protect themselves from the spread of Covid-19 and I don’t blame the EU one iota.

  31. colonius

    June 24, 2020 at 9:25 am

    @sfoeuroflyer: another salty, “God’s own country” comment. When Spain and Italy hit the height of the epidemic, their people could not travel anywhere. Not within Europe, largely not within their own country.

    As the US is the uncontrolled epicenter of the pandemic at the moment, it is paramount to keep you guys out for the moment. And the European economy will do much better with Corona under control and no US tourists than it would with US tourists and another wave of COVID-19.

    I also hope that the border between the US and Canada will remain closed after July 21. For example, all of British Columbia has about 130 active cases now, with zero cases (possibly one?) on Vancouver Island. We would like to keep it that way.

    You are very welcome in Europe (and in Canada) once the pandemic is controlled in the US. Unfortunately, I believe that this will take either a new president or a widely available vaccine.

  32. PaulMSN

    June 24, 2020 at 10:11 am

    sfoeuroflyer, the claim that the spikes in many states are due only to testing is absurd. Since hospitalizations match those rises, the numbers cannot be due to testing, unless testing somehow causes hospitalization.

  33. fotographer

    June 24, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Hey Gay…. what does Trump have to do with this… … stop being so much like a brat

  34. 91lsc

    June 24, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Trump got chastised by the mainstream media for blocking incoming European travel too soon. Then they said that he did not do it soon enough. Make America a shithole. Vote Democrat. Just look at any democrat-run big city or state.

  35. jybrick

    June 24, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Marathon Man

    Three idiots bringing their political opinions into a travel article.

  36. myisland

    June 24, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    This is political. Flu season is over and they know it. Internal German government documents were leaked.

  37. taffygrrl

    June 24, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    I find the comment that it’s the testing that is leading to so many cases interesting. I’m skeptical. Many other countries are doing more tests per capita, including the UAE, Russia, the UK, Singapore, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Belarus.

    But okay, let’s imagine the issue is that the US is testing more. We can use a country that is testing less and do some math to extrapolate.

    New Zealand has tested 7.8% of its population and found 1166 cases, which is 0.02% of the population. The US has tested 8.4% of the population and found 2,330,367 cases, which is 0.7% of the population. That means that, per capita, the US has found 35 times more COVID cases than New Zealand.

    Based on the theory that increased testing makes all the difference, if New Zealand did 62,000 more tests they’d find 34,000 new cases! That math just doesn’t hold up.

    And – going in the opposite direction, if the US tested only 7.8% of the population then they’d only find 66,000 infected people instead of 2.3 million. The math just doesn’t work.

  38. dtw209

    June 24, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    I wonder if this ban will be enforced on connections too

  39. PaulMSN

    June 25, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Trump is the primary reason the US response to the pandemic has been inadequate. That cannot be contested by rational people.

  40. ImportViking

    June 25, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Good to see most Americans here go full retard. Just as expected, and another good reason to keep them away from the civilized world.

    A few things here, as Joe Cortez really doesn’t understands what he’s writing about, as usual. Clickbait, we call it.

    First, ‘The EU’ doesn’t decide anything. It recommends its members to do things. In fact, every member state has its own policy, sometimes even banning fellow European countries or even have rules on regional level. Sweden, the UK, Russia and Spain are still no-go areas for most EU citizens, while the Swedish region of Gotland was accessible for Norwegians until today. How do you explain that if ‘the EU’ makes decisions?

    Second, this is about value and quality of life. EU countries (and Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc) have taken severe economic damage in order to protect their citizens’ lives. Life is valued high there. Now compare that with the US, Russia and Brazil, etc. Americans are literally worthless according to their government, as economy is much more important. Now who’s to keep the economy running when everyone’s dead on on the IC? How much is your ‘freedom’ or dollar worth when you’re six feet under? How difficult is it really to wear a face mask to protect yourself and others around you?

    Third: please don’t even pretend that tourism in the EU depends on Americans. Most Americans don’t ever leave their country, and those who do go on vacation to the Caribbean. Most turnover in European tourism comes from Europe and the Far East nowadays. Munich will survive if it sells a pint of festbier less to an American.

    Fourth: this affects many more countries than just the US. In fact, most countries that don’t have control over the virus or who don’t take enough measures to control it are or will be on it. So yes, please go on and take this as a personal and political insult from all of Europe to all of the US. That really makes sense.

    Fifth: this just goes for tourism. If Americans have any essential travel to do, they’re still able to get to Europe. But they’ll get scanned and/or tested and put in quarantine for two weeks. Just like Europeans with a death wish who want to travel to the US nowadays anyway. So there’s no real ban, unlike what Joe Cortez suggests.

    Conclusion: other than Joe Cortez suggests, this isn’t about ‘The EU’ taking ‘revenge’ on US border closures. It’s about protecting its citizens and quality of life, based on a few obvious parameters.

  41. BC Shelby

    June 25, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    …on Wednesday, Mr. Trump closed down federal funding for testing in the states by Executive Order. while cases from the first wave are on the rise, in some states sharply (which includes hospitalisations), after states re-opened too fast and too early and too .His action shows a blatant lack of concern for the well being of the nation’s citizens and visitors while he fears larger numbers of cases will hurt his political chances in less than five months

    Back in March he he said he didn’t want a cruise ship off the California cost to dock because it would increase the number of cases making him look bad.

  42. htb

    June 25, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    As far as I understand, travel for tourism had been banned within Europe for months and still is banned for everyone from outside Europe. So the plan is not to ban Americans from entering Europe. It’s all about starting to allow tourists in again, based on the risk of allowing the virus in along with the people.
    In other words, it’s based on numbers paired with an assessment on how reliable those numbers are.
    Currently the numbers for the USA look bad. Therefore Trump had decided that cutting finding for testing is a good idea. If that leads to a massive drop in numbers, the assessment of for these numbers were obtained would still keep the USA on the list.

  43. hfb606

    June 25, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Screw Europe and its arrogance. Europeans can stay out of the US. We’ll keep out money here and see how long it is before the paupers in Europe start whining for money….

  44. edgewood49

    June 27, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Being American I should be insulted by the ban on US travels to the EU, however there is a reason folks and thats called Covid19, wake up and smell the coffee. International air travel is the greatest way to spread a virus, if you look at the cell phone location tracking way back when Wuhan had it’s beginning of the virus look at the number of cell phones traveling from Wuhan to the west coast of the US there’s your transmission folks. So if your a European would you want people from the US traveling to your country, hell no. Just like we banned travel from the Chinese.

    Wake up and smell the coffee

  45. roelb

    June 28, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Let’s not forget who started off the travel ban hysteria.. Right: Trump. He was the first to impose a ban on chinese, and later on anyone who had been in the EU Schengen zone, the UK or Ireland – effectively a ban on EU and UK citizens. That ban is still there and there is no sign of it being lifted soon.

    The EU only created the current travel ban weeks after Trump started. And surely reciprocity was a factor, even though officials will deny it. The problem for politicians is that once you’ve started going down this rabbit hole, crawling back out is hard. As long as Trump is not opening back up to Europeans, there probably won’t be a lot of incentive for EU politicians to consider opening back up the other way around.

    I am opposed to any kind of ban on travel between western countries. We are so interconnected and depend heavily on that. Business operate on both sides of the pond and some are struggling with specific skills stuck behind a border but required somewhere else. Couples and families have been seperated, stuck behind borders that they can no longer pass. For no good reason.

  46. Dschaimz

    June 29, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Don‘t worry about travel bans. Being the leading country for Covid 19 infections and what looks like near civil war on your streets, the last issue you have is that littereally no country is going to be lifting travel bans on US citizens any time soon.

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