EU Recommendation for Non-Essential Travellers
On 25th June 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU. This is an extension of the Communication created by the European Commission back on 16th March 2020 which imposed an interim ban on non-essential travel from third countries into the “EU+ area”. This drastic measure was implemented by all Schengen Member States, the four Schengen Associated States as well as Ireland and the UK albeit at their discretion. Although this was supposedly intended to be an interim measure, this collective policy has been prolonged and extended by all EU Member States until 30th June 2020.
Having regard to the pandemic, the Communication executed on 16th March 2020 was the emblem of EU officials emphasising the need to take a joint and aligned approach in limiting the introduction, spread and transmission of COVID-19 throughout the European Union. However, now that the death toll from COVID-19 has dwindled and the number of COVID-19 cases have significantly diminished, EU travel restrictions will gradually begin to lift from 1st July 2020.
Considering the falling COVID-19 rates, the purpose of this Recommendation is that EU Member States uniformly apply entry conditions for third country nationals to travel into the EU from 1st July 2020. It must be remembered that Member States have complete discretion to adopt this Recommendation or choose not to. Yet, it is with great anticipation that all Member States will choose to adopt this Recommendation also.
- Upon deciding whether third country nationals should be admitted into an EU country, residence in a third country where the ban on non-essential travel has been lifted will be the determining factor. This does not include admission of third country nationals based on nationality.
- Upon determining the admission of third country nationals wishing to enter the EU for non-essential travel, the average number of COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants should be taken into consideration.
- Individuals exempt to the Recommendation are the
a) Essential travellers in specific categories:
Healthcare professionals and researchers, frontier workers, seasonal workers in agriculture, transport personnel, passengers in transit, passengers travelling for urgent family matters, persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons, third country nationals travelling for their studies, qualified third-country workers who must travel for employment purposes and cannot postpone work or perform it abroad.
b) Travellers, whether it be for essential or non-essential purposes, who are either:
Union citizens in accordance to Article 20 (1) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU); or
third country nationals of countries that have agreements with the EU which grants them the same rights of freedom of movement as EU citizens, including their respective family members.
c) Travellers, whether it be for essential or non-essential proposes, who are long term residents in accordance to the Long-term Residence Directive or derive their rights to reside in the EU from either national law or other EU Directives or hold long-term visas, including their respective family members.
In alignment with this Recommendation, the EU has been tirelessly deliberating and drafting lists of countries that will be eligible to enter the EU from 1st July 2020, when EU borders are scheduled to open.
There are 2 draft lists: one comprises of countries that will not be permitted entry and the other lists the countries which will be permitted entry from July. The following countries are set to be allowed to enter the EU’s territory from July:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China- subject to confirmation of reciprocity
The decision to permit the above-mentioned countries entry and not countries such as the UK, US and Russia is based on epidemiological data and the current COVID-19 statistics. However, it is speculated that this has caused much disagreement between nations based on the reliability and accuracy of COVID-19 data. The EU is scheduled to release a final list and alter it by permitting other countries to enter once COVID-19 becomes less prevalent globally.
Should you wish to seek further information on the Recommendation, please visit: https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2020/EN/COM-2020-287-F1-EN-MAIN-PART-1.PDF
If you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance regarding international travel, visa applications or other immigration matters, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at email@example.com or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.