The European Union Council announced Tuesday, June 30, 2020, that Canada is one of 15 countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter Europe as of July 1, 2020.

The 14 other countries on the EU Council’s “safe list” are Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. China will also be deemed “safe” as long as it lifts travel restrictions on EU citizens. The United States, along with countries such as Brazil and Russia, were not included on the safe list and travelers will continued to be banned for the time being because of the large number of coronavirus cases.

The EU countries that may now open their borders to Canadians are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Members of the European Free Trade Association, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are also included in the list of countries that may welcome travelers from “safe” countries.

Though EU members are now allowed to welcome travelers from approved countries, they are not required to do so, so be sure to check a country’s own specific rules for entry before you book a flight. The EU Council noted in a press release that “The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed.”

Furthermore, the list of “safe” countries will be reviewed every two weeks and may be updated by the Council. The press release goes on to state that “Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation. If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied.”

According to the EU Council, the determination of whether a country is safe is based on the following criteria:

  • number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
  • stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
  • Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.

For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions :

  • EU citizens and their family members
  • long-term EU residents and their family members
  • travelers with an essential function or need, as listed in the Recommendation.”

Important things to consider before you travel outside of Canada

Should You Pack Your Bags?

While many Canadians yearning for a European vacation will be excited by the lifting of the EU’s travel ban, it’s important to be fully aware of the risks.

On its website , the government of Canada is still advising all Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada and to avoid all cruise ship travel. The website states that “If you choose to travel despite these advisories, be aware that commercial airspace closures and movement restrictions can occur without warning and could prevent your return to Canada. The Government of Canada is not planning additional facilitated flights to bring Canadians home during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Furthermore, if you do decide to do some European globetrotting, Canadians are still subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon return to Canada.

© 2020 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

This Forbes article was legally licensed through AdvisorStream.

Naveen Kumar profile photo
Naveen Kumar
Associate Investment Advisor,
Accureta Wealth Management™, HollisWealth®, a division of Industrial Alliance Securities Inc.
Office : 647-200-5204
Direct : 647-720-8883
Schedule a Meeting