UPDATE: These are latest travel restrictions in place around Europe

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
UPDATE: These are latest travel restrictions in place around Europe

Rising Covid-19 infection rates around Europe and the threat of new variants have pushed governments to impose tight travel restrictions for those entering the country. Here's a run down of the restrictions in place around countries in Europe.


The EU

Certain countries in the EU, notably France and Germany have pushed for a unified response across to bloc to the issue of borders and how to control them.

But given that countries in the EU are in charge of the own borders the response hasn't always been unified, with many states unilaterally closing their frontiers during the first wave of the pandemic in Spring 2020 and then again after the emergence of the variant discovered in the UK before Christmas.

In April last year the EU did ban non-essential travel from all non-EU countries, apart from those on a safe list which included Australia and New Zealand.

While there's a long list of exemptions to this travel ban such as EU citizens and residents who need to return home, those travelling for urgent family matters and health workers, the EU's external borders remain tightly restricted in all member states.

This week the EU Commission said it recommends all travellers from outside the EU be required to produce a negative Covid-19 test carried out within 72 hours of travel, in order to board any transport.

As for travel within the EU, the Commission is keen for borders to stay open to ensure the single market can function, but simply advised against all non-essential travel. It also proposed classifying the areas of the EU with very high infection rates as "dark red zones". All travellers from these regions would be forced to undergo pre-travel testing and quarantine after arrival. The European Council will decide whether to adopt the proposal.

But in the meantime countries around Europe are imposing ever-tighter restrictions. Here's a run down.



Germany earlier in January introduced new rules to deal with new coronavirus variants, detected in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.
People arriving from these countries have to bring proof of a recent negative coronavirus test when they get to Germany. However, there can be extra restrictions such as non-EU residents not being allowed into the country without good reason. 
On top of this, people from affected countries have to quarantine for 10 days. The self-isolation can be ended after a negative Covid test taken on the fifth day at the earliest. 
In general, anyone coming from a 'risk area' (50 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days) has to get a test as soon as they arrive in Germany (or they can bring a recent negative test with them) and they have to go into a 10-day domestic quarantine. Agan, this can be ended after a test taken on the fifth day or later.  It's known as the 'two-test strategy'.
Germany has no general domestic travel bans in place but there is a call from authorities for everyone to avoid non-essential travel, either within the country or abroad. 
Some areas of Germany have restrictions on how far you can travel when the number of infections reaches 200 new infections per 100,000 residents in seven days. This is known as the '15 km rule'. Residents have to look at local government rules regularly to find out if they are affected. The aim is to stop people from going on day trips.


In Sweden, travellers from most EU countries, as well as people travelling from non-EU countries who are exempted from the EU's entry ban, have no requirement to get tested or quarantine on arrival in the country if they are symptom-free. 
There are different rules in place for people travelling from the UK, Denmark, South Africa and Brazil, as well as people who were in any of those countries within the 14 days prior to arrival.
There is a ban on entry to Sweden from the UK and Denmark, but there are several exceptions to these bans, including Swedish citizens and people who live or work in Sweden. Other than Swedish citizens, anyone arriving to Sweden from these countries must bring proof of a negative coronavirus test no older than 72 hours, as well as proof that they fall into one of the categories exempted from the entry ban.
People arriving from the UK, South Africa, or Brazil, or who spent time in those countries over the last 14 days, are asked to self-isolate for seven days on arrival in Sweden.
UPDATE: On Sunday January 24th Sweden imposed a travel ban on Norway after an outbreak of the new variant in and around Oslo. The ban will be in place until at least February 14th. At the same time, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is reintroducing the advice against unnecessary travel to Norway. The decision is valid until further notice.


During that time they should avoid close contact with others "as much as possible" and anyone sharing a household with them should also stay home. People in this category are also urged to get tested for the coronavirus as soon as possible after arrival, and again after five days. Find more information from the Public Health Agency here.
France essentially has a two-speed programme of travel restrictions in place.
Sticking to the rules of the EU travel ban anyone travelling from outside the EU (including the UK) now needs to demonstrate they have an essential reason for entering the country. This allows work or study-related travel but rules out tourism, family visits or visits from second home owners.
Those who do have an essential reason for travel need to present a negative Covid test and a travel certificate at the border. All arrivals with the exception of hauliers then need to self-isolate for seven days and then take a second test. The quarantine is an honour-based system, and no checks are being carried out.
Those travelling from within the EU had previously not been the subject of any restrictions, but from Sunday January 23rd people arriving by air or sea need a negative Covid test before entry. Those arriving by rail or road do not need a test - largely because it is impractical to police those borders - and cross-border workers and hauliers are also exempt.
If you are travelling from within the EU you can enter France for any reason, although both French and European leaders have called on people to reduce non-essential travel as much as possible.


Under Austria's quarantine rules, anyone returning from any "high-risk" area will be required to quarantine for ten days - regardless of whether they have had a negative test recently, or if they promise to have one in Austria.
After five days in isolation, people will be entitled to take a free coronavirus test in order to leave quarantine early.
Once a negative result has been confirmed, they will be allowed to leave quarantine. 
Without the test, quarantine will last ten days. 
"High risk" countries are any country which has a 14-day incidence rate of more than 100 positive cases of coronavirus per 100,000 residents. 
As it currently stands, each of Austria’s neighbours is over this threshold. 

Denmark requires everyone travelling to the country by air to provide a negative Covid-19 test no more than 24 hours old when boarding flights. Foreign nationals who live in Denmark are subject to the rule, as are Danish citizens.

The rules came into effect on January 9th and are scheduled to expire on February 7th.

Non-Danish nationals who live in regions of Sweden and Germany which border Denmark can travel to Denmark with a negative Covid-19 test up to one week old, provided they have a ‘valid' reason for travel, when entering at land or bridge borders. Non-resident foreigners must provide a negative Covid-19 test no more than 24 hours old. 

Non-Danes who live in the UK and South Africa are essentially banned from entering Denmark at the current time, while incoming flights from the United Arab Emirates are not permitted to land in Denmark.

Denmark recommends self-isolation for 10 days after entering the country but does not enforce it, although reports have suggested authorities are considering introducing such a requirement.

The country’s foreign ministry is currently advising against all foreign travel.

READ ALSO: These are Denmark’s entry rules for negative Covid-19 tests


Italy's travel restrictions remain strict, and vary depending on the country you’re travelling from.

Non-essential travel remains banned from most countries outside Europe, including the US and Canada. Those who have essential reasons to travel need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

EU travellers need to get a test within the 48 hours before departing for Italy. People who arrive without proof of a negative test result have to quarantine for 14 days.

Most travel to Italy from the UK is still banned due to concerns about a new strain of the virus, with the exception of those who are legally resident in Italy and those with urgent reasons for travel. Anyone eligible to travel from the UK must show two negative test results and also undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Italy also currently has a domestic travel ban in place, with limits on travel between all regions.


Spain has adopted measures in line with EU recommendations which means there are effectively no restrictions on those travellers arriving in Spain from EU/ EEA countries providing that those who travel from a country classified as high risk country present a negative test.

And the list of high risk countries currently includes the majority of the countries in the EU/EEA.

In addition Spain has banned all travel from the UK except for those returning Spanish citizens or those with legal residency in Spain.

For travellers coming from countries outside of the EU, Spain is following the guidelines set by the EU (see above).

If you travel to, or transit, Spain and are not admitted, you will be placed in immigration detention for up to several days, until a flight on the same airline becomes available to take you back to your point of origin.

There is no mandatory quarantine in place for new arrivals in Spain but all passengers travelling by air or sea to Spain must fill out and sign an online Health Control Form 48 hours prior to travel and undertake undertake a Covid-19 test at least 72 hours prior to travel.

On completion, travellers are issued a personal and non-transferable QR code which they must show (electronically or hardcopy) at airport health controls on arrival, where they may be asked to undergo a temperature check and visual health assessment

Overland travellers to Spain are exempt from the above mentioned entry requirements and are therefore not currently required to present a Covid test, or Health Control Form on entry by road or rail.

Travel within Spain itself is limited with most of Spain's regions currently restricting travel in and out of their territories unless it is for justified reasons. 

READ MORE: LATEST: These are updated Covid-19 rules for regions across Spain


Switzerland's border with its neighbours, Schengen zone countries and most of Europe are open.

Arrivals from some nations and regions that are considered to be "high risk" due to their infection rate are required to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
Flights from the UK and South Africa are banned, but at the time of publication the Federal Council was proposing lifting that ban. "For these two countries, it is a question of applying the same regime as for all the other third states", the government said.
"Persons who do not have rights of free movement are only permitted to enter Switzerland from a high-risk country for stays of less than 90 days that do not require authorisation in cases of special necessity".
There are no internal travel restrictions.

Everyone traveling to Norway has to quarantine for ten days. The only exception is for people returning or arriving from "yellow" and "green" countries where infection rates are low.

Note that even if you have received the vaccine it does not change the quarantine rules yet.

The quarantine period can be reduced to seven days if the traveller has two negative Covid-19 tests after traveling to Norway. The tests must be conducted on day one and day seven after arrival.

On Monday January 18th Norway introduced mandatory Covid-19 testing for travellers at its borders.

Those who fail to comply face a fine of 20,000 Norwegian Kroner.

All travellers returning or arriving to Norway must register with the government before arrival.

READ MORE: What are the Covid-19 rules for travel to and from Norway?

Around Europe...

International passengers must now test negative for coronavirus if they wish to travel to the UK.

So-called "travel corridors", which exempted passengers arriving from some countries from quarantine requirements , have been suspended meaning all arrivals must self-isolate for 10 days.

Given the UK is in lockdown these travel restrictions are due to remain in place until February 15th but likely much longer.

The Netherlands government "strongly advises" against all travel to the country unless it is strictly necessary.

Those who do travel must provide a negative test and then self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.

The Belgian government requires all arrivals apart from some exceptions such as hauliers to provide a negative Covid test prior to arrival. And Until March "each person who stayed at least 48 hours in a red zone is subject to a quarantine measure which can be ended through a negative PCR-rest on day 7 of the quarantine."

All passengers have to register.

















Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also