EU adds 5 new countries to free travel list

The Nation  |  Jun 18, 2021

Five new countries including the US were added on Friday to the EU's travel list, lifting entry restrictions against the coronavirus for international arrivals.

EU governments agreed to add the US, North Macedonia, Serbia, Lebanon, and Albania to the list, their representative Council of the EU announced.

The list also included Taiwan, which China considers a “breakaway province,” while Taipei insists on its independence since 1949 and currently maintains independent diplomatic relations with at least 16 nations.

Restrictions for travelers from two of China's special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macao, were also lifted with the condition of reciprocity.

The decision updated the list already featuring Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and China in case of reciprocity.

Residents of these countries can visit the EU for non-essential purposes regardless of their vaccination status.

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The free travel list is considered a recommendation for EU members, whose governments are allowed to make exceptions and allow visitors from other non-EU countries.

The bloc decided to restrict the entry of non-EU nationals to its territory last March in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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