Brussels, 23 February 2022 (TDI): The European Union (EU) member states have formally decided to lift the travel ban on non-EU country nationals who have received vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Travelers will be able to return to the European Union starting March 1st. This mandate came into effect seeing the world vaccination rates and how the pandemic has evolved.

According to the Council, non-essential travelers will be able to enter the EU countries starting March 1st if they have a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO).

Previously the EU had placed restrictions on certain vaccines, which included Chinese and Indian variants. However, the new mandate completely reverses.

Hence taking away added pressure from individuals who had received other vaccines. The WHO-approved vaccines include; Sinopharm, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech, Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax.

The EU Bloc Council has introduced amendments to respond to the evolution of the pandemic and the increasing vaccination uptake and administration of booster doses.

Likewise, the recognition of a growing number of certificates issued by third countries as equivalent to the EU digital COVID certificate is also a condition.

Travelers who have not received an approved vaccine may require a test before departure. Additionally, travelers will only be allowed to enter if the vaccine had been administered 14 days prior or in some cases 270 days prior to departure. Vaccine administration older than eight months may require a booster shot.

A negative PCR test before departure could also be required for individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, as well as for those who have been vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine but do not hold an EU or equivalent certificate.

Additional quarantine and isolation may be required for travelers along with a PCR test 72 hours before departure for people who have been previously affected and recovered. Children under the age of six are exempt from PCR tests.