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How to go to Europe this summer

After so much bad news and so many border closures throughout the pandemic, we’ll take good news whenever we can get it. And we’ve been getting great news lately. Every American adult is now eligible for vaccination. French Polynesia just reopened May 1. The same day, fully vaccinated Americans could enter the Bahamas without a negative COVID test.

Perhaps best of all, European Commission president Ursula van der Leyen told the New York Times that the E.U. “will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Agency. Those include Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, the three vaccines available in the U.S. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union,” she said.

She was scant on details as to a time frame, but it appears we might be able to enjoy a favorite pastime, a summer vacation to Europe.

Non-E.U. member Iceland has already begun welcoming fully vaccinated travelers or those with a negative PCR test from the U.S. Greece, an E.U. member, will begin doing so May 14. Fully vaccinated travelers are also welcome in Croatia, Montenegro and Cyprus without quarantine or testing.

On Friday, France announced a start date of June 9 for the same conditions. No official announcement has been made yet, but fully vaccinated Americans could be welcome in the U.K. as soon as May 17. Spain is piloting a digital health certificate system at all its airports in preparation for reopening.

“Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travelers worldwide that you can visit us,” Fernando Valdes Verelst, Spain’s secretary of state for tourism, said at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Cancun last week.

The E.U. parliament has approved the creation of a union-wide pass that would allow fully vaccinated travelers to traverse the 27-country bloc freely, though individual member states will likely be allowed to impose their own restrictions.

The number of days after your final shot that qualifies for “fully vaccinated” varies by country, so be sure to check with your travel advisor before making plans. There’s more work to be done before all of Europe is accessible, but strides are being made every day and the good news keeps rolling in.

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