The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020/21 did what every self-respected populist party is always fast to promise but hasn’t achieved yet – it closed national borders, even between allies such as the Scandinavian countries.
The severe restrictions of travelling, even domestically, are declared by many as violence of constitutional rights. And yet, at the end of the second year under the same pandemic, the national states are still not ready to fully reopen the borders.
Hopes are that with the global vaccination program going on, the World will eventually return to Normal. With borders reopened, the new EU & Schengen visa-free program ETIAS will start operating.
So, when will Canadians be able to travel to Europe again?
Back in April 2021, in an interview with the New York Times, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the long-expected resumption of the flights to Europe by all vaccinated Americans.
“Americans, from what I can see, use vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency [EMA], and this will allow free movement and travel to the EU. One thing is clear – the 27 Member States will accept, unconditionally, all those vaccinated with vaccines approved by the EMA,” Mrs. von der Leyen was quoted as saying.
Despite the above assurance, several EU states imposed further restrictive measures adopted at national level, worried about the spread of the virus’ new variant.
What happened between April and now?
According to the colour mapping of the different states based on the nations’ vaccination percentage and the virus spread, Canada was recently removed from the amber zone and declared a green zone first by the EU and later by the UK. This resulted in:
Travelling to the UK
Based on the 75% fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, as of August 2021, and the slow down of the virus spread in the country, Canadians can now travel to the UK without having to quarantine.
- Travel requirements: Although no quarantine is required, pre-departure Covid-19 tests are still needed at least 3 days prior arrival on British soil and one additional test at least 2 days upon arrival. Quarantine will be of course mandatory if the tests show positive.
Travelling to France
With the Montréal – Paris destination being the busiest in the World, airliners work hard to continue operating it with some new industry low-cost players trying to gain positions too.
Despite the desire to keep this destination busy, France is not coping with the pandemic well at the moment and has decided not ready to reopen its borders for non-essential travel. This means that for those Canadians with no French citizenship, no family ties with France and no residence permit, it may be harder to enter the country.
- Travel requirements: If you are about to travel to France under the current situation, you will be allowed entry only:
- If you are fully vaccinated: in this case, you can come to France without restrictions. Unvaccinated minors, aged twelve and above, will have to do a PCR or an antigen test.
You will need to also present a declaration, downloadable from the website of the Interior Ministry, attesting the lack of Covid-19 infection symptoms and that you are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the two weeks preceding the journey.
Remember, if vaccinated, you will be allowed entry if you have:
- a week after the 2nd jab for the vaccines of double injection.
- four weeks after the injection for the single jab vaccines.
- a week after the injection for vaccines to people that have recovered of Covid-19.
If you have already contracted Covid in the past, it is also possible, instead of a negative test result, to show a certificate of recovery made more than 11 days upon arrival and no more than 6 months old (a recovery certificate is a document in the names of a person who has been infected with Covid-19 after having a positive result from an RT-PCR screening test or an antigen test).
Important: the above does not apply to visitors who:
- Live and travel in areas within a radius of 30 km around their home for less than a day.
- Urgent and frequent business trips that are incompatible with the execution of Covid-19 tests.
- Travelling by road transport professionals.
Travellers that fall into the above exceptions will be asked to present a proof that justifies the reason for the described displacements.
Travelling to Germany
In July 2021, Germany has lifted the entry restrictions for all the Canadian citizens. This means that travelling to Germany is now permitted, even the non-essential ones.
Travel requirements: If you are entering Germany by air, you will have to present one of the following:
- proof of vaccination
- proof of Covid-19 recovery
- a negative Covid-19 test
Please, note: Germany and France have no physical border and therefore France is easily accessed by land.
France, however, has stricter requirements towards its foreign visitors and if caught on French soil, without the requested documents and good reason for being there, you might be expulsed and banned from visiting the EU and the Schengen Zone for the next 5 years.
Travelling to other European countries
In July 2021, the EU Council added Canada to its Green List meaning that Canadians can travel to the states of the European Union even for non-essential purposes and without having to quarantine.
However, as different EU states handle the Covid-19 pandemic differently, on a local level additional documents and requirements may be asked from the tourists.
In August 2021, the UK lifted year and a half-long restrictions for its citizens including the mandatory wear of masks, the need for physical distancing, and the limited nightclubs’ operations.
Having done so, the UK is now ready to accept visitors from its own Green List of countries among which Canada, no matter if the tourists have been fully vaccinated or not.
At the same time, France is tightening up the belts while entering its third wave of virus spread and is not keen on freely accepting visitors even from the EU-approved Green list.
Generally, the EU and the Schengen Zone states do accept tourists if they are ready to present one of the below:
- a negative Covid-19 test made prior departure (often 72 hours for the PCR and 48 hours for the antigen test)
- Green Passport that certifies the presence of antibodies or the fact that one has been vaccinated.
Only vaccines authorized by EMA (the European Medicines Agency) – Vaxzevria and Covishield of AstraZeneca, Moderna, Comirnaty of Pfizer, and Janssen of Johnson & Johnson are accepted.
Bear in mind that when it comes to Covid-19 requirements, the different countries even though all part of the European family may have slightly different demands in terms of deadlines and/or documents to present and we highly advise you to check the Canadian consular services on place for up-to-date travel advice before flying to Europe.
For example, in case a quarantine is needed, Greece will ask you to stay indoors for 10 to 14 days while Bulgaria will ask for a quarantine of only a week.
When presenting proof of vaccination, the UK will let you enter even if not fully vaccinated, Greece will let you proceed only if two weeks have passed after a whole cycle of vaccination, while France accepts visitors that have been fully vaccinated at least a week prior their arrival.