Americans Will Officially Need A Vaccine Passport For Travel To Europe In 2021

(Photo by JOHN THYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Americans will need a vaccine passport in order to travel to Europe this summer.

More than one year after the European Union shut down nonessential travel from most of the world, the bloc will reopen its borders to American tourists this summer. There’s one catch: those tourists will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told The New York Times.


American and European officials have reportedly been in talks on how to create a vaccine certificate to clear citizens for international travel. “All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A. (European Medicines Agency),” von der Leyen told the Times.

All three vaccines currently being used in the United States, from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, have been approved by the EMA. European regulators have also authorized the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (RELATED: CDC Lifts Pause On Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine With Warning Label Added)

Details on how exactly travelers will prove their vaccination status are still being worked out. A low-tech option may suffice in the short term until an official and internationally-recognized vaccine certificate is developed, according to The Times.

President Joe Biden’s administration has publicly stated the U.S. won’t have a government-issued vaccine passport for domestic activities, but a vaccine passport for international travel has been kicked around as a possibility for months. Numerous European countries, a well as others like Israel and China, have also proposed or developed domestic vaccine passes for activities like indoor dining at restaurants and attending sporting events.

Until now, only visitors from countries with exceptionally low COVID-19 levels, such as New Zealand, have been permitted to travel freely to Europe.