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Portugal, Iceland, Greece Will Not Open to U.S. Travelers Just Yet

by Billie Cohen | June 17, 2020

A few weeks ago, we published this story with the news that three European countries—Portugal, Iceland, and Greece—would be opening their borders to U.S. travelers in June. Then one by one, each of the three countries reneged on those plans, citing safety concerns. As it stands today, U.S. travelers are not yet able to travel to Portugal, Greece, or Iceland. We will continue to watch and update as details develop.

Please note that the CDC still advises against all non-essential travel and the U.S. State Department maintains a global level 4 “do not travel” alert.

Greece

Until July 1, open to EU citizens and residents only. For dates beyond July 1, the Greek government has not yet decided which countries’ travelers will be admitted and under what restrictions. 

For more information, check with the U.S. Embassy in Greece and Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Portugal

Open to EU and Schengen state citizens and residents only. U.S. arrivals were originally supposed to be welcome starting June 6, but that date has been postponed, possibly to July 1. 

Continental Portugal: No quarantine required

Madeira: 14-day quarantine required

Azores: arrivals have choice of showing proof of negative test within past 72 hours, taking a test upon arrival and quarantining until a negative result is returned, or a 14-day quarantine.

If you were able to land in Portugal now, you’d see that certain safety measures and restrictions are in place across the country. Face masks and six-foot social distancing will be mandatory, and restaurant payment must be contactless, but museums, monuments, palaces, churches, bookshops, libraries, and beauty salons will all be open, along with restaurants, cafés, patisseries, esplanades, and shopping centers that are smaller than 4,300 square feet. Beaches are with restrictions. Taxis and rental cars will be available (as well as some public transportation options).

Look for the national tourism board’s “Clean & Safe” certification at hotels and tourist sites. To earn the validation, a company must sign a Declaration of Commitment to certain hygiene and cleaning processes informed by the country’s Directorate-General of Health. Participation is free and optional, and Turismo de Portugal will carry out audits of those who opt in.

Flights:

TAP Air Portugal, a Star Alliance airline, is running nonstop flights from Newark to Lisbon; later in July, flights to Lisbon from Boston, Miami, and Toronto are due to start up again. In an optimistic turn, the airline also plans to launch new flights later this summer from Boston and Toronto to the Azores, and from Montreal to Lisbon.

Iceland

Open to EU and Schengen state citizens and residents only.

Testing upon arrival or 14-day self-quarantine

Thanks to its small population (the lowest population density in Europe), Iceland was able to keep its COVID-19 count in check. As a result, Prime Minister KatrÍn Jakobsdóttir recently announced that the country reopened to travelers from with the Schengen area on June 15—with some rules in place:

Before arrival, travelers must fill out a pre-registration form, which includes a declaration of health, recent travel history, personal details, in-country contact info, and coronavirus status and possible exposure. At arrival, they can choose between 14-day quarantine and a covid test (no tests are required for children born in 2005 or earlier). Starting July 1, the test will cost each traveler ISK 15,000 (about $115), but in the two weeks before that they will be free.

Results from the test will be delivered in about 24 hours.  If a traveler tests positive, they will be required to self-quarantine; if they do not have a place to do so, the government will provide a location at no cost. The government will also cover medical examination and treatment. There is one big question that is still unanswered: how many tests will be available each day. Early reports suggest it may be as low as 500.

Flights:

Icelandair will resume its flights from the U.S. No other airline is flying to Iceland from the U.S. this year.

This article was originally published on May 29. It has been updated.

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