Number of EU Countries Asking Travellers for COVID-19 Negative Test Results Is on the Rise

As the number of deaths caused by the Coronavirus pandemic nears 400 thousand, and the number of those infected already exceeds 6 million, member states of the Schengen Area and the European Union have started opening their borders for certain countries.

While EU countries as Poland give no signs of a near reopening of the borders for non-essential travel for the rest of the block’s citizens, others as Germany, Spain and Italy, plan to reopen through June. Others as Hungary and Greece, have even added non-EU and non-Schengen countries to their lists of soon-to-be eligible travellers to enter their territory.

The majority of these countries have imposed restrictions for possible travellers to their territory while highlighting that travelling through the EU at the pre-pandemic level is not possible right now. As a result, most of them have imposed either two-week quarantine for arrivals, or COVID-19 test, or both.

In particular, a large share of EU members reopening the borders has noted that quarantine will be obligatory to all, aside from those who present a certificate of negative COVID-19 test results.

Earlier in mid-April, in an exchange of emails with, an EU official confirmed that those wishing to travel to the Schengen Area after the Member States start to gradually go back to normal might have to present a negative COVID-19 test.

The traveller may be required to take a new test before travelling to the Schengen area, as to make sure that he/she has not been infected in the meantime,” the source said while explaining that third-country nationals would have to present test results for visa applications and for entering the country.

Contacted again, regarding the recent developments, the same source noted that since the beginning of the pandemic it was clear that third-country nationals would need to present test results to enter the Schengen Area.

Health experts have advised that we have to learn to live with the virus, in order to beat it. I don’t see how the EU could reopen to third-country nationals without requiring negative test results, for as long as the virus lives among us,” the source said when asked whether there was a possibility of EU reopening the borders without imposing such a requirement.

The source also noted that the negative test results requirement for EU nationals was somehow unexpected.

We didn’t see it coming. Honestly, we didn’t think the Member States would impose quarantine or testing obligation on nationals of the rest of the EU. However, if such a requirement is imposed on EU nationals, it may indeed remain in effect for third-country nationals for quite some time,” the source concluded.

Back in April, the same source had also said that if the virus remains active in the future, once the COVID-19 vaccine is confirmed and available for all, Schengen visa applicants may also be required to be vaccinated.

Whereas at the end of April this year, the 27 Tourism Ministers of the EU Member States discussed the option of creating a certificate of security in the sphere of tourism under the provisional name “COVID-19 passport,” during a videoconference on the restoration of tourism in Europe.

The document would contain information related to the health status of the owner of the document, and enable him/her to travel to the EU and Schengen States. Since then, the topic hasn’t been brought up by any EU official, and it is unknown whether such a document will soon be created or not.


Last week, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior updated its rules of entry, noting that those attempting to enter Austria must present negative results of a molecular biological test for SARS-CoV-2 at the Austrian port of entry.

According to the Ministry, the test must not be older than four days at the moment of entry.

As per Austrian citizens or persons who have their main or secondary residence or habitual residence in Austria, they can enter the country if they present a negative result for a molecular biological test for SARS-CoV-2. Otherwise, they will need to commit to 14-day self-monitored home quarantine.

Third-country nationals arriving from the Schengen area may only be permitted to enter Austria by air if they present a health certificate that confirms that the molecular biological test for SARS-CoV-2 is negative and that it is not older than four days,” the Ministry of Interior noted regarding the limited categories of third-country nationals who can enter the country.

The Ministry also highlights that if the health certificate cannot be presented, these persons are to be accommodated in suitable accommodation for 14 days, which they are not allowed to leave for this period unless the immediate departure is ensured.

At the beginning of May, Vienna Airport started offering passengers the possibility to undergo molecular-biological COVID-19 testing (PCR test) directly on-site at the airport. Test findings are available within about three hours and passengers who result negative upon testing do not have to stay in self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Austria.

Czech Republic

Residents of the EU Member States who are eligible to enter the Czech Republic will have to present a negative test for COVID-19 upon entry to the border authorities.

On May 26, the country removed comprehensive and systematic border controls and opened all road and rail crossings for Germany and Austria.

As part of the relaxation of conditions, checks at the borders with Germany and Austria will be targeted and random, and the police will not check every passenger. The police will select places flexibly based on epidemiological risk assessments in cooperation with hygienists,” a press release of the Ministry announced.


As of June 15, travellers from 29 countries, mostly EU members, will be eligible to travel to Greece for non-essential purposes, after the authorities decided to open the borders for several EU and non-EU countries in which the rate of infections has decreased.

While at first, the authorities claimed no quarantine or testing would be required, the Greek Civil Aviation Authority (CYA) has clarified that from June 15 to June 30, only passengers arriving from high-infection countries will be subjected to testing. If test results are negative, the traveller will, however, need to quarantine for seven days.

Specific categories are exempted from the testing, including political, military, humanitarian, cargo and emergency flights.


All residents of the European Union, Schengen Area, and of the United Kingdom are eligible to enter Estonia since June 1.

However, the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, who confirmed the decision, has pointed out that there is a possibility for tests to be offered at the airports, as a way to avoid quarantine for those resulting negative.

We are currently working on an alternative so that if a person can produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 virus test or is tested at an Estonian airport, for example, it would be possible to shorten the quarantine time,” he said.

According to the Foreign Minister, other Schengen countries are also considering introducing a similar model like this one, as a practical method to make the movement of people possible once again.

I think that the possibility of testing to release Estonian citizens from quarantine, if they arrive from Germany, for example, would give objective confidence and certainty that the person is not infected,” he said.


Iceland is also working on offering Coronavirus tests to arriving travellers at the Keflavik airport, the country’s international airport, as a way to avoid the 14 days mandatory quarantine as of June 15.

Last week, a working group established by the Government submitted a report which outlines the possible implementation of testing procedures and practicalities in accordance with the criteria set by the Government.

When travellers return to Iceland, we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic. Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us,” Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation said at the time of the proposal.

All travellers reaching Iceland through its airport and provide a medical document proving they are not infected with Coronavirus will not need to take the test.


Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva has announced that Portugal will soon open its borders for tourists from a selected number of countries, mostly for the EU Member States and Portuguese speaking countries.

Despite that the Minister has pointed out that arrivals by air would be subject to health checks but not to compulsory quarantine, he did not specify whether these “health checks” included COVID-19 testing.

However, some Portuguese regional tourist boards including Madeira and Porto Santo, which have announced their plans to reopen to international tourists from July 1, will offer travellers COVID-19 tests, paid for by the local Government.


Travellers eligible to enter the Slovak territory can avoid isolation in state quarantine centres, given that they present negative results of an RT-PCR test for COVID- 19 not older than four days.

However, persons enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunities are exempt from the test requirement as well as from quarantine.

In addition, those with permanent or temporary residence in the Slovak Republic, who travel to Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland are exempt from the obligation of quarantine and the obligation to present a negative RT-PCR test for COVID- 19 upon arrival, if they return to the territory of Slovakia within 24 hours.


The Government of Slovenia has issued a new decree through which it implements new changes in the list of who can enter and who cannot enter the country amid the Coronavirus.

The degree stipulates two categories as eligible to avoid quarantine when crossing the borders if they present a negative test result on SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), that is not older than three days, which are:

  • Every person in commercial traffic or activities who, when crossing the border, proves himself with evidence of performing traffic or activities in the Republic of Slovenia or abroad and returns across the border on the same day.
  • Every person employed by a foreign company providing a service in the Republic of Slovenia and residing in the Republic of Slovenia, who submits the address of residence in the Republic of Slovenia.


Switzerland is planning to abolish all entry restrictions for EU countries in mid-June. However, the authorities have noted that while a mandatory quarantine rule will note be effective, a medical examination at the border for certain groups of people is possible.

The examination includes temperature reading, a health questionnaire or quarantine, for all persons from a high-risk country listed in the COVID-19 Ordinance. A COVID-19 test is possible among other health measures.


The non-Schengen EU member Cyprus is also planning to reopen its borders starting from June 9, to a selected number of countries like Germany, Greece, Malta, and Israel and possibly Scandinavian and UAE countries and the Baltic States.

Whereas on June 20, travellers from six more countries, including Switzerland and Poland, will be able to enter the island country.

Upon arrival, travellers will have to show a negative Coronavirus test, taken in the previous 72 hours, to get in.


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