Home Travel Americans Are Finding Loopholes To Travel To Europe

Americans Are Finding Loopholes To Travel To Europe

by SharonKurheg

With over 5 million confirmed cases and nearing 165,000 deaths, the United States has become a pariah nation of coronavirus super-spreaders when it comes to world travel. Although the State Department has recently removed our Level 4 travel advisory, nearly all countries have advisories against us, both in their citizens coming here, and us going there.

Case in point, Americans aren’t supposed to be able to get into Europe. The countries in the Schengen zone have specifically said we can’t visit them because our numbers are too high. Yet some Americans have managed to travel there this summer. And I don’t mean Belarus, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey, who are allowing Americans to visit. I’m talking about places that are supposed to be forbidden for non-essential travel, such as Spain and Germany.

The problem is that the European countries, much like the states in the U.S., are not working cohesively and each has its own rules. Add that on top of officials who don’t pay attention, or who turn their heads, and, well, an American in Paris is a possibility.

According to Politico, some U.S. tourists have been flying to the U.K. and then continuing on to other countries. You’re technically supposed to quarantine if you arrive in England, but since these people were just “passing through,” they weren’t stopped by British authorities.

Then, those who then got on a plane to Spain, for example, were treated like any other person arriving from the U.K. Although Brits can’t travel to Spain now, they could for several weeks. At the time, no one was going to think that someone arriving on a flight from Heathrow was actually initially flying from the U.S., even if they have a U.S. passport. Or if the customs people possibly did think about it, maybe they just didn’t care.

Other tourists are arriving in Ireland where, again, Americans are supposed to self-quarantine, but enforcement has been spotty. So all you need to do is fly out of Dublin Airport (where they only ensure if you have a valid boarding pass. It doesn’t matter where your passport is from), and fly to Germany, where restrictions are based on departure country, not nationality. So people arriving in Germany from Ireland (which is allowed) would have no restrictions, even if they have U.S. passports.

On the other hand, some countries, such as The Netherlands, use nationality to determine if visitors can enter or not. It doesn’t matter what country you’ve directly come from; if your passport says you’re from the U.S., you’re not getting in.

Europe isn’t the only place where this is happening. The border between the U.S. and Canada has been closed for months. Right now it won’t reopen until at least August 21 (my crystal ball says it will probably be later) but some Americans have been entering Canada under the pretense of driving to Alaska. Except they don’t actually drive to Alaska. They stay in Canada and are caught in tourist places like Banff. Others are reportedly coming in on private boats that have their transponder turned off so the Coast Guard can’t track them.

Of course, behavior like this has been happening for years. After the Cold War started, Americans, with few exceptions, weren’t allowed to visit Cuba. That didn’t stop thousands from flying to Canada and then from Canada to Havana. As long as the Cuban customs agents didn’t stamp your passport (Cuba didn’t care if we were there or not; they were probably happy to get American tourists’ money), the U.S. government wouldn’t be the wiser (well, unless they had some reason to investigate you).

Of course, there’s a huge difference between visiting a Communist country during the Cold War and entering countries that we’re not allowed in right now because of health dangers. The pandemic is going on strong and with the way this virus can be spread so easily from person to person, Americans being in these countries brings a huge risk to the citizens of those respective countries. Especially those Americans who refuse to wear masks. Responsible travelers wouldn’t take that chance. But then again, if these travelers are trying to use a loophole to get into countries where they’re currently not allowed, they’re not showing any form of responsibility anyway.

Feature Photo: U.S.A.F./Senior Airman Caitlin O’Neil-McKeown

#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Noa August 7, 2020 - 6:20 pm

These don’t sound like loopholes. These seem like people following the law. You can quarantine in UK/Ireland for 14 days or the length of your visit, whichever is less, once you leave the airport. By not leaving Heathrow/Dublin airports, Americans are following the law as stipulated

Why is this an issue when people are following the policy as written. No one is doing anything illegal here.

SharonKurheg August 7, 2020 - 6:42 pm

Loopholes are rarely illegal. That doesn’t mean that’s how, in this case, Americans’ travel to Europe was intended.

Jeff M August 12, 2020 - 12:54 pm

Speaking as an American who lives in Germany, I don`t think Americans should be admitted. It`s breaking the law. I have a German Residence Permit and I had no trouble getting here on June 5. We have had very low infection rates in Germany and we want to keep it that way. Only 2 people were infected in the state of Thuringia where I live. I feel very safe here and I do not want people coming here and infecting us. The USA has over 165,000 deaths. in ALL of Germany, we only have 9,179 deaths. The USA is out of control We have been very disciplined here and follow the rules. Americans, do us a big favor, stay safe and stay at home!

Kai August 7, 2020 - 8:04 pm

Infected Americans should stay in there states and stop spreading the virus to Spain, Germany etc. Otherwise a full ban on US citizens are to be forced! And with those caught with or without infection should be deported and received a travel to the EU in the future!

SharonKurheg August 7, 2020 - 8:37 pm

Speaking as an American, I agree 100%

Jeff M August 12, 2020 - 12:59 pm

I agree. Americans are well-know for breaking the rules and they are not as disciplined as Germans I think they should stay safe and stay home! We are doing fine in Germany without you.

Tom August 7, 2020 - 8:57 pm

why bother?
Anyone with a US accent will be treated like a pariah by the locals. There was article on the radio during the week where they were interviewing people in the Irish tourism industry and they were up in arms about this. One lady who runs a restaurant refused to serve a group of Americans. And these are people who depend on tourists, imagine what other Irish people think. Sounds like an appalling vacation

Stuart August 12, 2020 - 10:04 am

This is completely untrue. I have made three trips to the EU on my American passport this summer under the urgent business exception. This with invitation from respective companies. No one cares. This idea that Americans are pariahs in Europe is way overblown and everyone is more than welcoming. In fact, during conversations many are sympathetic to us for what we are enduring – as every country here has their own laundry list of stupidity over the years. While they may support the idea that throngs of tourists should not be streaming in as usual, I can tell you that I have been treated with courtesy, kindness, and respect at immigration, health checks, hotels, restaurants, taxi, etc.

Jeff M August 12, 2020 - 1:07 pm

As an American who follows rules and is disciplined. I am from Pittsburgh. We followed the rules our Democratic governor set forth and in Pittsburgh the infection rate and death rate is very low. We had great leadership. Unfortunately, we have no leader as a president who more concerned with getting reelected than he cares about people dying from the Covid19. I`m currently in Germany and I plan to stay here until it`s safe to travel.

Stan August 12, 2020 - 9:50 am

Articles like that might encourage people to circumvent the rules are immoral and irresponsible at best. The pandemic is a mess in the US for many reasons …. one being that the American people have a very hard time doing what is needed and what is right. Just sayin…..

SharonKurheg August 12, 2020 - 10:15 am

Thank you for the complement but I hardly think my article is influential enough to encourage peoples’ actions, least of all to do something irresponsible at best and illegal at worst. I just wrote about what some people are doing, just as some other media entities had. I didn’t romanticize it, nor did I suggest anyone should try it.

Anyone intent on going to Europe as a tourist right now would (A) have already researched about how to get it done and (B) would be doing it based on their own moral and responsibility thermometers, not because they read on a blog that some people are doing it.

MathGuy August 12, 2020 - 9:53 am

Has anyone else noticed that so many of the media reports use raw numbers rather than per capita numbers? Probably because it makes it look so much more dramatic and draws page views.The number of tests – even positive results- is meaningless without context of the population. And, the U.S. is not some monolith any more that the EU. If you live in New York, the death rate per million population is over 1700. I live in a county in Arkansas where it is 23 per million. If you sort the CDC stats of national COVID mortality per capital by highest to lowest, guess what? Belgium, Spain, Italy are near the top and the U.S. is way down the list. Take NY, NJ and a couple of the other northeast states out of the equation and the U.S. doesn’t even close to being a ‘hotspot’. But, that doesn’t sell ads now does it?.

Pat August 12, 2020 - 3:34 pm

They say that the border is closed both ways between Canada & the USA but it is wide open for Canadians to fly to the US. Only land crossings are closed. Americans aren’t allowed to fly to Canada unless essential.

SharonKurheg August 12, 2020 - 3:43 pm

That’s true. More info in this post.


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