Are restriction changes allowing Contractors greater travel freedom?

Contractor travel freedom

12th August 2021

Fluctuating Covid-19 case numbers and the roll out of vaccination programmes continue to impact travel restrictions across the EU. The changes can be disruptive to contractors looking for travel freedom during the summer months and beyond. Keeping abreast of the current rule changes and limitations on freedom of movement is essential to minimise stressful journeys.

Here’s our round-up of the latest news that could affect contractor travel freedom from Schengen Visa Info.

ECDC warns against all unnecessary travel to Spain and the Balearic Islands

With a sharp increase in the number of Coronavirus cases in Spain and the Balearics, the European Centre for Disease Prevention (ECDC) has placed them on the dark red list. It’s now down to individual countries to determine their own travel restrictions for those returning from or visiting the area.

The spike in cases comes after Spain reopened its borders to European Member States without a need for testing or quarantining. With much of its economy reliant on travel and tourism, Spain was keen to capitalise on the summer months to offset economic damage from the pandemic. This has also led to a demand for contractors in Spain this summer.

Following the announcement, Germany and Austria have tightened their measures. Both now require a negative -19 test upon arrival with PCR tests available at the airports if required. For those that fail to do so a hefty €1,450 fine could be issued. German authorities have also announced that all unvaccinated travellers must immediately quarantine for ten days upon their arrival.

And in America, the United States Department and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued warnings to US citizens to avoid any travel to Spain.

Limited acceptance over China’s proof of immunity

Despite the WHO approving the Sinovac vaccine for use on June 1st, to date, there are only 7 EU/Schengen countries that recognise the vaccine as proof of immunity. These are:

  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

There are disparities within entry requirements for each of those individual countries. The Netherlands, for example, requires the vaccination certificate to be in one of their accepted languages.

The remaining European countries are only recognising proof of vaccination for those programmes that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These are Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson. Travel restrictions remain in place for international travellers who have not received one of these vaccinations.

Across the continent of Europe, five further countries accept the Sinovac vaccine as proof of immunity.

Greenlight for Vatican & San Marino Covid-19 certificates

Covid-19 certificates issued by the Vatican City State and San Marino will now be recognised as equivalent to EU member State certificates, the EU Commission has announced. This step is to support freedom of movement within the EU, allowing citizens of both the Vatican City State and San Marino to follow the same rules as European citizens with an EU Covid Certificate.

Vatican City State and San Marino citizens will still be required to have either a vaccination certificate, a negative Covid-19 test or a certificate of recovery from Coronavirus.

Changes to Covid-19 testing requirements in EU countries

Travel restrictions have been put in place for those unvaccinated travellers moving from the Netherlands, Spain and Cyprus to Austria. The rules have changed after an increase in Covid-19 cases in these countries.

Upon arrival, those travellers will need to provide a negative Covid-19 test result or a certificate of previous infection. It is important to note that the Austrian authorities only consider a traveller to be vaccinated 22 days after their first dose. That cover lasts for 90 days from their vaccination date. For those that have received their second jab their proof of vaccine lasts 270 days.

Keeping up-to-date will help contractors enjoy compliant travel freedom this summer.

There are more opportunities for freedom of movement between EU countries currently. Contractors need to be mindful of last-minute changes to travel restrictions as new infection data is received. To help we will continue to compile regular  travel updates for contractors. For those travelling internationally for work not only is it important to be mindful of Covid travel restrictions and international entry requirements, but it’s also crucial to be aware of all tax employment and local legal compliance requirements.

Our 6CATS International Specialists can advise you if you need more information.

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