In a typical year, Canadians travel from North America to the European continent in droves. In fact, the number of Canadian tourists entering Europe in any given year tends to reach the millions, as visitors from the Great White North go in search of sun and sand in the Mediterranean or wander the cobblestoned streets of the storied European capitals.
Understanding the huge demand for Canadians to enter Europe and the countries of the Schengen Zone, government officials implemented a new way for Canadians to apply for and receive permission to visit Europe by filling out an ETIAS form for a visa waiver.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) allows Canadian citizens to skip the cumbersome process of finding an embassy or consulate and instead moves the entire process online, making it simple and easy for Canadians to check out their dream destinations.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the COVID-19 pandemic made it temporarily impossible for Canadian tourists to cross into Europe and go in search of their favorite travel routes, even if they were in possession of a valid ETIAS for Europe. When Schengen officials made the decision to close down their borders, it nullified all tourist visas until further notice.
The question that Canadians are beginning to ask again is if things have changed with respect to the coronavirus, and if so, where can Canadians travel in Europe?
Can Canadians Travel in Europe Yet?
When the collective world came to understand the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March, most borders were immediately shut to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The effects of these decisions were instantly felt not only in the morale of people who were no longer able to travel, but economically, especially in cities and countries where people rely heavily on a constant influx of foreigners to earn a living.
Tourism officials and governments across Europe alike have been carefully watching the situation in their respective countries as they reopen their borders to allow in visitors.
Once it appeared that the virus was settling down in some areas of Europe, officials began allowing people to come in and boost the local economy. However, the countries whose citizens were to be let in were dependent upon how their governments had handled the coronavirus back home.
For instance, even though they share a border, citizens from the United States are still not allowed to visit any countries in Europe for tourism while travelers from Canada were initially allowed back into parts of the Schengen Zone after June 30th.
Is Every European Country Open to Canadian Visitors?
The Schengen Area tends to operate as a unified bloc. This means that a decision that is adopted by the group as an entity, is applied to each individual member nation. For instance, typically when a Canadian is granted an ETIAS for Europe, it gives them access to every country.
Originally, the concept was put in place to allow for freedom of movement within the Schengen Area, but the coronavirus has seen different countries adopting different guidelines depending on what the governments of those countries feel is best for its citizens.
To that point, Canadians were able to visit 24 of the 26 countries that are members of the Schengen Area until October 21 with the exceptions being Finland and Hungary. Since then, virus numbers have increased across Europe and Canada and the EU has decided to remove Canada from the list of countries where it allowing visitors.
Each government will be updating this information as necessary. If citizens of both regions remain responsible, Canadians will be back on the ‘safe list’ to visit Europe and Schengen Area in no time.
Do Canadians Have to Quarantine Upon Arriving in Europe?
As people begin to slowly move around the world again, many countries have taken up the official position of having immediate entries to their country quarantine for up to two weeks before they are allowed to walk around the general public.
The idea is that the coronavirus has an incubation period of as long as that period of time, so anyone who has been exposed to the virus would have a lesser chance of spreading the disease by isolating themselves, even if they were not aware that they were a carrier.
When the Schengen Area returns to allowing Canadaian travelers again, the individual member states will be able to stipulate their own positions on whether or not they require Canadians to quarantine upon arrival.
When they were allowing them to visit, the countries who required Canadians to quarantine were:
Note: Outside of the Schengen Area, Croatia requires a 48-hour negative PCR test for Canadians and Cyprus requires a 72-hour negative PCR test. Ireland also requires Canadians to quarantine upon entry.
Cathy Slater is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.