Travel from the US to Bulgaria prohibited while Portugal remains open


A number of countries are tightening travel restrictions against people from the United States in light of the new guidance from the European Union, but at least one member state – Portugal – plans to remain open for now. 

The EU removed the U.S. from its safe travel list on Monday, a move that signaled that travel restrictions should no longer be eased for Americans given the country’s COVID-19 case counts. August was the fourth-worst month for cases in the U.S., with almost 4.22 million new coronavirus cases reported.

In light of the news, EU member state Bulgaria announced it would move the U.S. into its “red zone” and prohibit travel from the United States as the country faces its fourth surge of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, all people from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, cannot enter Bulgaria. There are a number of exemptions, including travelers with Bulgarian or EU citizenship. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department have each labeled Bulgaria as a Level 3 destination, meaning unvaccinated Americans are advised to “avoid nonessential travel” to the country. Bulgaria reported more than 10,600 new COVID-19 cases in the past week and has more than 16% of its adult population fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Other countries have been tightening restrictions on American travelers. Earlier this week, Italy updated its entry requirements so that vaccinated travelers from the U.S. would have to take a pre-departure coronavirus test and unvaccinated travelers would have to test for the virus multiple times and self-isolate at least five days. 

Portugal plans to stay open to US travelers

Meanwhile, EU member state Portugal will remain open to U.S. tourists, according to a press release from Visit Portugal, the country’s tourism authority.

“Portugal has confirmed that discretionary, non-essential travel is still allowed, provided visitors present a negative COVID-19 test result at boarding and entry into the country,” the statement reads. 

The CDC suggests avoiding travel to Portugal due to its COVID-19 rates. The country has more than 73% of its adult population vaccinated and reported more than 15,100 new cases in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

► Can Americans visit Europe this fall?: It’s complicated, after the EU decision. What travelers need to know.

► EU takes US off safe country list: Recommends Europe travel restrictions tighten for Americans

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz





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