Entry Bans, Other Restrictions and Concessions Due to the Coronavirus

Many countries have established restrictions on entry and/or visa and permit issuance to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus via travelers from China and other affected countries. Some countries have also introduced concessions to support impacted visitors and other visa holders. The measures introduced by some key destinations are as follows:

Argentina

The national government has ordered a closure of the country’s air and sea borders from March 27 through April 13, 2020 inclusive. Entry is suspended for all foreign nationals, as well as citizens and residents of Argentina. As of April 3, 2020, all land borders are also closed except the following crossings, which are open to Argentine citizens and foreign nationals with valid residence status only: Cristo Redentor (border with Chile), Posadas (border with Paraguay), Paso de los Libres (border with Brazil), San Sebastián (border with Chile), Integración Austral (border with Chile), Gualeguaychú (border with Uruguay), Salvador Mazza (border with Bolivia), Clorinda (border with Paraguay). Only 500 people per day will be allowed to enter via these crossings. 

The entry ban will not apply to the following:

  • Those involved in international trade operations and the transport of goods by air, land, or sea;
  • Crew members of aircrafts and ships; 
  • Those involved in the operation of flights and sanitary transfers; and 
  • Those who at the time of publication of the order (March 27) are already in transit to the country and plan to enter within 48 hours.

All travelers arriving in the country are subject to a 14-day mandatory home quarantine. 

The federal government has implemented a quarantine period for the entire country until April 13, 2020. Only those with a permit to provide essential services or those purchasing necessary supplies may leave their homes. Public authorities are closed to the public and will provide online services for urgent cases only. 

All services provided by the National Immigration Department (DNM) and Renaper have been suspended indefinitely. Other federal agencies such as Anses and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have restricted their services to the public. Accordingly, all visa applications have been suspended until further notice, DNI status inquiries are not possible, and applications for a CUIL number at the Social Security Department are also suspended. Those with pending visa applications and a provisional stay permit due to expire on or before April 18, 2020 may renew their permits online. 

The processing of applications for admission as a temporary resident in certain categories (migrant workers, rentiers, pensioners, investors, scientists and specialized personnel, athletes, artists, recognized religious cults, academics and students) for foreign nationals from China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, the United States and European Union countries who are outside of Argentina is temporarily suspended. 

The online processing of Electronic Travel Authorizations (AVE) is suspended. 

The government has instructed consulates to suspend the processing of visas and entry permits for temporary residents or visitors of countries with circulation of COVID-19.

The government of Buenos Aires is automatically extending all drivers licenses with expiration dates of 2/15/2020 to 4/15/2020 since all renewal appointments have been suspended.

The validity period of documents about to expire (e.g., visas, DNI) will be automatically extended for 30 days initially and potentially longer.

Austria

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Austria, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information. 

Foreign nationals (other than EU nationals) who have been in Mainland China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea in the 14 days before seeking entry to Austria must present a medical certificate in German or English, signed by a physician, and issued no more than four days before the entry date to Austria.

Until April 3, 2020, all foreign nationals (including EU nationals), entering from Italy must provide a medical certificate issued no more than four days before entry confirming that they have been tested for coronavirus and do not have the disease. 

Until April 3, 2020, Austrian citizens and permanent residents returning to Austria from Italy are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Australia

Effective March 20, 2020, a travel ban has been imposed for Australia. No one will be permitted to enter Australia except Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members; Pacific Islanders transiting to their home country; New Zealand citizens who reside in Australia; and New Zealanders transiting through to New Zealand. 

Individuals with 457/482 visas and other non-permanent visas are not permitted to enter Australia unless they have compelling or compassionate reasons to do so and obtain pre-approval from Immigration. Such reasons might include work in public health or a critical business project.   

All travelers (including Australian citizens and permanent residents) who are admissible to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia. Strict penalties may apply for those who do not comply. 

Effective March 25, 2020, Australians are prohibited from travelling abroad. Exceptions may be possible by applying for pre-approval to travel.  

Concessions:

  • The visas of sponsored employees who have been “stood down” (asked to temporarily stop working) but not laid off entirely will remain valid. However, visa holders who have been terminated must abide by their original visa conditions and must leave Australia within 60 days if they cannot obtain a new position or a different visa. 
  • Sponsored foreign national employees whose hours have been reduced will not be considered to be violating their visa status. Employers are advised to maintain the hourly pay rate that the government approved and to avoid significant changes in job duties that could require a new nomination. 
  • Sponsored employees who have been stood down or had their hours reduced will be allowed to access up to AUD 10,000 of their superannuation (pension funds) in the current financial year. 
  • If a four-year visa holder who was terminated is re-employed after the pandemic, their time already spent in Australia will count toward the skilled work experience requirement for permanent residency.

Bahrain

Flights to Bahrain will be reduced. 

Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs (NPRA) has advised that visas on arrival will be suspended. However, visas for diplomatic passport holders and visas issued by the NPRA before this advisory will still be valid, and electronic visa services will still be available.

No new visit visas are being issued and those who are admitted are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine. 

The causeway access to Saudi Arabia is closed in both directions except to certain trucks.

Belgium

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Belgium, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Until further notice, Belgian embassies and consulates are not accepting visa applications or issuing visas, except for essential travel, and the Visa Application Centres in most countries are closed. The consulates will provide limited emergency services. 

Belgium has taken “lockdown” measures within the country to halt the spread of the virus. The following measures will be in place until at least April 19, 2020:

  • Residents are required to stay at home as much as possible. Only essential outings (e.g., for work, buying food, to see a doctor, to go to a pharmacy, to exercise, etc.) are permitted.
  • Non-essential travel is prohibited.
  • Discos, pubs and restaurants are closed. Hotels will stay open except for their restaurants. Home delivery and drive-through are permitted. 
  • All non-essential shops and businesses will be closed. 
  • All public or private events of any size are to be cancelled. 
  • Working from home is encouraged wherever possible. Where not possible, companies are to practice social distancing.
  • Public transit will operate but is to be used only when absolutely needed.

Penalties for non-compliance with these measures include a prison sentence of three months and a fine of up to EUR 4,000.

Applicants for work and single permits are advised to submit applications by email due to ministry closures in the three regions of Belgium. 

Employees who cannot leave Belgium due to quarantines, flight cancellations, or travel restrictions and whose residence authorization is due to expire can apply for an extension of stay in Belgium for up to 90 days.

If workers who are normally employed in another EU member state telework in Belgium while the lockdown measures are in place, a Limosa declaration is not required. If a Limosa declaration has already been made and the location of employment in the declaration is not the same as the location of telework, the declaration need not be amended.

Concessions in the Flanders region: The Flanders region will keep applications for which additional information has been requested open beyond the normal 15-day deadline to submit the additional information due to the difficulty in obtaining documents at this time. Also, workers forced into temporary unemployment due to the coronavirus situation will be exempt from meeting the standard minimum salary requirements. 

Concessions in the Brussels region: Workers forced into temporary unemployment due to the coronavirus situation will be exempt from meeting the standard minimum salary requirements. 

Concessions in the Walloon region: In the event a worker is forced into temporary unemployment, the employer must notify the Walloon Ministry and the employment contract can be suspended. 

Brazil

Effective March 23, 2020, travelers arriving from many countries, including European Union countries, will not be allowed to enter Brazil. The restrictions will be in place for 30 days. 

Exemptions apply for certain individuals, including Brazilian citizens (native-born and naturalized) and immigrants previously authorized to live in Brazil.

Bulgaria

Effective March 17, 2020, Bulgaria has banned travel for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Canada

Effective March 18, 2020 at 12:00 pm, Canada will bar entry to anyone that is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or First Nation or one of the following:

  • An immediate family member of a citizen, permanent resident or First Nation (proof of relationship must be presented); 
  • A foreign national with a valid Canadian work or study permit; 
  • A student with a pre-approval letter (letter of introduction) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) dated March 18, 2020 or earlier;  
  • A worker with a pre-approval letter (letter of introduction) from IRCC; 
  • A new worker who will be employed in critical industries (e.g., agriculture, food processing, health, transportation, emergency services); 
  • A foreign national who has been approved for permanent residence and has a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued on or before March 18, 2020 (the COPR must be presented before boarding the plane);
  • A traveler transiting through a Canadian airport;
  • A Canadian citizen with dual or multiple citizenship traveling to Canada on a foreign passport, with permission from IRCC; or
  • A provider of “essential services” (e.g., supply-chain workers to guarantee the continued supply of goods, fuel and medication). Such providers should document the need to enter by presenting a support letter describing why their activities are essential. 

Also allowed to enter by plane are flight crews, diplomats, Canadian forces on official travel, persons specifically authorized by Consular officers, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Minister of Public Safety, and the Chief Public Health Officer. 

All travelers entering Canada, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. Returning Canadians who need to take a domestic connecting flight after arriving from abroad will be quarantined at an airport hotel for 14 days at the government’s expense before being permitted to board a plane to their final destination in Canada. Harsh penalties including fines, imprisonment and bars to entry may apply to those who violate the Quarantine Act. 

Those allowed to enter may need to provide evidence that they have the means to self-quarantine in Canada for 14 days upon arrival (e.g., hotel reservations). Those who would normally be allowed to enter but who show symptoms of illness may be barred from entering or asked to self-quarantine immediately upon entry.

Airlines are required to prevent travelers of any nationality with virus symptoms from boarding flights to Canada.

All incoming international flights will have to land in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, except for flights coming from the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Canadian residents are advised to avoid all non-essential international travel. 

The Canadian Visa Application Centres (CVAC) in China have partially reopened, except for the Wuhan CVAC. The CVAC in Bucharest, Caracas, Erbil, Kuwait City, Lima, Lyon, Paris, Madrid, Manila, Rome, Tel Aviv, Vienna, and Wuhan are temporarily closed.

Temporary workers and students whose status will expire in the next six months should file a renewal application online as soon as possible and should remain in Canada, as they may have difficulty re-entering. 

There are likely to be processing delays for permanent and temporary residence applications. There are also likely to be service delays at Canadian visa offices, and limited access to local government offices and doctors to perform immigration medical exams. Foreign nationals who need to complete biometrics or medical exams for an application to IRCC and are unable to do so due to service interruptions can be granted an extension from 30 days to 90 days. 

IRCC Service Update: Paper applications for Permanent Residence and Citizenship can still be submitted, but applications for visitor records, study permits and work permits should be submitted online.

Service Canada Service Update: Most staff are working from home. Employers may be granted some flexibility in reporting changes to employment conditions (e.g., wage changes, furloughs). Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications can now be filed by email and fax. 12 and 24-month reviews for Labour Market Benefit Plans are suspended as are on-site compliance inspections.

The validity of positive LMIAs should be extended from 6 months to 9 months, however, employers should check on a case-by-case basis to see if this applies. Employers are also advised to start all extensions six months in advance of expiry, as processing times will increase with the backlog. 

IRCC has implemented measures to support foreign nationals affected by service disruptions or travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus. Please see the IRCC website for details.

Chile

Effective March 19, 2020, all Chilean consulates have ceased issuing visas until further notice. Until at least April 8, 2020, foreign nationals are not allowed to exit or enter Chile. 

The International Policia de Investigaciones (PDI) and the Migration Office have suspended public immigration services throughout the country and are focusing on providing digital/online services, such as the calculation of fines and processing of online payments and the issuance of electronic visa stamps.

All arriving travelers, including Chilean citizens, are subject to a quarantine upon entry. They must also complete and sign an affidavit attesting to the state of their health and their travel history over the 30 days before entry to Chile. The forms will be provided on the aircraft or ship before arrival.

The temperature of returning Chilean nationals and residents will be taken at the port of entry.

If the virus is detected, Chilean nationals and residents will be subject to quarantine, while other travelers will not be admitted.

Chile has declared a “state of constitutional catastrophe” and is limiting the movement of residents. The authorities have established quarantines and curfews within the country, with entry to and exit from certain areas prohibited, and has reduced public transportation, among other measures. Residents must request a temporary permit online or at a police station to go to the supermarket or pharmacy. 

As of April 2, 2020 the following areas of Chile are under quarantine: 

  • Lo Barnechea, Vitacura, Las Condes, Providencia, Ñuñoa and Santiago for seven more days
  • Rapanui Island for two more weeks
  • Punta Arenas until April 8
  • The comunes of Chillán, Osorno, Temuco and Padre de las Casas 

All drivers licenses that will expire in 2020 will be automatically extended for one year. 

China, Mainland

The National Immigration Administration of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a policy effective March 28, 2020 indicating that foreign nationals who hold any type of visa or residence permit will not be permitted to enter China due to the COVID-19 situation. Please see our alert for more information.

Most major metropolitan areas in China now require travelers entering from nearly all foreign destinations, including the United States, to undergo screening for COVID-19 and perform 14 days of monitored quarantine, either in their residence or in a Chinese facility, with the quarantine location determined based on their risk of COVID-19 infection.

For Shanghai, all travelers arriving in Shanghai airport from abroad will be sent to a designated location outside the airport after clearing immigration to take a COVID-19 test. The airport will provide transportation to the location and travelers will need to stay there for about 24 hours waiting for the test result.

Travelers who have been in the following countries in the last 14 days will be sent to a designated location for both testing and a 14-day quarantine, provided they pass the test: South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, United States, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Austria, Malaysia, Greece, Czech Republic, Finland, Qatar, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. 

For travelers not from the above countries, those who pass the test and have a fixed residence in Shanghai will be sent to their residence for a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Those who pass the test but do not have a fixed residence in Shanghai will be sent to a designated hotel in Shanghai for a 14-day self-quarantine. 

In all cases, those who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent to a medical facility. 

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All Chinese visas and residence permits will be automatically extended for two months beyond their expiration dates in Shanghai. 

Most Expert Bureaus are allowing applicants to apply online instead of appearing at the Bureaus in person. Original paper files must be kept in the event the documents need to be verified later and employers and employees must attest to the authenticity of the online application. 

Foreign nationals with residence permits that expired while they were out of the country may obtain a visa-on-arrival by presenting their expired residence permit at the port of entry.

Foreign nationals applying for a residence permit and medical exam in Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou or Shanghai are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Foreign nationals entering Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou or Shanghai may be subject to a quarantine.

Foreign nationals entering Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai from Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea are subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

All ports are operational except for the departure channels in Wuhan City.

The Public Security Bureaus in Hefei and Tianjing are only offering limited urgent services. 

China is not issuing business visa endorsements for Hong Kong SAR. 

Colombia

International passenger flights will not be allowed to arrive at Colombian airports for 30 days, starting on March 23, 2020. This means that no travelers, including Colombian nationals, may arrive in Colombia during this period except for crew members and staff of air cargo companies, who must comply with specific protocols. Arrival and disembarkation of passenger flights will only be allowed in the event of a humanitarian emergency, fortuitous event, or force majeure, with prior permission from the authorities. 

Anyone who does arrive from abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Colombian consulates are not accepting any visa applications, regardless of the category. The Visa Office in Bogotá and the Ministry of Foreign Relations will not process visa applications for foreign nationals who are outside of Colombia. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will accept visa applications for review and electronic approval, but will not issue visa stamps in passports.

The Colombian president has ordered a period of mandatory preventive isolation across the country from March 25 until April 13, 2020. 

Migracion Colombia will not take administrative actions against foreign nationals who could not complete visa registration and application for a foreigners ID card due to the preventive isolation measures.

Costa Rica

The Costa Rican President has announced that effective March 24, 2020, all foreign nationals with regular status in Costa Rica (permanent residents and holders of residence permits, stay visas, student visas, work permits, special category visas and others) who leave the country will automatically lose their legal immigration status. This measure is expected to be in place at least until April 12, 2020. 

All visitors, including business visitors, are banned from entering the country until at least April 12, 2020. Costa Rican nationals, diplomats, and legal residents (holders of work permits, resident permits, stay visas, student visas and special category visas) who left the country before March 24, 2020 will be allowed to re-enter but are subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry.

The Immigration Department is not accepting new applications until May 17, 2020. Birth and criminal record certificates that will expire during this period will be deemed valid until July 17, 2020. The Immigration Department will continue to process applications already filed and will issue approval and denial notices by email or fax. 

Visitors who entered after December 17, 2019 may legally remain in Costa Rica until May 17, 2020.

Czech Republic

Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Mainland China, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are not permitted to enter unless they are a temporary, long-term or permanent resident of the Czech Republic. Temporary, long-term or permanent residents will need to contact the Czech Hygiene Authority and remain self-quarantined for 14 days after arrival. 

Czech nationals and temporary, long-term or permanent residents are prohibited from traveling to the above countries. 

An “emergency status” has been applied to the Czech government, effective March 12, 2020, for at least 30 days. Accordingly, all Czech consular posts have been closed and will not accept applications until further notice and all applications already submitted to Czech consular posts have been put on hold until further notice. New short- and long-term visa applications will not be processed or accepted for at least 30 days. Renewal applications for foreign nationals already in the Czech Republic will be processed as usual.

Those who are permitted to enter and are traveling via Germany or Austria can only arrive by plane or by car via designated border crossings.

Effective March 16, 2020, the Czech Republic is under quarantine. Czech nationals are prohibited from traveling anywhere. Non-Czech nationals with long-term residency can travel out of the country but are not able to return. Non-Czech nationals without residency status who are unable to travel due to the various global travel restrictions can remain legally in the Czech Republic until the end of the state of emergency (currently planned to be April 11, 2020).

Denmark

Until April13, 2020, foreign nationals planning to enter Denmark for business visits, tourism or family visits are banned from entering. Only the following will be allowed to enter Denmark:

  • Danish passport holders
  • EU passport holders with a Danish Health Card (yellow card)
  • Non-EU nationals with a valid Danish Residence Card  
  • Those with special strong ties to Denmark (e.g., those employed in Denmark or who need a Danish work permit letter)
  • Those visiting a critically or terminally ill family member
  • Those participating in a funeral
  • Those exercising visitation rights with a minor ar acting as a legal guardian for a minor
  • Those in ongoing health treatment
  • Those called for a court case
  • Passengers in transit

Anyone entering Denmark from the high-risk locations of Mainland China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea or Tyrol, Austria must remain at home for 14 days after entering. Foreign nationals who miss deadlines for biometric submission or CPR registration because of the quarantine requirement will have their deadlines extended. 

Denmark is “closed down” for one month effective Friday, March 13, 2020 to avoid further spread of the coronavirus in Denmark. All public offices, schools, and universities will be closed and all employees working in the public sector will be working from home. Only grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. It will not be possible to make personal appearances related to immigration applications at SIRI or CPR offices or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Accordingly, processes that require such appearances will be delayed.

However, International House in Copenhagen has offered to assist with cpr.registration in Greater Copenhagen such that assignees will not be required to appear. Based on the information submitted in the application form together with the POA from the assignee, International House will issue CPR numbers and send health cards directly to the assignees’ home addresses.

Egypt

All incoming and outgoing flights are suspended until April 15, 2020.

The Immigration Authority, Work Permit Authority, Civil Authority and Notary Public offices are closed for 15 days beginning March 25, 2020.

There is a curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily during which no one should be on the roads or otherwise outside. 

Shops, cafes, cinemas, malls, clubs, etc. must close from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and all day on Friday and Saturday for 15 days beginning March 25, 2020.

Finland

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Finland, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

France

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including France, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information. 

Effective March 17, 2020, France has announced further containment measures planned to last at least 15 days. Working from home is required where possible and residents may leave their homes only to avail themselves of essential services, such as food shopping or medical appointments. Those without a legitimate reason to be outside may be fined. 

All kindergartens, schools and universities remain closed until further notice. The closures are expected to last at least three weeks. All bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs and cinemas also remain closed. 

The French authorities have announced that the validity of all French residence permits and application receipts are extended for three months.

Germany
Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Germany, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Greece

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Greece, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Hong Kong

All Hubei Province residents and visitors are banned from entering. All travelers entering from Mainland China who have a permit or visa valid for less than 14 days are also banned from entering. 

All foreign nationals seeking entry from South Korea (except residents of Hong Kong) are banned from entering. 

Beginning March 19, 2020, all travelers entering Hong Kong from any foreign country (except for Macau and Taiwan) will be subject to a 14-day home quarantine or medical surveillance.

Only the Shenzhen Bay, Hong Kong-Zhui Hai Macau Bridge and Hong Kong International Airport immigration control points between Mainland China and Hong Kong remain open. 

The staff of Hong Kong Immigration are working from home and only essential immigration services are available. Below is the status of each section:

  • New entry employment visa section: Closed until further notice and application processing will be delayed
  • New entry dependent visa section: Still accepting applications but processing time will be longer than the usual 6-8 weeks
  • Extension section: Only accepting extension applications for visas that expire within four weeks; same-day approval is still granted
  • Mainland talents section: Only accepting extension applications for visas that expire within four weeks; processing time will be approximately three weeks. New entry applications are also being accepted but processing time will be longer than the usual 4-6 weeks.
  • Right of Abode Section: Conducting normal operations

HKID Section: Only accepting applications for new arrivals and replacements

Hungary

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Hungary, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

India

Starting March 25, 2020, India has imposed a mandatory, country-wide stay-home order for 21 days. Workers at food shops, banks, gas stations and some other essential services are exempt. Those who fail to comply with the order may be subject to up to a year in prison. 

Starting March 23, 2020 and until April 14, 2020 at 6:30 pm GMT, all incoming international passenger flights are banned from landing and disembarking in India. International cargo flights and flights approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation are exempt from the ban. While no announcement regarding the banning of departing flights has been made, very few flights are departing India and some countries are working with the Indian government and the airlines to arrange for their citizens to return home from India. Specifically, US nationals who wish to return to the US should complete this form so they can be notified of available flights and tickets. UK nationals who wish to return to the UK should email the High Commission of the United Kingdom in India at Conqry.Newdelhi@fco.gov.uk and can find additional information here. Italian nationals should provide information to the Embassy of Italy in New Delhi using this form

All Indian visa services (excluding in-country registration, visa extension and other in-country services) are suspended until April 15, 2020. All existing visas issued to nationals of any country except those issued to diplomats, officials, UN/international organizations, and Employment and Project visas will be suspended until April 15, 2020. The visas of all foreign nationals already in India remain valid. Those that wish to extend or convert their visa may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO.

Japanese and South Korean nationals are temporarily no longer eligible for a visa on arrival. 

The Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) will be providing critical consular services for foreign nationals that cannot leave India due to travel restrictions. Foreign nationals whose consular visas, electronic visas (e-visas) or authorizations of stay endorsed on the visa have expired or will expire between February 1 and April 30, 2020  will be extended until April 30, 2020 with no fee charged provided the foreign national applies online using the e-FRRO portal. Foreign nationals whose status has expired and who wish to leave India may apply for and be granted an Exit Permit without incurring an overstay penalty. 

Foreign nationals require an appointment to visit the FRRO or FRO in person. 

OCI card holders outside India may not travel to India until April 15, 2020.

Travelers from Afghanistan, the Philippines and Malaysia are prohibited from traveling to India until March 31, 2020.

Travelers from European Union member countries, European Free Trade Association member countries, Turkey and the United Kingdom, including Indian nationals who reside in these countries, are banned from entering India from March 18 at 12:00 GMT until March 31, 2020. 

All travelers, including Indian nationals, arriving from any destination who have been in China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain or Germany on or after February 15, 2020 will be subject to quarantine for at least 14 days. 

All foreign nationals arriving from any location outside India may be subject to a quarantine for at least 14 days.

Indian nationals both inside and outside of India are advised to avoid non-essential international travel. They should keep in mind that they can be quarantined for at least 14 days on their return to India.

Indonesia

Effective March 31, 2020, most foreign nationals are banned from entering or transiting through Indonesia. This includes those previously eligible for visa-exempt entry or visas on arrival as well as holders of a Single Entry Business Visa (SEBV) or a Multiple Entry Business Visa (MEBV). 

Only the following are exempt from the travel ban:

  • Holders of a Temporary Stay Permit (ITAS) or Permanent Stay Permit (ITAP), including foreign nationals who have obtained a Limited Stay Visa (VTT) from an Indonesian embassy or consulate; 
  • Holders of diplomatic or service visas or stay permits; 
  • Those providing medical aid, food support and other humanitarian services; 
  • Aircraft, seacraft or land transport crews; and 
  • Foreign nationals working on strategic national projects. 

These exempt foreign nationals must present a health certificate in English from their country’s health authorities; have resided for at least 14 days in a country with no COVID-19 cases (NOTE: it is not certain how this will be applied, as nearly all countries have cases); and provide a statement of willingness to be quarantined for 14 days under the supervision of the Indonesian government. 

RPTKA and work authorization applications for Chinese passport holders may be denied.

Indonesian employers of Mainland Chinese employees are required to file a report with the Ministry of Manpower that includes the names and home countries of their foreign national workers and details on the employer’s actions to halt the spread of the virus, as well as other information. Please contact your immigration professional for further details. 

Before arrival, all travelers must complete a Health Alert Card provided by Indonesia’s Ministry of Health. Travellers exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 during their initial screening will be subject to 14-day observation in a government facility. 

All Indonesian nationals are to restrict non-essential outbound travel and those abroad are encouraged to return to Indonesia as soon as possible to avoid further travel disruptions. 

Chinese nationals who are in Indonesia and whose Short-Visit Passes have expired are eligible for an extension. 

Holders of a Stay Visit Permit (visa exemption, visa on arrival, SEBV, or MEBV) which is expired and/or cannot be extended will be automatically granted an Emergency Stay Permit without needing to submit an application to the immigration office.

Holders of an ITAS or ITAP which is expired and/or cannot be extended are not required to apply for a new ITAS/ITAP and will be automatically granted an Emergency Stay Permit without needing to submit an application to the immigration office.

Ireland

Travelers arriving in Ireland from any other country are required to “restrict their movements” (self-quarantine) for 14 days. 

The Irish immigration authorities are no longer accepting new visa applications. Applicants can still apply for a visa online but will not be able to complete the process by submitting their supporting documents to the Irish embassy or consulate. Applications started online can be completed whenever regular processing resumes. Certain high priority cases will continue to be processed including emergency visas (e.g. for healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals), and visas for the immediate family members of Irish citizens, legal residents and EU nationals practicing free movement in Ireland. Such applications can be filed as usual. 

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) is prioritizing and expediting employment permit applications for medical staff in their queue. The processing of other employment permit applications may be delayed as a result. 

The Burgh Quay registration office and all other GNIB registration centres have closed. 

The Irish government has implemented measures to restrict the movement of residents in the country until at least April 12, 2020. Those not accessing or providing ‘essential services’ are required to stay at home. The police are actively enforcing these measures. The airports are open for emergency departures and arrivals only. Hotels, banks and all shops other than supermarkets and pharmacies are closed. 

All employees whose status is due to expire between March 20 and May 20, 2020 will have their status automatically extended for two months. 

The DBEI has introduced contingency arrangements to ensure that the Employment Permits system will continue to operate in all scenarios during the COVID-19 pandemic. The DBEI will be flexible in dealing with employment permit issues that arise for both employers and employees as a result of the pandemic. Some of the highlights include: 

  • Issuance of an electronic version of an employment permit together with a letter from the DBEI which can be presented to immigration officials until employment permit operations return to normal; 
  • DBEI acceptance of online new and renewal applications for the Trusted Partner scheme without the requirement to provide a hard copy of the application form within 10 days; 
  • A temporary waiver of the requirement to return the original or certified copy of the Employment Permit within four weeks of employment termination; and 
  • Permission for employment permit holders to work remotely from home in Ireland provided the employer submits a single notification to the DBEI indicating that its employees are doing so. 

Please see the DBEI contingency arrangements document for more information. 

The Department of Justice and Equality has issued a set of FAQs on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration service delivery.

Israel

All foreign nationals are banned from entering Israel except for legal residents, others for whom “the center of their lives” is in Israel, or those who have obtained exceptional permission from the Population and Immigration Authority. This permission is likely to be granted to those providing emergency services in various industries. 

Anyone entering Israel from abroad will need to spend 14 days in home isolation. 

Holders of B-1 Foreign Expert work visas with an expiration date on or before May 10, 2020 are eligible for an automatic two-month extension. The extension will be automatically recorded in the Ministry of Interior’s database. All subcategories of work visas for experts (e.g., one-year visas and Hi-Tech 365 visas) as well as work visas that typically cannot be extended (i.e., the 90-day STEP visa, the 90-day Hi-Tech visa (HIT 90) and the 45-day SEA) also qualify for the extension. Employers of foreign nationals who plan to stay in Israel beyond the two-month extension are advised to file an extension application as soon as possible.

Italy

All parts of Italy are under a mandatory quarantine due to COVID-19. Please see our alert for details.

Most police departments and immigration offices in Italy are closed until further notice. The processing of immigration applications that require a personal appearance at such offices will be delayed. 

Most Italian consulates abroad and Italian town halls have temporarily suspended in-person services. Please contact the relevant consulate or town hall directly to confirm their service offerings. 

Beginning March 2, 2020, the issuance of permits of stay (permessi di soggiorno) is suspended for 30 days. The requirement to file a permit of stay application within eight working days of arrival or a renewal application within 60 days of expiration has also been suspended for 30 days–foreign nationals will not be held to these deadlines. Significant delays in the issuance of permits of stay and in immigration processing generally are expected.

All applications, including citizenship applications based on marriage or residency, still pending as of February 23, 2020 or filed after February 23, 2020 will not be processed until at least April 15, 2020. The four-year processing time in which citizenship applications based on marriage or residency must be finalized is extended accordingly.

The validity of all permits, authorizations, certificates, and clearances, including residence permits (permessi di soggiorno), with an expiration date between January 31, 2020 and April 15, 2020 has been extended until June 15, 2020. Renewal applications can be filed until 60 days after June 15, 2020.

The validity of Italian identification documents (e.g., identity cards, passports) that expire on or after March 17, 2020 is automatically extended until August 31, 2020.

Japan

Foreign nationals who hold a Chinese passport issued in Hubei or Zhejiang province or who have been in one of the following countries within 14 days before seeking entry to Japan will not be permitted to enter: 

  • Asia Pacific: Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand
  • Americas: Canada, United States, Ecuador, Chile, Dominican Republic, Panama, Brazil, Bolivia
  • Europe:Ireland, Andorra, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Vatican, France, Belgium, Portugal, Malta, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Iceland, Albania, Armenia, UK, Northern Macedonia, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, Kosovo, Slovakia, Serbia, Czech, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria, Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania
  • Middle East: Iran, Israel, Turkey, Bahrain
  • Africa: Egypt, Ivory Coast, DRC, Mauritius, Morocco

Note: Foreign nationals who are Permanent Residents or close family members of a Japanese citizen or Permanent Resident who exited Japan by April 2, 2020 might be allowed to re-enter under certain conditions. Foreign nationals who exit Japan on or after April 3, 2020 will not be allowed to re-enter Japan. Special Permanent Residents are exempt from the ban and will be allowed to re-enter Japan.

Visas issued by Japanese consulates in the following countries by the following dates are deemed invalid: 

  • Visas issued on or before March 8, 2020 in: China (including Hong Kong and Macao) and South Korea 
  • Visas issued on or before March 20, 2020 in: Iran, Egypt, Ireland, Andorra, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Vatican, France, Belgium, Portugal, Malta, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Iceland, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Rumania, UK, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic
  • Visas issued on or before March 27, 2020 in: Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippine, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Israel, Qatar, Bahrain, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Visas issued on or before April 2, 2020 in: 
  • Asia Pacific: Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Eastern Timor, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Nauru, Niue, Banu Atsu, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Fiji, Marshall, Micronesia
  • Latin America: Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guyana, Cuba, Guatemala, Grenada, Costa Rica, Columbia, Jamaica, Surinam, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Haiti, Bahamas, Paraguay, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Belize, Peru, Honduras, Mexico
  • Europe: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Rosia
  • Middle East: Afghanistan, UAE, Yemen, Iraqi, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon
  • Africa: Algeria, Angora, Uganda, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Eretria, Ghana, Cape Verde, Gabon, Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Chad, Central Africa, Tunisia, Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, Niger, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, South Africa, South Sudan, Mozambique, Mauritania, Libya, Liberia, Rwanda, Lesotho

Nationals of the following countries are no longer eligible for a visa exemption:

  • Asia: Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos,  India, Bangladesh, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Palau
  • Latin America: Argentina, Uruguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Columbia, Surinam, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Paraguay, Barbados, Peru, Honduras, Mexico
  • Europe: Ireland, Andorra, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Vatican, France, Belgium, Portugal, Malta, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, Iceland, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Rumania, UK, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Rosia
  • Middle East: Israel, Iran, Qatar, UAE, Oman
  • Africa: Tunisia, Lesotho

All travelers (including Japanese nationals) arriving in Japan will be subject to a quarantine at a designated facility for 14 days and must avoid using public transportation.

Flights from China and South Korea are only allowed to land at Narita and Kansai airports.

Work and resident permit holders whose permits are expiring in March or April, 2020 may apply at an immigration counter of the Immigration Services Agency to extend their permits by one month from the current permit expiration date.

Jordan

Effective March 21, 2020, a nationwide lockdown will be enforced to control the spread of coronavirus.

The lockdown will begin at 0500 GMT. It will remain in place until further notice.

The restrictions follow an emergency decree enacted by King Abudullah to limit the spread of COVID-19. The decree authorizes the military to impose curfews and utilize other tactics to restrict political and civil liberties as needed.

In addition to the country-wide lockdown, Jordan’s government has issued a separate lockdown for the nation’s capital. Travel is restricted to and from the capital to other parts of the country.

Jordan has also closed its sea borders with Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Egypt. International air travel is also suspended until further notice.

Kenya

Effective March 17, 2020 and in effect for at least two weeks, only Kenyan citizens and foreign nationals with valid work or residence permits will be permitted to enter Kenya. They will need to self-quarantine or report to a government quarantine facility upon entering.

Every foreign national who has entered the country in the 14 days before March 16, 2020 has been ordered to self-quarantine.

All primary and secondary schools are closed and all boarding schools and universities must close by March 20, 2020. All companies have been encouraged to permit employees to work from home.

Luxembourg

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Luxembourg, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Malaysia

The Malaysian government has implemented a “movement control order” (MCO) that will be in effect from March 18 until April 14, 2020. All government and private sector workplaces will be closed except for those that provide essential services. The Immigration office will be completely closed for operations from March 19 to April 14, 2020. The immigration officers have verbally confirmed that passports already submitted to the authorities will remain with the authorities until April 15, 2020. They also advised that applicants who have work or social passes that will expire during the movement control period will not be penalized and they can apply for Special Passes to legally remain in Malaysia after the movement control period ends. The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is also closed.

MDEC, which processes applications under eXpats, is also closed and has provided the following guidelines: 

  • A Special Pass is not required or applicable during this period for:
    • Foreign Knowledge Worker/Expatriates who will remain in Malaysia and whose current pass is expiring or has expired;
    • Foreign Knowledge Workers/Expatriates planning to leave Malaysia whose current pass has expired.
  • All application types that were submitted online before the MCO will continue to be processed but delays should be expected.
  • Renewal, Change of Employer & Change of Position applications can continue to be submitted online during the MCO and will be processed but delays should be expected. 
  • New applications can continue to be submitted online during the MCO but they will not be processed until further notice.
  • Submissions of original passports for Endorsements, Transfer of Endorsements, Special Passes, Cancellations, Appeals, Permission to Study will be put on hold until further notice.

MyXpats, which processes applications under ESD, is also closed and has provided the following guidelines:

  • All application types submitted before the MCO will continue to be processed but delays should be expected.
  • New and renewal applications for Employment Passes, Dependant Passes, Professional Visit Passes and Long Term Social Passes can continue to be submitted online during the MCO but will not be processed until further notice.
  • Pass holders whose passes could not be endorsed and will expire or have expired during the MCO are to remain in Malaysia until further notice.
  • Submissions of original passports for Endorsements, Transfer of Endorsements, Special Passes, Cancellations, Appeals, and Permission to Study will be put on hold until further notice.

Those with work permits expiring during the MCO and whose employers have not yet filed a work permit renewal application can remain in Malaysia but their employer must submit the renewal application to the immigration authorities within 14 days of the end of the MCO. 

Foreign nationals with pending work permit applications who have entered Malaysia as a social visitor should be sure not engage in any form of employment until their work permit application has been approved. If the approval comes while they are in Malaysia as a social visitor during or after the MCO, they must exit Malaysia and re-enter again (after the MCO) to obtain the endorsement.  

Foreign nationals whose tourist visa or work permit has expired during the MCO may exit Malaysia during the MCO without having to apply for a Special Pass provided they have a valid passport. Those who wish to leave but cannot during the MCO due to limited flights or their home country’s entry restrictions should apply for a Special Pass at immigration department headquarters to extend their stay in Malaysia as soon as the MCO is lifted.

Individuals who do not have their passports because they were submitted to the immigration authorities with an application should carry evidence of application submission and/or a copy of their passport when leaving their residences. 

Under the MCO, Malaysians will not be allowed to travel abroad and Malaysians returning from overseas must undergo a health inspection and self-quarantine for 14 days. Foreign tourists, visitors and pass holders will not be allowed to enter. More specifically:

The following cannot enter Malaysia during the movement control period: All foreign visitors and Malaysian pass holders (e.g., Employment Pass, Dependant Pass, Student Pass, MM2H, Temporary Employment Pass). If a pass expires while the holder is outside of Malaysia, they can enter Malaysia after April 14, 2020.

The following can enter Malaysia during the movement control period: Malaysian citizens and Permanent Residence (PR) holders; the spouses and children of Malaysian citizens, as long as they are holding a valid Long Term Social Pass and can present evidence of the relationship; foreign diplomats for the purpose of returning to their positions at the relevant Embassies / Consulates / High Commission; the spouses and children of foreign diplomats, if they hold a valid Dependant Pass; and foreign nationals providing essential services. All of the above must undergo health screening and self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The following cannot exit Malaysia during the movement control period: Malaysian citizens and PR holders, including citizens who hold work permits in Singapore and Thailand and who commute daily by land.

The following can exit Malaysia during the movement control period: Malaysian citizens and PR holders who have valid long-term authorization (work, residence, etc.) in a third country and who wish to travel to the third country may do so provided they do not return to Malaysia before April 14, 2020. They must present documentary evidence at the immigration checkpoint on departure. Also allowed to exit are Malaysian diplomats to return to their positions at the relevant Embassies / Consulates / High Commission overseas, and all other foreign nationals, provided they do not return before April 14, 2020.

All travel within Malaysia is restricted unless absolutely necessary. No interstate travel is allowed without the prior written consent of the head officer of the relevant police station.

Transit through Kuala Lumpur International Airport is allowed as long as the traveler is not required to pass through the immigration checkpoint.

All autogates and e-gates used for immigration clearance at Malaysian airports remain closed until further notice. 

The above measures supersede the below until at least April 14, 2020.

West Malaysia

  • All entry visas issued in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Zhejiang Province and Jiangsu Province in China or South Korea are on hold. 
  • Nationals of China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea will be denied entry, including for transit purposes. New work permits and dependent permits will not be processed for these nationals. Renewals will still be processed. 
  • Nationals of any country who have been in China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea in the past 14 days, will be denied entry. New work permits and dependent permits will not be processed for these individuals. Renewals will still be processed. 
  • Holders of work passes, dependant passes, long-term social visit passes, and permanent residence status are allowed to enter but are subject to a health screening upon arrival.
  • There will be designated  immigration counters at airports for travelers from Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea for monitoring and control purposes.

East Malaysia

  • Nationals of China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea, and nationals of any country who have been in one of these countries in the past 14 days, will be denied entry. This includes those transiting through Kuala Lumpur after a flight that originated in one of these countries–transit will not be allowed. New work permits and dependent permits will not be processed for these individuals. Renewals will still be processed. 
  • Holders of work passes, dependant passes, long-term social visit passes, and permanent residence status are allowed to enter but are subject to a health screening upon arrival.

Mexico

Effective March 20, 2020, Mexico and the US have banned all “non-essential” travel across their shared border for at least 30 days. “Non-essential” travel is considered travel for tourism or recreational purposes, including sightseeing, gambling and attending cultural events. US citizens, lawful permanent residents, holders of valid US travel documents and business travelers are exempt from the ban. While business travel from the US into Mexico is still permitted, business travelers may be subject to additional screening.

Effective April 1 and until April 30, 2020, all immigration processes for temporary and permanent residents have been placed on hold. This includes processes conducted through the National Immigration Institute (INM) as well as at Mexican embassies and consulates abroad.

The INM will be closed from April 6 until April 13, 2020.

Netherlands

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including the Netherlands, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information. 

Currently, the Dutch border police are adopting the following practice for those arriving at Schiphol Airport. The situation is evolving and this is subject to change:

  • Those arriving with an EU passport are being admitted.
  • Those arriving with an MVV- long term (D) visa are being admitted, provided the purpose for their stay still applies.
  • Those arriving with a Dutch residence card are being admitted.
  • Those arriving with the residence card of another EU member state may be admitted but should anticipate more scrutiny.
  • Those arriving with a Schengen (C) visitor visa may be admitted but must demonstrate that they are making an essential trip (doctors, etc.) or they will likely be denied entry.

As of now, those who have an  MVV should be able to enter. However, those who need to apply for a Schengen C visa to work on a short-term work permit or to visit as a business visitor will not be able to obtain visa appointments and appointments already made for such visas are being canceled.

New Zealand

New Zealand has closed its borders to all travellers except New Zealand citizens and permanent residents; New Zealand residents with valid travel conditions; the immediate family members (partner or spouse, legal guardian and dependent children under the age of 24) of New Zealand citizens or residents, if travelling with their New Zealand citizen or resident family member; Australian citizens and permanent residents who reside in New Zealand; and aircraft and marine crews. Other exceptions may be made for those traveling for humanitarian reasons, healthcare and other essential workers, and citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel. Note that it may be difficult to obtain an exemption. 

Transit through New Zealand is also prohibited except for Australian citizens or residents and their immediate family members with a final destination of Australia, and New Zealand citizens or residents and their immediate family members who usually reside in Australia. However, until midnight local time on March 29, 2020, transit is also permitted for United States and Canadian nationals returning to the United States or Canada, and travelers from the Pacific, if returning home.

Anyone who is admitted to New Zealand must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. 

All Immigration New Zealand (INZ) visa processing offices have been closed. INZ will only address priority Covid-19 applications filed online and are setting up a system to do so with reduced staff working remotely. 

Paper applications will likely not be processed for some time, including applications in the Skilled Migrant, Residence from Work and Variation of Conditions visa categories, as well as 61 requests made by persons who are illegally present in New Zealand.

Temporary visa holders whose visas will expire before April 1, 2020 and who are unable to leave New Zealand must apply online for a new visa. An interim visa will be issued while the visa application is in process. 

Temporary visa holders whose visas will expire between April 1 and July 9, 2020 will be granted an automatic visa extension through September 25, 2020. All such visa holders will receive an extension email.

Norway

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Norway, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Peru

Travelers entering from China, France, Italy, Spain, and other high-risk countries as determined by the Peruvian health authorities will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Philippines 

Until further notice, the Philippines has temporarily suspended the issuance of all visas by its foreign service posts as well as all visa-waiver privileges. All previously issued visas will be considered canceled, and foreign nationals with visas issued by a Philippine foreign service post will be prohibited from entering beginning March 22, 2020. Exempt from the suspension are the foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals and foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, whose visas will remain valid. Also exempt are foreign nationals already in the Philippines or holders of visas issued by other government agencies.

Travelers of any nationality, except Filipino citizens and Philippine Permanent Resident Visa holders, who are arriving directly from China (including Taiwan), its Special Administrative Regions (SAR) (Hong Kong and Macao), or North Gyeongsang in South Korea, or who have been in China (including Taiwan), its SAR, or North Gyeongsang in South Korea in the 14 days before arrival, are temporarily ineligible to enter the Philippines. 

Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders arriving from any location in China (including Taiwan) or its SAR will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival in the Philippines. The government will create a repatriation and quarantine center to facilitate the return of foreign nationals to their home countries, where required, and the quarantine of Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders arriving from China. 

Filipinos are temporarily banned from traveling to China (including Taiwan) and its SAR or North Gyeongsang, South Korea except for 1) members of government delegations conducting official duties; 2) members of the World Health Organization; and 3) members of other agencies involved in containing the spread of the coronavirus. The Department of Health may grant additional exemptions based on humanitarian reasons. 

Travelers arriving from, or who have transited through, Iran or Italy in the last 14 days must present a medical certificate issued within the 48 hours before arrival confirming that they do not have COVID-19 and validated by their respective embassies. Those who present a certificate will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Those who do not present a certificate will not be allowed to enter. Filipino citizens, their foreign spouses and children, permanent resident visa holders, and members of the diplomatic corps do not need to present a certificate and will be admitted but will be subject to the 14-day quarantine.

Individuals traveling from countries that have had COVID-19 transmissions may be banned from entering, except for Filipino citizens, their spouses and children, permanent resident visa holders, and holders of diplomatic visas issued by the Philippines.

The Philippine government has put in place an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and strict social distancing measures until April 13, 2020 for all of Luzon, including the National Capital Region. Classes for all levels of educational institutions are suspended, all mass gatherings are prohibited, a strict home quarantine has been imposed such that residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic necessities, and only establishments providing basic necessities will remain open. 

Outbound passengers may depart the Philippines from any of the international airports in Luzon at any time except for Filipino tourists–non-essential travel by Filipinos is suspended. 

All employees of the executive branch of government will work from home except for certain sectors (e.g., the national police and armed forces). This means that employees of government agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Immigration (other than border control employees) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority will be working from home and may not be able to accept or process applications. 

On March 19, 2020, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that its offices in Luzon, including the National Capital Region, have suspended all transactions except for processes for travelers planning to exit the Philippines for the duration of the ECQ. Foreign nationals whose visas will expire during the ECQ period will have until 30 days from the lifting of the quarantine to file their visa extension applications. 

Applicants for visa renewal, extension or amendments who wish to depart the country will no longer need to obtain a Grace Period Order. Instead, during the departure immigration inspection, the foreign national must present visa stamps on their passport (expired or valid); the official receipt (OR) (original or photocopy) of their pending extension or amendment application; the OR (original or photocopy) for their Grace Period application; and the OR for payment of the required Special Return Certificate (SRC) or Reentry Permit (RP) and Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) at the airport or seaport.

The BI has also announced that temporary visitor’s visa holders who have been in the Philippines for less than one year and who are departing the country are temporarily allowed to obtain their ECC at an international airport. The BI will temporarily not require biometrics submission or issuance of a Special Security Registration Number (SSRN) for processing of an ECC, but will still check the local records of the ECC applicant to ensure he/she has no open case or obligation with the government.

The BI will also temporarily permit foreign nationals with approved visas but waiting for the issuance of their Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) to depart the country without the card and without an ACR I-Card Waiver Order. Instead they must present upon departure and re-entry their valid passport and visa, the OR for the ACR I-Card Waiver application fee, and the ECC with Returning Permit (ECC/RP) or Special Resident Certificate (ECC/SRC), as applicable.

The BI is also allowing foreign nationals who have a visa approval or Department of Justice (DOJ) endorsement but have not yet had the visa stamped in their passport to depart the Philippines without the visa during the ECQ. Upon departure they must present their valid passport; a printout of name from Agenda List or DOJ endorsement (except 13 Quota and EO226 visas); and OR for 1) the visa application, 2) ECC/RP or ECC/SRC (except SVEG, EO226 and 47A2, if free from payment based on DOJ Endorsement), and 3) update of tourist visa (only applicable for visa conversions). Foreign nationals who avail of this measure and return to the Philippines will be re-admitted as a temporary visitor and will need to request a re-validation upon their return. Only once the re-validation is approved may they obtain their visa stamp. 

A National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance for an Order to Leave is temporarily not required given that the NBI is closed during the ECQ. Instead, the BI will check to confirm that the subject of the Order to Leave has no hold departure order, watch list order, or alert list order.

The DOJ has suspended its operations in the National Capital Region except for a skeletal workforce. The DOJ legal staff will only continue processing applications for change of status from temporary visitor to, or for extension of stay as, a special non-immigrant under a 47(a)(2) visa that were received by March 13, 2020. It will not accept new applications until the end of the ECQ period. Applicants whose 47(a)(2) visas will expire during the ECQ period can file their applications immediately after the quarantine has ended. Holders of other visas that will expire during the ECQ period and are applying to change status to a  47(a)(2) visa should extend their visas with the BI when possible. 

Consular offices in Metro Manila and the consular office in ASEANA Business Park in Parañaque City will be operating with a skeletal workforce and will provide services only to those with an urgent need, such as Overseas Filipino Workers and those with medical cases, until April 14, 2020. Applicants with questions or emergencies should contact the consular office  where their appointment was scheduled, email oca.concerns@dfa.gov.ph, or call 8651 9400.

Effective March 24, 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment in the National Capital Region (DOLE NCR) has stopped processing new and renewal Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications until further notice. Those with AEPs that expire during the suspension period will not be subject to fines or other penalties and such AEP holders may file renewal applications after the suspension ends. New AEP applicants whose employment contracts take effect during the suspension period or whose 15-day grace period already expired will also not be subject to penalties. 

DOLE Regional Office 4A covering the Calabarzon area has confirmed that it will not impose penalties on AEP holders with expiration dates between March 17 and April 12, 2020, provided a renewal application is filed when the office resumes work on April 13, 2020. 

Poland  

To mitigate the spread of coronavirus, international travelers are subject to an entry ban.

The entry ban applies until further notice. Polish citizens are exempt from the ban and some categories of non-Polish citizens are also exempt including permanent or temporary residents, spouses and children of Polish citizens, Pole’s card holders, foreign nationals permitted to work in Poland, and foreign nationals whose profession involves the transport of goods or people. The Border Guard may approve additional exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless of exemption status, all foreign travelers and returning Polish nationals must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated at a hospital. 

Concessions

  • Work Permits and Special Permissions that expire during the epidemic will be automatically extended to 30 days beyond the official end of the epidemic state. For example, if an end to the epidemic in Poland is declared on April 30, an expired work permit will be extended until May 30. 
  • National visas and residence cards that expire during the epidemic will be automatically extended to 30 days beyond the official end of the epidemic state with no need for amending or stamping to reflect the extension. Foreign nationals who wish to extend their residence beyond the automatic extension period may submit an extension application after the immigration offices reopen.
  • Foreign nationals in Poland on another basis (e.g., Schengen visa, residence permit of another Schengen country, visa-free stay) will be allowed to extend their stay in Poland if they submit a residence application within 30 days of the end of the epidemic state. Foreign nationals who wish to do so are advised to file their residence applications by mail as soon as possible, as it may be difficult to obtain a filing appointment when the immigration offices reopen. 
  • The deadline for EU nationals to file EU registration applications (90 days from the last crossing of the Polish border) is suspended until the end of the epidemic state. EU nationals are advised to file by mail before the immigration offices reopen to ensure they can file in time. 

Portugal

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Portugal, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information. 

In Portugal, a state of emergency was declared on March 19, 2020. Public institutions, including all immigration offices (Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF)), are closed except for select emergency services.

Services that will experience delays or cancellations include:

  • School searches (These will need to be cancelled, as all schools in Portugal are closed and no school staff are available.)
  • Immigration appointments (SEF and Town Hall)
  • Tax registration
  • Social Security registration
  • Health center registration

Visas and residence cards that have expired on or after March 9, 2020 are deemed extended until June 30, 2020, when SEF is expected to resume its usual services. Those who have proof of an appointment to collect a residence card already requested (SEF protocol holders) but who cannot attend the appointment due to office closures will also be considered legal residents until June 30.

Qatar

Effective March 18, 2020, all inbound flights to Qatar will be suspended for two weeks, except transit flights, cargo flights and flights transporting Qatari nationals. Non-citizen Qatari residents will not be permitted to enter and airlines have been instructed to prohibit all non-Qatari nationals from boarding flights to Qatar. 

Travelers who were in Japan or Singapore in the 14 days before March 1, 2020 must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Romania

Effective March 17, 2020, Romania has banned travel for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information.

Russia

All foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Russia from March 18 until May 1, 2020 except for the following:

  • Employees of foreign embassies, consulates, international organizations and their family members
  • Crews of sea and river vessels, aircraft and international trains
  • Members of official delegations
  • Persons who have diplomatic or official visas, or ordinary private visas issued in connection with the death of a close relative (death certificate and evidence of family connection must be presented)
  • Close relatives (spouses, parents, children) of Russian nationals who are traveling with the Russian national family member and who present evidence of the relationship
  • Foreign nationals permanently residing in the Russian Federation (holders of permanent residence permits (PRP))
  • Those who are transiting through air checkpoints
  • CIS citizens and citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia and Yuzhnaya Osetiya transiting through Russia by any mode of transportation en route to their country of residence or citizenship
  • Ukrainian citizens who permanently reside in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions uncontrolled by Ukraine

Nationals of any country who enter Russia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

All regular and charter international flights to and from Russia are suspended except flights disembarking Russian nationals to Russia or flights authorized by the government.

Most Russian and foreign nationals are prohibited from crossing the Russian border via land checkpoints, including the land border with Belarus. 

The week of March 30 to April 3, 2020 is deemed a non-working week in Russia, with most businesses closed. The closures do not apply to essential services or to public authorities; however, all immigration authorities are closed to the public except the Moscow Migration Center in Sakharovo.

Effective March 29 and until April 5, 2020 in Moscow and the Moscow Region, a period of self-isolation has been imposed such that residents may only leave their residences for essential activities and must keep distance from other residents. Accordingly, most migration authorities in Moscow and the Moscow Region will not be receiving in-person applicants. The self-isolation period will last until April 14, 2020 for citizens over the age of 65 or who have chronic diseases. 

Severe criminal and administrative penalties apply for quarantine violations. 

Until April 12, 2020, the Internal Affairs Migration Office (Pokrovka St, 42 in Moscow) is receiving applicants only for the submission and issuance of documents for exit visas to leave Russia.

Effective March 18, 2020, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia will no longer issue invitations to enter Russia for work or study purposes.

Also effective March 18, Russian consulates abroad will no longer issue Russian visas except for foreign nationals in the exception categories listed above. The issuance of electronic visas will also be suspended. 

Concessions

The territorial divisions of the Internal Affairs Ministry are required to do the following:

  • Approve visa extension applications for up to 90 days regardless of the purpose of the visit or the visa type (including cases in which the visa has already expired and the foreign national could not leave Russia before the expiration date). The applicant will later be issued a transit visa to exit the country;
  • Approve applications for extension of stay for up to 90 days for foreign nationals who entered Russia on short-term visa-free travel (including cases in which the stay has already expired and the foreign national could not leave Russia before the expiration date). The applicant will also later be issued a transit visa to exit the country;
  • For visa-exempt foreign nationals that do not have migration cards, issue duplicates and process their address registration applications;
  • Issue exit visas to those who wish to leave Russia;
  • Waive administrative penalties such as deportation administrative removal immigration violations for the foreign nationals listed above;
  • Continue accepting, processing and issuing corporate work permits, work permits and patents;
  • Extend TRP or PRP applications for up to 90 days for applicants whose documents will soon expire or have already expired;
  • Not annul work permits, TRP, or PRP, even if the holder has exceeded the 6-month limit for stays abroad, if the permit holder is unable to enter Russia.

Foreign nationals who cannot leave Russia due to border closures or cancelled flights and wish to apply for an extension of stay may do so as follows:

For those staying in Moscow:

  • Foreign nationals whose visas are still valid should apply to the Office of the Internal Affairs Ministry in Moscow.
  • Foreign nationals whose visa expired after March 18, 2020 (the day the Russian border closed) or who entered without a visa should apply to the local police office in Moscow with jurisdiction over the address where they are staying.
  • Foreign nationals whose visa expired before March 18, 2020 will have to wait until the district courts re-open, as they will be fined for violating immigration laws.

Those staying in the Moscow Region but not in Moscow proper can apply to the Internal Affairs office for the Moscow Region in Moscow or to a local Internal Affairs Ministry immigration office.

Those staying in other regions should apply to the Internal Affairs office for their region.

Singapore

From April 7 to May 4, 2020, there will be changes to certain work pass services in response to the government’s introduction of additional safe-distancing measures for its workers. Employers are advised to not bring foreign nationals into Singapore during this timeframe, as services for new work passes will be very limited. Changes will be made to the following services:

  • Card registration and collection
  • Card delivery
  • Work and dependant’s passes expiring from April 6 to May 5, 2020
  • Pass cancellation and extension of stay
  • Services for workers who need trade certification
  • IPAs that will expire soon

Please see MOM’s advisory for details. 

Singapore employers of Malaysian workers are urged not to send such workers back to Malaysia before the end of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) on April 14, 2020. However, if a Malaysian worker wishes to return to Malaysia before the end of the MCO on his/her own, he/she must sign a declaration to do so. Employers must ask such employees to complete and sign the declaration, which the employee must submit at the ICA checkpoint before departing Singapore. Once the employee has left Singapore, the employer must notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and MOM will authorize the work pass cancellation. Employers who do not comply may have their work pass privileges revoked. Employers are reminded that they must provide housing to their Malaysian employees until April 14, 2020. 

Effective March 29, 2020, permission is required for holders of certain ICA-issued passes before re-entry to Singapore. In addition, holders of Work Passes issued by MOM still require entry approval to travel to Singapore. Please see our alert for more information. 

Effective March 26, 2020, the employers of work pass holders who entered Singapore between March 14 and 20, 2020 and were not issued a Stay-Home Notice are to report worker health conditions and contact details Immediately. Please see our alert for more information. 

Effective March 27, 2020 at 09:00 Singapore time, all incoming travellers, including Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and Long-Term Pass holders, must submit a health declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) E-Service up to three days prior to arrival. The declaration must be re-submitted if the traveler’s health condition or travel history changes before arrival. Travelers who do not submit the declaration electronically may be delayed at the immigration checkpoint, as they will have to complete the declaration there. Those who make false declarations may be prosecuted. Please see the ICA website for more details. 

Effective March 23, 2020, short-term visitors are not permitted to enter or transit through Singapore. Work pass holders (and their dependents) are only permitted to enter/return if they are providing essential services. 

Singapore citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders returning to Singapore from Hubei province are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Those returning from all other locations will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). Those under a SHN must remain in their place of residence at all times.

Malaysians with Singapore work permits will continue to be able to work in Singapore during the Malaysian movement control period, provided they have appropriate accommodation arrangements. 

Please see the Ministry of Health’s March 22 advisory for further details. 

For employers in Singapore with workers who commute from Malaysia and are impacted by the movement control order in Malaysia, please see MOM’s advisory for Singapore employers with workers affected by the lockdown in Malaysia. 

See Pearl’s immigration alerts for additional updates for Singapore.

South Africa

Effective March 26, 2020 at 23:59 local time, South Africa will begin a nationwide lockdown that will remain in place until April 16, 2020. No one will be allowed to leave their homes during the lockdown except to obtain necessities and all non-essential businesses must close. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will support the police in ensuring compliance with these measures.

Italian, South Korean, Spanish, German, American and United Kingdom passport holders are no longer eligible for a visa exemption. These nationals must obtain a Port of Entry Visa before traveling from a South African Diplomatic Mission abroad. However, it is currently not possible for nationals residing in these countries to apply for visas.  

Foreign nationals who seek to enter South Africa from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the US or the UK are banned from entering. This applies to nationals of these countries and nationals of other countries traveling directly from these countries. Also, foreign nationals who have been in these countries since March 15, 2020 are not eligible for a Port of Entry Visa or a Temporary Residence Visa until further notice. Those who arrived after March 9, 2020 from these countries must undergo a 14-day quarantine in their hotel. 

Portuguese, Singaporean and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport holders are no longer eligible for a visa exemption. These nationals must obtain a Port of Entry Visa before traveling from a South African Mission in their country of citizenship or residence. Their visa application must include an official medical report which confirms that they have not tested positive for COVID-19. 

All Port of Entry Visas issued to Chinese and Iranian nationals on or before March 15, 2020 for visits to South Africa are considered cancelled. 

All travelers from Hong Kong, Portugal, or Singapore and any other countries designated by the Government are subject to additional scrutiny and may be quarantined if they test positive for the virus. South African citizens returning to South Africa are also subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

All foreign nationals who arrived in South Africa in mid-February or after are to be tested for the virus, but it is not yet clear how the testing is to be conducted.

South African citizens are to avoid traveling to all high-risk countries and must limit gatherings to less than 100 people. All schools will be closed beginning March 18, 2020 until after the Easter break. 

The following concessions are applicable through July 31, 2020:

  • Chinese nationals who hold an Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa with an expiration date of July 31, 2020 or earlier may change their status to a Visitor’s Visa endorsed with section 11(2) work authorization and valid for up to six months, provided they meet the requirements for the visa.   
  • Chinese nationals who hold a Visitor’s Visa and have reached the maximum six-month validity period can apply for a new Visitor’s Visa in the same category valid for an additional three months.
  • Chinese nationals who hold a Temporary Residence Visa with an expiration date between December 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020, may apply to renew the expired visa without having to regularize their stay by applying for a Form 20.

The following additional concessions apply:

  • The visas of foreign nationals already within South Africa remain valid.
  • All foreign nationals of countries impacted by COVID-19, or those who would have to transit through an impacted country to return home, and whose visas have expired or will expire may re-apply for the same visa with an expiration date of up to July 31, 2020.
  • Those whose visas expired or will expire between December 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020 will be allowed to reapply for their visas without first applying for a Form 20.

South Korea

All travelers who were in Hubei Province, China in the 14 days before entering, who transited through Hubei province on their way to South Korea, or who hold passports issued in Hubei Province are banned from entering. 

All other travelers, regardless of nationality, departure country or residence status in South Korea, who DO NOT have COVID-19 symptoms must complete the following steps at the airport:

  • Get a fever check;
  • Submit a Health Condition Declaration Form;
  • Submit the address and phone number of their accommodation in South Korea. Visitors will be allowed to enter only when the phone number they have submitted is verified on site. Phone number verification may cause delays on arrival in South Korea; and
  • Download a smartphone app that will allow them to enter their symptoms for 14 days after arrival. More information about the smartphone app is available at http://ncov.mohw.go.kr/selfcheck/

After completing the steps above and leaving the airport, these travelers must complete 14 days of mandatory home quarantine. If the traveler does not have a local residence, the government will provide a facility for the quarantine at a cost of KRW 100,000 per day.

All travelers that DO have virus symptoms must be tested for COVID-19 before they leave the airport. If they are found to be COVID-19 positive, they will be quarantined at a hospital until fully recovered. If they are COVID-19 negative, they must complete 14 days of mandatory home quarantine. If the traveler does not have a local residence, the government will provide a facility for the quarantine at a cost of KRW 100,000 per day.

Severe penalties apply to those who do not follow the government’s quarantine and other requirements, including up to one year in prison, a fine of up to 10 million Won, visa and ARC cancellation, deportation and/or bars from re-entry.  

The visa-free program for Chinese nationals in Jeju island has been suspended. 

All visas issued by the Korean Consulate in Wuhan, China before February 4, 2020 have been invalidated. 

All foreign nationals applying for South Korean visas at Korean Consulates in China must fill out a “Health Report Form.”

Nationals of Japan may not enter South Korea pursuant to a visa waiver, regardless of the type of passport they hold; they must now obtain a visa to enter. 

All South Korean visas already issued by South Korean consulates in Japan as of March 9, 2020 will be deemed cancelled. Note that the Alien Registration Cards of Japanese nationals already residing and working in South Korea will not be cancelled. 

All foreign nationals applying for South Korean visas at a South Korean consulate in Japan will need to complete a “Health Report Form” which will be available on the websites of Japan’s South Korean embassy and consulates once it has been released. A medical test from a designated hospital in Japan may also be required if the virus outbreak in Japan continues. Visa processing times at South Korean consulates in Japan will be longer than previously, likely at least 14 days as this is the incubation period of the coronavirus. 

South Korea has raised the travel advisory for Japan to Level 2, which advises Korean nationals to avoid travelling to Japan.

Holders of B-1/B-2 visas-on-arrival or C-3/C-4 visas who cannot leave South Korea because of cancelled flights are granted a 30-day extension. Further extensions may be possible. 

Long-term visa holders with Alien Registration Cards whose authorized stay expires between February 24 and April 29, 2020 may have their stay automatically extended through April 30, 2020 under certain conditions.

Spain

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Spain, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information. 

Effective March 23, 2020 and for 30 days, Spain will deny entry to both third-country (non-EU) and EU nationals and their dependents, unless they belong to one of the following categories:

  • Residents in Spain or those travelling directly to their residence place in another EU member state or Schengen state
  • Holders of a long-term visa issued by an EU member state or Schengen state, travelling to the member state or Schengen state
  • Cross-border workers
  • Healthcare or elderly care professionals undertaking their work activity
  • Personnel engaged in the transport of goods, while undertaking their work activities, and flight crews required to carry out commercial air transport activities
  • Members of diplomatic missions, consular offices, international and military organizations, provided their travel is related to the performance of official duties
  • Persons travelling for urgent family reasons with evidence of such reasons
  • Persons who provide documentary evidence of force majeure or other necessity, or whose entry is permitted on humanitarian grounds

Denial of entry does not apply to the inland border with Andorra or the checkpoint with the territory of Gibraltar. The inland borders to enter and exit Spain through Ceuta and Melilla will be temporarily closed.

The Spanish government has declared a state of alarm beginning March 14, 2020 and lasting until April 12, 2020. Many government offices will be closed during this period. Most in-person processes such as fingerprinting and submission of applications will not be possible. Those with appointments should check to see if their appointments will be honored. However, online services will continue to be available and the immigration authorities will continue to process applications to the best of their ability. Applicants are encouraged to continue to prepare and file applications and make appointments to the extent possible.

Statutory processing times will be suspended as the government will not be able to adhere to them during the alert period. 

Social security offices are closed and the start dates of workers who require social security numbers may be delayed unless/until an online system is established or the authorities allow employees to register without a social security number.

In Barcelona and Madrid, appointments to apply for a Foreigners’ Identity Card (TIE) have been cancelled and cannot be rescheduled until after the alert period. Residence card applications  might be accepted in urgent cases only. 

The consulate of Spain in Washington, DC is currently only supporting emergency cases for Spanish citizens. Services at other Spanish consulates may be reduced or consulates may close altogether. 

The immigration authorities will not deny applications due to the applicant not providing required documents/information during the alert period. Administrative deadlines regarding submission of applications will not apply.

Sweden

Effective March 17, 2020, the European Union (EU) has banned travel into the Schengen Area, including Sweden, for most non-EU nationals for 30 days. Please see our news alert for more information. 

Switzerland

Effective March 25, 2020, only citizens of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, holders of Swiss residence permits, and those who have to travel to Switzerland for work-related reasons (such travelers must submit a notification using an online notification tool) or because of an emergency will continue to be allowed to enter. Travellers may continue to transit through Switzerland and movement of goods is still permitted. Entries with a Swiss employment contract only (without a valid permit card) are prohibited.

The 8-day work permit exemption rule is no longer applicable – any work-related activity needs to be reported in advance using the online notification tool.

The Federal Council has suspended the issuance of Schengen and national visas for an initial period of three months. Entry into Switzerland is now only possible for third-country nationals in exceptional cases (e.g., for family members of Swiss citizens with a right of presence in Switzerland and for health specialists).

The authorities are no longer processing initial work and residence permit applications for third-country nationals and for service providers except for specialists in the healthcare sector. Some cantonal immigration offices and local municipal administrations have closed their offices.

Taiwan

Effective March 19, 2020, anyone who is not a ROC Taiwan passport holder will be barred from entering Taiwan. 

Exceptions apply to ARC holders, diplomatic officials, and businesspeople with special entry permits authorized by the ROC Taiwan government. 

All travelers who are admitted must undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine upon entry. 

Those on a home quarantine are strictly forbidden from leaving their home or other place of accommodation for 14 days. They will receive health checks from the local health authorities twice daily. Penalties for noncompliance with home quarantine rules include mandatory medical isolation and fines ranging from NT$100,000 to NT$1,000,000 under the Communicable Disease Control Act.

Thailand

The Thai Immigration Authority will allow foreign nationals whose travel plans have been impacted by the coronavirus and who wish to extend their stay in Thailand to apply for visa extensions. Foreign nationals must first contact their embassy in Thailand to request a confirmation letter, then file a visa extension request that includes the letter with the Immigration Authority.

Travelers arriving from or who have transited through Mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Macau, or South Korea are subject to a 14-day quarantine. These travelers are not eligible for visa extensions until they have completed the quarantine. These travelers must also present a health certificate confirming that they do not have COVID-19 at the airport before traveling. Those without the certificate will not be admitted to Thailand. 

The Board of Investment (BOI) will not accept initial Placement Approval applications from foreign nationals who hold a passport from or have recently been in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Italy, Iran, Singapore, Japan or South Korea until they have self-quarantined for at least 14 days after their arrival in Thailand. Placement Approval is the last online approval in the work permit process under BOI and can only be submitted after foreign nationals have arrived in Thailand. 

Nationals of Hong Kong, Italy and South Korea are no longer eligible for a visa exemption and must apply for a consular visa to enter Thailand. 

Nationals of Bulgaria, Bhutan, China (including Taiwan), Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu are temporarily no longer eligible for a visa on arrival and must apply for a consular visa to enter Thailand.

Nationals of China, Iran, Italy and South Korea applying for visas at Thai embassies require a medical certificate issued no more than three days before their application, though individual Thai embassies may have different requirements. Applicants should check with the relevant embassy before applying.

Nationals of China, Iran, Italy and South Korea will be subject to a 14-day quarantine on arrival.

Turkey

Foreign nationals (except for holders of Turkish residence or work permits) who have been in Mainland China, Iran, Iraq, Italy or South Korea (including for transit purposes) in the 14 days prior to seeking entry to Turkey will not be admitted.

The land borders between Turkey, Iraq and Iran have been closed.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE authorities have temporarily suspended the acceptance of all out-of-country visa applications and are no longer issuing visas on arrival. All visa applications submitted to the GDRFA but not yet approved will be placed on hold and new applications will not be accepted. Visas that have already been issued are deemed cancelled. Exemptions apply to those holding diplomatic passports. The authorities are still processing in-country visa applications and renewals but delays should be expected and additional screening may be required. Those whose status is expiring soon may apply for a new visit or tourist visa through any travel and tourism agency in the UAE. 

MOHRE has also suspended the issuance of all work permits except for those for intracompany transfers and EXPO 2020 workers. In-country applications for free-zone work permits can still be submitted, but approval will be at the discretion of GDRFA. 

Residence Visa stamping has been temporarily suspended. Online applications can be submitted and approvals can be issued but stamping will not be completed. 

Government and free zone authorities are working remotely and Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices are closed (only one main office will accept documents for attestation). 

Effective April 2, 2020, typing centers that help to process immigration and Ministry of Labour applications, as well as all Tasheel and Tadbeer offices, are closed until further notice. 

If a visa applicant is in the UAE in the middle of a visa process and initial approvals have been issued and the next step is to complete the medical and biometric processes, these steps may need to be delayed. Most medical centers are temporarily not conducting medical exams for visa purposes and biometrics cannot be taken until the medical exam is completed. One exception is the Al Muhaisnah Medical Centre which is open for new dependent visa applications and new in-country visa processing for employees. Also, the  Karama Emirates ID Centre is open for biometric scanning for those who have already received medical exam results. 

Resident permit holders who are outside the UAE are generally not permitted to re-enter for the time being. However, there is a “Twajudi Resident” service to assist residents who urgently need to return home. A helpline has also been established for UAE citizens and residents who are abroad: 0097124965228 or 0097192083344. 

Nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council countries are temporarily not allowed to enter the UAE. 

Effective March 26, 2020, passenger flights to and from Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) have been suspended for two weeks. Visitors who are unable to leave during the suspension and whose authorized stay is expiring will be permitted to legally remain in the country. 

All categories of visas and residency status that have expired on or after March 1, 2020 will be exempt from overstay fines for three months. 

United Kingdom

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed a stay-at-home order on the entire UK. However, the UK borders remain open, though flights and trains are limited. 

All Visa Application Centres outside the UK have closed.

All UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs)  in the UK have also closed until further notice. All existing appointments have been rescheduled for six weeks out but may need to be pushed out further and new appointments cannot be made. Applications can be filed online but will be kept on hold until the centres reopen after which appointments can be made. Priority and Super Priority service are not available. All applications will be processed under standard service for adjudication in 6 to 8 weeks once the centres reopen. Those whose visas expire during the closures will not be adversely affected. 

Responses from the UKVI and Home Office are taking longer to obtain due to the increased volume of email queries.

Due to the self-isolation measures in place, non-EU nationals in the UK for work or study are allowed to work or study from home.

Those whose leave expired/expires between January 24 and May 31, 2020 and could not/cannot leave the UK before their visa expiration date due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions are eligible for an extension of stay until the end of May. Such individuals should email the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) at CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to obtain the extension. The information to provide in the email is listed here

Those in the UK who wish to switch to a long-term visa and would normally need to do so from their home country may now apply using the UKVI in-country online application process. Since there are processing delays related to COVID-19, applicants’ leave will remain valid until their application is adjudicated. This option is only available if the current visa has an expiration date between January 24 and May 31, 2020. Note that to complete this process the applicant must appear at a UKVCAS centre but all centres are now closed.

Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors are not required to report student or employee absences which the sponsors have authorized due to the student/employee’s illness, quarantine, or restricted travel related to the coronavirus. Employers also do not need to report that employees are working from home due to COVID-19.

Sponsors are not required to withdraw sponsorship if a student is unable to attend classes for more than 60 days or an employee is absent from work and not paid for four weeks or more if the sponsor considers the circumstances exceptional due to the coronavirus. 

The Home Office will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are absent from classes/work due to the coronavirus or sponsors who continue to sponsor them. 

Employers can temporarily reduce the salaries of their sponsored employees to 80% of their salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is lower. Salary reductions must be for the purpose of avoiding redundancies and settled and sponsored workers must be treated the same. Any change in salary or working hours should be reported to the Home Office. 

Please see the UK government’s Coronavirus: advice for Tier 2, 4 and 5 sponsors page and Coronavirus: advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents page for more information.The Home Office has introduced temporary changes to facilitate the right to work check process during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our alert for details.

United States

See Pearl’s immigration alerts for the latest updates.

Vietnam

All travelers who have left China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the 14 days before arrival in Vietnam will either be denied entry or subject to quarantine.

Passengers arriving from areas impacted by the coronavirus may be required to complete a medical questionnaire upon arrival which will be reviewed by a Health Quarantine officer.

Citizens of ASEAN countries or those from other countries who have been in or transited through an ASEAN country in the 14 days before the date of their entry into Vietnam will be subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival.

The Immigration Department has suspended all visas issued to PRC passport holders.

Italian and South Korean nationals are temporarily ineligible for visa-free entry.

Effective March 17, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended the acceptance of all visa applications from all nationalities and for all purposes for a period of 30 days.

Visa on arrival issuance at the Hanoi airport is now only possible for foreign nationals coming from a country where there is no Vietnamese embassy/consulate or those that can prove they are unable to obtain a visa from a Vietnamese embassy/consulate. Accordingly, most travelers will need to obtain a visa from a Vietnamese embassy/consulate before traveling once visas are again being issued. 

UK and all EU Nationals require a visa to enter Vietnam; they are no longer eligible for a visa exemption. Nationals of any country with more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, or more than 50 new cases per day, also are no longer eligible for a visa exemption and require a visa to enter Vietnam. 

Local authorities have begun taking temperature readings at ports of entry. Travelers found to have a fever on arrival will be placed under quarantine at a health facility or forced to self-isolate at home. Vietnam Airlines is conducting health screenings of all passengers departing from Europe to Vietnam.

All travelers arriving in Vietnam as well as all applicants for visa renewals in Vietnam are required to complete a health declaration form available online at https://tokhaiyte.vn/. 

Applications for business and work visa renewal for foreign nationals coming from countries strongly impacted by the virus now require a travel declaration that the host company must sign.

The Labor Department has stopped accepting new and renewal work permit applications from Chinese and Korean nationals. In some provinces, work permit applications are not being accepted from any foreign national coming from an epidemic area.

The HCMC labor department has suspended the acceptance of new work permit applications for a period of two weeks effective March 17, 2020. The HCMC labor department is also requiring the original passport with any type of work permit application. It is not clear how to proceed with applications filed while the applicant is still outside of Vietnam. In other provinces, labor departments are requiring a letter signed and sealed by the host company detailing the applicant’s travels since December 31, 2019. 

In HCMC, if the medical exam required for a work permit application was conducted before February 11, 2020, the applicant must obtain a health declaration from the Pasteur Institute in HCMC or have a new medical exam done at an authorized hospital.