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 indefinitely. Entry is suspended for all foreign nationals, including residents of Argentina. A repatriation program is in place for Argentine citizens who are abroad. 

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 those involved in international trade operations and the transport of goods by air, land, or sea and crew members of aircrafts and ships.

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 June 7, 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 that expired 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.

Layoffs and other work suspensions due to economic reasons or force majeure are prohibited until May 30, 2020 unless there is an agreement between the employer and the worker and non-remunerative compensation is provided.

Austria

Non-resident foreign nationals arriving by air are banned from entering until June 1, 2020. Exempt from the travel ban are EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members, non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals arriving from within the Schengen Area, holders of long-term Austrian visas or residence permits, travelers transiting through Austria, and providers of essential services (e.g., healthcare workers). 

Travelers entering by air are subject to a 14-day quarantine unless they can present a medical certificate in German or English issued no more than four days before the entry date confirming that they have been tested for coronavirus and do not have the disease. 

All travelers arriving via land border crossings from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland must also present such a medical certificate. Nationals and permanent residents of Austria may instead be quarantined for 14 days or until they test negative for coronavirus. The requirement does not apply to cross-border and posted workers among limited others. 

Most immigration offices are closed until further notice. 

Australia

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 to New Zealand. Also exempt from the ban, provided they request and are approved for an exemption before traveling, are foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government to assist with the COVID-19 response or whose presence in the country is otherwise in the national interest, those providing critical medical services or with other critical skills, diplomats who reside in Australia and their family members, and those entering for humanitarian reasons.

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. Employers may need to postpone the employment start dates of new work visa holders/applicants until the travel ban is lifted.  

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. 

Visitor visa holders should return to their home countries as soon as possible. If they cannot do so, they need to maintain a valid visa and should apply for visa renewal or a different visa before their current visa expires. Visitors with a “No Further Stay” condition on their visa (including 8503, 8534 or 8535) and less than two months of stay remaining can request a waiver of this condition so they can file a new visa application.

Australians are prohibited from travelling abroad. Exceptions may be possible by applying for pre-approval to travel.  

The Department continues to process visa applications but priority is being given to infrastructure projects and workers and healthcare and medical workers, which means that other occupations and categories (e.g., non-essential workers and applicants outside Australia) will experience significant processing delays. Most Department officers are working remotely while other officers have been reassigned to quarantine-related activities, both of which also impact processing times. Applicants in some industries may need to meet additional requirements due to increasing unemployment rates.  

Sponsors are reminded that they must continue to adhere to all sponsor obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic period, including record keeping and notifications to the Department. 

Concessions:

  • The visas of Temporary Skilled Visa holders who have been “stood down” (asked to temporarily stop working) but not laid off entirely will remain valid and they will be allowed to extend their visas as needed. 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. If they cannot return to their home country they should obtain a different visa (e.g., a Bridging Visa) to remain in Australia.
  • Employers may reduce the working hours of Temporary Skilled Visa holders without the employee being in violation of their visa status or the employer being in violation of their obligations. 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. 
  • Temporary Skilled Visa holders 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 this financial year. Other financial resources may also be available to such employees. See  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/jobseeker-payment, https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/JobKeeper, and  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/special-benefit for more information.
  • If a visa holder who was stood down or terminated is re-employed after the pandemic, their time spent in Australia will count toward their skilled work experience requirement for permanent residency, even if they did not work for part of the time.
  • Holders of temporary visas that have just expired or will soon expire who cannot leave Australia due to travel restrictions, who do not qualify for any other visa category, and who plan to conduct an essential service related to the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for the Subclass 408 visa. Please contact your immigration professional for more information.

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.The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has announced that businesses will not be required to pay monthly work fees for April, May or June 2020.

Belgium

Belgium has introduced an entry ban for all travelers except 1) nationals of EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members who are Belgian residents returning home; 2) non-EU national holders of a Belgian residence permit who are returning home; 3) cross-border workers; 4) travelers in transit; and 5) diplomats and personnel of humanitarian and international organizations; and 6) other travellers whose entry is considered essential. 

All travelers entering Belgium are subject to a 14-day home quarantine. 

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 embassies and consulates will reopen on a country-by-country basis.

Belgium has begun taking “lockdown exit” measures. Town halls are resuming limited services. Offices are allowed to re-open; remote work is no longer required but is still encouraged when possible. Public transportation will resume operating on regular schedules though all passengers older than 12 years of age must wear face masks.

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

Travelers are not allowed to enter unless they are: 

  • Nationals of Brazil or their immediate family members;
  • Residents of Brazil;
  • Foreign professionals in service of an international organization;
  • Foreign employees accredited to the Brazilian Government ot travelers with authorization from the Brazilian Government;
  • Holders of a National Migration Registry; or
  • Travelers transiting through Brazil.

Many Federal Police offices are closed. Those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are operating with limited staff and accepting only critical applications. 

The Ministry of Justice is processing residence permit applications but is not issuing pre-approval notices for consular visa applications except for cases the Ministry deems critical. 

Bulgaria

All travelers are banned from entering Bulgaria by any mode of transportation except the following:

  • Nationals of Bulgaria and their family members;  
  • Nationals of EU and Schengen Area countries and their family members (unless seeking entry from Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, India, Iran,Italy, the Maldives, the Netherlands, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland);  
  • Holders of permanent residence permits, long-term residence permits or Prolonged Residence Permits in Bulgaria;
  • EU permit holders, UK passport holders and their families, and nationals and residents of Turkey or North Macedonia who are transiting through on their way to their residence country; and
  • Individuals providing essential services.

All travelers entering Bulgaria are subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

Canada

NOTE: Foreign nationals from Pearl client companies who currently hold a valid Work Permit or a Work Permit pre-approval (through online submission) for Canada and want to enter Canada should contact their Pearl immigration professional before travel so Pearl can advise on additional documents they will need to bring upon entry. These documents include but are not limited to proof that they have a job to go to and proof that they have a place to quarantine. Family members seeking to enter Canada to reunify with their families should also contact Pearl as they may require special authorization prior to travel.

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-quarantine 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 who would normally be allowed to enter but who show symptoms of illness will be barred from entering.

Arriving travelers must wear a face covering on entry and en route to their quarantine location and must present a detailed quarantine plan to the CBSA border officer describing where they will quarantine, how they will get from the airport to their lodging without using public transportation, how they will acquire essential supplies (as they are not allowed to leave their lodging for groceries, etc.), and how they will care for children and pets, if any. Travelers may not quarantine with any “vulnerable persons” (those over 65 years of age or with compromised immune systems or medical conditions that increase their risk of contracting COVID-19). Each traveler must complete a “Coronavirus Form” detailing their address and contact information in Canada.

Employers with workers arriving in or returning to Canada are responsible for accommodating the self-quarantine and ensuring their workers are following their quarantine plan. Employers must pay isolating employees the wage indicated in the work permit application for at least 30 hours per week, even if they are not working due to quarantine. Service Canada is conducting remote compliance inspections to confirm that employers are accommodating their workers’ self-isolation and complying with related requirements. Those that do not comply may be subject to a fine of up to CAD one million and may be banned from using the temporary foreign worker program. Please see our alert for more information.

Airlines are required to prevent travelers of any nationality with virus symptoms from boarding flights to Canada. Those allowed on flights are required to wear a face mask. 

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. Most offices that collect biometrics worldwide are closed. 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. 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.

Service Canada Service Update: All Service Canada centers are closed to the public and 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. Online applications for Social Insurance Numbers are no longer possible. Applicants must submit paper applications with original supporting documents that will be returned after processing. 

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. 

Until August 31, 2020, foreign students already in Canada that work in an essential function in certain industries may now work full time. Please contact your immigration professional for more information. 

Certain priority occupations, primarily in the agricultural and food service industries, will be eligible for expedited processing and exempt from the advertising requirement. Please contact your immigration professional for more information. 

Chile

Most foreign nationals are banned from entering Chile until at least May 27, 2020. Only Chilean citizens, foreign nationals holding a Vigent Chilean ID, and humanitarian staff can enter Chile without issue. Travelers can transit through airports, but cannot go through customs and enter the country.

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.

All Chilean consulates have ceased issuing visas until further notice. The domestic Migration Department is still working, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs abroad is not. The Migration Department is currently working from home, so there will be delays in processing.

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. 

The areas currently under quarantine are Santiago, Cerrillos, Cerro Navia, Conchalí, El Bosque, Estación Central, Huechuraba, Independencia, La Cisterna, La Florida, La Granja, La Pintana, La Reina, Las Condes, Lo Barnechea, Lo Espejo, Lo Prado, Macul, Maipú, Ñuñoa, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Peñalolén, Providencia, Pudahuel, Quilicura, Quinta Normal, Recoleta, Renca, San Joaquín, San Miguel, San Ramón, Vitacura, Puente Alto, San Bernardo, Buin, Colina, Padre Hurtado, Lampa, Iquique, Alto Hospicio, and Lonquimay (Araucanía Region).

Applicants in Chile are still able to file applications for visas in Chile. Foreign nationals who entered as a tourist before the border closure are able to apply for a visa to live, study, and/or work in Chile. Those who entered Chile before March 18 can apply for residency in-country.

For foreign nationals who receive approvals, the Migration Department is working on providing electronic stamps or “Electronic Provisionary Stamping.” Not everyone will receive this, as it is a work in progress and being launched incrementally.

The Policía de Investigaciones (PDI) has arranged for several processes to be conducted via its website: Certificate of Vigency of Permanent Residence, Residence Certificate, copy of visa registration, change of address or activity, certificate of missing documents, Tourist Card copy, and Travel Certificate.

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

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

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.

The requirement to file work permit renewal applications at least 30 days before the expiration date has been suspended temporarily. 

Colombia

International passenger flights are not allowed to arrive at Colombian airports. This means that no travelers, including Colombian nationals, may arrive in Colombia 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.

Migración Colombia has suspended the following services that require foreign nationals to make an in-person appearance through May 30, 2020 (or until the health emergency declared by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection has ended):

  • Issuance of a foreigner’s ID card (for initial, renewal and duplicate applications)
  • Foreigner’s registration
  • Temporary Stay Permit to change permission
  • Extension of Permanence
  • Certificate of Migratory Movement
  • Certificate of Migratory Movement and Nationality
  • Safe-stay permit SC-1 and SC-2, with certain exceptions 

The Colombian president has ordered a period of mandatory preventive isolation across the country from March 25 until May 25, 2020. Certain activities and services are exempted from the isolation measures.

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

Entry and stay permits that expire during the health emergency will be automatically extended to one month after the end of the health emergency.

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 until at least June 15, 2020 and such foreign nationals are not allowed to re-enter until at least June 16, 2020.

All visitors, including business visitors, are banned from entering the country until at least June 16, 2020. Legal residents (holders of work permits, resident permits, stay visas, student visas and special category visas) who left the country before March 24, 2020 as well as Costa Rican nationals and diplomats will be allowed to re-enter but are subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry.

The Immigration Department will not receive applications of any kind until July 18, 2020 but will continue processing pending applications until that time. The Department will continue to issue notices of approval and denial by email or fax. 

Birth, criminal record and marriage certificates, as well as other documents issued abroad, that expire(d) between March 17 and July 18, 2020, will be considered valid until September 18, 2020.

Processing and issuance of new and extended ID cards (DIMEX) will continue through Banco de Costa Rica.

Stay Visas that expire(d) after March 17, 2020, will be automatically extended until August 18, 2020.

Visitors who entered Costa Rica after December 17, 2019 may legally remain in Costa Rica until August 18, 2020.

Czech Republic

All travelers are banned from entering with limited exceptions including Czech nationals and their family members, Czech long-term visa or residence permit holders, EU national residents of the Czech Republic, cross-border workers, international transport workers, some travelers transiting to their residence country, and those whose entry is in the interest of the Czech Republic. The spouses and underage children of EU nationals who hold a residency permit and reside in the Czech Republic may also enter but must report their date of entry and mode of transportation to the appropriate Czech embassy or consulate before they travel.

Most travelers entering the Czech Republic are required to notify the Czech Hygiene Authority and self-quarantine for 14 days. 

Additional information about those who may enter and the quarantine requirement can be found here

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.

A state of emergency is in effect until at least May 17, 2020. 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 and renewal applications for foreign nationals already in the Czech Republic with expired or expiring long-term visas or residency status will be processed as usual.

The Czech Republic is generally under quarantine. Czech nationals and foreign nationals residing in the Czech Republic may leave the country only for court hearings, airport pick-ups, work abroad, and funerals, and can return thereafter. They must present evidence of the purpose of their trip to border authorities and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days after their return if the trip lasted more than 24 hours. Non-Czech nationals without residency status are free to leave the country. If they are unable to do so due to travel restrictions, they can remain legally in the Czech Republic until the state of emergency is lifted. 

Denmark

Until June 1, 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 require 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 conducting a controlled reopening of the country. The Danish Immigration authorities/Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) offices remain closed until June 8, 2020, but their staff are providing services from home. Processing delays should be expected in all cases.

The deadline for providing biometrics has been extended until July 1, 2020. For those outside of Denmark, it is possible to submit biometrics in some countries. For those in Denmark, SIRI will contact applicants to schedule biometric appointments as online scheduling is not yet available. 

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.

Finland

Non-resident foreign nationals are banned from entering unless they are family members of Finnish nationals or providing essential services. This includes holders of new work permits who have not yet entered Finland. 

Cross-border workers from Estonia, Norway and Sweden are permitted to enter only if providing essential services. 

All admitted travelers are subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry. 

Finnish consular posts are closed. 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Due to consular post closures, applicants for residence permits who normally have three months from the date of their online application to submit supporting documents to consular posts now have until August 31, 2020 to do so.

France

Travelers are banned from entering France except for French nationals and their family members, long-term residents of France, and nationals and long-term residents of the EEA/Switzerland/UK on their way to their residence country. Individuals providing essential services may also enter.

Travelers entering from outside the EU/UK/Schengen Area may be subject to a quarantine after entering. 

All travellers to France or to a French overseas territory are required to complete and carry with them a travel certificate corresponding to the type of trip to be taken, as follows:

  • for a trip from mainland France to a French overseas territory;
  • for trip from abroad to mainland France; or
  • for a trip from abroad to a French overseas territory.

The forms can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of the Interior in French or English and must be presented to the transportation company before boarding and also to the border authorities on arrival. The certificates confirm the approved reasons for which a foreign national may travel to France or a French overseas territory.

French consulates are not issuing visas until further notice. The processing of residence permit applications and long stay visa validation requests filed on or after March 12, 2020 is on hold and will not resume until at least June 25, 2020.

On May 11, 2020, France entered phase one of reopening the country. Immigration authorities such as OFII and the prefectures will gradually resume work over the coming weeks, but with restrictions in place such that contact with the public will be limited and only certain applications will be processed. Some schools have reopened and businesses and shops have reopened, with remote work still encouraged where possible. Masks must be worn on public transportation and are advisable wherever social distancing cannot be maintained.

All French visas (except short-stay/C visas), residency permits, “récépissés” or “APSes” that have expired or will expire between March 16 and May 15, 2020 have been automatically extended for six months. Holders of short-stay visas and foreign nationals staying under a visa waiver who cannot leave France are eligible for extensions beyond the usual Schengen stay limit (90 days in any 180-day period). Extensions can be applied for at the relevant Préfecture. Those with expired permits that have been automatically extended are advised to not leave France, as they may have difficulty re-entering. 

Germany

Germany has banned most non-EU nationals from entering. Nationals of EU countries, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members, as well as holders of EU or German residence permits, are still allowed to enter. Other travelers require a “good reason” to enter or leave Germany. 

Travelers re-entering Germany after time abroad are subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

Immigration checks at borders with neighboring countries are in place.

Most immigration offices and town halls are closed or only accepting urgent applications.

Greece

Greece has banned most non-EU nationals from entering. Nationals of EU countries, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members, as well as holders of EU or Greek residence permits or long-term visas, are still allowed to enter. Foreign nationals providing essential services may also be permitted to enter. 

All travelers entering Greece are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Commercial flights from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the UK are suspended until May 15, with the exception of flights from Germany arriving at Athens International Airport.

The processing of new and renewal immigration applications is on hold until at least May 15, 2020. Public authorities will accept urgent cases by appointment only. 

Residence permits or blue receipts with expiration dates between February 11 and June 30, 2020 will be extended until December 31, 2020. No extension application is required.

Hong Kong

All travelers except for Hong Kong residents seeking entry from overseas by plane are banned from entering. 

All travelers except for Hong Kong residents seeking entry from Mainland China, Macau SAR or Taiwan who have been overseas in the past 14 days are banned from entering.

All travelers entering Hong Kong (including Hong Kong residents and those arriving from Macau and Taiwan) are subject to a 14-day home quarantine. 

All divisions of the Hong Kong Immigration Department are now open and processing all cases. Processing times should now return to normal, with new and renewal visa applications taking 4-6 weeks to be processed. 

Hungary

All foreign nationals are banned from entering except EEA nationals who hold permanent residence cards. 

All arriving travelers are subject to health screening and a quarantine.

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

The Labor office’s customer service section is closed and in-person status inquiries are not possible.

All visas and permits that are due to expire will be automatically extended to 45 days after the end of the state of emergency. 

India

India has imposed a mandatory, country-wide stay-home order through May 31, 2020. 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. 

Also until May 31, 2020, 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. Also, the Indian government is operating evacuation flights from several countries to return Indian citizens to India. Finally, as of May 22, 2020, the following categories of OCI card holders may enter India via these evacuation flights:

  • Minor children born to Indian nationals abroad;
  • Those who need to enter India due to a family emergency;
  • University students whose parents are Indian citizens living in India; and
  • Couples who permanently reside in India in which one spouse is an OCI card holder and the other is an Indian national.

Other OCI card holders remain banned from entering India until at least May 31, 2020. 

Those who qualify for evacuation flights must register with an Indian consulate where they are located to be scheduled on a flight. 

All travelers arriving from any location outside India are subject to a quarantine for 14 days at government-designated facilities or hotels near the port of entry. After the quarantine period, they will be permitted to travel to other parts of India. 

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 at least May 31, 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 at least May 31, 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 Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Office (FRO).

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

The FRROs and FROs 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 May 3, 2020  will be extended until May 17, 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. 

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

Indonesia

The government of Indonesia has implemented a temporary ban on the use of land, railroad, sea and air transportation. The ban on air travel applies to international commercial flights into and out of Indonesia as well as domestic flights until May 31, 2020 (extendable). With few exceptions, no foreign workers or travelers will be allowed to enter or depart Indonesia during this period. Exempt from the flight ban are: 

  • ITAS and ITAP holders;
  • High government officials and state guests;
  • Representatives of international organizations in Indonesia and travel related to the operation of embassies and consulates;
  • Operations to repatriate Indonesian and foreign nationals;
  • Law enforcement operations;
  • Cargo transport operations; and
  • Other travel authorized by the Director General of Civil Aviation.

ITAS and ITAP holders who are outside of Indonesia and whose stay permits are expired (either ITAP/ITAS or MERP), are allowed to enter Indonesia with the expired permit if the purpose of their entry is family reunification. This permission to enter Indonesia is not considered an automatic stay permit extension–a stay permit extension should be applied for with the relevant authorities as soon as this is possible.

Foreign nationals who are allowed to enter are required to present a health certificate in English on arrival. The health certificate must be no more than seven days old. They must also undergo a medical exam at the port of entry that includes an interview, a temperature check, a check for COVID-19 symptoms, an oxygen saturation test, and a Rapid Test for COVID-19. 

Foreign nationals with a non-reactive Rapid Test will be given health clearance by the Ministry of Health officers in the quarantine facilities, will be issued a Health Alert Card (HAC), may proceed to their destination, and must complete a 14-day self-quarantine. The  health clearance is submitted to the representatives of the foreign national’s country in Indonesia to be forwarded to the local regency/city health office for monitoring during the self-quarantine period. 

Foreign nationals with a reactive Rapid Test will be subject to a Covid-19 RT-PCR test.                                                    If the RT-PCR test result is negative and no disease symptoms or risk factors are found in the medical exam, the foreign national may proceed to their destination and complete a 14-day quarantine. Health clearance is submitted to the representatives of their country as above. If the RT-PCR test result is positive, foreign nationals with comorbidities or symptoms will be referred to a hospital. Foreign nationals without comorbidities or symptoms are subject to quarantine at a quarantine facility. 

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. 

Concessions

  • 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, Single Entry Business Visa (SEBV), or Multiple Entry Business Visa (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.
  • Telex Limited Stay Visas (VTT) (which have been issued since January 1, 2020 and which are valid for 60 days) will be automatically extended for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and can be used to pick up the VTT at an Indonesian embassy or consulate once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Note that this only applies to Telex VTTs and not to the Telex SEBVs or Telex MEBVs.
  • A VTT that has been issued by an Indonesian embassy or consulate on or after January 1, 2020 but has not been used due to the travel ban will be automatically extended and can be used once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Note that this does not apply to a SEBV or MEBV.
  • Holders of an expired ITAS or ITAP who are in Indonesia can extend after the COVID-19 crisis is declared over.

Ireland

Travelers arriving in Ireland from any other country are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Upon arrival travelers will be given a pamphlet explaining what is required and a form to complete on which they must provide the address where they will isolate. Health officials may make spot checks during the isolation period. Arriving travelers that think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should call the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) at 1850 24 1850.

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. 

The Burgh Quay registration office and all other GNIB registration centres have closed. The Immigration offices are closed and no appointments can be made or attended with immigration officers. All Irish embassies are closed and only emergency visa applications can be submitted. 

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

The Irish government has implemented measures to restrict the movement of residents in the country. 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. 

Concessions

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

All permissions that expired between March 20 and May 20, 2020 have been extended for four months from their expiration date.

The requirement for new arrivals to register their residence permissions is waived, as all immigration offices are closed. 

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. 

A temporary electronic application process is available until at least May 20, 2020 for those applying to change their immigration permission. Qualifying applicants should email all required documents to burghquayregoffice@justice.ie. The process can be used for those changing:

  • From Stamp 1 to Stamp 4 (after the required period working under an Employment Permit)
  • From Stamp 2 to Stamp 1A (for work under a Trainee Accountant Contract)
  • From Stamp 1G, 2 or 3 to Stamp 1 (where an Employment Permit has been obtained for the applicant)
  • From Stamp 1, 2 or 3 to Stamp 1G (where the applicant is the spouse of a Critical Skills Employment Permit holder)
  • From Stamp 1, 2 or 3 to Stamp 4 (where the applicant is the spouse of an Irish citizen)

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 or other ministries. This permission is likely to be granted to those providing emergency services in various industries. For example, there is a process in place to allow foreign nationals providing urgent machine repairs and installation to enter. An application describing the urgent need and the protective measures that will be taken must be approved by four ministries (the ministries of Health, Interior, and Foreign Affairs as well as the ministry that oversees the employer’s industry). The processing time is approximately two to three weeks.

Israel may begin allowing the entry of foreign nationals from “green countries” with low rates of COVID-19 infections, though these travelers will be required to comply with various Ministry of Health protocols. 

Anyone entering Israel from abroad will need to spend 14 days in home isolation, including Israeli citizens. 

Most flights to and from Israel have been suspended. Some non-Israeli airlines are planning to resume flights to Tel Aviv in June 2020 but it is unclear if foreign nationals will be allowed to enter by then. 

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. Cross border workers, healthcare workers and crews transporting passengers or freight are exempt from the travel restrictions. 

All travelers entering Italy must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. Those traveling to Italy for work may be able to postpone the isolation period for 72 hours (extendable for another 48 hours) if absolutely necessary. All entering travelers must also report to the local health authorities upon arrival. 

Most airlines have cancelled or reduced flights to and from Italy. 

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. 

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 May 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 residence permits (permessi di soggiorno) and nulla Osta (entry clearances for family reasons and work permits) has been extended to August 31, 2020. 

The validity of all other permits, authorizations, certificates, and clearances 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.

Foreign nationals who are in Italy as visitors, who cannot safely return to their home country, and whose authorized stay in Italy has expired or will soon expire can apply for an extension of their Schengen visa or stay, or can apply for a temporary residence permit for “calamity” reasons. This permit is valid for six months, can be extended for six months, and permits the holder to work. 

Japan

Foreign nationals who hold a Chinese passport issued in Hubei or Zhejiang province or who have been in one of the following countries in the14 days before seeking entry to Japan will not be permitted to enter: 

  • Asia Pacific: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macao), India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Americas: Canada, United States, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, Uruguay
  • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium,  Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, UK, Vatican
  • Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
  • Africa: Cape Verde, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Morocco, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa

Special Permanent Residents are entirely exempt from the entry ban and will be allowed to re-enter Japan from any country. 

Foreign nationals who are Permanent Residents, close family members of a Japanese citizen or Permanent Resident, or Long-Term Residents may exceptionally be able to re-enter Japan after having been in one of the above countries depending on their date of departure from Japan and the countries they visited while abroad. Please consult your immigration professional for further information. 

All travelers (including Japanese nationals) entering Japan from any of the countries listed above will be subject to COVID-19 PCR testing on arrival. 

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.

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, Russia
  • 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, Colombia, 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, Romania, UK, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Russia
  • Middle East: Israel, Iran, Qatar, UAE, Oman
  • Africa: Tunisia, Lesotho

Flights from China (including Hong Kong and Macau) 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.

Kenya

All international flights into and out of Kenya are cancelled. 

Kenyan citizens and residence permit holders must self-quarantine for 14 days after their return to Kenya. 

There will be limited immigration services until further notice. Foreign nationals whose documents will expire during the period of limited services can apply for extensions online at https://fns.immigration.go.ke/

Luxembourg

Luxembourg has banned most non-EU nationals from entering. Nationals of EU countries, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members, as well as holders of EU or Luxembourgish residence permits or long-term visas, are still allowed to enter. Foreign nationals providing essential services may also be permitted to enter. 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Documents must be submitted to the Immigration Directorate by mail; in-person submission is no longer allowed. 

The immigration authorities will not grant work or residence permission for new, pending or extension applications until the pandemic has ended. 

Foreign nationals with visas or temporary residence permits/cards that expired on or before March 1, 2020, as well as visa-waived nationals who have surpassed their maximum stay of 90 days in a 180-day period, will automatically be considered to be maintaining their status. 

Malaysia

The Malaysian government has implemented a “conditional movement control order” (CMCO) (an extension of the original “movement control order” (MCO)) that will be in effect until June 9, 2020. Under the CMCO, certain government and private sector workplaces will be allowed to operate but under strict guidelines. 

Under the CMCO, Malaysians are not 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 CMCO period: All foreign visitors and Malaysian pass holders (e.g., Employment Pass, Dependant Pass, Student Pass, Temporary Employment Pass). If a pass expires while the holder is outside of Malaysia, they can enter Malaysia after June 9, 2020.

The following can enter Malaysia during the CMCO 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 Commissions; the spouses and children of foreign diplomats, if they hold a valid Dependant Pass; and foreign nationals providing essential services. MM2H pass holders are allowed to enter effective May 18, but must be tested for COVID-19 in the departure country. All of the above must undergo health screening and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Effective June 1, 2020, all travelers arriving in Malaysia will have to pay all or part of the cost of the mandatory 14-day quarantine (MYR 150 per day). They must sign a Letter of Undertaking (LOU) agreeing to pay the costs before traveling to Malaysia. The LOU can be obtained and signed at a Malaysian embassy or High Commission and must be presented on arrival in Malaysia. The Immigration Department will be advising the airlines to ensure those traveling to Malaysia have the LOU. Malaysians will have to pay half the cost of quarantine services while non-Malaysians, including those who are the spouses or other family members of Malaysians, will have to pay the full cost. 

The announcement about this requirement did not specify who would be allowed to enter as of June 1, but holders of EPs, PVPs, RPTs and their dependants holding valid DPs who wish to return to Malaysia can always try to obtain approval from their nearest Malaysian embassy/High Commission. They will need the LOU to enter and will be subject to quarantine, if admitted.

The following cannot exit Malaysia during the CMCO 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 CMCO 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 June 9, 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 Commissions overseas, and all other foreign nationals, provided they do not return before June 9, 2020.

Most travel within Malaysia is restricted unless absolutely necessary. Residents who are not in their home city/state and would like to return home will be allowed to do so; however, no interstate travel is allowed without the prior written consent of the relevant police department. 

Foreign nationals who do not abide by the requirements of the CMCO may be arrested and have their passes cancelled. 

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 Immigration offices, which had closed as of March 19, 2020 under the MCO, are reopening in stages as follows (for non-IT companies only):

  • The Security & Passport Division reopened on May 4, 2020
  • The Visa, Pass & Permit Division, the Expatriate Services Division (ESD), and the Foreign Worker Division reopened on May 6, 2020
  • The Operations, Investigation & Prosecution Division reopened on May 13, 2020

Appointments are required for counter transactions for all divisions except the Security & Passport Division. All appointments for immigration counter services (except at the Visa, Pass & Permit Division and ESD) must be made online at www.sto.imi.gov.my. Appointments for all transactions related to passes must be made through the ESD online portal at https://esd.imi.gov.my. Appointments for Resident Pass-Talent (RP-T) holders must be made through the RP-T portal at https://rpt.talentcorp.com.my. Those attending appointments must comply with strict safety and social distancing requirements. For more information on making and attending ESD or RP-T appointments, including a detailed FAQ document, read this letter on the ESD website

MyXpats, which processes applications under ESD, reopened on May 13, 2020.

Online appointments can now be made for MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation), which processes applications under eXpats for IT companies, for counter visits. This is applicable for all expatriate/dependent applications for IT companies. All appointments must be made online at https://expats.com.my/contact/ or https://www.mtep.my/ for MTEP (Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Program). The hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. except 1.00 p.m. to 1.30 pm. Monday through Thursday and 12:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Friday when the office is closed. MDEC has issued a set of FAQs for more information. 

MDEC has announced that certain holders of expired or soon-to-expire passes will need to apply for a Special Pass. The requirements and procedures differ slightly between the main eXpats Service Center in Cyberjaya and the eXpats Service Center Northern Branch in Penang. Companies are advised to prepare the  Special Pass paperwork (where required) before making online appointments at expats.com.my. Please consult with your immigration professional for complete information. 

The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and its Immigration Unit remain closed.

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. 

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 (after the MCO) to obtain the endorsement.  

Concessions

Social Visit Pass (SVP) holders who have overstayed on or after January 1, 2020 through 14 days after the end of the CMCO can leave Malaysia without obtaining a Special Pass and without being blacklisted or otherwise penalized, provided they leave the country by 14 days after the CMCO ends. If they cannot leave within this timeframe, they must obtain a support letter from their country’s embassy in Malaysia and proceed directly to the Immigration Department to apply for an SVP extension (which may be difficult to obtain). Those who do not obtain their embassy’s support and an SVP extension will be considered overstays and may be banned from re-entering Malaysia and/or subject to other penalties.

Foreign nationals whose Pass expired on or after February 1, 2020 can renew their Pass at any Immigration office within 30 working days of the end of the CMCO and should not need to leave Malaysia. Immigration may require such foreign nationals to apply for a Special Pass while the renewal is in process. 

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 CMCO. 

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 CMCO is lifted.

Mexico

Mexico and the US have banned all “non-essential” travel across their shared land border until at least June 22, 2020. “Non-essential” travel is considered travel for tourism or recreational purposes, including sightseeing, gambling and attending cultural events. While business travel is still permitted, business travelers may be subject to additional screening.

Until May 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. 

All services provided by Mexican embassies and consulates are suspended until at least May 30, 2020. The suspension may last longer in countries where government closures due to the pandemic remain in place. Applicants should check the status of the embassy or consulate they intend to use after May 30.  

The INM and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are providing reduced services and processing delays should be expected. 

New Zealand (Updated 5/18/20)

New Zealand has closed its borders to all travelers except New Zealand citizens and residents. Exceptions may be made for other travelers (e.g., family members of New Zealand residents or citizens, those providing essential healthcare or other services, Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand, among others) who can apply for an exception on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website. Note that it may be difficult to obtain an exception. 

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. 

Anyone who is admitted to New Zealand is subject to isolation for 14 days after arrival; however, they will not be allowed to complete their isolation period at home. Arrivals assessed to be high-risk for COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine facilities, while all other arrivals will be placed in managed isolation facilities.

INZ has resumed processing residence and temporary entry visa applications. Applications for foreign nationals already in New Zealand will be prioritized. Specifically, for residence visas, first priority will be given to those in New Zealand with a job offer who earn at least twice the median hourly wage (currently NZD 51/hour) and who hold a current occupational registration, where this is required. For temporary entry visas, first priority will be given to applications for essential work to support the government’s response to COVID-19; applications involving an urgent humanitarian need; applications for travel under the APEC travel program; diplomatic visa applications; and all other temporary entry visa applications for applicants already in the country. Applications for applicants not yet in New Zealand will be given second priority.

Temporary visa holders whose visas expired before April 2, 2020 and who are unable to leave New Zealand should send an email to s61@mbie.govt.nz including their personal details (full name, date of birth, INZ client number), a copy of the personal information page of their passport, their contact details (email, phone, postal address), an explanation of their circumstances, what type of visa they would like and how long they intend/need to stay in New Zealand. 

Temporary visa holders whose visas will expire between April 2 and July 9, 2020 and who were in New Zealand on April 2 will be granted an automatic visa extension through September 25, 2020. All such visa holders will receive an extension email.

The government has also relaxed rules for certain foreign nationals providing essential services. For as long as New Zealand remains at lockdown level 3 or 4 and for six weeks after the lockdown period ends, temporary visa holders providing essential services may change their hours or fill other positions at their worksites, and students working in essential services may work more than 20 hours per week as long as they maintain their studies. 

Additional information can be found on INZ’s dedicated COVID-19 website

Netherlands

The Netherlands has banned most non-EU nationals from entering. The following are allowed to enter:

  • EU and UK nationals and their family members
  • Nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland and their family members
  • Third-country (non-EU) nationals holding a Dutch residence card or residence permit
  • Third-country nationals with a right of residence in another EU member state
  • Holders of a long-stay visa/MVV
  • Travelers transiting through the Netherlands
  • Travelers providing an essential service (e.g., healthcare workers, cross-border workers, transporters of essential goods, diplomats, employees of humanitarian organizations, etc.)

Non-EU nationals who are eligible to enter the Netherlands may be subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry. 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Holders of short-term work permits must notify the Labor Authority (UWV) if they do not work for four weeks, even if because of travel restrictions.

Employers whose new foreign national workers will not enter the Netherlands, and employers whose foreign workers’ pay has been reduced to below the required level, must inform the Immigration Authority within four weeks. 

MVVs (long-stay visas) will not be issued and the Immigration Authority (IND) and IN Amsterdam expat centre are providing reduced services. Dutch embassies and consulates have closed for most consular services until further notice. The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) in Amsterdam has postponed all appointments until further notice.

Employers do not need to inform the IND If their foreign national employees are working from home. 

Foreign nationals who are unable to enter the Netherlands during their MVV validity period may request that the IND issue a new visa when processing of MVVs resumes. Consular posts may extend the pick-up deadline for foreign nationals who are unable to pick up their MVV within three months of approval. 

Foreign nationals who cannot collect their MVV within three months of the notice of approval due to consulate closures can make a new appointment once the consulates reopen. If the appointment does not occur within 180 days of the notice of approval, the MVV will still be issued on the basis of the initial notice of approval.  

Foreign nationals who have a work permit approval letter but cannot obtain the required endorsement sticker or biometric residence card may be able to work on the basis of their approval letter alone. 

Foreign national visitors in the Netherlands who are unable to return to their country of citizenship or residence and who hold Schengen visas that have expired or will expire within a month may be eligible for an extension of stay. Such foreign nationals should call the Immigration and Naturalisation Service information line (088 04 30430) for assistance. Visa-waived visitors are not eligible for extensions beyond their Schengen stay limit (90 days in a 180-day period) but the immigration service has stated it will be less strict in dealing with such individuals who overstay if they genuinely are unable to leave the Netherlands. Such visitors should keep evidence of their inability to leave the country for presentation on departure. Entry bans of one to two years may be imposed if the border officials deem that the overstay is not excusable. 

New Zealand

New Zealand has closed its borders to all travelers except New Zealand citizens and residents. Exceptions may be made for other travelers (e.g., family members of New Zealand residents or citizens, those providing essential healthcare or other services, Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand, among others) who can apply for an exception on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website. Note that it may be difficult to obtain an exception. 

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. 

Anyone who is admitted to New Zealand is subject to isolation for 14 days after arrival; however, they will not be allowed to complete their isolation period at home. Arrivals assessed to be high-risk for COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine facilities, while all other arrivals will be placed in managed isolation facilities.

INZ has resumed processing residence and temporary entry visa applications. Applications for foreign nationals already in New Zealand will be prioritized. Specifically, for residence visas, first priority will be given to those in New Zealand with a job offer who earn at least twice the median hourly wage (currently NZD 51/hour) and who hold a current occupational registration, where this is required. For temporary entry visas, first priority will be given to applications for essential work to support the government’s response to COVID-19; applications involving an urgent humanitarian need; applications for travel under the APEC travel program; diplomatic visa applications; and all other temporary entry visa applications for applicants already in the country. Applications for applicants not yet in New Zealand will be given second priority.

Concessions

  • Temporary visa holders whose visas expired before April 2, 2020 and who are unable to leave New Zealand should send an email to s61@mbie.govt.nz including their personal details (full name, date of birth, INZ client number), a copy of the personal information page of their passport, their contact details (email, phone, postal address), an explanation of their circumstances, what type of visa they would like and how long they intend/need to stay in New Zealand. 
  • Temporary visa holders whose visas will expire between April 2 and July 9, 2020 and who were in New Zealand on April 2 will be granted an automatic visa extension through September 25, 2020. All such visa holders will receive an extension email.
  • The government has also relaxed rules for certain foreign nationals providing essential services. For as long as New Zealand remains at lockdown level 3 or 4 and for six weeks after the lockdown period ends, temporary visa holders providing essential services may change their hours or fill other positions at their worksites, and students working in essential services may work more than 20 hours per week as long as they maintain their studies. 
  • Applicants in the Skilled Migrant (SMC) and Investor 2 residence categories who were invited to apply between November 1, 2019 and April 15, 2020 now have 10 months from the date they were invited to apply to submit their applications, up from the usual four months. 
  • Applicants who received a Potentially Prejudice Information (PPI) letter before March 25, 2020 now have until June 12, 2020 to respond. Applicants who received a PPI letter on or after May 14, 2020 now have an additional four weeks to respond.
  • Applicants who received a Request for Information now have a total of 10 business days to respond.

Additional information can be found on INZ’s dedicated COVID-19 website

Norway

All foreign nationals are banned from entering except citizens and residents of Norway, cross-border workers and EEA national posted workers, travelers in transit, and those providing essential services (e.g., those importing goods). Residents must be able to prove their residence status on arrival. Non-EU nationals must present a UDI permit letter or residence card.

All travelers entering Norway are subject to a 14-day quarantine except cross-border workers.

Travelers not residing in Norway are encouraged to leave the country as soon as possible.

Local police stations have reopened but are only providing limited services for urgent cases by appointment and only for non-EU nationals. 

Some immigration departments are closed. Applications can continue to be submitted online but new permits will be issued only to foreign nationals present in Norway. Those in Norway with a work permit that has not been activated can work as long as they have scheduled a permit activation appointment with the police. 

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 

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has reopened to inbound flights on May 11, 2020 with certain restrictions to be in place until June 10, 2020. Specifically, international commercial flights will be allowed to land at NAIA every day except Mondays and Thursdays provided they obtain authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) at least 48 hours before their planned departure for the Philippines. CAAP will schedule flights such that NAIA will handle no more than 400 passengers per day. Inbound chartered flights will be allowed to land at NAIA on Mondays and Thursdays provided they obtain permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the CAAP. Exempt from the restrictions are flights with emergencies while enroute, cargo flights, air ambulance flights and flights delivering medical supplies, weather mitigation flights, and maintenance flights. The other eight international airports that had banned flights from May 3 to 10 (Davao, Clark, Iloilo, Mactan-Cebu, Zamboanga, Kalibo, Laoag and Puerto Princesa) may also implement restrictions. 

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 are considered canceled, and foreign nationals with visas issued by a Philippine foreign service post are prohibited from entering. 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.

All foreign nationals arriving at an airport in the Philippines will be subject to a mandatory medical assessment, testing for COVID-19, and quarantine. Those arriving from a high-risk location according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Situation Report and those with symptoms will be designated for Stringent Quarantine while all others will be designated for Mandatory Quarantine. In either case, foreign nationals will be supervised by Philippine officials for the duration of the quarantine period. Those designated for Stringent Quarantine will be tested for COVID-19 and must remain at a Bureau of Quarantine-approved quarantine facility until the results are received. Those that test negative may move to a 14-day home quarantine, while those that test positive will be moved to a medical facility. All foreign nationals designated for Mandatory Quarantine will also be subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival and a 14-day quarantine at an approved facility. They will be re-tested after the quarantine period and directed based on the test results. 

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. 

The Philippine government had put in place an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) with strict social distancing measures through May 15, 2020 for most of Luzon, including Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon. Some areas of Visayas and Mindanao were also under ECQ. ECQ status changed on May 16 (until May 31), 2020 to a Modified ECQ for most high-risk areas, including Metro Manila and Laguna. (The high-risk areas of Cebu City and Mandaue City will remain under ECQ until May 31). All lower risk areas were placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). Under the Modified ECQ, limited international flights are permitted and domestic flights remain suspended. Inbound travel remains limited to Overseas Filipino Workers and returning Filipinos. 

Under the Modified ECQ, government offices will generally have just a few employees working on site and the rest of their staff working from home. This means that most 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 continue to work from home and will be providing limited application processing services. 

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has resumed processing Special Work Permit (SWP) and Provisional Work Permit (PWP) applications for the industries that are permitted to operate under the Modified ECQ. It will also process applications for the updating/extension of stay for tourists/temporary visitors who will apply for a SWP and a PWP. It otherwise will continue to process cases for travelers planning to exit the Philippines. Foreign nationals whose visas expire during the quarantine 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 the end of the ECQ. 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.

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. 

Holders of Temporary Visitors or 9(a) Visas whose visas expire(d) during the ECQ period will not be subject to fines or other penalties. Such visa holders will be allowed to extend their visas after the ECQ has ended by filing a visa extension application within 30 days after the end of the ECQ.

DOLE Regional Office 4A covering the Calabarzon area will not impose penalties on AEP holders with expiration dates between March 17 and May 15, 2020, provided a renewal application is filed when the office resumes work. 

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.

Most foreign travelers and returning Polish nationals must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival. Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated at a hospital. Employees in EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries entering Poland from another EU/EEA country in connection with their work will be exempt from the quarantine requirement, provided they can present proof of professional activity in the EU/EEA country.

Immigration offices may send letters to applicants electronically until September 30, 2020, provided applicants agree to receive communications this way. Immigration offices may also ask applicants to review their case files via email and may conduct interviews via video conference or teleconference. 

The deadline for EU nationals to file EU registration applications (90 days from the last crossing of the Polish border) that was previously suspended is back in effect as of May 23, 2020.  

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 stay in Poland for 30 days beyond the end of the epidemic state if they were present in Poland on March 14, 2020. If they were not in Poland on March 14, they will be allowed to extend their stay in Poland to 30 days beyond the end of the epidemic state if they submit a residence permit 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. Foreign nationals who do not do so but rather depart Poland at the end of the epidemic state will be considered to have been unlawfully present in Poland. 
  • Residence cards that expire before 30 days from the end of epidemic state will be automatically extended.
  • Residence cards of family members of EU citizens that expire during the epidemic state will be automatically extended to 30 days after the end of the epidemic state.
  • Pole Cards (Karta Polaka) that expire during the epidemic state will be automatically extended until three months beyond the end of the epidemic state. Pole Card holders must apply for a new card during this period. 
  • Citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine can apply for Polish national visas in their countries without an in-person visit to the consulate. Each consulate will determine its own remote application process. The remote application process does not apply to Schengen short-stay visas for stays of up to 90 days. 
  • Employers may apply measures such as requiring remote work, reduction of working hours or reduction in remuneration to foreign nationals without triggering non-compliance with immigration law.

Portugal

Foreign nationals are banned from entering except for residents of Portugal, EU nationals, nationals of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and the UK and their family members, holders of EU or Portuguese long-term visas or residence permits, and travelers from Angola, Canada, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Principe, South Africa, the US, Venezuela, and Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil.  

Public institutions, including all immigration offices (Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF)), are closed except for select emergency services. In-country services that will experience delays or cancellations include:

  • School searches 
  • Immigration appointments (SEF and Town Hall)
  • Tax registration
  • Social Security registration
  • Health center registration

Portuguese embassies and consulates are only providing essential services and the processing of visa applications is suspended.

The state of emergency has been lifted as of May 3, 2020 and various services are reopening in a phased approach on May 4 (e.g., some public services for urgent services by appointment, some stores, salons, libraries), May 18 (e.g., additional stores, restaurants and cafes with reduced hours and 50% capacity, high schools, day care centers and museums) and June 1 (e.g., partial teleworking, government services, cinemas and theatres). 

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

All foreign nationals are banned from entering Qatar except those transiting through Doha’s airport who can present an onward travel document. 

Qatari nationals cannot leave Qatar. Re-entering Qatari nationals will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

The processing of initial entry visa applications and initial residence permit applications for the Qatar Financial Center Free Zone is on hold. The processing of labour quota applications is also on hold. 

All Qatar Visa Centres are closed and no immigration applications can be submitted in person. 

All Qatari residents must install an app called Ehteraz on their smartphones and make sure it is active before leaving their residences. 

Until May 30, 2020 all shops are closed and commercial activity has been suspended except for food stores, catering services, pharmacies, restaurants for take out, and other services or businesses that the Ministry of Trade and Industry deems exempt from the closures.

Romania

Foreign nationals are banned from entering Romania except for the following:

  • Holders of Romanian or EU long-stay visas or residence permits
  • Family members of Romanian, EU or Swiss nationals who have registered residence status in Romania
  • Individuals with a work visa or residence permit entering to work 
  • Individuals entering for a medical emergency

Travelers entering from countries with more than 500 COVID-19 cases are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Romanian nationals and residents who were in Mainland China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the 14 days before entry are also subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Visa applications are not being processed. 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Russia

All foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Russia until further notice except for the following:

  • Employees of foreign embassies, consulates, international organizations and their family members and those holding diplomatic or official visas;
  • Those holding 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;
  • Participants in the state program for the relocation of compatriots living abroad, provided they have valid identification documents confirming this status and a certificate of participation in the program;
  • Certain foreign nationals conducting installation and technical support of foreign equipment, with the authorization of the Federal Security Service; and
  • Professional athletes, under certain conditions.

Russian citizens are prohibited from crossing Russian land borders, including the Russia-Belarus border, except for the following Russian citizens:

  • Diplomats and officials and their family members;
  • Drivers and crew members;
  • Military personnel;
  • Those exiting Russia due to the death of a close relative (a copy of the death certificate and evidence of family connection must be presented);
  • Those with permanent residence in the Kaliningradskaya region travelling by train through Russia to the Kaliningradskaya region or back, provided they have evidence (passport stamp) of permanent registration in Kaliningrad;
  • Those permanently residing in Donetsk or Lugansk (must have and present a Russian passport);
  • Employees of organizations engaged in the building of critical nuclear energy infrastructure in foreign countries based on international agreements; and
  • Those who have citizenship or permanent residence in a foreign country on a one-way trip to their place of residence.

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.

Nationals of any country who enter Russia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Residents of Moscow with cold or flu symptoms and those living with them are also required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those with symptoms may only leave their residence to receive medical care. Those living with them may leave to purchase necessities.

The “non-working days” period in place across Russia ended on May 11, 2020, but most regions, including Moscow and the Moscow region and St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, have extended the self-isolation period through May 31, 2020. 

The following services remain unavailable:

  • Invitation letters for entry to Russia;
  • Corporate Work Permits;
  • Work Permits for foreign nationals who are abroad;
  • Visa issuance by Russian consulates abroad, except for those in the exception categories listed above; 
  • E-visas; and 
  • Visa extensions.

Submission of documents for various processes is still possible through the Sakhorovo Migration Center in Moscow, which remains open. Address registration can be completed through a post office. Quarterly salary notifications for HQS work permit holders and notification of the signing of labor agreements or dismissal of foreign nationals can also be conducted.

Residents of Moscow must now carry an e-pass when using public or private transportation to go to work or to medical appointments. Residents can apply for an e-pass online at mos.ru, by sending an SMS to 7377, or by calling 7 (495)777-77-77. Passes issued in Moscow are valid for the Moscow Region and vice versa. The validity of passes issued in April is extended until May 31, 2020.

Concessions

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

  • 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 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;
  • Extend Temporary Residence Permit (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 hold the following documents with an expiration date between March 15 and June 15, 2020 will have their documents automatically extended until June 15, 2020:  

  • HQS Work Permit
  • Standard Work Permit
  • Corporate Work Permit
  • Patent
  • All categories of visas
  • Address registration (temporary and permanent)
  • Migration cards
  • TRP and PRP

Foreign nationals who are unable to leave Russia due to a quarantine in their country of citizenship or permanent residence can have their visas extended for 90 days with the possibility of a further extension.

The period between March 15 and June 15, 2020 will not be counted toward the six-month stay limit abroad applicable to TRP and PRP holders, and foreign nationals subject to administrative removal or deportation will not be required to depart during this period. 

Also between March 15 and June 15, 2020, employers may hire or continue to employ foreign nationals without a new or renewed HQS work permit or standard work permit (in the latter case the employer must have a valid or expired corporate work permit). Further, certain rulings will not be made during this period such as those for deportation, administrative removal, and the cancellation of various permits and visas. 

Singapore

Employers are required to make sure that the Ministry of Manpower has current addresses and mobile phone numbers for all of their work pass holders for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes by April 29, 2020. See our alert for more information.

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.

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. 

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. 

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 (“circuit breaker” measures). Employers are advised to not bring foreign nationals into Singapore during this timeframe. Applications for Singapore work passes (Employment Pass or S Pass) for those who are not in Singapore should be deferred until the safe-distancing measures are lifted, as they are likely to be rejected. In the event an application is filed and rejected, the application can be refiled when the measures are lifted. 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 on these changes. 

The “circuit breaker” social distancing and quarantine measures are in place in Singapore until June 1, 2020, with the strictest measures (such as reducing the crowds at wet markets and closures of most workplaces) in place until May 4. Singapore residents must stay home as much as possible and go out alone for necessities and to exercise. Only workplaces providing essential services may remain open. For businesses operating at their premises, workers must be kept to a minimum, must be registered, and must log their entry and exit. There will be increased workplace inspections and penalties for non-compliance. 

The employers of foreign workers whose passes have expired or been cancelled and who cannot leave Singapore due to travel restrictions in their home countries must extend the stay of such workers and their dependents using MOM’s online extension service

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. 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 May 12, 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. If the Malaysian worker wants to return to Malaysia for home leave during the MCO, he/she should instead complete the exit declaration form for home leave. Employers must ask such employees to complete and sign the declaration(s). Upon declaration submission, the employee will be sent an acknowledgment email and an attachment that should be presented to the immigration officer on departure from Singapore. Note that the employee may require a medical certificate confirming that he/she does not have COVID-19 symptoms to re-enter Malaysia. All Malaysians returning to Malaysia by land will also need to apply for an “entry permit” from the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore (MHC) prior to leaving Singapore. Please refer to MHC’s website for more details or verify the latest requirements with the MHC directly. Once the employee has left Singapore, the employer must notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and MOM will authorize the work pass cancellation, if applicable. Employers who do not comply may have their work pass privileges revoked. Employers can use this form to apply for a levy waiver for Malaysian employees who were on unpaid leave in Singapore until April 14, 2020.

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. 

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. 

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

South Africa

South Africa has declared a nationwide lockdown. No one will be allowed to leave their homes during the lockdown except to obtain necessities and all non-essential businesses are closed. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will support the police in ensuring compliance with these measures.

Foreign nationals may not leave South Africa during the lockdown unless repatriation has been organized by their home country and the South African Government.

Foreign nationals who reside in China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United States of America and the United Kingdom (high-risk countries) are banned from entering. Nationals of these countries and nationals of other countries traveling directly from these countries are also banned. Those who reside in these countries are also ineligible for visas. Nationals of these high-risk countries who reside in non-high-risk countries and who have not been in a high-risk country on or after February 15, 2020 may apply for a South African visa after the lockdown period has ended. 

Nationals of China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore and Portugal are no longer eligible for a visa exemption. 

All types of visas issued to foreign nationals living in China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United States of America and the United Kingdom who were outside of South Africa on or after March 15, 2020 are deemed cancelled. 

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. 

During the lockdown, the Department of Home Affairs will not accept or process applications for Temporary Residence Visas or Permanent Residence Permits.

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 (TRV) 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.
  • Holders of a TRV (e.g., visitor, work or study visa) which expired on or after February 15, 2020 who did not file a renewal application before the lockdown began on March 26, will be considered to be in legal status and will therefore not be subject to penalties for overstaying. Anyone with an expired visa who chooses to leave South Africa after the lockdown period without applying for visa renewal will be allowed to depart without being subject to penalties for overstaying.
  • Foreign nationals holding work visas, study visas or business visas for self-employment which expired on or after February 15 may continue to work or study after their visa has expired during the lockdown and while their renewal applications, once filed, are being processed. 
  • A foreign national whose visa expired on or after February 15, 2020 and who wishes to stay in South Africa may re-apply for or renew their visa as soon as the lockdown has ended without needing to regularize their stay by applying for a Form 20.
  • 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 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. 

Effective April 13, 2020, nationals of 90 countries will temporarily no longer be eligible for the visa waiver program and will have to obtain a visa before traveling to South Korea. This is in response to these countries imposing entry restrictions on South Korean nationals due to COVID-19. The 90 countries are:

Antigua and Barbuda / Argentina / Austria / Australia / Bahamas / Bahrain / Belgium / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Botswana / Brazil / Brunei / Bulgaria / Canada / Chile / Colombia / Costa Rica / Croatia / Cyprus / Czech Republic / Denmark / Dominican Republic / Ecuador / El Salvador / Estonia / Eswatini /Fiji / Finland / France / Germany / Greece / Grenada / Guatemala / Haiti / Honduras / Hong Kong / Hungary / Iceland / Israel / Italy / Jamaica / Kazakhstan / Kiribati / Kuwait / Latvia / Lesotho / Liechtenstein / Lithuania / Luxembourg / Macau / Malaysia / Marshall Islands / Mauritius / Micronesia / Montenegro / Morocco / Nauru / Netherlands / New Zealand / Norway / Oman / Panama / Paraguay / Peru / Poland / Portugal / Qatar / Romania / Russia / Saint Lucia / Samoa / Saudi Arabia / Serbia / Seychelles / Singapore / Slovakia / Solomon Islands / South Africa / Spain / Suriname / Sweden / Switzerland / Taiwan / Thailand / Tonga / Trinidad and Tobago / Tunisia / Turkey / Tuvalu / UAE / Uruguay

All travelers arriving in South Korea are subject to a no-cost COVID-19 test and may also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. All travelers must install the Korea Centers for Disease Control (KCDC) “home quarantine safety protection” app on their mobile phones or be deported. Travelers must use the app to report their health status and any symptoms during their two weeks of self-isolation. The immigration officers at the airport will provide further details. Further requirements depend on the traveler’s status in South Korea and their boarding location, as follows:

  • Short-term visitors: These travelers will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport upon arrival. They must stay at a government-designated quarantine facility for their first 14 days in the country. 
  • Long-term visitors who obtained a quarantine exemption certificate before arriving in South Korea, and South Korean citizens who visited China under the special-approval track (in place beginning May 2020) and stayed in China for 1 – 7 days: These travelers will be tested for COVID-19 at the airport upon arrival. Those who test negative will not be required to self-isolate. However, they still need to report their physical condition on the KCDC mobile app and answer daily phone checks from KCDC.
  • South Korean citizens and long-term visitors arriving from the US or Europe with no quarantine exemption certificate: These travelers need to be tested for COVID-19 within three days of arrival. Those staying at a government quarantine facility will be tested there while those staying elsewhere must visit the nearest public health center for a test. A 14-day quarantine is required. 
  • South Korean citizens and long-term visitors arriving from other countries with no quarantine exemption certificate, and South Korean citizens who visited China under the special-approval track and stayed in China for eight days or longer: These travelers need to be tested within 14 days of arrival.Those staying at a government quarantine facility will be tested there while those staying elsewhere must visit the nearest public health center for a test. A 14-day quarantine is required. 

Arriving travelers are not allowed to use public transportation to go from the airport to their residence or quarantine location. Those required to quarantine must generally not leave their quarantine location for 14 days. If they need to leave to obtain essential supplies or services they must notify their local public health center via phone. They must also notify their local public health center via phone if they have any COVID-19 symptoms during their quarantine period.

Severe penalties apply to those who do not follow the government’s quarantine and other requirements, including up to three years in prison, a fine of up to 20 million Won, visa and ARC cancellation, deportation and/or bars from re-entry.  

Effective June 1, 2020, all ARC holders except  A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders must obtain re-entry permission before leaving South Korea. Those that fail to do so will have their ARC deregistered. All ARC holders returning to South Korea (except A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders and those who obtained a quarantine exemption certificate from a South Korean embassy) must obtain a medical diagnosis in English issued in the 48 hours before they board their flight to South Korea by a local clinic or hospital.

All visa applicants at south Korean consulates and embassies worldwide must undergo an interview and a medical exam at a designated hospital in their country of residence within 48 hours of submitting the visa application. Exact requirements, processes and exemptions will vary by consulate/embassy so applicants should check with the relevant consulate/embassy before applying.  

All C1 and C3 visas issued by a South Korean consulate/embassy before April 5, 2020 whose holders did not enter South Korea by April 9, 2020 are deemed cancelled. Holders of such visas should contact their nearest embassy or consulate to inquire about re-applying.

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.

Foreign residents who were physically present in South Korea with a valid ARC on April 9, 2020 and whose ARC will expire between April 9 and May 31, 2020 will have their ARCs automatically extended for three months from the current expiration date–no application is necessary. Qualifying ARC holders can check to confirm that their extension has been applied via this website. Note that E-9 and E-10 visa holders are not eligible for this extension and E-6-2, H-2, F-1-11, and F-1-5 visa holders may receive an extension of less than three months.

Spain

Spain will deny entry to both third-country (non-EU) and EU nationals and their dependents seeking entry from outside of the EU/Schengen Area, unless they belong to one of the following categories:

  • Residents of Spain, another EU member state, a Schengen associated state (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) or Andorra travelling directly to their place of residence
  • 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 and sea crews required to carry out commercial 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

Also allowed to enter are EU nationals who are the spouse, registered partner, dependent child or dependent parent of a Spanish citizen, provided they travel with the Spanish citizen or to join them.

Third-country nationals are allowed to enter Spain with a valid travel document and an expired residence card if they are holders of a temporary residence permit, work permit, or stay permit for study purposes, student mobility, internship or volunteer services under the general immigration framework or Entrepreneurs’ Act; holders of a residence card as a dependent family member of an EU national; or holders of a residence card based on an extended long-term residence permit.

Beginning May 15 and until at least June 7, 2020, internal land, air and sea border controls (for entry from within the Schengen Area/EU) have been reinstated. The following will be allowed to enter Spain by land, air or sea from within the Schengen Area/EU:

  • Spanish citizens
  • Residents of Spain with proof of residence status
  • Residents of other EU member states or Schengen associated states travelling to their residence place
  • Cross-border workers
  • Healthcare or eldercare workers entering to conduct their work
  • Others entering for employment with evidence of need
  • Foreign staff of diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organizations located in Spain, entering to conduct their official duties
  • Freight transporters
  • Sea and air crews
  • Those who can evidence force majeure

The Spanish government has declared a state of alarm until June 7, 2020. Many government offices will be closed during the state of alarm 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.

Beginning May 15, 2020 and until the end of the state of alarm, travelers entering Spain from abroad will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. They will be required to remain in their homes or other accommodation except to purchase essential supplies, attend medical appointments, or perform an essential work activity. 

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 state of alarm 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. 

Sweden

Most foreign nationals are banned from entering. EU nationals, UK nationals, nationals of Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) and their family members may enter if en route to their home country. 

Foreign nationals with new Swedish permits are advised not to attempt to enter Sweden until after the travel restrictions have ended, as they might not be admitted. 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings.

Switzerland

Only citizens of Switzerland, travelers entering from Liechtenstein, holders of Swiss residence permits, cross-border workers, EU/EFTA nationals with a Swiss employment agreement signed before March 25, 2020 and a signed lease valid on or before April 1, 2020, and those who have to travel to Switzerland urgently are allowed to enter. Travellers may continue to transit through Switzerland and movement of goods is still permitted. 

Flights from abroad can only land at Zurich, Geneva or Basel airports.

Switzerland has reintroduced Schengen internal border controls. 

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

The Federal Council has suspended the issuance of Schengen and national visas until June 15, 2020. 

The authorities are not processing newly-filed work and residence permit applications for third-country nationals or EEA nationals except for certain specialists in the healthcare sector. See the measures introduced on May 11 below for details on which applications will be processed.

Some cantonal immigration offices, local municipal administrations, and consulates are closed.

On May 11, 2020 the following measures were implemented to begin to ease restrictions on the movement of people: 

  • The cantons will process:
    • applications for residence permits;
    • applications for cross-border commuter permits; 
    • notifications of start of work for short deployments with a Swiss employer; and
    • notifications for cross-border services provided for a maximum of 90 days a year,

provided these were submitted by workers from an EU or EFTA member state before entry restrictions were introduced on March 25, 2020.

  • New notifications for cross-border services will be processed per the terms of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons provided the services are based on a contract signed before March 25, 2020. 
  • Third-country national (non-EU/EFTA national) workers who have a Swiss work permit but were not able to obtain a visa because of restrictions on entry and visa processing will be allowed to obtain their visas and enter Switzerland.
  • Work permit applications for third-country nationals submitted before these applications became restricted on March 19, 2020 will be processed. 
  • Family reunification for the family members of Swiss citizens and the family members of EU/EFTA nationals living in Switzerland will again be possible.
  • The existing border controls will continue but additional border crossings will be opened to reduce wait times.

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 Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has banned international passenger flights from landing in Thailand until May 31, 2020. Exempt from the ban are flights made by state or military aircraft, emergency landings, flights related to humanitarian aid and medical care, repatriation flights and cargo flights. However, anyone entering Thailand via an exempt flight will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. 

Thailand has declared a state of emergency from March 26, 2020 until April 30, 2020 under which it has banned all travel into the country by land, sea, or air with certain exceptions (for transport of goods, foreign national work permit holders, diplomats, Thai citizens with Embassy permits and health certificates, and any other exceptions authorized by the Prime Minister). 

All arriving travelers are subject to a 14-day quarantine and are not eligible for visa extensions until they have completed the quarantine. All travelers must also present a health certificate issued no more than 72 hours before their travel date confirming that they do not have COVID-19. Those without the certificate will not be admitted to Thailand. All travelers must also present evidence of medical coverage in the amount of at least USD 100,000 that covers the coronavirus. 

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.

Applicants for visas at Thai embassies may need to submit a medical certificate with their application. Applicants should check with the relevant embassy before applying.

The Board of Investment (BOI) will not accept online work permit applications from foreign nationals until they have self-quarantined for at least 14 days after their arrival in 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.

All foreign nationals living in Thailand whose visas have expired on or after March 26, 2020 will have their visas automatically extended until July 31, 2020. 

Foreign nationals whose 90-day reports are due on or after March 26, 2020 do not need to report until July 31, 2020.

Holders of Border Passes may stay in Thailand for the time being but must leave within seven days of the border crossing opening.

Turkey

Travelers who were in the following countries in the 14 days before seeking entry to Turkey, except Turkish nationals and work and residence permit holders, are banned from entering: Algeria, Angola, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Mainland China, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, North Macedonia, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. 

Turkish nationals and work and residence permit holders are subject to a quarantine after their return to Turkey. 

Most international commercial flights into Turkey and all domestic flights have been cancelled. 

The land border crossings with Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran and Iraq are closed except to Turkish nationals and work and residence permit holders.

The Migration Directorate is providing limited services and has deferred residence permit appointments to June 2020. The Ministry of Labor is closed and in-person applications are no longer available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Many consular posts are either closed or providing limited services. Applicants should check the status of the relevant consulate before filing applications.

United Arab Emirates

Resident permit holders who are outside the UAE are generally not permitted to re-enter. 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. Holders of residence status who will be outside of the UAE for more than 180 days will be exempt from paying fines. 

Nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other foreign nationals holding UAE visas are also temporarily not allowed to enter. Only Emiratis and holders of diplomatic passports are permitted to enter. 

Emirates and Etihad Airlines have resumed operating a limited number of inbound flights to return stranded UAE residents from select locations. Passengers will need the approval of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) approval via the Twajudi Resident service (see above) before booking their flights. Effective May 21, 2020, Emirates will also be operating outbound flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney.  and Melbourne. Throughout May, Etihad will increase the frequency of flights from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Frankfurt, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Melbourne, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Zurich, Dublin, and New York. Both Etihad and Emirates are operating flights between London and Australia.  

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. 

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 until further notice. 

MOHRE has reopened its service centers effective May 2, 2020 and is accepting in-country work permit applications, but is operating with reduced hours and is taking strict precautionary measures due to COVID-19. The hours are 9 am to 3 pm every day except Friday. The centers will be operating with only 30% of their usual staff and will admit only 30% of each center’s customer capacity at a time. Customers must wear masks and gloves and children and the elderly are prohibited from entering.

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. 

Overstay penalties for entry permits, residency visas, Emirates IDs and labour cards that have expired before March 1, 2020 will be waived, provided the holders of such documents leave the country by August 18, 2020. 

UAE residency visas that have expired on or after March 1, 2020 will be automatically extended until December 31, 2020–the visa holder need not apply for an extension. Tourists in the UAE on a temporary visa (TRV) will be exempt from overstay fines until December 31, 2020. All other categories of visas that have expired on or after March 1, 2020 will be exempt from overstay fines for three months. 

Emirates ID cards will be delivered to the applicant’s home, as applicants are not able to collect them in person. The authorities will contact the phone number on the application to arrange delivery. 

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 (VAC) outside the UK have closed.

All UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centres 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.

Those whose 30-day visas to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family have expired while they were unable to travel to the UK can request a replacement visa free of charge until the end of 2020 by emailing the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. The email should include the applicant’s name, nationality, date of birth and GWF reference number and the subject line should state “REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA”. Applicants will be contacted when the VACs reopen to arrange for their replacement visa.

Foreign nationals who are unable to collect their BRP cards while coronavirus measures are in place will not be penalized.

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 visa applicants may begin working prior to the adjudication of their application if their sponsors have assigned them a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS); if the position they are assuming is the one indicated on their CoS; and if the visa application was submitted prior to the expiry of their current visa. 

The visas of doctors, nurses or paramedics working or volunteering for the NHS and those of their family members with an expiration date before October 1, 2020 will be automatically extended for one year. No application is necessary and no fees will be charged. The Home Office will notify eligible workers and their employers. 

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

Foreign nationals are generally banned from entering, including those holding a Temporary Residence Card (TRC) or work permit. Foreign nationals may request special authorization to enter from the local authorities with the support of their sponsoring entity in Vietnam. If authorization is granted, they will be issued an official letter from the authorities to present upon entry.

All admissible travelers arriving in Vietnam by any mode of transportation will be subject to a 14-day quarantine at a quarantine center, hotel or resort designated by the government. Those who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to stay in their room for 14 days. Those diagnosed with COVID-19 will be subject to a longer quarantine.

The visa exemption scheme has been suspended for all nationalities.

The issuance of all types of entry visas has been suspended for all nationalities until further notice.

All immigration departments (except Dong Nai Immigration Department) have resumed operations as of April 23, 2020. TRC and visa extension applications for in-country applicants are being accepted again. 

In Hanoi, the Labor Department is still accepting new and renewal work permit applications from applicants who are in Vietnam except for applications from Chinese e-passport holders. Additional supporting documents may be requested for applicants who entered after February 1, 2020. It is advisable to postpone applications for applicants outside of Vietnam, as it is unclear when the applicant would be able to obtain a visa and enter Vietnam without being quarantined. 

In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the HCMC Labor Department has suspended the issuance of new work permits for all nationalities until further notice. Renewal/reissuance applications for those who meet the criteria can be submitted. Additional documentation may be required for those who entered after February 1, 2020.