Travel Restrictions and Permissions, Other Restrictions and Concessions due to COVID-19

Many countries have established restrictions on entry and/or visa and permit issuance to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many have also put in place quarantine and medical testing requirements. Some countries have now begun to lift some of these restrictions and requirements. Some countries have also introduced concessions to support impacted visitors, residents and other visa holders. The measures introduced by some common destinations are as follows:

Argentina

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The national government has ordered a closure of the country’s air, sea and land borders until at least August 30, 2020. Entry is allowed for citizens and residents of Argentina; those involved in international trade operations and the transport of goods; and crew members of aircrafts and ships. A repatriation program is in place for Argentine citizens who are abroad. 

National authorities have started to approve Special Entry Permits for non- resident foreigners during Mandatory Social and Preventive Isolation (ASOP). The entry permits are limited for Workers with essential activities and Temporary workers detailed in decree NUD 297/2020 issued by the National Executive Power (NEP). An exceptional authorization issued by the National Authorities is required to enter the country.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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

The federal government has implemented a quarantine/social distancing period for the country until at least August 2, 2020. The quarantine is being most strictly enforced in Buenos Aires and its suburban areas. Other areas of the country with a reduction in cases are now allowed to gradually ease restrictions. 

Status of Government Services

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.

Concessions

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.

A digital National Identity Document (DNI) is now available. The Digital DNI will shorten the overall immigration processing time, as it can be obtained as soon as Residence status is approved–there is no need to wait for the issuance and delivery of a physical DNI card. The digital DNI can be used exactly as a DNI card to prove identity for banking and  immigration processes as well as other processes at national and provincial public administration offices.

Australia

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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 required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services; those delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery, where no Australian worker is available; diplomats who reside in Australia and their family members; and those entering for humanitarian reasons.

“Critical skills” includes medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agricultural technology, food production, and the maritime industry. “Critical sectors” includes financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology.

Exemptions should be applied for at least four weeks before the planned travel date, but not more than three months before. 

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.  

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

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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.

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. 

Applicants in some industries may need to meet additional requirements due to increasing unemployment rates. 

Status of Government Services

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. 

The processing of student visa applications filed outside of Australia will resume so that student visa holders will be ready to travel when the entry restrictions are lifted. 

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.
  • A number of concessions are being implemented for international students in Australia. Namely, visa application charges will be waived for international students who file additional student visa applications if they could not complete their studies under the original visa because of COVID-19. Study conducted online outside of Australia will count toward the study requirement for a post-study work visa. Graduates who are outside Australia and unable to re-enter due to COVID-19 may apply for a post-study work visa outside Australia. Finally, student visa applicants will have additional time to provide English language results in the event of COVID-19 service interruptions.

Austria

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Austria has begun to relax entry restrictions. Travelers may now enter from inside the European Union/Schengen Area, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, United Kingdom and Vatican City. 

Entry from outside the above regions/countries is permitted for Austrian citizens and their family members, holders of long-term Austrian visas or residence permits, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members, diplomats, travelers in transit, those entering for medical treatment, or those providing essential services (e.g., seasonal workers, transport workers, humanitarian workers, nursing and healthcare workers).  

Checks at land borders with the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Switzerland have been removed. Checks at land borders with Hungary and Slovenia are still in place. 

Flights from Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Iran, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom are banned from landing in Austria until August 1, 2020, with limited exceptions (e.g., cargo, repatriation and emergency flights). 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers residing in and entering from one of the following 31 European countries are exempt from medical certificate and quarantine requirements as long as they have not been outside of these countries in the 14 days before entering Austria: Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Vatican City. Note that travelers from Portugal, Sweden and the UK are not exempt. 

Some other categories of travelers (e.g., transport staff, transiting travelers, among others) are also exempt from both requirements. 

The majority of other travelers must 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. Travelers who do not have a medical certificate must provide evidence of accommodation for a 14-day quarantine.  

Please contact your immigration professional to confirm medical certificate and quarantine requirements in your case. 

Status of Government Services

The immigration offices have begun to reopen. Appointments are required for in-person services. 

Some consulates have reopened but these may be offering limited services and may not offer regular visa services. Check with the relevant consulate for its status and service offerings. 

Belgium

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Belgium has introduced an entry ban for all travelers except 1) citizens or legal residents of EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK and their family members; 2) non-EU national holders of a Belgian residence permit who are returning home; 3) cross-border workers; 4) EU Blue Card holders whose work cannot be carried out at a distance; 5) travelers in transit; 6) diplomats and personnel of humanitarian and international organizations, or those attending meetings at international organizations; 7) students; and 8) other travellers whose entry is considered essential. 

Belgium has thus far elected not to implement the European Council’s recommendation to admit the residents of certain greenlisted countries for non-essential travel. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Belgium are subject to a 14-day home quarantine and COVID-19 testing except for travelers entering from certain EU/Schengen countries/regions and some areas of the UK. See this site for details. 

All passengers on a flight from outside of the Schengen Area to Belgium must complete a Passenger Locator Form and submit it upon arrival. 

Status of Government Services

Some Belgian embassies and consulates have resumed accepting and processing certain visa applications. Please check with the relevant consulate for its status and service offerings.

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

Town halls are resuming limited services, primarily for urgent cases. Please contact the relevant town hall for its status and service offerings. 

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All foreign nationals can now enter by air, though incoming flights are still banned from landing at some airports. 

Most foreign nationals are still banned from entering by land or sea. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Visitors who will stay for 90 days or less must provide evidence of health insurance that will be valid throughout their stay in Brazil before boarding their flight to Brazil.

Status of Government Services

Many Federal Police offices are closed. Those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are beginning to resume services and schedule appointments.

The Ministry of Justice is again processing and adjudicating residence permit applications.

Bulgaria

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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

  • Nationals of Bulgaria and their family members;  
  • Holders of Bulgarian permanent residence permits, long-term residence permits or Prolonged Residence Permits and their family members;
  • Nationals of EU and Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City; 
  • Travelers entering from EU and Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican CIty and Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Ukraine;
  • Healthcare workers and providers of other essential services; diplomats, cross-border workers, and those entering for humanitarian purposes; and
  • Those in transit who are nationals of Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia or Turkey or residents of an EU/Schengen country or Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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

Those entering from Andorra, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain or Vatican City as well as certain other categories of travelers (e.g., medical, transport and cross-border workers) are exempt from the quarantine requirement. 

Tourists coming from Portugal and Sweden should present the results of a negative PCR test conducted in the 72 hours before entering the country, or they will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Tourists not subject to quarantine must submit a declaration to health inspectors at the border stating that they will observe the Ministry of Health’s anti-epidemic measures and that they are aware of the risks of COVID-19.

Status of Government Services

Migration Directorate 

National Employment Agency 

Bulgarian Embassy in the US

Concessions

Residence Permit IDs or certificates that expire between January 1 and October 31, 2020 will be extended automatically for at least six months. 

Long-term or permanent residence permit holders who are outside of the EU during the state of emergency will not have their period of absence counted toward the 12 months of absence allowed.  

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 reunite with their families should also contact Pearl as they may require special authorization prior to travel.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Until at least July 31, 2020, Canada will bar entry to anyone that is not a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or First Nation or one of the following (among other limited categories of travelers):

  • An immediate family member of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident provided they stay in Canada for at least 15 days (proof of relationship must be presented) (family members are defined as spouses or common law partners, dependent children, dependent children of dependent children, parents, legal guardians or tutors);
  • An immediate family member of a Canadian temporary resident, with permission from IRCC;
  • 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 traveler entering from the US for an “essential (non-discretionary) purpose”.

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 except the immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident must be entering for an “essential (non-discretionary) purpose.” Those traveling directly from the US only need to meet this condition while those traveling from other countries must fit into an exemption category as well. Non-essential travel is considered travel for tourism, recreation or entertainment. 

More information on who can travel to Canada during the pandemic is available on the Canadian government website

Canadian Work Permit applications that qualify for port of entry (POE) filing may once again proceed for US nationals and visa-exempt nationals coming in from the US, without an online, consular application as a precursor. Pre-approval from the International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU) may be recommended for some cases. Please consult with your immigration professional for assistance with this process. 

Foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada for the sole purpose of obtaining a US entry stamp will not have their travel be deemed essential. They will be barred from entry, unless they qualify for one of the above exemptions.

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. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Until at least August 31, 2020, most travelers entering Canada, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. Exemptions apply to some categories of travelers, including crew members; military personnel; and providers of essential services (according to the Chief Public Health Officer), emergency services or medical services, among others. 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. 

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. 

Status of Government Services

Many Canadian Visa Application Centres (VACs) are temporarily closed. Some are open but providing limited services and it may be difficult to obtain an appointment. Find more information here

There are processing delays for permanent and temporary residence applications. There is limited access to local government offices and doctors to perform immigration medical exams. 

Canadian authorities are processing Temporary Residence Visas (TRVs) and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs) again to reduce the backlog. However, issuance of one of these documents does not mean the bearer is permitted to enter Canada. The bearer will still be subject to border closures and travel restrictions unless he/she meets one of the exemption categories.

All Canadian consulates are prioritizing applications related to COVID-19 relief (e.g. healthcare professionals, supply chain workers) prior to others. Accordingly, the processing of consular filings remains severely delayed and consular processing times are unpredictable. However, it is still advisable to file applications to get them in the queue. 

Biometrics collection in the US is recommencing, albeit in an unreliable fashion. There are glitches with the appointment system where confirmed biometric dates are haphazardly changed without warning. 

IRCC Service Update: IRCC Is also prioritizing applications for essential workers that directly assist with the COVID-19 effort, and all other applications filed online are moved to the back of the queue. 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: Service Canada centers are beginning to reopen, with some offices open while others remain closed. The new eServiceCanada portal allows those requiring assistance from Service Canada to submit an online request and receive a callback from a Service Canada officer within two business days. Despite the reopenings, online services should be used whenever possible. 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. 

Concessions

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. 

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. 

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.

Change of employer applicants are allowed to begin work with their new employer 10 days after filing the change of conditions application, while it continues to be adjudicated.

Delays in start dates for foreign nationals who have been issued Canadian work authorization but cannot start their employment/assignment with the Canadian entity due to internal company policies should generally be allowed. 

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

Chile

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Most foreign nationals are banned from entering Chile until at least August 14, 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.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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

The authorities have established quarantines within the country to restrict movement, with entry to and exit from certain areas prohibited. As of July 22, 2020, the government has published a plan called “Step by Step” for gradually lifting the quarantines. The plan consists of five phases for reopening applicable to each commune under quarantine. 

Status of Government Services

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.

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.

Concessions

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.

The time in which to inform the Migration Department about a change of employer has been extended to 180 days, counted from the end date of the contract with the previous employer.

The Migration Department is giving applicants for Permanent Residence who have filed incomplete applications 120 days to submit the information/documentation required to complete the application, up from the usual five days. The deadline is counted from the notification date. 

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

China, Mainland

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The National Immigration Administration of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a policy 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.

Foreign nationals whose entry or reentry is absolutely necessary can go through an entry authorization process despite the general border closure. This entails submission and approval of an entry authorization request at the FAO in the destination city/jurisdiction in China, followed by submission and approval of an entry visa request through the Chinese Consulate with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence. (Consulates are processing these requests despite their general closures). The entry visa request is for the usual visa categories (M Visa, L Visa, etc.) rather than a special visa category for the special entry authorization. If the visa is approved the foreign national may enter China and may be able to apply for a Work Permit or Residence Permit in the country. 

Beijing has cancelled the majority of incoming and outgoing flights to and from its two airports due to a new outbreak of COVID-19. Beijing residents are to avoid non-essential travel outside the city.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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. 

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. 

Status of Government Services

Most Chinese consulates are closed except for the processing of visas for exceptional entry authorization (see Travel Restrictions and Permissions above) and other exceptional applications. 

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of September 19 2020, international passenger flights are now allowed to arrive at Colombian airports. Passengers must comply with specific protocols. The protocols are the following: 

1. Fill out the pre-check form in the “CheckMig” application here www.migracioncolombia.gov.co 24 hours in advance and up to 1 houre before the flight closes. This tool will allow travelers, nationals and foreigners to preload all the information related to their trip.

2. Present a PCR test with a negative result issued no longer than 96 hours before the flight. Travelers with fever and respiratory symptoms will not be allowed to board the flight. 

3. Report the health status through the “Coronapp” application and respond to the tracking that their insurer or the secretary of health should do.

4. Report to EPS (health provider) if during the 14 days after the trip, the passenger presents symptoms of Covid-19.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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

Status of Government Services

The processing of visas for foreign nationals outside of Colombia has resumed. However, consular openings and service offerings depend on the conditions in the country in which the consulate is located. Please contact the relevant Colombian consulate to confirm its status and service offerings. 

Migración Colombia has suspended the following services that require foreign nationals to make an in-person appearance through August 31, 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 

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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 July 31, 2020 and such foreign nationals are not allowed to re-enter until at least August 1, 2020.

All visitors, including business visitors, are banned from entering the country until at least July 31, 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. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Those who are permitted to enter Costa Rica are subject to a 14-day quarantine upon entry.

Status of Government Services

The Immigration Department will not receive new applications of any kind until September 21, 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 only. 

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

Concessions

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

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 November 18, 2020.

Czech Republic

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Czech Republic has begun lifting restrictions on entry. The following travelers are now allowed to enter:

  • Czech citizens and their family members;
  • Nationals of all EU and Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the UK, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland and Vatican City and their family members;
  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand;
  • Czech long-term visa and residence permit holders and D/VR visa holders;
  • Holders of long-term residence permits issued by an EU or Schengen country, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the UK, Vatican City, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, or Thailand;
  • Visa-waived nationals or short-term visa holders employed in certain critical sectors;
  • Cross-border workers; and
  • Travelers transiting to their residence in another country.

Czech nationals and foreign nationals residing in the Czech Republic are again allowed to travel abroad. 

All border crossings with Germany and Austria have reopened. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most travelers entering the Czech Republic are required to present a medical certificate issued within the four days before entering showing a negative COVID-19 test result. Those exempt from this requirement include nationals and residents entering from one of the “greenlisted” countries listed in the section above, who can be tested in the Czech Republic. Travelers in transit and cross-border workers are also exempt.

Most travelers must also quarantine for 14 days after entry, with limited exceptions.

If a traveler was in the last 14 days more than 12 hours in a “red zone” country, he/she is obliged to notify the local Regional Hygienic Station immediately after arrival; provide a negative COVID -19 test undertaken in the Czech Republic within 72 hours; or self-quarantine for 14 days. 

A list of countries according to the level of risk is available here.

Detailed information about those who are allowed to enter and applicable health and quarantine requirements can be found here

All foreign nationals arriving from third countries are obliged to notify the local Regional Hygienic Station immediately after arrival.

▪ Then they must either self-quarantine for 14 days or provide the Regional hygiene station with a negative COVID-19 test undertaken in the Czech Republic. Please, see the individual steps below:

STEP 1: Send an e-mail to the local Regional Hygienic Stations (contacts here)

STEP 2: Pick one or both of the below mentioned possibilities

STEP 3: Upon receiving the negative test, send a scanned copy to the local Regional Hygienic Station within 72 hours from arrival.

You can find the list of available labs here, in Czech only.

Employees arriving from red zone countries will be allowed to enter the workplace only after they provide the employer with a negative COVID-19 test undertaken in the Czech Republic which is not older than 4 days. Until the test is provided, they can start working from home. It is the responsibility of the Employer to require the COVID-19 test and restrict the entry of the employee to the workplace unless the test is provided.

Companies hosting foreign employees are required to ensure the employee has accommodation for the entire stay in the Czech Republic; medical treatment for the entire stay, including payment for medical care if it is not covered by insurance; and return travel to their home country in the event of job loss. All applications for Employee Cards and Blue Cards must include a statement from the employer which declares the above. 

Status of Government Services

As of August 1, 2020, all consulates of the Czech Republic have at least partially reopened, with the exception of those in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India and Kazakhstan. Some are providing full services while others are  providing limited services. Please check with the relevant consular post for their current status and service offerings. Additional information can be found here

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.

Government Measures Adopted Against Coronavirus 

Prague Regional Labour Office

Ministry of Interior (registration)

Czech Embassy in the US

Denmark

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The following are allowed to enter Denmark:

  • Danish passport holders and their family members
  • EU passport holders with a Danish Health Card (yellow card)
  • EU/Schengen Area and UK residents and residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City traveling for tourism or other purposes, provided they are not symptomatic and present evidence that they have accommodation for at least seven days
  • Non-EU nationals with a valid Danish Residence Card and their family members  
  • Those with special strong ties to Denmark (e.g., those employed in Denmark)
  • Business travelers
  • Cross-border workers
  • Students and trainees
  • Residents of “open countries” Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay entering for business, work, study, provision of services, or personal reasons/tourism, with evidence that they have accommodation for at least seven days
  • Visitors to a summer home or close family members in Denmark
  • Those visiting a critically or terminally ill family member or participating in a funeral
  • Those exercising visitation rights with a minor
  • Those in ongoing health treatment
  • Those called for a court case
  • Passengers in transit

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Residents of “banned countries” visiting a summer home or relative are required to provide upon entry confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test completed 72 hours or less prior to entry, or a statement that they were unable to complete a test in this timeframe.

Status of Government Services

Denmark is conducting a controlled reopening of the country. The Danish Immigration authorities/Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) offices are open and scheduling appointments; however, processing delays should be expected.

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.

Concessions

The deadline for providing biometrics has been extended until July 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. 

Finland

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The following are allowed to enter Finland:

  • Nationals of Finland and their family members and holders of Finnish residence permits entering from any country; 
  • All travelers entering for any purpose from Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovakia, and Vatican City (border controls or lack thereof have returned to normal);
  • Travelers entering from Austria, Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden, Slovenia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and the United Kingdom and Monaco (border controls remain in place) who are Finnish citizens and their family members, EU/Schengen nationals residing in Finland and their family members, third-country nationals with Finnish residence permits, travelers transiting to their place of residence in another EU/Schengen country, students, or those entering for work-related or essential travel, including pressing family matters;
  • Residents of Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China who are arriving from these countries; and
  • Travelers entering from other third countries who are Finnish citizens and their family members, EU/Schengen nationals residing in Finland and their family members, third-country nationals with Finnish residence permits, travelers transiting to their place of residence in another EU/Schengen country; or those entering for “essential reasons,” including pressing family matters.

Please see www.raja.fi for approved “essential reasons” and complete information on who is permitted to enter FInland. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

A 14-day home quarantine is recommended except for travelers entering from Andorra, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Slovakia, Vatican City and residents of Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China entering from these countries.

Status of Government Services

Finnish consular posts are closed for most services. 

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Travelers are banned from entering France except for French nationals and their family members; travelers entering from EU/Schengen countries or Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the UK and Vatican City; EU/Schengen nationals and nationals of the UK, Andorra, Holy See, Monaco, and San Marino entering from outside the EU, provided they reside in France or are transiting through; travelers arriving from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; and third-country nationals with a valid French residence permit or transiting through France for less than 24 hours. Cross-border workers and individuals providing essential services can also enter.

Partial border reopening for travelers holding a Long Stay Visa bearing the mention “Passport Talent” is possible.

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land borders.  

See Coronavirus – Advice for Foreign Nationals in France for more information. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travellers entering from outside the EU/Schengen Area, Andorra, Holy See, Monaco, and San Marino except travelers arriving from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay are encouraged to have a PCR test done in the 72 hours before they depart for France. They will be asked to present evidence of a negative PCR test on arrival. 

Those who do not do so will be subject to a 14-day quarantine after entering, including travelers entering from the UK. 

All travellers to France or to a French overseas territory except travelers from EU countries, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Andorra, Holy See, Monaco, San Marino, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay 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.

See Coronavirus – Advice for Foreign Nationals in France for more information. 

Status of Government Services

French consulates have started to reopen. Online appointments are required. Please contact the relevant consulate for their status and service offerings. 

Immigration authorities such as OFII and the prefectures have started to reopen, but with restrictions in place such that contact with the public will be limited and only certain applications will be processed. Prefecture appointments in Paris and Lyon cancelled during the lockdown period will be rescheduled. Prefectures will contact applicants to reschedule. 

See Coronavirus – Advice for Foreign Nationals in France for more information. 

Concessions

All French visas (except short-stay/C visas), residency permits, “récépissés” (receipts) or “APSes” that expired between March 16 and June 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. 

French citizens who are returning to France between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020 without professional activity are immediately registered with the French Social Security scheme. Spouses of assignees who are not employed no longer have to prove three months of consecutive residence in France to be registered with the French Social Security program. 

Students who hold a Residence Permit can now work for 1,285 hours each year, which totals 80% of the year. Previously, they were only allowed to work for 60% of the year. This change remains in effect until the higher education system in France returns to normal. 

See Coronavirus – Advice for Foreign Nationals in France for more information

Germany

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All travelers of any nationality arriving from EU/Schengen countries or the UK are permitted to enter for any purpose. 

Entry from other countries is permitted for nationals of EU/Schengen countries or the UK and their dependents; travelers from Australia, Canada, China (subject to reciprocity), Georgia, Japan (subject to reciprocity), Montenegro, New Zealand, South Korea (subject to reciprocity), Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; highly qualified workers, if their employment is economically necessary and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad; holders of EU or German residence permits; students; those traveling for family reunification or other urgent family reasons; and those providing essential services. 

Immigration checks at land borders with neighboring countries are no longer in place.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most travelers (re)entering Germany are subject to a 14-day quarantine. Most states extend an exemption from the quarantine requirement to EU nationals. 

Status of Government Services

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

Some consulates have reopened. Please check with the relevant consulate for its status and service offerings. 

Hong Kong

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Hong Kong (including Hong Kong residents and those arriving from Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan) are subject to a 14-day home quarantine, with very few exceptions. 

All travellers without COVID-19 symptoms arriving at Hong Kong International Airport will be tested for COVID-19. 

Travelers entering from countries considered high risk must be tested for COVID-19 before arrival and present evidence of a negative result on arrival.

Status of Government Services

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Travelers are banned from entering except Hungarian citizens and permanent residents and their family members; Hungarian residence permit holders; nationals of “yellow” countries (Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Norway, Russia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, China, Japan, and the United States), provided they do not have symptoms; nationals of “red” countries (Albania, Bosnia, Belarus, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, all Asian countries except China and Japan, all African countries, all countries in the Americas except the United States, and all countries in Oceania), provided they do not have symptoms and with exemption authorization from the police for specific purposes only (e.g., medical treatment, family reasons, exams for students); and nationals of “green” countries (all countries not listed above), provided they do not have symptoms. Travelers in transit and some cross border workers are also allowed to enter. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers arriving from yellow and red countries are subject to health screening (travelers from green countries are not, provided they do not have symptoms). If infection is suspected, Hungarian citizens will be subject to a 14-day quarantine while other travelers may be denied entry. Non-citizens who do not evidence signs of illness will also be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Travelers from green countries without symptoms are not required to quarantine.

Travelers who can present a medical certificate confirming two negative COVID-19 tests with 48 hours between tests conducted in the five days before entry will be exempt from the quarantine requirement.  

Status of Government Services

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

Most consulates have reopened, based on local conditions. 

Concessions

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

Applications for EU registration and residence permit extensions that usually must be filed in-person can be filed online.

India

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Until July 31, 2020, most incoming and outgoing international commercial passenger flights are suspended. International cargo flights and flights approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation are exempt from the ban. Some international flights may be permitted on select routes on a case-by-case basis. 

OCI cardholders coming from the U.S, UK, Germany and France are allowed to enter India. 

OCI cardholders who are nationals of all other countries are allowed to travel to india under the following categories:

  • 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 further notice. 

Indian nationals both inside and outside of India are advised to avoid non-essential international travel. 

All existing visas issued to nationals of any country except those issued to diplomats, officials, UN/international organizations, and Employment and Project visas are deemed suspended. The visas of all foreign nationals already in India remain valid. 

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

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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. 

Status of Government Services

All Indian visa services (excluding in-country registration, visa extension and other in-country services) are suspended until further notice. Those that wish to extend or convert their visa in India may contact the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Office (FRO), which remain operational.

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

Concessions

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 expire(d) between February 1 and July 31, 2020 can apply for no-cost extensions online using the e-FRRO portal. Extensions will be granted for 30 days from July 31, 2020. 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.

Indonesia

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The government of Indonesia has implemented a temporary ban on the use of air transportation. The ban on air travel applies to international commercial flights into and out of Indonesia as well as domestic flights. Few foreign nationals 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.

Both Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Bali except for the following:

  • Those working for government or private institutions and providing:
    • Services related to the management of COVID 19;
    • Services related to defense, security and public order;
    • Health services;
    • Basic needs or services supporting basic needs; or
    • Important economic functions;
  • Patients traveling on an emergency basis; and
  • Those traveling because their close family members (parents, spouse, children, siblings) are seriously ill or have died.

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 by September 8, 2020.

Foreigners can apply for a telex visa for the following business categories: Single Entry Business Visa (SEBV); Work Visa (Limited Stay Visa); Dependent Visa (Family Reunification); Investor Visa; and Retirement Visa. Those who have obtained a telex visa (this can be either a telex visa for a work permit or for a business visa (single or multiple entry)) after 2 April 2020 can obtain their Visit Visa or Stay Visa at the Indonesian embassies abroad. Once the foreigners have obtained their Visit Visa and Stay Visa at the Indonesian embassy abroad, they are able to enter Indonesia using this visa.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Foreign nationals who are allowed to enter are required to present a Negative PCR Covid-19 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. If the foreigners are not able to provide this, then the Health Officer at the Airport will bring the foreigners to the Hospital or Quarantine Facility to perform a PCR test. While waiting the test result (3-5 days), the foreigners must remain in quarantine in one of the special hotels (at own costs) appointed by the officers:

  1. If the result is Negative, the foreigners are allowed to continue to go to their destination city;
  2. If the result is Positive, the foreigners remain in quarantine until the result is Negative

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. 

Travelers (both Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals) are not allowed to arrive at or depart from I Gusti Ngurah Ray Airport in Bali unless they present the results of a negative PCR swab test for COVID-19 that are not more than seven days old. The airlines are required to enforce this requirement. Also, travelers planning to enter Bali must complete the form available at https://cekdiri.baliprov.go.id. Once the form is completed, a QR code is issued, which needs to be presented to the admitting officers at the airport.

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.

Status of Government Services

The Jakarta Government will go back into lockdown due to rising covid-19 cases. From September 14, 2020, all government and private offices will be closed until further notice.

The Ministry of Manpower has suspended the processing of standard new work permit applications for foreign workers and has only been accepting applications for work permit extensions and new work permit applications for certain national strategic projects.

The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) has announced that the Ministry of Manpower will approve new work permit applications from Foreign Investment Companies (PT PMA) that are unrelated to a national strategic project, provided they are accompanied by a recommendation letter from BKPM. To obtain the letter, the company must submit to BKPM the reason for employing the foreign national, information on its investment activities, a plan for employing Indonesian workers, a list of company representatives and foreign workers, and a statement of commitment to complying with the provisions of the COVID-19 health protocol. 

The following options are available to document holders in and outside of Indonesia:

  • ITAP holders who are currently in Indonesia with a valid ITAP can have an extension processed at the local immigration office. Holders of an expired ITAP must either leave Indonesia before August 20 or apply for a new limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country. 
  • ITAS holders who are currently in Indonesia with a valid ITAS can either have an extension processed or convert their ITAS to ITAP at the local immigration office. Holders of an expired ITAS that cannot be extended must leave Indonesia before August 20. 
  • ITAP or ITAS holders who are currently abroad with an expired ITAP or ITAS (with a valid or expired MERP) can either enter Indonesia after obtaining an approval letter from the ministry or technical institution (RPTKA/notification), or, if this is not possible, process a new limited stay visa (VTT) to enter Indonesia. Holders of an expired ITAP or ITAS (with a valid or expired MERP) that is sponsored by their spouse can directly enter Indonesia. An extension of the ITAP/ITAS and MERP must be done before September 8, 2020, which might be extended to December 31 in case of a technical issue during the extension process. 
  • Single-Entry Visit Visa holders who are currently in Indonesia with a valid visa can extend their visa or convert it to an ITAS at the local immigration office. If the visa is expired and cannot be extended, they must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the visa can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; or they can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • Multiple-Entry Visit Visa holders who are currently in Indonesia with an expired visa 1) must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the visa can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; 2) can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country; or 3) can convert their visa to an ITAS. 
  • APEC Business Travel Card holders who are currently in Indonesia with an expired 60-day stay must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the stay can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; or they can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country. 
  • Visa on Arrival (VOA) holders who are currently in Indonesia with an expired visa that cannot be extended must leave Indonesia before August 20 unless there is no transportation out of the country, in which case the visa can be extended for periods of 30 days until the COVID-19 crisis is declared over; or they can apply for a limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country. 
  • Foreign nationals who are currently in Indonesia under a visa exemption must leave Indonesia before 20 August; or they can apply for a new limited stay visa (VTT) or visit visa in-country.
  • Foreign nationals currently in Indonesia who already have a telex visa that was issued after December 1, 2019 can apply for an ITAS or a visit visa in-country. 

Concessions

  • 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 Telex Single-Entry Business Visas (SEBVs) or Telex Multiple-Entry Business Visas (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.
  • SEBV and MEBV holders who have already extended their license may convert their visit permit to a stay permit (ITAS), as long as they meet ITAS requirements. Those sponsored by a company would first need to apply for a work permit. 
  • ITAS and ITAP holders who are still in Indonesia and have received an emergency permit because their permit expired can extend their permit or can apply for a telex VTT or a telex MEBV/SEBV online from within Indonesia instead of completing the process at an Indonesian embassy or consulate abroad. Once they have received their telex visa, they can pay the required government fees at the local immigration office. 
  • Single Entry Visit Permit holders residing in Indonesia who have received an Emergency Permit because their Single Entry Visit Permit has expired and who have no means to leave Indonesia have until August 8, 2020 to extend their visit permit or convert their visit permit to a stay permit (ITAS).

Note that the implementation of these concessions may differ by immigration office, so available options must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

Ireland

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Minister of Health has suggested that there may be restrictions placed on non-essential travel to Ireland from third countries (outside of Ireland and the European Union) experiencing high Covid-19 rates by placing passengers on a new travel “red list”. The Government is currently drafting proposals in respect of this “red list” and an announcement is expected shortly. It is anticipated that the United States will be on the red list. 

A “green list” of approved countries from which it is deemed safe to travel to Ireland is already in place and is reviewed every two weeks. A link to the most up to date “green list” is available at https://dfa.ie/

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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.

Status of Government Services

The Irish authorities have resumed limited visa processing services in some locations. Applicants can still apply for a visa online but may 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 Visa Processing Centres that have reopened will process these applications as well as Long-stay D visa applications. Short-stay visas for non-essential travel are not being issued. 

Some of the Visa Processing Centres that are open are those in Hong Kong, London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Moscow, Chicago, New York and Washington, DC, as well as the centres in China, Turkey, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Many of the centres in India reopened on July 6, 2020. The Irish consulate in Manila has reopened as has the Irish Embassy in Singapore. Please check with the centre, embassy or consulate you wish to use for its status and service offerings. Note that some Visa Processing Centres have introduced new local process modifications primarily to address their application backlog.

The Burgh Quay Registration Office reopened on August 24, 2020 for first time registrations. All appointments issued for August 24, 2020, or after, will be honoured. This office serves Dublin-based non-EEA nationals who need to complete initial immigration registration. 

Strict social distancing measures are in place for all appointments taking place on, or after August 24, 2020 in Burgh Quay and registration offices nationwide.

The Garda Naturalisation, which processes registration applications for non-EEA nationals located outside of Dublin, reopened August 24, 2020. Appointments which were due to take place between 9-21 August 2020 in these offices will be rescheduled. Details can be found here

Immigration permission renewals for Dublin residents, which have been processed online since 20 July 2020 at https://inisonline.jahs.ie, will continue to be accepted.

Employment permit applications are being processed as usual. 

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

Concessions

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

Irish Residency Permissions that expire(d) between August 20 and September 20, 2020 will be automatically extended for one month. Non-EEA nationals who benefited from previously announced automatic renewals and now have a new expiration date between August 20 and September 20, 2020 are eligible for this extension. 

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 July 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)

While Immigration Service Delivery offices are closed, first time registration applicants for Irish Residence Permissions may use an email registration process. The process is available to non-EEA nationals currently in Ireland and to those planning to arrive in Ireland soon. Initial registration applicants should email their applications and all supporting documents to bqregofficeapplications@justice.ie. The process can be used for Stamp 1, Stamp 1A, Stamp 1G, Stamp 2, and Stamp 4 permissions. An approval letter confirming residency permission will be issued for approved applications. Applicants must appear in person at a registration office once offices have reopened. Appointments that were cancelled due to office closures will be rescheduled automatically.

Israel

Due to spikes in Covid-19 cases Israeli Prime Minister has imposed a 3 week lockdown starting September 18, 2020. Workplaces in the private sector would be allowed to operate at no more than 50%, while being closed to the public. Movement of private individuals will be restricted to 500 meters from home. Public sector offices will be able to provide services in a limited capacity. Restaurants will be limited to take away, commerce banned, schools closed, and congregations limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 20 outside. All visa applications will either be put on hold or processed slowly by the Ministry of Interior. It is expected that Israeli Consulates will continue to work according to the regulations in their host countries. Employers are recommended to cancel any travel in/out of Israel of their expats before Friday, September 18.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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.

An exceptional foreign national entry permit is now available to certain categories of foreign nationals, including foreign nationals married to an Israeli citizen or permanent resident, students, those engaging in “medical tourism”, and those attending weddings or funerals, under certain conditions. An application must be filed to obtain the permit. Please contact your immigration professional for more information. 

Employers of foreign experts who previously were working in Israel but are not now in the country can apply to their local Ministry of Interior office for “Entry During COVID-19” for the expert, provided the expert holds a valid work permit, a valid B-1 work visa in his/her field, and a valid re-entry visa or multiple entry work visa. An exceptional entry permit is no longer required for foreign experts. 

Holders of one-year B-1 expert visas and their families are now permitted to travel to their home country and back to Israel if they apply for re-entry permission. The special re-entry permit application must be submitted to and approved by the Ministry of Interior before departure. A multiple-entry visa is still required.

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. 

Any foreign national who travels to Israel, either from Green or Red Locations, must fill out an online inbound clearance application form, not more than 24 hours before their travel to Israel, following submission, the individual will be either cleared or refused to board the flight. 

If an individual is unable to comply with all health requirements, then he/she will be refused to board their flight.

Foreign nationals arriving from either Green and Red Locations will still need to present an entry clearance. Passengers must print out the clearance and take it to the airport to show it to the relevant officials. Passengers must keep the clearance until arrival in Israel (after passport control). 

Most flights to and from Israel have been suspended. Some airlines have resumed flights to Tel Aviv but most foreign nationals are banned from entering. 

All travellers leaving Israel must comply with the following instructions:

Before air travel

* Passengers must be up-to-date with published guidance and restrictions of their destination.·

* Passengers must submit an application to leave Israel (which includes their personal information and a health declaration) no more than 24 hours before departure.

* Passengers must print out the clearance and take it to the airport to show it to the relevant officials. Passengers must keep the clearance until arrival in destination.

Entry to airport

* Entry to the airport will be allowed only to those who present a valid plane ticket and clearance issued by Israel Ministry of Health.· Body temperature will be screened before entering airport premises.

* Entry to airport premises will be allowed to passengers only (exceptions apply).

* People with symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, or loss of taste and smell will not be allowed to enter the airport premises.

 Guidance before, during and after air travel

* Travelers must wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth at the airport (ages 7 years and older), and on board the aircraft(ages 6 years and older).

* Passengers must stay at least 2 meters from people who do not live in the same household as they do.

* Passengers must practice hygiene, which includes washing hands with sanitizers.

* Passengers must present their boarding pass and clearance to airline staff.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Due to spikes in Covid-19 cases Israeli Prime Minister have extended the lockdown. Workplaces in the private sector would be allowed to operate at no more than 50%, while being closed to the public. Movement of private individuals will be restricted to 500 meters from home. Public sector offices will be able to provide services in a limited capacity. Restaurants will be limited to take away, commerce banned, schools closed, and congregations limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 20 outside. All visa applications will either be put on hold or processed slowly by the Ministry of Interior. It is expected that Israeli Consulates will continue to work according to the regulations in their host countries. Employers are recommended to cancel any travel in/out of Israel of their expats before Friday, September 18.

The Israeli Health Ministry announced of the “Green Locations” that would eliminate the quarantine requirement for travelers entering Israel from the following locations:: Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Hong Kong, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Rwanda and Slovenia.

The list of Green Locations will be updated from time to time, and can be found at the Ministry of Health website.https://orzb.maillist-manage.com/click.zc?od=27218d28c96aa859e9a177c89a5da2cf91185630859ca1fd0&repDgs=187fbe044b85b282&linkDgs=187fbe044b859c48&mrd=187fbe044b85a855&m=1

There will be no duty to go into isolation if a person arrives in Israel from a Green Location, as long as they did not stay in a Red Location during a 14-day period before their flight to Israel. Passengers who arrive in Israel from a Red Location will have to go into isolation.  

Red Locations: The 14-day isolation duty applies to all passengers from Red Locations or passengers who stayed in Red Locations during the 14 days before air travel to Israel, except passengers who received exemptions.

Travelers must prove they can comply with isolation requirements and sign a statement confirming that they will remain in isolation for 14 days. Foreign nationals that leave Israel before the end of the 14-day isolation period without special permission will be in violation of the law and denied re-entry. 

All foreign nationals entering Israel must also present evidence of health insurance coverage for COVID-19. 

Concessions

Holders of B-1 Foreign Expert work visas with an expiration date on or before June 30, 2020 are eligible for an automatic three-month extension. Holders of B-1 Foreign Expert work visas with an expiration date between July 1 and August 31, 2020 are eligible for an automatic 10-week extension. The extensions 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 automatic extension period are advised to file an extension application as soon as possible.

Italy

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put in place an online questionnaire to answer all basic travel and quarantine questions travellers might have. You can find it here.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Entry from any of the following countries is banned: Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Oman, Panama, Peru and Serbia. Anyone who has been present in one of these countries in the 14 days before seeking entry to Italy is banned from entering. An exception applies to nationals of Italy, EU/Schengen countries, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican city and their family members, provided they were registered as residents in Italy before July 9, 2020. Also exempt from the ban are officials and other employees of the European Union, international organizations, diplomatic missions and consulates, as well as military personnel if entering to perform their duties. Transport crew members and travel staff members may enter from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia for transit (for stays of up to 36 hours) or a short stay (up to 120 hours). 

Travelers coming from EU/Schengen countries as well as Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, UK and Vatican City and their family members are allowed to enter freely. All citizens and residents of these countries and their family members are also allowed to enter from any country. 

Residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay are also now permitted to enter Italy for any reason. 

Travelers from all other countries may enter only if they are entering for work, health care, study or other urgent needs, or travelers with an essential function or need (e.g., healthcare professionals, transport personnel, diplomats and staff of international organisations, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers, passengers in transit, those traveling for urgent family purposes). 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Italy must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival except for transport crew members, cross border workers, health personnel traveling for work, diplomats and other officials of international organizations, and travelers in transit, among other limited exceptions, as well as travelers from most EU/Schengen countries and Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, UK and Vatican City. Travelers from these countries who have been outside of these countries in the 14 days before entering Italy will be required to self-isolate. Travelers entering Italy from Bulgaria or Romania, or who have been in these countries in the 14 days before entering, will be required to self-isolate.

All travelers entering Italy are required to fill out, sign and present to the airline or to police authorities this self-declaration.

Status of Government Services

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. 

After a long delay, all applications still pending as of February 23, 2020 or filed after February 23, 2020 are now being processed. 

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Foreign nationals who hold a Chinese passport issued in Hubei or Zhejiang province or who have been in or transited through one of the following countries in the 14 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, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
  • Americas: Canada, United States, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium,  Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, Vatican
  • Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
  • Africa: Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan

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, the spouse or child 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. For further information, please refer to this site or consult your immigration professional. 

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.

The number of flights to Japan is being limited to control the number of travelers that arrive in the country. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers (including Japanese nationals) entering Japan from any of the countries on the entry ban list (first list) 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 for 14 days and must avoid using public transportation.

Concessions

Certificates of Eligibility (COEs) issued between October 1, 2019 and January 30, 2021 will be considered valid for six months from the date that entry restrictions are lifted or until April 30, 2021, whichever is earlier.

Kenya

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All international flights into and out of Kenya are cancelled. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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

Status of Government Services

There will be limited immigration services until further notice.

On September 14 2020, the Director General of Immigration asked those Foreign nationals whose documents will expire during the period of limited services to make arrangements to leave the country within 14 days, alternatively they are to apply for permits to regularise their status. Failure to depart from Kenya or to regularise one’s stay will amount to contravention of the Citizenship and Immigration Act (2011), which is an offence.

Concessions

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

Luxembourg

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Luxembourg has banned most non-residents from entering. Allowed to enter are the family members of Luxembourg citizens and residents; nationals of EU/Schengen countries, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City and their family members; highly qualified workers, if their employment is economically necessary and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad; residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, China (subject to reciprocity), Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; holders of temporary residence permits for employment or dependents; cross-border workers and those providing essential services; travelers transiting to another country; and others whose entry to the country is essential. 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Status of Government Services

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

The immigration authorities have resumed accepting and processing applications for work or residence permission for new, pending and extension applications. Applicants should expect processing delays due to the application backlog. 

Some consulates have reopened but the services provided vary. Please check with your local consulate for their status and service offerings. 

Concessions

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

Malaysia

The Malaysian government implemented a “movement control order” (MCO) that was in place from March 18 to May 3, 2020. That was followed by a “conditional movement control order” (CMCO) that was in effect from May 4 until June 9, 2020 . On June 10, 2020, a “recovery movement control order” (RMCO) took effect and will be in place until August 31, 2020. Under the RMCO some restrictions will be relaxed; however some of the international travel restrictions introduced with the MCO remain in place. 

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The following cannot enter Malaysia during the RMCO period: All foreign visitors (e.g., tourists, business visitors). 

The following can enter Malaysia during the RMCO 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 Visit 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; Pass holders; and foreign nationals providing essential services. 

Effective September 07,2020, Long Term pass holders from India, Indonesia and Philippines will not be allowed to enter Malaysia. These include those holding permanent resident status, MM2H pass holders, expatriates and professional visit pass holders, spouses of Malaysian citizens and students. Same restrictions may apply to other countries depending of Covid-19 spikes.

Qualifying travelers may enter Malaysia provided they obtain a Travel Notice from their nearest Malaysian consulate or embassy before departing. The request for a Travel Notice must be submitted by email (email addresses of the Malaysian missions can be found here) at least three days before departure for Malaysia. The application must include a Letter of Undertaking (LOU) certifying that the traveler will bear the costs of the mandatory quarantine at a government designated facility (see next section for more information), a copy of the passport bio page and page with the Pass (if applicable), a copy of the flight booking, and any other documents deemed relevant. Once received, the traveler should print multiple copies of the Travel Notice, as it must be presented to the airline as well as upon arrival in Malaysia. 

Holders of an Employment Pass Category I (EP I) and their dependents as well as holders of a Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) and their dependents may generally enter without further approval, including those with an active pass who departed Malaysia before July 11, 2020 or who have been stranded abroad, and those with a newly approved pass. However, if they have an expired pass, they require prior approval from the Director General of Malaysia’s Immigration Department in addition to the Travel Notice (see next paragraph for process). Expired pass holders should also apply for a new pass. 

Other foreign nationals with valid passes (EP II holders and their dependents, as well as EP III, Professional Visit Pass (PVP), and Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) holders) who wish to initially enter or re-enter Malaysia may do so provided they obtain an “Entry Approval Letter” from the Director General of Malaysia’s Immigration Department in addition to the Travel Notice. The employer must first obtain a support letter from the Approving Agency for its industry (ESD, MDEC or MIDA) and then email it to pbf@imi.gov.my with a request for entry approval for the foreign employee. If the request is approved the Director General of Immigration will issue an Entry Approval Letter within seven days. No response within that timeframe will constitute a denial of the request. The foreign employee (and any dependents) must present the letter at the port of entry. Please contact your immigration professional for more information. 

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

The following cannot exit Malaysia during the RMCO 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 RMCO 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. 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.

All pass holders who wish to exit and return to Malaysia must obtain Permission to Exit & Return from the Director General of the Immigration Department. Once exited, they must return within 60 days. All who want to exit Malaysia permanently must cancel their pass or obtain a Special Pass, as required.  

Interstate travel in Malaysia is again allowed under the RMCO. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Arriving foreign nationals no longer need to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test issued within the three days prior to entry at the port of entry. However, some airlines may require such evidence before travelers can board their flights. 

All arriving travelers, including Malaysian citizens, must undergo health screening upon arrival, including a COVID-19 PCR test. All travelers will also be subject to a quarantine for 14 days at a facility designated by the government, except for EP I and RP-T holders and their dependents who are nationals of and arriving from a “green zone” country (currently Australia, Brunei, New Zealand and Singapore), and PVP holders arriving for emergency work, who are exempt from the quarantine requirement. All travelers subject to quarantine must sign a Letter of Undertaking and Indemnity (LOU) to guarantee that they will pay quarantine costs (at a maximum rate of RM150 per day per person). The LOU must be presented upon arrival. No domestic transits are allowed until the 14-day quarantine is completed.

All travelers must also download the MySejahtera application (which allows the Ministry of Health to monitor their health) before arrival. 

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

Foreign nationals with pending work permit applications who have entered Malaysia as a social visitor should be sure not to 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 to obtain the endorsement when they are permitted to re-enter.

MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) 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. 

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

Status of Government Services

The Immigration offices, which had closed as of March 19, 2020 under the MCO, have  reopened 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, 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. 

Walk-ins to the Immigration Department and related authorities are prohibited. Appointments must be made for submissions, collections and any other transactions.

The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and its Immigration Unit have reopened. 

Renewal applications and Work Permit applications for change in employers/change of position can be submitted for applicants currently in Malaysia. New pass applications (EP, DP, PVP, etc.) are still on hold.

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/CMCO 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.

Mexico

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Mexico has not implemented any entry restrictions related to COVID-19; however, the US has banned all “non-essential” travel across its land border with Mexico until at least August 20, 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.

Status of Government Services

The services of some Mexican embassies and consulates are suspended. The suspension may last longer in countries where government closures due to the pandemic remain in place. Applicants should check directly with the embassy or consulate they intend to use for its status and service offerings.  

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

Concessions

Deadlines have been suspended for all applications filed with the National Immigration Institute (INM) for temporary and permanent residence status holders. 

Netherlands

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The following are allowed to enter the Netherlands:

  • EU/Schengen and UK nationals and their family members
  • Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, the United Kingdom and Vatican City
  • Third-country (non-EU) nationals holding a Dutch residence card or residence permit
  • Holders of a long-stay visa (MVV)
  • Visa-exempt nationals with approved Highly Skilled Migrant permits, EU Blue Cards or EU ICT permits and other Dutch permit holders traveling from any country
  • Third-country nationals with a right of residence in another EU member state
  • Students
  • 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.)
  • Residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay and China (China is included only if China reciprocally admits EU residents) 

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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

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. 

Status of Government Services

The Immigration Authority (IND) is still providing reduced services but has resumed offering limited in-person desk services. 

Some Dutch embassies and consulates have reopened and are processing MVVs for certain categories of applicants. Provided the embassy or consulate is open and allowing applicants to enter, the following categories of applicants can (re)schedule an appointment to obtain an MVV:

  • Family members of Dutch citizens with an MVV approval for the purpose of stay “family”;
  • Those with an expired MVV sticker in their passport because they were not able to travel within the 90-day validity period due to COVID-19 restrictions; and
  • Those whose application for a regular MVV was approved by the IND and who had an appointment at the embassy/consulate to collect their MVV sticker but whose appointment was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) in Amsterdam has postponed all appointments until further notice.

Some town halls may be providing urgent services only and some Expatcenters are closed.  

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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 essential services, Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand, and “other essential workers”) who can apply for an exception on the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website. Note that it may be difficult to obtain an exception. 

The exception for other essential workers may be available to workers on short assignments of less than six months or longer assignments. For short assignments, the assignment must be time-critical and the worker must have a unique skill that is not available in New Zealand, or must be engaged in a major event or infrastructure project, a government-sanctioned program, or another activity that significantly benefits the economy. For longer assignments, the worker must meet one of the two short-term assignment criteria and must either earn double the median salary (~NZD 106,000) or be filling a position that is necessary for the delivery of a government-supported program or event, or another project of major significance to New Zealand.

As of October 2020, Partners of New Zealand residents or citizens, who hold an Australia passport or a Visa waiver country will be eligible for a border exception. Temporary Work Visa Holders normally resident in New Zealand that have departed on or after December 01, 2020, have lived in NZ for at least 2 years, and are returning to the same job or continue to run a business as part of their entrepreneur work visa will be eligible for a border exception. Applicants must held either a work to residence or essential skills visa (mid-skilled or higher) which will not expire before the end of 2020.If the essential skills work visa is expiring before the end of 2020, the visa holder must have applied for a new visa to remain in the same job when they left, and before 10 August 2020.

Transit through New Zealand is 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. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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.

The validity period of low-paid essential skills work visas will be reduced from 12 months to six months for applications received on or after July 10, 2020 and for the following 18 months.

Status of Government Services

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has suspended the processing of most offshore visa applications until November 10, 2020. Applications can still be submitted through the INZ online portal to secure a place when processing resumes. 

Application types that will not be impacted by the above include: Individuals that have been granted one of the limited exceptions to the border closer; Relationship-based visas for dependents of NZ citizens or residents; Visas for diplomats, consular and official staff and their dependents; Antarctica work traveller visitor visas; and Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) limited visas.

INZ has resumed processing residence and temporary entry visa applications for foreign nationals already in New Zealand. 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.

Concessions

  • Temporary visa holders whose visas expired and who are unable to leave New Zealand can apply for the “COVID-19 Short-Term visitor visa” from mid September, 2020. The visa will be granted for two months. Applicants must show they hold a current valid passport; meet character requirements; have a genuine reason for staying in New Zealand; and they cannot currently leave the country but they will at the end of their stay. Applicants do not have to show financial resources, existing travel arrangements, good health or that they have overstayed their visitor visa status.
  • Temporary visa holders, <with the exemption of Critical purpose visa holders; Guardians of students; and partners or dependents linked to a work visa holder whose visa was previously extended>, whose visas expired between September 4 and the end of October, 2020 will be granted an automatic visa extension by five months. All such visa holders will receive an extension email. Temporary workers whose visas expire between July 10 and December 31, 2020 will have their visas automatically extended by six months. This includes visas previously extended to September 25, 2020. Note that this extension does not apply to the family members of workers who will need to apply to INZ to extend their status in line with the worker’s.
  • There will be a delay in the stand-down period for low-skilled workers who hold essential skills work visas. This means that lower-skilled foreign workers who were subject to a stand-down period between August and December 31, 2020 are now able to stay in NZ for six months beyond the time their stand-down would have taken effect.
  • The government has 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 Request for Information now have a total of 10 business days to respond.
  • Welfare assistance for foreign nationals is available through a partnership between the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and New Zealand Red Cross. This program will be in place between July 1 and October 1, 2020. More information is available on the program website

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

Norway

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

All foreign nationals are banned from entering except residents of Norway; travelers from Denmark, Iceland, Finland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Sweden; nationals of EU/EEA countries and the UK and their family members as well as residents of EU/Schengen countries; family members of Norwegian nationals and residents, with the proper permit and/or visa, if required; travelers with recently-approved Service Provider or Skilled Worker permits, as long as their approval letter indicates they may enter and they have a valid visa, if required; cross-border workers; travelers in transit; those providing essential services (e.g., those transporting goods); and foreign nationals with a permit approved prior to April 20, 2020 (those requiring entry visas may need to wait until their local consulate resumes visa processing). 

Internal Schengen border checks remain in place. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Norway are subject to a 10-day self-quarantine except cross-border workers and those arriving from certain countries in Europe, indicated here.

Status of Government Services

Immigration offices at local police stations have reopened but are only providing limited services. Some have begun accepting appointments.  

Service Centers for Foreign Workers (SUAs) have reopened. 

Norwegian consulates are beginning to reopen.

Concessions

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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Travelers are prohibited from entering by land, air or sea except via government-organized repatriation efforts.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travelers entering Peru will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in accommodation designated by the government.

Status of Government Services

Consular visa applications are not being processed. 

On June 3, 2020, the National Superintendence of Immigration will begin processing applications already in its queue, and will introduce online systems for the filing of various applications.

Concessions

Foreign nationals whose status expires/expired on or after March 16, 2020 will have until 45 days after the lifting of the state of emergency and the resumption of government operations to regularize their status without incurring penalties. 

Philippines 

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Until further notice, the Philippines has temporarily suspended the issuance of visas by its foreign service posts as well as all visa-waiver privileges. Most previously issued visas are considered canceled, and most 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. See below for other foreign nationals who are exempt and can enter. 

Filipino citizens, foreign air crew members, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and foreign diplomats are permitted to enter. Foreign parents of minor Filipino nationals, including children with special needs of any age, can also enter the Philippines provided they hold or obtain the appropriate visa. These travelers will be allowed to apply for visas. 

Holders of long-term visas (immigrant visas under Section 13 of Commonwealth Act No. 61, immigrant visas issued under Republic Act No. 7919 or the Alien Social Integration Act of 1995, immigrants under Executive Order 324, and native-born foreign nationals) are now allowed to enter the Philippines under the following conditions:

  • The foreign national must have a valid and existing visa at the time of entry, as no new entry visa application will be accepted.
  • The foreign national must secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility.
  • The foreign national must also secure a pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider.
  • The foreign national’s entry is subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is considering requests for exemption from the travel ban for foreign nationals. An exemption should only be requested for “essential and emergency reasons.” For Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) registered companies, endorsement from PEZA will be required to request an exemption. To request the PEZA endorsement, the the PEZA-registered company should submit a request letter to the PEZA Director General stating the foreign national’s name and the reason for the travel ban exemption request together with a copy of the bio page of the foreign national’s passport; a Department of Justice endorsement, as applicable; and a copy of the ticket, if available. Once PEZA has granted its endorsement, DFA processing will take about one week. 

Filipinos are allowed to travel abroad again for non-essential purposes, subject to certain conditions. Specifically, those traveling on a tourist visa will need to submit a confirmed round-trip ticket. All travelers will need to hold sufficient travel and health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation if stranded, and hospitalization in case of infection; confirm that they are permitted to enter the destination country; execute a declaration stating they understand the risks of traveling; and submit to a COVID-19 PCR test on reentry to the Philippines. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

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 their quarantine period and directed based on the test results. 

The Philippine government had put in place an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) with strict social distancing measures and reduced government services 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 was reduced on May 16 (until May 31), 2020 to a Modified ECQ for most high-risk areas, including Metro Manila and Laguna. All lower risk areas were placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ). On June 1, 2020, the measures were reduced again such that the National Capital Region, including Metro Manila, (among other regions) was placed under GCQ. The GCQ in this region will be in place until at least August 15, 2020. Cebu City and several other areas are also under GCQ until this date. The rest of the country is under a modified GCQ.

Status of Government Services

Under the GCQ, more sectors are allowed to reopen and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has resumed full services but with safety protocols in place to protect its employees and customers from COVID-19. Specifically, those seeking in-person services from the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila are to follow the following process:

  • Clients must schedule an appointment online via the BI website at www.immigration.gov.ph. An appointment code will be issued and only those with a code will be served. 
  • Clients must present an identification card together with their appointment code at the BI office. 
  • Clients will only be served at their appointment time–clients will not be permitted to enter the BI office without an appointment.
  • Clients must wear a face mask and practice social distancing while in the BI office. 

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has suspended all in-person transactions at its head office until further notice. In addition, the PEZA head office in Taguig is closed and temporarily not accepting applications. The BI office in the PEZA head office is also closed and not accepting applications.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has resumed operations.

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 community quarantine period. 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 (DOLE) in the National Capital Region (NCR) has resumed accepting and processing Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications and has issued new guidelines for the filing of AEP applications. Companies will be required to register online before submitting AEP applications. The AEP application and supporting documents will then need to be submitted via email. Renewal applications can be filed within 45 days of the end of the community quarantine without penalty. The AEP cards will be delivered by courier after payment is made at an authorized payment center. Requests for cancellation of an AEP or to apply for a new AEP in the event the card is lost or damaged should be sent via email to tssdepww_cancellation@gmail.com. The AEP card to be cancelled should be sent to the office  by courier and will be cancelled on receipt. Please contact your immigration professional for further information on these processes.

DOLE Regional Office IV-A (Calabarzon) is closed and not accepting applications. Accordingly, delays in the processing of AEP and Certificate of Exclusion applications by this office are to be expected.

Concessions

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 Emigration Clearance Certificate (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.

Those with AEPs that expired while DOLE was not processing AEP applications will not be subject to fines or other penalties and such AEP holders may file renewal applications within 45 days after the GCQ is lifted. New AEP applicants whose employment contracts took effect during the suspension period or whose 15-day grace period already expired will also not be subject to penalties and may also file applications within 45 days after the GCQ is lifted. Note that DOLE NCR has resumed accepting AEP applications while DOLE Regional Office IV-A has not. 

Poland  

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Poland has implemented an international travel ban that will be in place until further notice.

Exempt from the ban are Polish citizens; spouses and children of Polish citizens; permanent or temporary residents of Poland; Pole Card holders; foreign nationals permitted to work in Poland; EU/EEA, Swiss and UK nationals and their spouses and children; students; foreign nationals whose profession involves the transport of goods or people; and residents of Albania, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea and Ukraine travelling on direct flights. The Border Guard may approve additional exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

International air travel to and from Poland has resumed, though flights from some countries remain restricted.

Poland has relaxed controls at its borders. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most foreign travelers must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival. Exempt from the quarantine requirement are returning Polish nationals; nationals of EU/EEA countries, Switzerland and the UK and their immediate family members; travelers entering from the EU or Schengen Area; and residents of Albania, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Ukraine and the United Kingdom traveling on direct flights

Individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated at a hospital. 

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. 

Status of Government Services

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. 

Immigration offices are closed for in-person services and are not honoring or scheduling appointments. 

In-person address registration is not available at city halls, many of which are closed. Address registration can be conducted online through some city halls. 

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 June 30, an expired work permit will be extended until July 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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Foreign nationals are banned from entering except for nationals of EU/Schengen countries and the UK and their family members; holders of Portuguese long-term visas or residence permits; holders of EU long-stay visas or residence permits transiting to their residence; medical and aid workers; travelers from Algeria, Canada, China, Morocco, South Korea and Tunisia, subject to reciprocity; and travelers from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Principe, the US, and Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil entering for health, study, work, family or humanitarian purposes. Additional exceptions may be made. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Those arriving from Angola, Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo), Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé e Principe and the United States are required to present a medical document issued no more than three days before departure confirming a negative COVID-19 test. Portuguese citizens and residents coming from these countries who cannot be tested before departure can complete a test on arrival. 

Those arriving in the Azores from high-risk areas (per the World Health Organization) must also present a medical document as above. These travelers will also need to be tested at intervals after arrival. Those with positive test results will need to quarantine in a government facility for 14 days. Those arriving in Madeira must present a medical document as above or be tested on arrival. 

Status of Government Services

Immigration offices (Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF)) have reopened and are scheduling appointments.

Tax registration remains suspended. 

Portuguese embassies and consulates are starting to reopen for services by appointment. The processing of several types of visas has resumed. Please contact your local consulate to confirm its status, service offerings and procedures.

Concessions

Visas and residence cards that have expired on or after February 24, 2020 are deemed extended until October 30, 2020. 

Qatar

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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

Qatari residents can leave Qatar but must prove prior to departure that they have a quarantine plan for their return if returning before September 15, 2020. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All arriving travelers will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in a government-designated location. 

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

Status of Government Services

The processing of initial entry visa applications and labour quota applications is on hold. 

All Qatar Visa Centres are closed and most immigration applications cannot be submitted in person.

Romania

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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

  • Nationals of EU/Schengen countries and the UK
  • The family members of EU/Schengen nationals who live in Romania
  • Holders of Romanian long-stay visas or residence permits
  • The family members of Romanian nationals 
  • Travelers entering for a professional reason, with a valid visa or residence permit 
  • Residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, provided they do not have COVID-19 symptoms and they have proof of residence status in the country
  • Those entering for a medical emergency
  • Diplomats
  • Travelers in transit whose trip is urgent

Travelers may encounter immigration checks at land border crossings. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Arriving asymptomatic travelers are subject to a 14-day home quarantine except for travelers from certain countries. Please contact your immigration professional for the list of exempt countries, as this changes frequently and without notice. 

A medical check will be conducted upon entry.

Status of Government Services

Some Romanian consulates have reopened and resumed processing visa applications.

The immigration office is again open and processing permit applications but processing delays should be expected. 

Russia

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

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 a permanent residence permit (PRP));
  • Holders of valid Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) work permits and visas (with Federal Ministry, Federal Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs approval; only one entry is permitted); 
  • 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; 
  • Professional athletes, under certain conditions;
  • Those entering to receive medical treatment, with an invitation from the medical provider (allowed only once); and
  • Those entering to care for a close family member who is ill (spouse, parent, child, adopted child, adoptive parent, caretaker), with documents confirming the relative’s condition and the relationship (allowed only once).

Also allowed to enter under all types of visas are nationals of Abkhazia, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey and the United Kingdom and those who hold permanent residence permits in these countries. Such travelers must be entering from these countries–they may not enter from a third country. The Internal Affairs Ministry will issue all types of invitation letters and Russian consulates will issue all types of visas on the basis of the issued invitation letters for these travelers. They do not need to be on the lists of the Internal Affairs Ministry or Federal Security Service or be approved by the relevant Ministry to enter Russia.

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.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All foreign nationals, including those in transit, must present on arrival a negative result from a PCR test for COVID-19. The test results must be in English or Russian and the test must be done no more than three calendar days before entering Russia. If the test results are not in one of these languages, the test certificate must be translated into Russian and the translation must be verified by the nearest Russian consulate. Employers are responsible for informing their employees of the requirement to be tested within three days of entry and for confirming that their employees comply with the requirement.

Re-entering Russian citizens are required to pass a COVID-19 PCR test and upload the results via the government internet portal gosuslugi within three days of arrival. They are also required to complete a special form on-line before their flight. 

Travelers entering the country for work purposes are required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Those considered to be entering for work purposes are those with newly issued work visas (or entering visa-free to work), as well as those returning with long-term work visas issued earlier that are still valid. 

Foreign nationals and Russian citizens planning to enter Russia are required to complete an Entry Questionnaire, which will be checked before their flight and on arrival.

Residents of Moscow with cold or flu symptoms and those living with them are 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.

Applicants for a temporary residence permit (TRP), PRP, work permit (visa-nationals) or patent (CIS citizens) will need to pass a COVID-19 test. The test is currently not required for applications for HQS work permits.

Moscow’s self-isolation period has ended and e-passes are no longer required. 

Employers may no longer hire or continue to employ foreign nationals without a new or renewed work permit or patent. Work permits and patents are again required for all employment. 

Status of Government Services

There is a new procedure of address registration for foreign nationals as of September 07,2020 known as “Inviting party”; allowing foreigners, who own residential premises in Russia, to register other foreign nationals, who will stay in their premises for residence. In order to register, foreign citizens will have to provide notification and notarized consent from the inviting party to register himself and family members.  Address registration applications will now also be accepted through the government internet portal “Gosuslugi”. Participants of the government program for relocation of compatriots living abroad as well as their family members (relocating with them) will not have to register within 30 calendar days from arrival to the place of residence\stay. After expiration of this period, they will be given another 7 business days to file for address registration.

The following services remain unavailable:

  • Invitation letters for entry to Russia, except for foreign nationals conducting installation and technical support of foreign equipment and for HQS work permits;
  • Corporate work permits;
  • Work permits for foreign nationals who are abroad, except for HQS work permits;
  • Visa issuance by Russian consulates abroad, except for those in the exception categories listed above; and
  • E-visas.

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.

Russian consulates will no longer accept invitation letters issued before March 18, 2020. Applicants have to apply for a new letter following the process of obtaining entry approval from the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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 TRP or PRP 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 September 15, 2020 will have their documents automatically extended for 184 days from the document’s expiration date:  

  • Visas (all types);
  • Temporary and permanent address registration;
  • Migration cards;
  • TRP 
  • PRP
  • Documents confirming refugee status, the status of “mandatory moved person”, or participation in the state program for relocation of compatriots living abroad

This automatic extension no longer applies to HQS work permits, standard work permits,  corporate employment permits or patents. Holders of these documents and their employers are required to apply for an extension using the standard process. 

Holders of business, guest, tourist, private and technical visas will have to leave Russia once the 184-day grace period expires unless they can find an employer and apply for a work permit and work visa by September 15.

Foreign nationals with work visas expiring between March 15 and September 15, 2020 can apply for an extension after September 15; although applications for work visa extensions are being accepted now, provided the work permit has been extended (work permit extension applications are also being accepted now).

The period between March 15 and September 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.  

Certain rulings will not be made between March 15 and September 15, 2020 such as those for deportation, administrative removal, and the cancellation of various permits and visas.

Singapore

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Short-term visitors are not permitted to enter or transit through Singapore unless they have a SafeTravel Pass or an approval letter for entry from the relevant agency in Singapore. Long-term pass holders/IPA holders with a valid approval letter for entry (see next section) and Singapore citizens and permanent residents may enter Singapore. 

All pass holders (work pass holders and dependants) who are overseas must obtain MOM website entry approval before they can enter Singapore.

From August 10, 2020, business or official travellers sponsored by a Singapore Government agency may submit applications to use the Singapore-Malaysia Reciprocal Green Lane. Applications for company-sponsored travellers to use the Singapore-Malaysia Reciprocal Green Lane can be submitted at the end of August 2020.

Residents of Singapore are to defer all travel abroad. Essential business and official travel will be permitted under Green/Fast Lane arrangements.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

As of September 16 2020, Pass holders entering Singapore who spent 14 consecutive days in Brunei and New Zealand must take a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airport. Stay-home Notice (SHN) is not required. Pass holders who spent 14 consecutive days in Australia (except the state of Victoria), Macao, Mainland China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam before entering Singapore must comply with: Serving a 7 day SHN at a place of residence that is occupied by themselves or family members only, and a hotel; take a Covid-19 test (paid by the employer) before the SHN is completed. Children 12 years old and under do not need to take the test.

All other pass holders including those who departed from, visited or transited through Victoria (Australia) and India within the last 14 days before entering Singapore from September 17 2020, must take a Covid-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure. The test must be presented in English to enter Singapore. Children 12 years old and under do not require to take the test. After arrival to Singapore, pass holder must comply with SHN and Covid-19 test requirements stated below.

All travelers entering Singapore will be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). Most travelers must serve the SHN in a dedicated SHN facility. Travelers of the same family and arriving together may stay in a shared room (subject to availability). Travelers who remained in Darussalam, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or Vietnam in the 14 days prior to their entry can serve the SHN at a residence or other suitable accommodation. A suitable accommodation is a residence shared by the traveler and their family members or a hotel. See the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website and MOM’s FAQs on entry approvals and SHN requirements for more information about the SHN requirement. Long-term pass holders/In-Principle Approval (IPA) holders and Singapore citizens and permanent residents with a SafeTravel Pass are exempt from the SHN requirement but subject to a PCR test for COVID-19. 

All travelers will be subject to a COVID-19 test before the end of their SHN. Travelers or their employers will be responsible for bearing the cost of the test as well as the cost of the SHN at a dedicated SHN facility, where applicable. See MOM’s FAQs on entry approvals and SHN requirements for more information.

Holders of long-term passes issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still require prior entry approval to travel to Singapore. Entry approval from MOM can now be requested 30 days before the intended arrival date. See MOM’s FAQs on entry approvals and SHN requirements. Note that long-term pass/IPA holders are not required to obtain an approval letter for entry if travelling on Green/Fast Lane arrangements

Entry approval is also required for holders of certain ICA-issued passes before re-entry 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 within the three days prior to arrival. They are required to show their health declaration acknowledgement email to an ICA officer on arrival for immigration clearance. The health declaration must be re-submitted if the traveler has recently visited a hospital, had contact with a COVID-19 case, and/or if there is any change in their health status and/or travel history. Those who make false declarations may be prosecuted. Please see the ICA website for more details. 

Returning Singapore residents and long-term pass holders, who had travelled to China for essential business or official travel under the Green/Fast Lane arrangements, must also present to the ICA officers a Letter of Invitation issued by the relevant local Chinese authorities. 

Inbound travellers from approved countries/regions (currently the six Chinese provinces and municipalities of Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) seeking to make essential business and official travel to Singapore under Green/Fast Lane arrangements must obtain a SafeTravel Pass prior to traveling. Find more information here.

Updates have been made to Singapore’s SGWorkPass and Safe@Work eServices. The AccessCode has been simplified by removing the grey color code. The AccessCode instead displays a red color for workers and employers who have not been authorized to resume work. The AccessCode may display a red color for several reasons, including that the worker’s health status has not been cleared, the worker’s place of stay has not been cleared, or that either the employee or employer have not been cleared by BCA Or MTI to resume work. Employers can download a Safe@Work eService to view their employees’ AccessCode details. Initially, employers can download AccessCode details for workers who have an S Pass or a Work Permit. 

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

The Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) is a scheme agreed between Singapore and Malaysia to allow work and business-related travel between the two countries. All details can be found here. Malaysian citizens and permanent residents (PRs) with valid Singapore work passes should remain in Singapore for at least 90 days before returning to Malaysia for home leave. The entry and exit between Singapore and Malaysia must be via Woodlands Checkpoint or Tuas Checkpoint in Singapore. Work pass holders approved under the PCA scheme will serve a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) of at least seven days and undertake a COVID-19 PCR test. Singapore-based companies that wish to apply for the PCA for their employees may submit their applications beginning August 10, 2020. 

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 Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) on August 31, 2020. Exit declaration and cancellation request forms are no longer required for Malaysian employees. Employers may proceed to directly cancel the employee’s pass if the employment has ended. 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 MOM and MOM will authorize the work pass cancellation, if applicable. Employers who do not comply may have their work pass privileges revoked.

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

Status of Government Services

The government is resuming activities after the Circuit Breaker safe distancing period in three phases. Phase 1: Safe Reopening began on June 2, 2020. Accordingly, there are changes to work pass services effective June 2, 2020, including the resumption of some services. Please see MOM’s advisory and FAQs for details on these changes. Phase 2: Safe Transition began on June 19 and remains in place.

Concessions

To help employers defer bringing foreigners into Singapore, MOM will automatically extend the validity of IPAs that expired during the Circuit Breaker period (April 7 to June 1, 2020) by two months. There is no need to request an extension.

Pass holders who are unable to get an appointment to visit the Employment Pass Services Centre or MOM Services Centre (Hall C) for card registration before their notification letters expire will have their notification letter expiry dates automatically extended. No hard copy letters will be issued for this extension.

Employers may reduce salaries for Employment and S Pass holders that were unable to work during the Circuit Breaker period. 

Find all of MOM’s advisories on COVID-19 here. Find all updates on border control measures in response to COVID-19 on the ICA website. If you are overseas, you may visit this website and the Ministry of Health’s website for updates on Singapore’s COVID-19 situation.

South Africa

South Africa’s government has decided to move to level 1, effective September 20, 2020. The government will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

As of October 1, 2020, travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel will be allowed, subject to various containment and mitigation measures as the following: Travel restrictions will be applied to countries with high infection rates; travelers will be able to use one land border post or one main airport (King Shaka, Tambo or Cape Town); Travelers must present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure; if the Covid-19 test is not provided traveller will remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost; travelers will be screened upon arrival and determined if they need to quarantine if they present symptoms; travelers must install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.

It has been announced that all restrictions on inter-provincial travel will be lifted.

The DHA confirmed that foreign nationals that wish to be repatriated to their countries within this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All persons entering South Africa through any point of entry must be subjected to screening at the point of entry.  Anyone who had exposure to COVID -19 or is presenting with any signs and symptoms of it, must be subjected to a medical examination which may include testing, and may be placed under mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of 10 days. They may, however, be permitted to self-quarantine at a place that complies with the following requirements:

  1. The place must have a separate, well-ventilated bedroom with a bathroom and toilet, or be a residence that is not shared with persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  2. meals must be served in the room with disposable utensils or utensils that are separate and are washed properly if there are persons who are not subject to quarantine;
  3. they must have the support of friends or family who can facilitate the drop off of food and medicine at the entrance if they are not able to make use of online shopping facilities and contactless deliveries;
  4. they must have a thermometer that will allow them to measure their temperature daily;
  5. they must have access to the internet and a phone that allows the daily reporting of symptoms;
  6. they must have access to a private physician that they can contact should they be in need of medical advice or care; and
  7. they must have a contact number where they can be reached during the period of self-quarantine or self-isolation.

A person who wishes to be placed under self-quarantine, or their employer, must submit a written application, 72 hours prior to the intended date of travel to South Africa, to the Director-General of the Department of Health (DG) to obtain approval. Where approval for self-quarantine has not been granted or it has been determined that the person has failed to adhere to the self-quarantine conditions, they will be placed in a state identified quarantine facility. 

Self-quarantine and self-isolation are at the person’s own, or the employer’s, expense. Employers who wish to have their employees in quarantine or isolation facilities of the employers’ choice must pay all costs incurred. Monitoring and testing of employees in quarantine or isolation remains the responsibility of the employer and will be at no cost to the state. If a person’s application is approved by the DG they will be allowed to self-quarantine or self-isolate on arrival and they will be subjected to health reporting protocols and regular follow-ups by the Department of Health.

South African citizens returning to South Africa from high-risk countries including China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United States of America and the United Kingdom are subject to a quarantine. 

Status of Government Services

South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated. The Department of Home Affairs will resume normal operations, which implies the full resumption of the processing of all visa, permit and related applications at the central permitting hub in Pretoria. 

Once the VACs resume normal operations foreign nationals whose visas have expired from February 15, 2020 onwards can proceed to apply to renew them. Those who have visas in restricted categories such as, but not limited to, short-term visitors who held 3-month Visitor’s Visas which have expired and which have now exceeded the maximum 3-month renewal period and which are technically no longer renewable (as the holder has already been present in the country for more than 6-months in total), and holders of Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas that have already been issued for the maximum 4-year duration provided for in the law and are thus also legally not renewable, can apply to renew their visas until October 31, 2020.

If the application is not finalised on or before October 31, a foreign national will still be allowed to depart from the country without being declared an undesirable person.

Foreign nationals who are ordinarily resident here with long-term visas which are renewable and which have expired may either apply to renew their visas for the relevant duration allowed by law (the maximum duration pertaining to the category of visa which they hold), apply to change the conditions of their existing visa or apply to change their visa category from one to another and they must do so as soon as possible when the VACs start accepting applications again. Those who apply for visa renewals will be allowed to continue conducting the activities allowed by their initial visa until the outcome of their application is received.

Those who apply will not be penalised due to the fact that their visas have expired, and they are not required to first regularise their stays before applying.

Concessions

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

The government has placed the capital – Seoul – and the nearby Gyeonggi and Incheon areas under the Level 2 social distancing scheme. Face masks are mandatory at all times, fines will apply for those in violation.

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The entry ban has been lifted effective August 10, 2020. South Korea has lifted restrictions on the arrival of those from China’s Hubei province and those using passports issued in Hubei province. 

Nationals of 90 countries remain ineligible 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 / Japan / 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 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 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 (ARCs) of Japanese nationals already residing and working in South Korea will not be cancelled. 

All ARC holders except  A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders must obtain a Re-entry Permit before leaving South Korea. Those that fail to do so will have their ARC deregistered. ARC holders can apply for the Re-entry Permit at the district immigration office before their departure date. They must make an appointment online at www.hikorea.go.kr. They can also apply at the immigration office at the airport on their departure date. Beginning in mid-June, they can also apply online at www.hikorea.go.kr. The fee is KRW 30,000.

Most ARC holders returning to South Korea must present a medical certificate in English or Korean issued by any local clinic or hospital in the 48 hours before they board their flight to South Korea. A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders and those who obtained a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate before departure (see below) are exempt from the requirement. The medical certificate must include the date of the examination; the presence/absence specifically of fever, cough, chills, headache, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, and other pulmonary symptoms; and the signature of the examining medical professional. A COVID-19 test result is not required, although a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 test result would also be acceptable. 

ARC holders (except A1, A2, A3, and F4 visa holders) who do not have a medical certificate will not be permitted to board their flight to South Korea unless they have a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate. ARC holders who will leave South Korea for no more than three weeks to conduct business activities, journalism, or academic activities are eligible to apply for a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate when they apply for their Re-entry Permit before departing South Korea.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Foreign nationals arriving from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and Uzbekistan must present a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test certificate showing that they tested negative for COVID-19. They must have two tests conducted at one of the local hospitals designated by the South Korean Embassy. The first test must be conducted within 48 hours before they submit their visa application to the South Korean Embassy. The second test must be conducted within 48 hours before boarding their flight to South Korea. Foreign nationals arriving from other countries must present a medical certificate confirming that they do not have any suspected Covid19 symptoms. The medical exam must be conducted at any local hospital within 48 hours before they submit their visa application to the South Korean Embassy.

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 first two weeks in the country. 

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:

  • Travelers who obtained an Isolation Exemption Certificate before arriving in South Korea will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and will not be required to isolate if their test is negative. 
  • Short-term visa holders, visa-free travelers, and long-term visa holders coming to apply for an ARC who do not yet have a residence in South Korea: 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 and will be tested again before the end of their quarantine. 
  • South Korean citizens and ARC holders coming from the US/Europe and long-term visa holders coming from the US/Europe who have a residence in South Korea: These travelers must be tested within three days of arrival at the district public health center serving their residential address. They must self-isolate at their residence for 14 days after arrival. 
  • South Korean citizens and ARC holders coming from other countries and long-term visa holders coming from other countries who have a residence in South Korea: These travelers must be tested within 14 days of arrival at the district public health center serving their residential address. They must self-isolate at their residence for 14 days after arrival.  

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 by 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 ban from re-entry. Government officers will conduct on-site inspections of longtime foreign residents and stiffen the punishment for those who present false addresses. If residences registered by inbound foreign nationals are unfit for self-quarantine (do not have a separate room and separate bathroom for those under quarantine), they will be placed in a dedicated quarantine facility. 

Foreign arrivals who confirmed to be Covid-19 positive and violated quarantine rules will be responsible, in full, for all hospital and treatment costs. Those who tested positive but did not violate any quarantine rules will fall under the principle of reciprocity that South Korea has with their home country. 

ARC holders, paying national health insurance fees to the South Korean government, confirmed to be Covid19 positive after returning to South Korea, will not inquire in any hospital or treatment costs as these will be covered by the South Korean government.

ARC holders and/or foreign visitors who are confirmed to be Covid19 positive while staying in South Korea due to local infections will not inquire in any hospital or treatment costs as these will be covered by the South Korean government.

Note that returning ARC holders are required to self-isolate for 14 days–a Medical Examination Exemption Certificate does not exempt the holder from the isolation requirement. 

Status of Government Services

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

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. 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. 

Concessions

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 ARCs whose authorized stay expired between February 24 and April 29, 2020 may have their stay automatically extended 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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Spain has lifted its intra-EU travel restrictions. Travelers from other EU/Schengen countries are again allowed to freely enter Spain. Internal land, air and sea border controls for entry from within the Schengen Area/EU have been lifted except for the land borders for entry via Ceuta and Melilla, which remain closed.

Spain will continue to deny entry to travelers seeking entry from outside of the EU/Schengen Area, unless they belong to one of the following categories:

  • Residents of  EU/Schengen countries, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican City (Holy See) or San Marino who are travelling to their country of residence, with documentary evidence;
  • Holders of a long-term visa issued by an EU/Schengen Member State to which they are traveling;
  • Healthcare or elder care professionals undertaking their work activity;
  • Those engaged in the transport of goods;
  • Members of diplomatic missions, consular posts, international and military organizations, and civil protection and humanitarian organizations, for the performance of their official duties;
  • Students undertaking their studies in EU or Schengen Member States, with the corresponding visa or permit and medical coverage, provided they are traveling to the country where they study and they enter during the academic year or 15 days before it begins;
  • Highly qualified employees with evidence that their employment is mandatory and cannot be postponed or performed remotely; 
  • Persons travelling for urgent family reasons;
  • Persons who can evidence force majeure or other necessity, or whose entry is permitted on humanitarian grounds;
  • Residents of Australia, Canada, China (subject to reciprocity), Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay, traveling directly from these countries, transiting through these countries, or transiting through international airports located in countries not included in the list. Spain will review this list on a bi-weekly basis and it is subject to change. Morocco, which was part of the above country list, has been removed and entry restrictions into Spain will apply again to its residents.

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.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

The state of alarm has been lifted and travelers entering Spain are no longer required to quarantine. 

Travelers arriving in Spain by air or sea are subject to health checks, including temperature monitoring, and visual inspection of the traveler’s health status.

All travelers are required to fill out a form prior to arrival which will facilitate the evaluation of their status in relation to COVID-19 and provide contact details for contact tracing purposes, should this be necessary. Travelers can complete the form online at www.spth.gob.es or via the free application SPAIN TRAVEL HEALTH-SPTH. Once the form is completed, travelers will receive a code to provide during their health check on arrival in Spain. Until July 31, 2020, travelers who have not been able to complete the form online can complete a paper from at the port of entry in Spain.

Status of Government Services

Online filing is available for many applications. 

Immigration offices have reopened and are providing in-person services by appointment. Currently, most processes require an appointment and the authorities are both rescheduling appointments that were cancelled during the state of alarm, when most immigration offices were closed, and scheduling new appointments. This is resulting in a shortage of appointments and there are reports that the online appointment scheduling system is being hacked. This matter has been raised to the relevant authorities.

Some consulates are open, with openings and closures depending on the COVID-19-related measures taken in each country. Please contact the relevant consulate for information on its status and service offerings. 

Concessions

Residence permits/cards that expired between December 15, 2019 and June 20, 2020 are automatically extended for six months beyond the date the state of alarm was lifted (until December 21, 2020).  

The authorities have advised that foreign nationals whose permits/cards are automatically extended can travel to their country of origin and back to Spain, provided they re-enter Spain before December 21, 2020, without applying for a re-entry permit before travelling. However, there is a risk that the airlines will not be aware of this practice and will not let the traveler board their return flight to Spain. Accordingly, affected travelers should consult with their immigration professional before traveling.

Sweden

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Entry from within the EU/Schengen Area and the UK is allowed. 

Travelers from outside the EU/Schengen Area and UK are banned from entering except nationals and residents of EU/Schengen Area countries, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City and their dependents; highly qualified workers, if their employment is economically necessary and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad; holders of Swedish visas and residence permits and their dependents; residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay; those providing essential services; students; travelers in transit; the staff of international organizations; military personnel; and those with urgent family reasons.

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. 

Border checks are in place at crossings from Norway and Finland and on the Sweden side of the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Sweden has not imposed any quarantine or COVID-19 testing requirements.

Status of Government Services

The Swedish Migration Agency has decided that applications for visas for Sweden should generally be rejected, as long as the entry ban remains in place. However, those exempted from the entry ban who require visas will be eligible to obtain them.  

Switzerland

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The following are allowed to enter Switzerland:

  • Citizens of Switzerland;
  • Holders of Swiss residence permits;
  • Cross-border workers;
  • Those entering from Schengen countries;
  • Travellers transiting through Switzerland;
  • Third-country national workers who have a Swiss work permit;
  • Nationals of EU/EFTA countries with a Swiss employment contract signed before March 25, 2020 and a lease agreement valid on or before April 1, 2020;
  • Travelers entering for family reunification;
  • Students of any nationality to start, continue or complete their studies provided the education/training lasts 90 days or longer;
  • Third-country nationals who will not work, such as retirees, staying for longer than 90 days; and
  • Others with a pressing need to enter.

Nationals of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the non-Schengen EU countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania) are expected to be admissible beginning July 20, 2020. Nationals of China will be admissible provided China reciprocates by admitting nationals of Switzerland. 

Entry by other third-country nationals for a stay of less than 90 days that does not normally require a permit (e.g., for non-urgent business travel, tourism, medical treatment or a short study program) will not be permitted except in cases of special necessity. 

Switzerland has removed all Schengen internal border controls and reopened all border crossings, thus re-establishing the free movement of people. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Those entering from countries considered high-risk are subject to a 10-day self-quarantine. 

Companies are again required to give notification of job vacancies, a requirement that was temporarily waived during the lockdown.

Status of Government Services

Consulates are again issuing entry visas for travelers allowed to enter Switzerland. 

Processing has resumed for all types of immigration applications. 

Concessions

Holders of Swiss or Schengen visas who have been ineligible to enter Switzerland due to travel restrictions can apply for a new visa at no cost when the restrictions are removed.

Taiwan

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

ROC Taiwan passport holders, ARC holders, diplomatic officials, and businesspeople with Special Entry Permits authorized by the ROC Taiwan government are allowed to enter Taiwan. 

Foreign nationals who do not hold an ARC may apply to enter Taiwan for all purposes except tourism, general social visits, and study. General social visits refers to attending events that are open to the public, with no specific contact or responsible person; visiting friends; attending a wedding; attending sporting events, concerts or performances; participating in festivals and cultural activities; etc. Most foreign nationals will need to apply for a Special Entry Permit from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in their country of residence. Those normally eligible for visa-free entry may still qualify for such entry but will need to present specific documents at the port of entry. Please contact your immigration professional for more information and assistance with the application/entry process. 

Hong Kong and Macao residents may enter Taiwan for certain purposes provided they hold an entry permit, including special humanitarian reasons or emergency situations (e.g., bereavement or family member with a critical illness); to fulfill contractual obligations; and as part of internal transfers within multinational enterprises. Hong Kong and Macao residents who hold an ARC may enter if they are the spouse or child of an ROC national, or for commercial and trade exchanges (e.g., holders of an ARC related to employment, investment, or entrepreneurship).

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Foreign nationals and Hong Kong and Macao residents who have received permission to enter Taiwan must present a certificate in English confirming a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days before boarding when checking in for their flight to Taiwan. Diplomats, those providing humanitarian assistance, those entering for emergency situations and crewmembers of vessels arriving in Taiwan are exempt from this requirement.

Travelers who are admitted must generally undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine upon entry.  

However, short-term business travelers who qualify to enter Taiwan, who will stay in Taiwan for less than three months, who will conduct only approved business activities (e.g., after-sales service, technical guidance and training, contract signing), who are traveling from a country with low risk of infection (New Zealand, Australia, Macau, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan) or low-to-medium risk of infection (South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore) according to the CDC, and who have not been outside of these countries in the 14 days before boarding their flight to Taiwan, are eligible to apply for a shortened quarantine period. They should prepare all relevant supporting documents, including an itinerary and an epidemic prevention plan, for inclusion with their application for a Special Entry Permit from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the country of residence. They must have a medical report with a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 issued within 3 days before boarding their flight. For travelers who do not meet the above requirements, if there are critical business needs, a special case can be submitted. The list of low and low-to-medium risk countries will be reviewed regularly and revised as needed. Please contact your immigration professional for more information and assistance with the application process.

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.

All travelers to Taiwan should use their mobile phone to log into the Quarantine System for Entry (https://hdhq.mohw.gov.tw/) prior to boarding their flight to Taiwan and fill out a health declaration form. This will facilitate the immigration process at the port of entry as well as community prevention measures following entry.

Thailand

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has banned most international passenger flights from landing in Thailand until July 31, 2020. The flight ban does not affect outbound flights. 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. 

Thailand has declared a state of emergency from March 26, 2020 until July 31, 2020 under which it has banned most travel into the country by land, sea, or air with 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. Other categories of foreign nationals that are now permitted to enter Thailand include those who are invited by Thai government agencies; those who have a valid certificate of residence; spouses, parents, or children of a Thai national; students of Thai educational institutions; and individuals who need medical treatment in Thailand and their attendants. Before departure, all travelers must obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE) issued by aThai Embassy or Consulate. 

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. 

Foreign nationals with a critical need to return to Thailand who hold a valid work permit or have been authorized to work in Thailand can use a specific process to apply for admission. Please contact your immigration professional for more information and process details.  

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All arriving travelers are subject to a 14-day quarantine and are not eligible for visa extensions until they have completed the quarantine. The quarantine must be served at a government-designated location at the traveler’s expense. 

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 arriving travelers are also subject to a health screening.

All travelers must also present evidence of medical coverage in the amount of at least USD 100,000 that covers the coronavirus. 

Status of Government Services

Government agencies are operating with reduced staff and processing delays are to be expected. 

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. 

Urgent Work Permit (UWP) and Standard Work Permit (SWP) processing is suspended until further notice. Employers who urgently need a foreign national to start work can request special approval before submitting the SWP application. 

Concessions

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 staying in Thailand whose visas or visa-exemption status 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

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Turkey has lifted its entry ban.

International commercial flights are again operating between Turkey and many destinations.   

The land border crossings with Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, and Iraq have reopened. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers entering Turkey are no longer required to quarantine. 

Travelers must undergo an assessment for COVID-19 on arrival and some will be subject to testing. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will either be sent to a hospital or denied entry to Turkey.

Status of Government Services

The Migration Directorate is providing limited services and has deferred residence permit appointments to June 2020. The Ministry of Labor is closed but in-country applications may be filed online. 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.

Concessions

Foreign nationals unable to leave Turkey due to travel restrictions will not be subject to overstay penalties if they leave the country within 30 days of the lifting of the travel restrictions. 

United Arab Emirates

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Resident permit holders who are outside the UAE are allowed to enter again. 

For UAE residents flying into airports in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, there will be no need to apply for pre-approval to enter.  This is applicable for UAE residents with residency issued from any of the seven Emirates. However, GDRFA approval requirements remain, for residents returning to Dubai airports – this is a separate application, and is needed for all UAE residents who plan to fly into Dubai. 

Returning citizens must register with the Twajudi service (ICA). A helpline has also been established (0097124965228 or 0097192083344) to assist Emiratis who are abroad.

Business visitors, tourists and nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are again allowed to enter. 

Indian nationals may now travel to the UAE on visit visas.

Citizens and residents may now leave Abu Dhabi emirate without a permit and free movement within Abu Dhabi is now allowed without a permit. Those wishing to enter/reenter must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, which has replaced the move permit requirement. This can be done via the Al Hosn mobile app. Precautionary health measures will apply upon entry. 

Emirates and Etihad Airlines have expanded their services to accommodate business travellers and tourists who are now allowed to enter. 

UAE citizens, residents and visitors and those with expired or cancelled visas are again permitted to travel abroad; however, it is not possible to travel to all destinations. Travelers should check with the airlines for flight availability and check the entry requirements in the  destination country. 

Additional repatriation flights to India have been scheduled for August 1 – 29, 2020.  These will leave from airports in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. 

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All arriving travelers, including UAE citizens and residents, will be required to present the results of a negative COVID-19 test issued within the 96 hours before arrival. Emirates airlines has released a list of approved testing centres for the pre-flight COVID testing. While the list is not exhaustive, it provides listings for over 38 countries for testing options.

All travelers will also be tested on arrival. 

Effective September 05, 2020, PCR or DPI test results are valid for 48 hours to enter Abu Dhabi. Travelers who intend to stay in Abu Dhabi more than one week will need to undergo a second PCR test on the 6th day of their stay in Emirates. No other subsequent tests are needed after a negative result from the second test.

To meet the increased demand for the less expensive, faster, DPI COVID testing, the UAE has opened four new testing centres in Abu Dhabi. Travelers must remain isolated until their test results are available. All who test positive will be required to isolate for 14 days. Tourists who test positive must isolate at a government-designated facility at their own expense. Those who test negative are not required to isolate.

All arriving travelers must download the Al Hosn tracking application. Travelers to Dubai must also register their details on the COVID-19 DXB app.

All travelers must complete a Health Declaration Form before boarding their flight. Airlines may prevent those with COVID-19 symptoms from boarding flights. 

All travellers must register on the website of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

All tourists and visitors must have international health insurance that includes coverage for COVID-19.

Status of Government Services

The processing of applications for new Entry Permits (EPs) from outside the UAE is temporarily suspended. It is unknown when processing will resume. In-country processing continues.

Government offices have reopened at 100% capacity. The issuance of visa stamps and Emirates ID cards in the country has resumed. Residence Visa stamping has resumed. 

The authorities continue to process in-country applications for free-zone work permits and in-country visa applications and renewals. 

ICA’s renewal schedule for residents with expired visas is as follows:

  • Renewal applications for visas that expired in March and April 2020 will be accepted beginning July 12.
  • Renewal applications for visas that expired in May 2020 will be accepted beginning August 11.
  • Renewal applications for visas that expired in June through July 11, 2020 will be accepted beginning September 9.
  • Visas that expire(d) after July 11, 2020 will be accepted any time.

The processing of new visas for tourists, employees and their dependents has resumed across the UAE and outside the UAE. However, there is a temporary ban on applications for new entry permits from outside the UAE for nationals of Afghanistan, India, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, South Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan. 

The UAE authorities have started accepting out-of-country employment visa applications to most free zones with mainland applications expected to follow shortly. Before submitting the application, the applicant must confirm that he/she is allowed to depart from the country where he/she is located. 

Those whose status is expiring soon may apply for a new visit or tourist visa through any travel and tourism agency in the UAE.

Medical centres have reopened for medical exams. Medical tests are again required for all visa applications, including renewals, with no exemptions. 

Concessions

Holders of residence status who are outside the UAE and whose status expired after March 1, 2020 should return to the UAE as soon as the airspace between their current location and the UAE has reopened (within 30 days of July 11, 2020 if it is already open). They will have 30 days after their return to regularize their status before overstay fines apply. 

UAE resident visa holders whose visas expired after March 1, 2020 have been granted a grace period until October 10, 2020 to renew their visas or cancel them and depart the country.

Holders of tourist/visit visas and Temporary Residence Visas; which expired after March 1, 2020, have until September 11, 2020 to regularize their status or depart from the UAE.

Indian nationals who have overstayed their grace period may apply to have overstay fines waived, as long as they depart the UAE by August 17, 2020.

United Kingdom

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The UK borders remain open.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Most travelers arriving in the UK from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days. They are also required to fill out a contact locator form with their contact information, including a local address. If they do not have appropriate accommodation, the government will designate a quarantine location. Certain travelers are exempt from the self-isolation requirement. Government officials will conduct spot checks to ensure compliance. Penalties for non-compliance include a fine of GBP 1,000 or higher and possible prosecution.

Status of Government Services

Most Visa Application Centres (VACs) outside the UK have now reopened. Priority and Super Priority services are not yet available. 

Most Application Support Centres (ASCs) in the United States and its territories reopened in July. The ASC in Toronto is also open. Services are by appointment only–no walk-ins are allowed. Note that only 20% of the usual number of appointments will be available. New appointment slots will be released every Thursday. No settlement or priority processing is available. Applicants who were unable to keep their appointments due to COVID-19 may reschedule at the same location only. Application submission and pick ups cannot be completed in person and must be done via FedEx.

Service and Support Centres (SSCs) in the UK have reopened but there is a reduced number of appointments available. 

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) centers have also reopened. See the UKVCAS website for the list of open centers and further information. Note that thousands of applicants are having trouble scheduling appointments at UKVCAS centers as centers address the backlog of cases that have built up due to COVID-19.

Applicants who have previously applied for a UK visa will be able to avoid attending an appointment at a visa centre. They would instead use a new UKVCAS Identity Verification (IDV) mobile app to submit facial images and supporting information. It has not yet been announced exactly when the app will become available–a phased rollout will begin in August 2020 and eligible customers will be contacted.

Meanwhile, new applicants must wait to secure an appointment at a visa centre to submit their biometric information.

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.

Concessions

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.

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 July 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 July. Such individuals should email the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) at CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to obtain the extension. What to provide in the email and more information is available 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 July 31, 2020. Note that to complete this process the applicant must appear at a UKVCAS centre.

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 on these and other concessions.

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.

Uruguay

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

The Uruguay government has reopened their borders for citizens of the EU.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

All travellers must present a negative result of PCR test carried out 72 hours before travel; self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival or perform a new swab on the 7th day after arrival. Depending on the result of the swab the quarantine will end or continue.

Vietnam

Travel Restrictions and Permissions

Several provincial departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs have issued guidance on how organizations can apply for authorization for foreign investors, business managers, experts, specialists, and highly skilled workers to enter or re-enter Vietnam. See below under “Status of Government Services”. Entry remains restricted for other categories of travelers (e.g., business visitors). 

The visa exemption scheme has been suspended for all nationalities.

Flights/travel will begin reopening one-way flights from Hanoi and HCMC to Tokyo, Japan from September 18, 2020. Other flights to South Korea, China, Taiwan, Laos and Cambodia will be available shortly.

Note that regular commercial flights coming to Vietnam have not reopened yet.

Flights/travel in and out of Danang and surrounding provinces is currently restricted as per recent outbreaks in those areas.

Quarantines and Other Restrictions/Requirements

Travelers coming from “safe” countries into Vietnam will have shorter quarantine periods from  to 5-7 days.Travellers coming from other countries will have to follow normal quarantine protocols.

All domestic travelers coming to HCMC with travel originating from Hanoi, Hai Duong, Bac Giang, Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Quang Nai will be monitored closely and might be requested to self-quarantine, be tested, and/or proceed to centralized quarantine/treatment centers depending of the level of exposure of the area of origin. Travelers will be categorized into 4 groups and apply different levels of health monitoring for each group for at least 14 days. Those travelers who do receive a notification from the authorities should follow all instructions as follows:

Group 1 – Individuals who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients: requires centralized quarantine; COVID-19 testing. 

Group 2 – Individuals who departed an area where strict social distancing requirements were in place: requires centralized quarantine; COVID-19 testing. 

Group 3 – Individuals who have been to venues determined by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health as high-risk: requires self-quarantine at home; COVID-19 testing may be required if an individual has COVID-19 symptoms. 

Group 4 – All others: self-monitor health condition; COVID-19 testing may be required if an individual has COVID-19 symptoms.

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, at their host entity’s expense. 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. Health testing will be conducted during the quarantine. 

Organizations that sponsor experts to enter Vietnam must ensure 1) that the experts have a PCR test for COVID-19 three to seven days before the entry date through a government-approved or WHO-approved laboratory; 2) that the experts have international health insurance that will cover them if they are infected with COVID-19 (or the inviting organization must agree to pay for treatment); and 3) that the organizations take precautions to prevent and control COVID-19 at the workplace. These requirements apply to experts entering Vietnam on or after August 5, 2020. 

On August 31st, the Ministry of Health issued a new guideline for short-term business travelers entering Vietnam for less than 14 days. This new guideline would allow the short-term traveler to avoid the normal 14-day quarantine and instead allow them (with strict supervision), to perform specific meetings and tasks outside of their quarantine hotel. Any movement outside of the hotel must be arranged, approved, and overseen by Provincial centers for disease control and prevention (CDC). Further, short term travelers must still make a reservation at one of the designated quarantine hotels and are not allowed to travel freely during their stay in Vietnam.

Status of Government Services

All immigration departments have resumed operations. Temporary Residence Card 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. 

In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), the HCMC Labor Department is processing renewal/reissuance applications for those who meet the criteria. Additional documentation may be required for those who entered after February 1, 2020.

Several provincial departments of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs have issued guidance on how organizations can apply for authorization for foreign investors, business managers, experts, specialists, and highly skilled workers to enter or re-enter Vietnam. Organizations/companies must submit a standard request letter and a form that requests information about the foreign national to their province’s department of labor. The provincial labor department will then send all requests to the provincial People’s Committee, which will make a decision in each case and, for approved cases, coordinate the issuance of visas, quarantine, transportation, etc. with the relevant authorities. Please contact your immigration professional for additional information and assistance with the process.