This post was last updated May 28 to reflect new information.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, every country has implemented unique admission criteria. Entry into these countries may be challenging, as criteria can be based on place of birth, nationality, recent travel history, border closures and many other factors.
The Global Team at Envoy Global is closely monitoring these global travel advisories. Please do not make any international travel arrangements without checking relevant government websites and consulting your immigration legal team.
For the latest on COVID-19’s impact on U.S. immigration, please click here.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.
COVID-19 Country Specific Information
If you are seeking COVID-10 country specific information, the U.S. State Department has compiled a comprehensive list of how countries are handling the outbreak and what entry or exit requirements may be in place.
The countries and areas covered in this article include:
- United Kingdom
- European Union
The Canada and U.S. agreement to temporarily close their border to non-essential travel remains active. This border closure started in March 21 and has been extended to May 21. Non-essential travel is considered recreational or discretionary (tourism) in nature. Exemptions are in place for individuals who are healthy and must cross the border for work or other non-discretionary (essential) purposes.
Travel restrictions remain in place for all foreign nationals seeking entry to Canada for non-essential purposes. This Order that prohibits entry into Canada from countries (other than the U.S.) remains in effect until June 30. As part of the Order, exemptions are put into place which will allow certain foreign nationals to enter Canada. Those with valid work permits or have been approved for a work permit will be allowed entry. It also includes exemptions for specific foreign nationals not required to obtain work permits, to come into Canada if they are providers of emergency services for instance.
The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration issued out instructions on April 9 which suspended the processing of visitor visa (TRV) and certain electronic travel authorization (eTA) applications, unless they pertain to foreign nationals who are exempt from the travel restrictions. This suspension will remain in place as long as the Ministerial Instructions are in force.
In accordance to the announcement of the Mandatory Isolation Order in Canada, any person that is exempt from the travel ban must have a plan to quarantine for 14 days when arriving into Canada, even if there are no COVID-19 symptoms. Penalties if one does not isolate for the 14 day period can include fines, jail time, removal from Canada and/or entry ban. Certain individuals that are providing essential services may be exempt from the quarantine requirements.
Update May 28: UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs), are beginning to open some of their centres from 1st June 2020. However, initially appointments can only be secured for candidates previously held an appointment but was subsequently cancelled due to the pandemic. Invitation emails will be automatically sent to the eligible candidates in order to schedule a new appointment. There has been no confirmed date of full reopening to all applicants at present.
The UK government have just announced the implementation of the 14-day quarantine:
- Start date: 8 June and will be reviewed every three weeks
- Exemptions: Individuals from the Common Travel Area: Ireland and Channel Islands; medical staff coming to the UK to combat COVID-19 and seasonal agricultural workers
- Individuals must provide an address where they will be based in the UK and contact information when at the border
- Individuals must go straight to the address given, ideally by car and avoid public transport
- Spot checks will be conducted by UK officials and if found to be in breach, fines up to GBP 1,000 will be imposed
From Wednesday 13th May 2020 England began its phased approach back to ‘normality’. Social distancing guidelines are still in place and it is still fully encouraged for people to stay at home as much as possible.
If you are unable to work from home, you may now return to work but should avoid public transport, especially at peak times, where possible. Preferable methods of transport are walking, driving or cycling to minimize contact. There is now no restriction on the time you can spend outside of your house and, in addition, you are allowed to meet one other person in an open space. However, social distancing guidelines should still be adhered to which includes keeping at least two meters apart and wearing a face covering to help reduce the risk of transmission.
It is important to note the above is only in relation to England; Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland are still in a full lockdown phase at present.
Although the only quarantine periods required at present are when you (or a household member) is showing symptoms, the Government is set to introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border but has not yet set a date for these restrictions or defined guidance. We believe the main points are:
The Government will require all international arrivals to supply their contact and accommodation information. They will also be strongly advised to download and use the NHS contact tracing app.
The Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travelers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.
Small exemptions to these measures will be in place and all journeys within the Common Travel Area will also be exempt from these measures.
Mandatory 14 day quarantine for individuals who arrive in Ireland.
The Irish government has implemented temporary provisions for foreign nationals whose Irish Residence Permits expire between 20 May 2020 and 20 July 2020. These permits will automatically be renewed.
European Union and Schengen Area
Schengen countries have extended the non-essential travel ban until 15th June.
The European Union has closed its borders for 30 days, starting March 17. This move will limit most non-essential travel into the EU and applies to 26 member countries. Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland are also part of this agreement.
Additionally, UK citizens will still be able to travel into the EU, despite the UK exiting the union earlier this year.
Only the EU’s external borders are closed; individuals can still move freely between EU countries.
State of Alarm has been extended to 24 May. This means that many of the Immigration Offices in Spain and Spanish Consulates abroad will remain closed.
The Spanish authorities have implemented a process where the majority of Spanish Permits are considered to be automatically extended where they are due to expire or have expired during or in the 90 days leading to the Spanish State of Alarm. The permit will be extended from the first day following the expiration of the permit up to 6 months after the end of State of Alarm.
The quarantine requirement will be required for individual entering Germany from third countries, but the quarantine may no longer apply to individuals traveling to Germany from another European country. However, different regulations may be implemented in each German State.
Restrictions on non-essential travel to Germany is still in place, so travelers will need to justify their travel to Germany.
The country is on lockdown until the 30th of May. Indian nationals stranded abroad may be repatriated back to India and the Government of India is working with Embassies and Consulates across the world to facilitate this.
Circuit Breaker measures in Singapore remain in place until 1 June. Renewal applications are accepted by MOM. Many new applications for a work permit country are being rejected. Appeals on rejected applications can be made under certain circumstances.
The Malaysian Government has declared a further extension of the current Conditioned Movement Control Orders (CMCO)to 09 June 2020.
Japan has lifted its state of emergency status for 34 prefectures. Restrictions have been lifted locally with some preventive measures followed by its citizens and residents. However, inbound travel restrictions will remain in place until 30 June 2020.
Vietnam is slowly back to normal however with some preventive measures for self-care.
Temporary ban on all international flights to Thailand has been extended until 30 June 2020.
This ban permits the entry of international flights on the conditions listed below, however arriving passengers are subject to 14 days state quarantine and regulations under the Emergency Decree on State of Emergency:
- State or military aircraft
- Emergency landing
- Technical landing without disembarkation
- Humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights
- Repatriation flights
- Cargo flights
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