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LAST UPDATED:  25 February 2021

Disclaimer

Please be aware that information provided in this document has been gathered from Suppliers globally and through our own research using government resources. As the situation is unprecedented and changing rapidly we advise that Customers undertake their own research to be kept updated in real-time. It is imperative that Customers implement their own policies and plans in response to this outbreak and advise Topia accordingly.

As the situation continuously changes and has a global impact, there are delays and challenges booking services globally due to differing business, travel and government restrictions. Whilst we endeavour to provide as much information as possible to prepare for upcoming moves, we cannot guarantee that any of our global providers will be able or willing to deliver the service, in some cases restrictions will also prohibit us from initiating service. Separate from this, we have no control over any of our suppliers cancelling any pre-booked services with no notice if the supplier has introduced a COVID-19 company policy at their own discretion.

Immigration, Travel & Border Closures:

All immigration services globally are significantly impacted, with countries imposing restrictions on travellers from a number of countries and airlines reducing and cancelling flights world-wide. For the most up to date information regarding immigration delays and restrictions, please check the relevant government website.

The Americas:

Argentina 

All flights from the UK are banned.

The mandatory quarantine period has been extended until at least 31 January 2021. Entry for all non-residents, the suspension of consular visa services for foreign nationals and the in-country immigration and registry services are also suspended until further notice. All commercial passenger flights are suspended until further notice.

Entry to Argentina is still suspended for non-resident foreign nationals, with the following exceptions: 

  • Native Argentinean Nationals and foreigners with a current Resident Permit for Argentina:  
    • 1) Complete online Affidavit (DDJJ), available at the Immigration Office’s website (http://ddjj.migraciones.gob.ar/app/), within 48 hours prior to boarding (see additional note below). 
    • 2) They can choose to carry out a PCR test (no more than 72 hours prior to boarding) or a 14-day post-arrival quarantine. 
    • 3) From January 8 at 00:00 hs it will be mandatory that they present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. Self-isolate will no longer be required. 
  • Citizens and foreign residents of neighboring countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay): 
    • 1) Complete online Affidavit (DDJJ), available at the Immigration Office’s website (http://ddjj.migraciones.gob.ar/app/), within 48 hours prior to boarding (see additional note below). 
    • 2) Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (no more than 72 hours prior to boarding), attach to DDJJ and present physical document at the time of boarding. 
    • 3) Covid-19 medical insurance, attach DDJJ and present physical document at the time of boarding. 
    • 4) Self-isolate is no longer required. 
    • 5) They are permitted to enter Argentina via Ezeiza international airport or the Buquebus (ferry) maritime terminal in Buenos Aires only. 
  • Foreigners with direct family members in Argentina who are Argentinean Nationals or foreigners with a current Resident Permit:
    • They must enter Argentina via Ezeiza International Airport, San Fernando International Airport, Buquebus (ferry) Maritime Terminal in Buenos Aires, and certain international border crossings. They may carry out procedures before: 1) An Argentinean Consulate abroad, OR 2) at the Immigration Office incountry. 
  • Consulate: “Visa for Family Reunion”. It costs between 550 and 850 US dollars and enables the foreigner to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit (i.e. with no expiration date) for Argentina. Steps: 
    • Present a Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Cohabitation or Coexistence Union Certificate (as appropriate), duly apostilled or legalized, to prove the direct relationship with an Argentinean National or Resident + Copy of the Argentinean DNI (ID Card) of the relative. 
    • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will give intervention to the Ministry of Health and the Immigration Office to authorize the entry. 
    • Complete online Affidavit (DDJJ), available at the Immigration Office’s website (http://ddjj.migraciones.gob.ar/app/), within 48 hours prior to boarding, adding proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (no more than 72 hours prior to boarding) (see additional note below). 
    • Present physical PCR negative test document at the time of boarding. Otherwise, they will not be able to board the flight. 
    • Self-isolate is no longer required.
  • Immigration Office: This procedure does not grant Residence Permit. It costs 9,000 Argentine pesos (Decree No. 865/19, article 1, subsection m). Steps: 
    • Present to the airline a Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Cohabitation or Coexistence Union Certificate (as appropriate), duly apostilled or legalized, to prove the direct relationship with an Argentinean National or Resident + Copy of the Argentinean DNI (ID Card) of the relative + Flight itinerary. 
    • Submit a request letter to the airline briefly explaining the need for the visit, entry and return dates, and place where they will stay in Argentina. 
    • Complete online Affidavit (DDJJ), available at the Immigration Office’s website (http://ddjj.migraciones.gob.ar/app/), within 48 hours prior to boarding, adding proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (no more than 72 hours prior to boarding) + Covid-19 medical insurance (see additional note below). 
    • Present physical PCR negative test + Covid-19 medical insurance documents at the time of boarding. Otherwise, they will not be able to board the flight.
    • Self-isolate is no longer required.

Those who are not listed above must apply at a consular post for a Special Entry Permit for nonresident performing on essential activities (as detailed in Decree NUD 297/2020 dated March 19th, 2020). Approval of this Special Entry Permit may take 1- 2 months. 

Regular international flights are permitted, subject to the approval of the Argentinian Civil Air Navigation Administration (ANAC). The Ministry of Transport has established the resumption of commercial domestic air transport services. At this stage, only persons considered “essential” who possess the Unique Enabling Certificate for Circulation may travel, while operators must have protocols and procedures developed according to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health. Both the control of the implementations, as well as the approval of the time schedules in accordance with the provincial authorities, will be the responsibility of the Argentine Civil Air Navigation Administration (ANAC). 

Non-essential domestic travel is not yet permitted, so foreign visitors without a current Resident Permit are limited to the Buenos Aires area. 

All arrivals in Argentina are recommended to download an app developed by the Ministry of Health for a quick check related to COVID-19 symptoms. 

Those who are exiting the country are also required to complete online Affidavit (DDJJ), available at the Immigration Office’s website (http://ddjj.migraciones.gob.ar/app/), within 48 hours prior to boarding. Note: In the case of minors or people with disabilities preventing them completing the form, a parent or guardian must complete the form on their behalf. 

Normal consular visa services for foreign nationals are suspended until at least 20 December. Government agencies including the Immigration Office and the Registry Office have gradually been reopened. However, some applications with an appointment scheduled beforehand are allowed only.

 

Brazil

All airports are now permitted to handle international flights. 

  • Ordinance No. 630, published 17 December 2020, establishes a temporary restriction of entry into Brazil by any nationality. This restriction includes all entry made by road or other land or waterway transport. Exceptions to this regulation include: 
    • Brazilian citizens; permanent or temporary foreign residents of Brazil (who have registered with the Federal Police); 
    • Foreign employees of the Brazilian government or international organizations; 
    • Foreign national spouse, partner, child, parent or guardian of a Brazilian citizen; 
    • Foreign nationals authorized to enter Brazil by the Brazilian Government in the public interest; and 
    • Foreign national holders of RNM (Foreign ID card); and 
    • Foreign maritime crew members, whose entry is by air or waterway, for the exercise of specific functions on board a vessel or platform operating in jurisdictional waters, provided that the migratory requirements appropriate to their condition are observed, including that of having an entry visa, when required. 
    • It is important to note that entry exceptions by road, other land or waterway transport do not apply to Venezuelan nationals, even if they are registered at the Federal Police. 
    • Unlike previous ordinances, this one has no expiration date. 
    • The restrictions of this Ordinance do not prevent foreigners from entering the country by air, provided that the migratory requirements appropriate to their condition are complied with, including having a valid entry visa, when required by Brazilian legal system. 
      • Further, the Ordinance requires, effective 30 December 2020, all travelers arriving to Brazil via an international flight (including Brazilian nationals and 3rd country nationals) must present to the airline responsible for the flight, before boarding: 
        • I. Document proving laboratory testing (RT-PCR), for screening infection by SARS-COV-2, with a negative/non-reactive result, carried out 72 hours prior the time of boarding; and 
        • II. Traveler’s Health Declaration (DSV) completed (in paper or digitally) with the agreement on the sanitary measures that must be complied with during the period in the country.

The Federal Police has restricted services nationally. Immigration registration and residence permits, CRNM, DRNM and passport delivery requests will only be accepted in urgent cases. Passport issuance requests will only proceed for applicants with proof of travel in the next 30 days. Naturalization requests will not be processed.

The General Coordination of Labour Immigration has resumed its procedural deadlines for immigration processes. Residence Permits are accepted and approved in regular processing times. Publishing on the National Gazette is also resumed.

The deadlines for visitors are suspended. Visitors whose status expires will not be penalized. Document expiry dates are suspended. Immigrants with expired immigration documents will not be penalized.

 

Canada

From 7 January, all passengers aged 5 or above are required to submit, on boarding, proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure.

All passenger flights from the UK have been suspended until 6 January. 

Quarantine: All travellers to Canada (other than for some essential services) are subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine (if asymptomatic) or isolation (if symptomatic).

Air travellers whose final destination is Canada are required to submit their quarantine plan and contact and travel information electronically though the ArriveCAN website or app before they board their flight.

–    In the event that on arrival, the submission of the required information cannot be verified by an officer, enforcement action may be taken, including fines of up to $1000 (and entry to Canada may be disallowed).

Effective immediately, travellers entering Canada by land or sea are strongly encouraged to continue ArriveCAN by downloading the mobile app or signing in online provide the mandatory information before they arrive to avoid additional delays for public health questioning and to limit points of contact at the border. Travellers can show their ArriveCAN receipt to a border services officer when seeking entry into Canada.

Travellers arriving by air, land or sea (unless exempted) are also required to submit information through ArriveCAN or by calling the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number during their quarantine or isolation period.

–   Within 48 hours of entering Canada, travellers must confirm they have arrived at their place of quarantine or isolation and those in quarantine must complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during their quarantine period.

–   Travellers who don’t use ArriveCAN to submit their information before entering Canada will be required to call the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number on a daily basis throughout their quarantine or isolation period to provide their post- borderinformation. They will not be able to revert to using ArriveCAN.

The suspension of discretionary entry for foreign travellers who arrive from a country other than the United States is extended until 21 January 2021.

–   Entry from anywhere other than the United States for non-discretionary reasons requires an online application, even for someone who didn’t previously need one (e.g. a UK national), and thereafter a request/submission for allowance to travel to provide an essential service.

–   Exemptions exist for:

o   Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents if entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.

  • Immediate family members here include spouse or common-law partner; dependent child of the person or of their spouse or common-law partner; dependent child of a dependent child; parent or step-parent of the person or of their spouse of common-law partner; guardian or tutor.
  • Immediate family members must have a quarantine plan showing they will quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
  • Immediate family members staying for less than 15 days must be travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose;

o   Extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents if entering to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days.

  • Extended family members here include persons who have been in an exclusive dating relationship for at least 1 year and have spent time in the physical presence of that person at some point during the relationship; or a non-dependent child (adult child), a grandchild (dependent child of a non-dependent adult child), a sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling or a grandparent.
  • Extended family members must have a quarantine plan showing they will quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
  • Extended family members must have written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
  • Extended family members staying for less than 15 days must be travelling for an essential (non-discretionary) purpose;

o   Foreign nationals entering for compassionate reasons, with authorisation from the Public Health Agency of Canada;

o   Certain essential and emergency service workers and transport crew members;

o   Temporary foreign workers currently living in Canada with a valid work permit;

o   Temporary foreign workers coming to work in Canada for the first time to begin work, with a valid work permit or work permit approval letter and proof of employment at an operating Canadian business;

o   Some international students;

o   Some people who have been approved to become a permanent resident of Canada, but who are not yet permanent residents;

o   Immediate family members with written authorization from IRCC to reunite with a temporary resident of Canada (see Uniting with immediate family members for more information);

o   Transiting passengers (must remain in the secure transit area of a Canadian airport to complete their connection);

o   Members of the Canadian forces, visiting forces coming to perform official duties, Department of National Defence and their immediate family members;

o   Accredited diplomats and their immediate family members (includes North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], those under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, other organizations);

o   Air and marine crew members;

o   French citizens who live in Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and have been in only Canada, the US or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon during the 14 days before the day they seek to enter Canada;

o   Any person who does not pose a significant harm to public health, in the opinion of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and who will provide an essential service while in Canada;

o   Any person whose presence in Canada is in the national interest, in the opinion of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness; or Minister of Foreign Affairs.

  • If you fall under this exemption, you don’t have to demonstrate that you’re entering Canada for an essential (non-discretionary) reason.

o   Any person who is coming at the invitation of the Minister of Health for the purpose of COVID-19 assistance;

–   Foreign nationals arriving from a country other than the United States must prove that they are listed as being exempted from travel restrictions (including immediate family members); that they are entering for an essential purpose; that they are not presenting signs or symptoms of COVID-19; and that they have a plan to quarantine for 14 days, unless exempted.

The suspension of discretionary entry for foreign travellers who arrive from the United States is extended until 21 December 2020.

–   Travel from the United States for non-discretionary purposes is permitted for anyone physically in the US who does not need a visa. This could include, most notably, those coming to work. As such, work permit applications from non-visa nationals in the US continue to be processed more-or-less as they were before COVID.

–   Entry may be permitted for:

o   Temporary foreign workers currently living in Canada with a valid work permit;

o   Temporary foreign workers coming to work in Canada for the first time to begin work, with a valid work permit or work permit approval letter and proof of employment at an operating Canadian business.

o   Temporary foreign workers eligible to apply for a work permit at a port of entry and with proof of employment at an operating Canadian business.

–   All discretionary entry remains prohibited.

–   Foreign nationals arriving from the United States must prove that they are entering for a non-discretionary purpose; that they are not presenting signs or symptoms of COVID-19; and that they have a plan to quarantine for 14 days, unless exempted.

Canada visa centres in several cities have resumed operations, often with limited services / opening hours.

A new policy temporarily exempts foreign workers in certain sectors, namely the agriculture, agri-food, health-care sectors and truck drivers, from having to give their biometrics before coming to Canada if the biometrics collection site closest to them is closed. The foreign worker must have a quarantine plan including a place to stay where they will not have contact with vulnerable individuals for 14 days after arrival. On arrival, they may be asked to give biometrics at a POE in Canada. They will also be assessed to ensure that they are coming for an essential purpose – for example, they have a letter of introduction for a work permit and a valid job offer and can work once they enter and complete their quarantine.

If the visa application centres or other biometrics collection sites in the applicant’s country or region are still closed, and their extension to give biometrics is

ending, they won’t have to give biometrics until the biometrics collection sites reopen. This applies, even if the biometric instruction letter (BIL) says that the deadline is 30 or 90 days. No application in progress will be closed or refused because of documents that are missing due to COVID-19. Applicants should keep checking online to see when the VACs and other biometrics collection sites start to reopen. Once they are able, they should complete the steps, including making an appointment to give biometrics, as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Ports of Entry remain open, but service hours at various land border crossings have been reduced.

Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates are operating but with delays. However, most Visa Application Centers are closed, and the processing of biometrics therefore on hold. The Canadian government may allow extra time for the submission of biometrics.

New work permit applications are permitted in various circumstances:

–    For visa-exempt foreign nationals entering Canada from the United States (not only US citizens or permanent residents), work permits can still be sought essentially as they were pre-COVID. Information should be provided to stress the importance of the work in Canada).

–    For those seeking work permits from any country other than the United States, an application must be online, and only those relating to work in ‘essential services’ will be processed, based on procedures in place. Essential services are defined to include work in sectors including health, food, transportation, utilities, manufacturing and others.

The government has issued additional guidelines for employers of foreign workers in light of the COVID-19 situation. These include that employers comply with all applicable requirements vis-à-vis the employee (salary, etc.) from time of arrival, not conclusion of the 14-day self-isolation period.

Flagpoling (exiting Canada briefly for the purpose of making an immigration application upon re-entry) is once again permitted but returning workers may be required to meet the 14-day quarantine requirement. Non-essential work permits will not be issued at the border.

Foreign national visitors in Canada who arrived in Canada before 24 August 2020, have a job offer and apply for an employer-specific work permit no later than 31 March 2021 can now, if the work permit is approved, receive the permit without having to leave the country.

–   Prior to this temporary policy change, a person applying as a temporary resident would usually need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada. If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave Canada and return before their work permit was issued to them.

–   Any type of visitor who meets the criteria is eligible to apply under this new public policy, including super visa holders, business visitors and those who entered Canada through a Global Skills Strategy work permit exemption.

–   Foreign nationals who arrive in Canada as visitors after 24 August 2020, are not eligible under the public policy.

–   Applicants who meet these criteria and who had a valid work permit in the past 12 months can begin working for their new employer before their work permit application has been fully approved.

Applicants for visitor visas, work permits, study permits or permanent residence who cannot complete the next steps in their application will be given an automatic extension.

 

Chile

All flights from the UK are banned.

Non-resident foreign nationals are permitted to enter Chile via Arturo Merino Benitez Airport in Santiago city.

–   All foreign nationals are required to have a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel, health insurance covering COVID-19 and a sanitary passport.

–   All foreign nationals arriving from countries with a “high community circulation” of COVID-19 are subject to a 14-day self-isolation.

–   Resident foreign nationals and Chilean citizens travelling or returning to Chile are exempt from the pre-departure test requirement if they undergo 14-day self-isolation. If they obtain a negative test result during self-isolation, they can leave self-isolation early.

Anyone entering from abroad, regardless of their nationality, place of origin or destination region in Chile, may be randomly selected by the Health Authority at the time of entry, to submit to a direct detection test for COVID-19 determined by the Health Authority. 

  • If a Chilean citizen or foreign national normally resident in Chile refuses to submit to this test, they must remain in quarantine for 14 days after entering the country, regardless of the result of a PCR test taken either before or after. 
  • If a foreign national who is not a regular resident of Chile refuses to take this test, the provisions of the Sanitary Code or the International Sanitary Regulations will be applied.

Entry and exit are permitted in the following cases:

–   Foreign nationals residing in regular immigration status, whether their application for permanent residence or permanence is being processed in Chile, or they have a valid residence or permanent residence permit issued by the Department of Immigration and Migration of the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security or Provincial Governors.

–   Foreign nationals who, for reasons that cannot be postponed, must enter the country for business management purposes, as provided in the first paragraph of Article 44 of Decree Law No. 1,094, paying special attention to the convenience or utility that they report to the country. For these purposes, they must carry a safe-conduct under the provisions of Article 66 of the Consular Regulations.

Initial applications for work and residence visas are now available for the following countries:

–   Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Some Chilean consulates have begun to accept visa applications. All travellers arriving from abroad, of any nationality, are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

–    Travellers can exit quarantine early on obtaining a negative COVID-19 test result in Chile, by following a standard procedure.

Travellers with a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test obtained no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at an approved clinic are exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement.

A completed passenger information form must be submitted prior to departure, and a digital “sanitary passport” will be issued.

The Migration Department has suspended all in-person services. Payments, visa stamps and visa renewals (except Mercosur visas) are available online.

Online Permanent Residence applications are now available for citizens of the following countries: Brazil, China, Cuba, Haiti, and Peru. Previously, these nationalities were required to apply in-person. Note that in-person validation of supporting documents will still be required as of 30 September.

 

Mexico

Mexico has extended restrictions on non-essential travel by land across its northern border with the United States until 21 January 2021. There is no quarantine for arriving travellers. 

Visa services at certain Mexican consulates have recommenced, depending on local conditions.

Until 15 January 2021, all procedures which need to be filed in person at government offices (federal or local) located in Mexico City are suspended. Appointments can be booked, online or via telephone, to obtain an ordinary Mexican passport at 41 offices in Mexico City and in other states. Appointments are currently being issued under normal basis but with some delay, due to the system is overcrowded. 

The Migration Institute (INM) is operating, but only a limited number of tickets are issued each day for application submission and other procedures. Foreign nationals can attend their fingerprinting appointments. Delivery of residence cards continues, with the possibility of some delay. Requests for visa authorisations for job offers and to obtain or update Employer Enrolment Proof are being accepted. 

Although the expiry dates of temporary and permanent residence cards are suspended until further notice, in practice the INM is accepting applications for residence renewal.

 

Panama

Entry is suspended for all travellers who have stayed in or transited through the United Kingdom or South Africa in the last 20 days prior to entry.

  • Entry is permitted for Panamanian citizens and residents arriving from these two countries, but they must take a PCR or antigen test on arrival, and remain in quarantine in a hospital hotel for as long as determined by the authorities, regardless of the result of the PCR test.

All travellers arriving in Panama must present a negative PCR or antigen COVID-19 test certificate issued no more than 48 hours prior to boarding, sign an agreement to comply with the government’s health protocols and provide contact details. Isolation is not required. 

  • Travellers arriving without an adequate negative COVID-19 test certificate will be required to undertake a rapid test on arrival at their own cost. If the result is negative, isolation is not required. If positive, isolation in a designated facility is required, with a further test after 7 days

The Labour Immigration Department has resumed operations:

–   Lawyers can submit consultations and affiliations, conduct marriage interviews and obtain the issuance of previously paid-for work permit cards from already notified work permit decisions, and carry out online notifications, payments, issuance of digital work permit cards and reconsideration motions;

–   The public is served only by appointment.

–   From 15 July, all processes for new work permit applications and renewals must be carried out via the “Panama Digital” platform.

For an in-person process, an appointment should be requested through the Ministry of Labour website. The National Immigration Department will continue in-person services for lawyers and the public.

The Notifications Department of the National Immigration Authority will allow lawyers to receive notice on their ongoing immigration processes provided they show (i) a copy of the relevant temporary ID card, and (ii) a copy of the

relevant passport pages (data page, registration stamp, last entry stamp and multiple entry visa), therefore, it is not required that they submit originals of either the temporary ID or passport.

Effective immediately and during the State of National Emergency, the pre- registration and submission of the application for a residence permit as an employee of a multinational company (SEM Visa) are now authorized prior to the arrival of the executive and their dependents in Panama.

–   Once the application is pre-registered, all fees paid and the application submitted, the executive and their dependents are considered residents and are thus permitted to enter Panama.

–   Once the executive enters Panama, they have a period of 45 days to complete the application.

The validity of all residence permits (temporary ID-cards, provisional ID-cards, non- resident visas, judicial stay ID-cards and “Crisol de Razas” ID-cards) that expire since 13 March 2020 are extended until 31 January 2021.

Permanent residents who are outside Panama can now remain outside Panama until 31 January 2021 without this affecting their residence status. Deadlines between 13 March and 7 June for submitting additional documents to the immigration authorities are extended for an additional three months.

The validity of all work permits that expired between March and September is extended as follows:

–    Work permits that expired in March are extended until 30 September;

–    Work permits that expired in April are extended until 31 October;

–    Work permits that expired in May are extended until 30 November;

–    Work permits that expire in June are extended until 31 December;

–    Work permits that expire in July are extended until 31 January 2021;

–    Work permits that expire in August are extended until 28 February 2021;

–    Work permits that expire in September are extended until 31 March 2021.

 

The United States of America

The US government has removed requirements for all flights carrying passengers arriving from, or who have recently visited, certain countries to land at one of 15 designated airports, and halted enhanced entry health screening for those passengers.

The US, Mexico, and Canada have agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders.

On 12 August, the Department of State issued guidance explaining Executive Orders banning the issuance of many H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 visas. 

The Department has returned to its previous system of country-specific travel advice levels. Many countries remain at Level 4 (Do Not Travel), including Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia. 

For more advice please use the following links: 

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

https://newlandchase.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/24-August-PM-COVID19-Update.pdf

USCIS has cancelled the scheduled furlough of more than 13,000 employees (70% of its workforce, thanks to a combination of cost-cutting measures and an unexpected increase in fee revenue. However, USCIS warned that the operational impact of its spending cuts could mean longer waiting times, continued backlogs and a possible furlough in Fiscal Year 2021.

USCIS is reopening some domestic offices, including the local offices that process asylum claims, permanent resident and naturalization interviews, InfoPass appointments, and biometrics processing. USCIS has announced that they will send notices to individuals and their attorneys when previously cancelled appointments have been rescheduled.

Routine visa services in most countries are suspended until further notice. All routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments in most countries worldwide are cancelled. MRV fees remain valid for a visa appointment in the country where it was paid within one year of the date of payment.

 

Asia-Pacific (APAC):

Australia

International passenger caps in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia will be temporarily halved to manage the flow of returning Australians and other travellers who have been potentially exposed to the new variants. Current international passenger caps in Victoria and South Australia and arrangements in the Northern Territory are considered manageable and will remain in place.

Travellers from New Zealand can travel to certain Australian states quarantine-free.

–   The “Trans-Tasman” bubble / safe travel agreement currently applies only to New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Victoria.

–   Qualifying travellers do not need to apply for a travel exemption.

–   Travellers must have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more and not been in a designated hotspot;

–   Travellers must travel to Australia on a quarantine-free flight. A quarantine- free flight only carries passengers who have declared they have been in New Zealand for 14 days or more and have not been in a COVID hotspot in New Zealand in the last 14 days before travel

–   New Zealand citizens do not need to apply for a visa before coming to Australia. If eligible, they will be granted a Special Category visa (subclass 444) (SCV) on arrival. Other nationals will need a valid visa for entry.

–   This scheme is also expected to free up additional quarantine spaces per month in Sydney.

–   The safe travel zone does not apply to New Zealand citizens who are outside New Zealand or who have not been in New Zealand for the last 14 days or more.

–   Travellers must print and complete a COVID-19 Declaration form and present it at airline check-in at the airport, otherwise they may not be able to board their flight. This form will be used to determine if they can travel and for contact tracing purposes by relevant state and territory governments.

–   Travellers arriving in Australia on a quarantine-free flight will not need to enter mandatory quarantine. Those arriving at any other location or who are not on a quarantine-free flight will be subject to mandatory quarantine.

All travellers to Australia need to complete an Australian Travel Declaration at least 72 hours prior to their flight. Travellers aged 15 years and over need to complete their own declaration form. Children under 15 can be included on a parent’s form. Each declaration is only valid for one entry for the traveller named on the declaration. 

All travellers, other than those on quarantine-free flights from New Zealand, are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel) at their port of arrival.

Entry is suspended for all nationalities, other than Australian citizens and Australian Permanent Residents, and their close family members; New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia and their immediate family members; diplomats holding a subclass 995 visa; travellers transiting Australia for 72 hours or less; airline or maritime crew, those recruited under the government-approved Seasonal Worker Program or Pacific Labour Scheme; and holders of a Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visa.

There is currently a cap on international passenger arrivals of 4000 per week.

Individual travel restriction exemptions may be granted for individuals in critical sectors or with critical skills:

–   Non-citizens travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response

–   Those providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies;

–   Non-citizens with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, agricultural technology, food production, and the maritime industry); o Non-citizens working in a critical sector in Australia (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available;

–   Non-citizens sponsored by an employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL);

–   Non-citizens whose entry would otherwise be in the national interest, supported by the Australian government or a state or territory government authority;

–   An individual can submit a request for a travel exemption under this category or a business can submit a request on their behalf. The applications of multiple travellers within the same group/business can be linked, so that the requests are considered together

A visa and an exemption must be obtained in advance of travel.

–   An exemption application must be submitted online at least two weeks, but not more than three months, prior to the intended travel;

–   If an exemption is granted, evidence of the exemption decision must be presented at the airport;

–   If an exemption is not granted, the travel plans should be cancelled.

Where possible, Australian embassies, high commissions, and consulates are still operating in line with local regulations and restrictions. Priority is on assisting Australians overseas. Most offshore applications are on hold, particularly for permanent visas which would entitle the person to travel to Australia under an exemption.

Temporary visa holders who are ineligible for entry into Australia under these measures will have their visa cancelled. Arrangements will be made to reinstate visas as appropriate following the lifting of these enhanced border control measures. Biometrics collection services at Australian Visa Application Centres (AVACs) and Australian Biometrics Collection Centres (ABCCs) has resumed, dependent on in- country COVID-19 restrictions.

–    In addition, collection centres will offer enquiry and assisted online lodgement services;

–   Applicants can use their original Requirement to provide personal identifiers (biometrics) letter to book and attend an appointment. Applicants who have

applied for a visa online have a copy of this letter in their ImmiAccount.

Exit Restrictions

All international visitors are encouraged to depart if it is possible to do so. Travellers may be able to re-enter Australia if they meet entry conditions.

Australian citizens and permanent residents cannot travel overseas due to COVID- 19 restrictions, unless they meet one of the following exemptions:

–    Ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia;

–    Airline, maritime crew or associated safety officer;

–    A New Zealand citizen holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa; o Engaged in the day-to-day conduct of outbound freight;

–    Associated with essential work at Australian offshore facilities;

–    Travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

Alternatively, they can submit an online exit request under one of the following exemptions:

–    Travel is part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak;

–    Travel is essential for the conduct of critical industries and business (including export and import industries;

–    Travel to receive urgent medical treatment that is not available in Australia; o Travel on urgent and unavoidable personal business;

–    Travel in the national interest.

A registration portal is available for temporary visa holders who would like assistance returning to their home country.

Immigration office are still operational. Applications can still be submitted online and via post, though processing of applications has slowed considerably, and some have been placed on hold for now. All Immigration Medical Examinations in Victoria have temporarily ceased.

 

China

The Chinese consulates general in Los Angeles and San Francisco have respectively issued announcements, requiring foreign nationals holding valid work, private and family reunion residence permits to send relevant materials to the designated mailbox in advance if they really have urgent, humanitarian and other necessary reasons, and then to purchase air tickets and conduct “double test” after obtaining the e-mail of the Chinese consulate general for pre-verification and – confirmation. For those without the prior approval of the consulate general, the health code will not be issued.

In addition, since 18 February, the health code will no longer be issued to passengers from the United States going to China through a third country or to travellers from third countries which have direct flights to China. Passengers from third countries which have no direct flights to China must first obtain the health code from their country of residence, and then apply for the health code again from the Chinese Embassy and consulate in the place where they board direct flights according to the local requirements. Strict procedures have been established for those infected by COVID-19. 

Chinese embassies and consulates in Washington, New York and Chicago continue to call for the postponement or cancellation of “non-essential, non-urgent” travel. All embassies and consulates will consider various factors to decide whether to issue a health code. Even if the passengers provide qualified “double test” reports and a valid residence permit or visa, they may not be able to get a health code.

The Chinese embassy in the UK has issued a notice, stipulating the specific requirements for nucleic acid and antibody testing at the institutions designated by the Chinese Embassy and consulates in the UK for persons departing from or transferring to China via the UK, as well as the process for Chinese and foreign citizens to apply for the health code. At the same time, it is clear that the health code will no longer be approved for passengers who have made two or more transfers from the UK since 19 February.

Entry to China is suspended for all foreign nationals, except certain holders of valid visas, residence permits and APEC Business Travel Cards.

–   All visa waiver programs are suspended.

–   Entry with diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas is not affected.

–   Foreign nationals coming to China for necessary economic, trade, scientific or technological activities or out of emergency humanitarian needs may apply for visas at Chinese embassies or consulates.

Foreign nationals holding valid residence permits (including for work, family reunion, or personal purposes) are permitted to enter China without applying for a new visa.

–   Foreign nationals from certain countries holding valid visas or residence permits issued before 3 November 2020 may be denied entry (see below),

–   Holders of residence permits in these three categories which have expired since 28 March can apply for a new visa (for the same purpose) by presenting the expired residence permit among other documents to the Chinese consulate.

Effective immediately, China has suspended the entry of foreign nationals from several countries holding valid visas and residence permits issued before 3 November 2020. Affected countries include Bangladesh, Belgium, Ethiopia, France, India, Italy, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

–   According to the Chinese embassies, they will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Forms for these people.

–   Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visas at the relevant Chinese embassy or consulate.

–   Entry by foreign nationals with visas issued after 3 November 2020 will not be affected.

–   The Chinese embassy and consulates in the UK are currently accepting visa applications from:

–   Applicants who have received a PU letter after 3 November for visiting China for economic, trade, scientific or technological purposes;

–   Applicants who have received a “Notification Letter of Foreigners Work Permit” as well as a PU letter after 3 November for work;

–   Applicants who intend to visit an immediate family member (spouse, parents, children, grandparents or grandchildren – foreign nationals included) in China who is in a critical medical condition and needs care, or to arrange funeral matters;

–   Applicants qualifying for a crew (c) visa, or a high-level talent (R) visa.

The provincial Foreign Affairs Offices in several cities in China have tightened up the requirements for issuance of PU letters and now require more concrete evidence demonstrating that the proposed visit is truly essential. Processing times for PU letters have therefore increased in many cases.

A PU (invitation) letter from the Chinese government for business or work purposes no longer guarantees the approval of the visa application. Consulates also require a detailed explanation of why it is essential for the applicant to enter China at this time – such as a letter of invitation from the Chinese company.

Some FAO offices in China have temporarily suspended the issuance of PU letters (including to essential business travellers and workers).

–   So far, affected areas include Chang Ning and Jing An in Shanghai; and Nan Jing city and Nan Chang city.

Almost all cities in China have suspended the issuance of PU letters to family dependents and many Chinese consulates of suspended the issuance of visas to family dependents even if they are holding a valid PU letter.

All travellers to China are required to present BOTH a negative COVID-19 NAT/PCR test certificate AND a negative IgM antibody test certificate, from tests taken within 48 hours of boarding, in order to obtain a green health code or a health declaration with an HS logo.

–    Passengers on non-direct flights will require these test results BOTH from the country of origin AND from the country of transit.

–    IgG antibody tests do not meet the new requirement.

–    Travellers to China are advised to fly direct if possible, to avoid having to undergo both tests twice or being stuck in a transit airport where the required tests are not available. In this case, the date of the first test should be used for the health code request.

–    Effective 10 December, this also applies to travelers departing from New Zealand on China-bound flights, as IgM antibody test are now available in New Zealand.

–    Until 9 December, travelers departing from New Zealand on China-bound flights can obtain the green health code or Health Declaration Form by providing either two separate COVID-19 NAT/PCR tests or one PCR test and one IgM test.

–   Travellers must present the certificates of the nucleic acid and IgM antibody tests with the signature of the doctors or the seal of the medical institutions (except for laboratory reports).

–   For certificates without signature or seal, the laboratory reports must be presented to apply for the green health code or the green health declaration code.

–   Travellers from Singapore requiring a PCR test can obtain this from approved medical testing providers and no longer need to seek approval from the Singapore authorities;

–   Travellers under the Singapore/China Fast Lane no longer require a Letter of Assistance for PCR test from the Chinese embassy.

–   For passengers with flights on 5 December and beyond, only IgM antibody test certificates marked with venous blood method are accepted for approval of green QR codes.

–   Foreign nationals: must obtain a Health Declaration from the relevant Chinese Embassy/Consulate by presenting a negative COVID-19 test certificate.

–   Chinese citizens: must upload a negative COVID-19 test certificate to the health code portal (international version) prior to their travel. They will obtain a health code upon upload.

–   The passenger must present the printed, certified health certificate (or health code), within the validity period of the NAT test certificate, during check in or before boarding and is advised to also to carry any visa to China, or Green/Fast Lane Letter of Invitation (where applicable).

Chinese embassies and consulates are starting to require that foreign national travellers to China (including Fast Lane passengers) present an Electronic Health Declaration Form (QR code with “HDC” mark) at boarding, rather than emailing a scanned copy of the health declaration form, test certificates and passport information page to the relevant embassy or consulate.

–   Check the relevant Chinese embassy website for the exact implementation date. This has so far been announced by several Chinese missions, including those in Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas (from 1 December), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada (from 1 December), Croatia, Fiji, Finland (from 1 December), France (from 1 December), Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan (from 1 December), Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea (from 1 December), Sweden, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States (from 1 December) and Zimbabwe.

–   Foreign passengers must complete their information here, declare their health status and upload their COVID-19 test certificate(s), which will then be examined and verified by the Chinese Embassy. Upon approval, they will receive the Electronic Health Declaration Form, in the form of a QR code with the “HDC” mark. They must present the electronic or printed code and follow the procedures for inspection by relevant airlines during boarding.

–   Chinese passengers (including the Hong Kong SAR, the Macao SAR and the Taiwan region) can still apply for the green health code with the “HS” mark viathe WeChat Health Code app.

Travellers arriving in Shanghai from overseas can spend half of their quarantine time at home, if certain conditions are met.

–   All inbound passengers to Shanghai will be required to undergo nucleic acid tests before being sent to 14-day quarantine at a designated facility, or into a medical facility if the result is positive.

–   For those who have residence in Shanghai, live apart from family members who do not have to be quarantined, or live with people who agree to be quarantined along with them, they apply to be sent home to continue their quarantine on the eighth day if their nucleic tests on the fifth day are negative.

–   On the eighth day, qualifying persons will be transported directly from the designated quarantine facility to their homes by the authorities.

–   Those transferring to Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces will also be transported to their destinations by the relevant authorities on the eight day, if their nucleic tests on the fifth day are negative.

–   Conditional home quarantine is still available for senior citizens, underage people, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with restricted mobility, those caring for family members and those with certain diseases.

Residents of Singapore and a few other countries qualifying for an M visa invitation letter for necessary and urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities may now qualify for a fast-track route, exempting them from the 14-day quarantine requirement in certain provinces and cities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang). The applicant needs to obtain negative COVID-19 test results in their home country after their M visa is issued and no more than three days before travelling. On arrival, they are tested again and quarantined for 1-2 days. The local district government in China will assign a designated car and driver to transport the foreign national during at least their first 14 days in China and may pay some other costs. Travellers who need to travel between the fast lane regions in China within the first 14 days upon arrival must, through the host company or government agency, obtain in advance the approval of the provincial/municipal government of the next destination. Travellers will only be allowed to travel outside the six fast lane regions after staying in the fast lane region(s) for 14 days.

Companies in China are allowed to apply for an M visa invitation letter (“PU Letter”), for a maximum stay of 180 days, for essential foreign workers performing necessary and urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities. If the invitation letter is approved and issued (under limited circumstances), the foreign national can apply for an M visa at the relevant Chinese consulate. Please contact Newland Chase for a case-specific consultation.

All incoming international flights to Beijing will first land at one of 16 “first entry point” airports (Chengdu, Changsha, Hefei, Lanzhou, Tianjin, Taiyuan, Hohhot, Shijiazhuang, Jinan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Zhengzhou, Xi’an or Wuhan) where passengers will be screened. Those with fever or other respiratory symptoms will be sent to local hospitals for medical treatment. Those categorized as close contacts or with infection risks after epidemiological investigation will be taken to local sites for a 14-day quarantine. Passengers who are cleared will then be permitted to re-board the plane, which will take them on to Beijing.

On arrival in Beijing, passengers will have their health checked again. and then be sent to the New China International Exhibition Centre for processing. Those who live in Beijing will be handed over to working groups from their home district stationed at the centre and then be sent to designated sites for a 14-day quarantine. Those who do not live in Beijing will be handed over to working groups from their home provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities. The working groups will arrange group trips for them to go home on planes or trains. After arriving at their home destination, they will also be quarantined for 14 days.

Given that the process may take a long time, immigration authorities remind travellers of the possible need to make changes in their flights transferring at Beijing. Transfer passengers are advised to take into consideration the time needed for completing the entry procedures and health check-ups. In light of the pandemic situation overseas, immigration authorities also require all inbound travellers to truthfully report information including contact persons, destination addresses and personal contact information. Entry will be denied to those who do not meet the requirements or fail to truthfully fill in their health declaration forms or honestly answer inquiries from the border inspection authorities.

Travellers arriving in Guangdong from abroad, regardless of nationality (including Chinese citizens), are subject to a 14-day quarantine at home or at a designated place. The quarantine requirement has been lifted for mainland residents returning to Guangdong province from Macao via Zhuhai.

Immigration

Effective immediately, Shanghai SAFEA has made permanent the suspension of the submission of physical documents for work permit applications (including initial, renewal, transfer, and cancellation).

–   The online process with commitments from Chinese employers has been fully implemented, and companies are exempt from submitting paper documents at the authority.

–   Processing times can be reduced by two working days.

–   Category B work permits can now be granted for up to two years, provided all the requirements are met.

–   Shanghai SAFEA has also simplified the required application documents to facilitate a change of employer – the new employer does not need to submit a certificate of no criminal record, certificate of physical examination, or work qualification certificate.

Labour authorities have suspended the submission of physical documents for work permit applications (including initial, renewal, transfer, and cancellation). Instead, all applications will be processed online only during this period, with a commitment letter provided by the Chinese employer. The commitment letter should affirm the authenticity and validity of their online submission and original documents should be kept for further check.

Medical authorities have the discretionary power to permit or refuse foreign nationals to undergo a medical examination based on their entry, residence, travel and other documents.

Immigration Concessions

In Shanghai, E-signature on employment termination letter or emails as well as WeChat messages can be accepted as evidence in support of the termination of employment relationship between the Chinese employer and foreign employee during the epidemic control period.

While renewing the work permit in Shanghai, the authority accepts the tax payment evidence uploaded online by the Chinese employer. The foreign employee (who made the commitment on salary/ IIT before) does not need to go to the tax authority to get a printout of their tax payment record, which was previously required by the SAFEA authority.

In Shanghai, the requirements on the salary/ IIT commitment will be relaxed to a reasonable extent while foreign employees (who made the above commitment earlier) renew their work permit during the epidemic control period (provisionally from February to April). Foreign employees in Shanghai are allowed to submit their online application for work permit renewal before its expiry date during this epidemic control period. Previously, such a renewal application shall be submitted online 30 days before the expiry date.

Foreign nationals in Shanghai whose visas or residence permits have expired and who are not able to exit China during the epidemic control period, can have their visas or residence permits extended automatically for another two months (by NIA). They are allowed to apply for a work permit during the above extended period.

In Beijing, the immigration authorities are asking all foreign nationals and Chinese citizens to hold off submitting their visa/stay/residence permit applications in person if it is not urgent. Those who require urgent assistance with applications are encouraged to make appointment reservations in advance. Beijing has adopted an online submission and commitment letter process for work permit renewals and cancelations.

In Shenzhen, the immigration authorities have opened green channels for expedited applications for emergencies and urgent requests. The authorities have also implemented other convenient measures to facilitate visa applications for those remaining in Shenzhen during this outbreak period.

 

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has announced that effective from 0.00am 25 December 2020, all persons who have stayed in the United Kingdom (UK) or South Africa for more than two hours in the past 21 days will not be allowed to board for Hong Kong.

Entry is suspended for all travellers, including Hong Kong residents, who have spent more than 2 hours in the United Kingdom in the previous 14 days until further notice.

Entry is suspended for non-Hong Kong residents arriving from overseas by air; and for non-Hong Kong residents arriving from the Mainland, Macau and Taiwan who have visited any other country in the previous 14 days.

Effective 22 December, inbound air travellers will be transported to designated hotels to undergo a 14-day quarantine, and will need to take an additional COVID-19 test five days after completing the quarantine. All travellers arriving in Hong Kong (except from China, Macao or Taiwan) are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in a hotel and not at home. Proof of a hotel reservation is required for a continuous duration of not less than 14 days from the date of arrival.

Travellers arriving in Hong Kong from a high-risk country (Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States) must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate from a test issued within 72 hours before departure, as well as confirmation of a 14+ day hotel booking in Hong Kong for quarantine purposes.

The following are subject to 14-day quarantine:

–    Travellers from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, including Hong Kong and non-Hong Kong residents;

–    Hong Kong residents who have been in any overseas countries or areas in the previous 14 days.

Quarantine procedure:

–    Travellers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport in the morning will stay at the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) of the Department of Health located in the airport to wait for test results after collecting their deep throat saliva samples there. They will receive the test results on the same day. As the test results for.

–    Travellers arriving in the afternoon/evening/night will be taken to the Holding Centre for Test Results (HCTR) of the Department of Health (DOH) by coaches arranged by the Department of Health for one night to wait for their test results.

–    If the test results are negative, travellers will be allowed to leave the hotel and go home or to a designated place immediately to continue completion of the 14-day compulsory quarantine.

–    Confirmed cases and their close contacts will respectively be arranged for admission to hospital and sent to designated quarantine centres direct.

–    Exemptions from the quarantine measures include cross-border students, as well as travellers from mainland China who have manufacturing operations or business activities, or provide professional services, and their travel isconsidered to be in the interest of Hong Kong’s economic development.

Hong Kong residents who have remained in Guangdong or Macao for the past 14 days are exempted from the 14-day quarantine requirement when they return to Hong Kong (Return2hk Scheme).

–   Initially, a quota of 3000 qualifying travellers per day has been set for Shenzhen Bay Port and 2000 for the HK-Zhuhai-Macao bridge (HZMB) Hong Kong Port.

–   The online booking system will be opened every Wednesday at 9am until Friday at 6pm to accept quota applications for the 7-day period of the following week (i.e. Monday to Sunday).

–   After securing a quota, the HK resident should undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at a mutually-recognised medical institution.

–   Before travel they must submit a negative test result to the Department of Health’s electronic health declaration system through the Yuekang code or Macao health code and submit all other required information to obtain a green QR code.

The inaugural flights under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) agreement with Singapore have been postponed until early 2021.

–   Entry is permitted for passengers who have remained in Singapore for 2 weeks before travel;

–   Daily quota of maximum 200 passengers on a single designated flight each way;

–   Work permit or S-pass holders in Singapore working in the construction, marine shipyard or process sectors are not eligible for the ATB.

–   No quarantine requirement

–   Travellers aged 13 or above must take a mutually-recognized COVID-19 test

–   within 72 hours before travel and another test on arrival;

–   Travellers must submit a health declaration form in advance and book their

–   PCR test to be done at Hong Kong International Airport.

–   Travellers departing Singapore after 30 November can take the test at one of

–   these 400 or so clinics or testing centres.

–   They must take their second PCR test at the Hong Kong International Airport and wait for negative results. The test can be booked here.

–   Then, they have to take their third test within 72 hours before their return to Singapore at one of Hong Kong’s recognised clinics or testing centres. Children aged 12 or younger are exempted from this test.

–   Travellers do not need to take another test upon their return to Singapore.

Travellers commencing their travel in China are permitted to transit via Hong Kong International Airport. They must meet the following requirements:

–    Itinerary must be in a single booking;

–    Comply with requirements of end destination country;

–    Baggage checked in to the end destination;

–    Onward boarding pass/passes issued in city of origin;

–    Flight connection within 24 hours

All border crossings between Mainland China and Hong Kong remain closed apart from Hong Kong International Airport, The Shenzhen Bay Port and the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

All persons entering Hong Kong are required to complete and submit a Health Declaration Form on arrival. To be environmentally friendly, the Department of Health is encouraging travellers to complete the form online which can be accessed via http://www.chp.gov.hk/hdf After the online submission, the system will generate a QR code which is valid for 24 hours. The QR code screen should be captured and shown to the Department of Health authorities upon arrival in Hong Kong.

The Immigration Department has resumed normal services.

–   The Employment and Dependant Visa has resumed normal services. Processing timeline may continue to be impacted for some time despite resumption of normal services.

–   Employment and Dependant Visa extension applications can only be submitted within one month of visa expiry date under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talent & Professionals (ASMTP).

Visa renewal applications can currently be submitted maximum one month prior to visa expiry date. Approval notification will be sent approximately within 2 to 4 weeks of application filing date.

 

India

All flights from the UK are suspended from 18.29 GMT on Tuesday until 31 December.

The suspension of all scheduled international passenger services is extended until 31 December. The suspension of visa services is extended in line with the suspension of all international passenger services.

Entry is permitted for all overseas citizens of India (OCI) and persons of Indian origin (PIO) card holders as well as all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa, by air or water through authorised airports or seaports.

–   All existing visas (except electronic visas, tourist visas and medical visas) are restored.

–   If visas have expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the relevant Indian consular posts concerned.

–   In case any foreign national not covered by the above categories is required to visit India urgently due to any family emergency, the Indian consular posts are authorized to issue single entry X-Misc visas for an appropriate period. In such cases, the Indian consular posts may take a decision on the grant of visa on a case to case basis on the merits of each case.

–   Nationals of Nepal and Bhutan are permitted to come to India from any country (including any third country).

–   Any Indian national or a national of Nepal or Bhutan holding any type of valid visa of any country is permitted to travel from India to the country concerned provided there is no travel restriction for entry of Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese nationals in that country. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese nationals to enter the country concerned with the particular visa category before issue of tickets/boarding pass to the Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese passenger.

–   The right of multiple entry lifelong visa facility granted for any purpose shall stand restored with immediate effect to all persons registered as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders. 

Entry is permitted for Tibetan migrants resident in India (registered with the FRO/FRRO) and holding a certificate of identity issued by the Ministry of External Affairs and a return visa (which will be reactivated). If the return visa is expired, a fresh visa must be obtained from the relevant Indian consulate. 

All international travellers to Tamil Nadu or West Bengal must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate (taken within 96 hours prior to arrival) and undergo 14-day home quarantine.

–   Indian nationals returning to Tamil Nadu, and their employers, must schedule the PCR test to ensure the result is received within 96 hours prior to departure.

–   International passengers arriving in the State of Tamil Nadu are also required to obtain TN e-Pass which can be obtained online using https://tnepass.tnega.org/ and download Arogya Setu App on mobile (available at https://www.mygov.in/aarogya-Setu-app/). This should remain active at all times through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

 

UAE residents travelling to India are no longer required to register with the Indian consulates in UAE before booking their tickets.

Certain categories of foreign nationals from a “travel bubble” country (Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Maldives, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States), are permitted to enter India via non-scheduled commercial/chartered flights. The following are the applicable categories:

–   Foreign nationals coming to India on any sub-categories of employment visa, along with their dependents holding dependent visas. 

–   Foreign journalists holding J-1 visas and their dependents holding J-1X visas (suspended visas are reactivated)

–   Business travellers with a business visa (other than B3 visa for sports)

–   Healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians for technical work at Indian health sector facilities, subject to a letter of invitation from a recognised and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or accredited university in India

–   Engineering, managerial, design or other specialists travelling to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India, including all manufacturing units, design units, software and IT units as well as financial sector companies (banking and non-banking financial sector firms). 

–   Technical specialists and engineers travelling for installation repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business entity. 

–   OCI Cardholders, minor children or students with at least one parent who is an Indian citizen or OCI Cardholder, spouses of Indian citizens, single parents of minor children who are Indian citizens or OCI Cardholders. 

–   Dependent family members of foreign diplomats and official/service passport holding service staff accredited to foreign diplomatic Missions, consular offices or accredited International Organizations in India. 

–   Foreign nationals who are persons of Indian origin, who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies like critical medical conditions of immediate family members or death. For this purpose, the person of Indian origin means someone who or any of whose parents had held an Indian passport or such parent (s) is/are or had been a citizen of India earlier. 

–   Foreign nationals stranded in the close neighbouring countries and seeking to exit to their destination country through India. (xii) Foreign nationals coming on Medical grounds for treatment in India (including one Attendant, if so requested). 

All existing visas remain temporarily suspended and are not valid for entering India.

–   Travellers in the above categories must first obtain a fresh visa, as applicable, from the relevant Indian consulate. 

–   This requirement does not apply to those holding valid visas of diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment and project categories.

–   Foreign nationals holding a valid long-term multiple-entry business visa issued by an Indian consulate must have these visas re-validated by the relevant consulate. 

Arrival protocols:

–   All international arrivals must complete and submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours before travel and undergo universal health screening at the designated health counters at all points of entry

–   Travellers may be exempt from institutional quarantine by submitting on arrival a negative COVID-19 PCR test, conducted within 72 hours prior to travel

–   If a negative PCR test result is not presented, testing on arrival at the airport is now available at certain airports.

–   Otherwise, travellers are subject to a 7-day institutional quarantine at their own expense followed by a 7-day home quarantine. In exceptional cases, receiving states may permit home quarantine for the entire 14-day period. In such cases, those under home quarantine will have to download India’s domestic health monitoring and tracking mobile application known as ‘Arogya Setu’.

Visa-free travel granted to OCI card holders who are not in India presently has been suspended until further notice. All existing visas (except diplomatic, UN/international organization, employment and project visas) issued to nationals of any country who have not yet entered India stand suspended until the lifting of the suspension of international passenger services.

Incoming travellers, including Indian nationals are required to complete and submit a self-declaration form at least 72 hours before travel, and undergo universal health screening at the designated health counters at all points of entry.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has just released the guidelines for further easing of restrictions under “Unlock 5”. This does not affect international travel or immigration. India Visa application centres and online e-visa application facility are closed till further notice.

Foreign nationals are not permitted to visit the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) without a prior appointment until further notice.

 

Indonesia

The Indonesian Government just issued a travel policy on December 19th, 2020 due to the current situation of Covid-19 in Indonesia. 

Domestic 

  • For trips to Bali island using air transportation (plane) it is required to show the PCR Test Negative Covid-19 result which is not older than 7 x 24 hours before departure and fill in the e-HAC Indonesia forms. Travelers using land and sea transportation are required to show a negative test result certificate using the antigen rapid test which is not older than 3 x24 hours before departure as a trip requirement. 
  • For trips to and from Java Island as well as within Java Island (between Provinces / Districts / Cities), travelers using air, intercity rail transportation and land (public or private) are required to show a negative test result certificate using the antigen rapid test which is not older than 3 x24 hours before being before departure as a trip requirement. 
  • Children under 12 years old not required to have a PCR Negative Covid-19 result nor are they required to show the antigen rapid test as a trip requirement. 
  • In case the result of the antigen rapid test is non-reactive or negative but the traveler shows symptoms, then the traveler is not allowed to continue the trip and is required to carry out a PCR test and self-isolation during the waiting time for the results of the examination.

International

  • Every individual who comes from abroad must show at the time of arrival a PCR Negative COVID-19 test results from the country of origin which is not older than 3 x 24 hours; 
  • After arriving in Indonesia, the traveler is supervised by officers in the form of: a. body temperature check; b. validation of the PCR health certificate; c. re-examination of the PCR Test for Indonesian citizens and foreigners. 
  • During the waiting time for the results of the PCR Test, Indonesian citizens are required to undergo quarantine at special quarantine accommodation provided by the government (Wisma Atlet) and foreigners need to wait at the certified quarantine accommodations at own expenses (hotels).

Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to establish a travel Corridor Arrangement (TCR) for essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries.

–   The TCR will be referred to by Singapore as the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL).

–   Operational details are to be confirmed. 

The suspension of visa on arrival and visa exemption continues.

Applications are now accepted for single-entry visas (travel visas and limited stay visas) and limited stay permits for certain purposes are available. Foreign nationals can enter Indonesia using a Single-Entry Visa for:

–   Business

–   Emergency and urgent work

–   Purchase of goods in Indonesia

–   Expertise testing for prospective foreign workers; o Medical and food assistance

–   Crew on a vessel.

 Stay permits (ITAS) are available for work, spouse, investment and retirement.

–   Note that for a work ITAS, a recommendation from the investment authority (BKPM) is required in addition to a work permit from the Ministry of Manpower.

 The visa for social purposes is not yet available foreigners outside Indonesia. Multiple-Entry Visas are also not yet available.

 For single-entry visa and stay permit applications:

–   The sponsoring entity must submit:

–   A negative COVID-19 test result

–   A letter stating that the foreign national is willing to enter quarantine at their own expense if tested positive in Indonesia

–   A letter stating that the foreign national is willing to have their health monitored during quarantine

–   A letter stating that the foreign national is willing to cover their own health costs in case of COVID-19 infection.

–   The sponsoring entity must show proof that it has at least USD 10,000 (or equivalent in another currency) in its bank account. Previously, this was USD 1500. This requirement does not apply to single-entry visitors for medical and food assistance or crew on vessels.

Both the single-entry visa and the limited stay visa (required for ITAS), are issued in the form of an eVisa. This eVisa is issued electronically and this means that foreigners are no longer required to pick up their visa sticker at the Indonesian Embassy or Consulate abroad. Foreigners who have received their eVisa for their single-entry visit visa, can use this eVisa as proof of their permission to stay in Indonesia. Foreigners have obtained their eVisa for their ITAS/ITAP, they will need to report to local immigration to process the ITAS/ITAP. 

Special travel corridor arrangements have been established between Indonesia and both South Korea and United Arab Emirates to facilitate travel for business, employment, diplomatic and official purposes. 

Foreign nationals entering Indonesia must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate in English, issued no more than 7 days previously.

–   Individuals who present a negative test result:

–   are given health clearance, which will be forwarded to the local health office via their national representative for monitoring during quarantine

–   will be issued a Health Alert Card (HAC) on arrival

–   can continue to travel to their destination

–   must undergo self-quarantine at home for 14 days.

–   If travellers cannot provide an adequate, valid negative COVID-19 test certificate, health officers at the airport will take the individual to a hospital or quarantine facility to perform a PCR test. While awaiting the results (3-5 days), the individual must remain in quarantine at one of the designated hotels, at their own cost.

–   If the result is negative, the individual is permitted to continue to their destination city, and must conduct self-quarantine at home for 14 days

–   If the result is positive, the individual must remain in quarantine until a negative result is recorded. 

Entry and transit are suspended for foreign national visitors who have spent any time in the previous 14 days in countries affected by COVID-19. Exemptions exist for:

–   Children of dual citizenship with a foreign passport and registered in the immigration system as an Indonesian citizen

–   Holders of Single-Entry Visas.

–   Holders of Temporary Stay Permit and Permanent Stay Permit (Permanent Residents/KITAS and KITAP) with a valid Multiple Re-entry Permit.

–   Holders of Diplomatic Visa and Official/Service Visa,

–   Holders of Diplomatic Stay Permit and Official/Service Stay Permit.

–   People engaged with Medical Services and Delivery of Supplies (humanitarian assistance),

–   Airline and Maritime Crews including Land Transports.

–   People whose travel is associated with essential work for National Strategic Projects such as infrastructure or construction with approval from the DirectorGeneral of Immigration.

–   Holders of Temporary Stay Permit/Permanent Stay Permit(Permanent Residents/KITAS and KITAP) and Multiple Re-entry Permit that has expired and is still abroad, only through certain airports 

New work permit applications by Foreign Investment Companies (PT PMA) which are not related with National Strategic Projects, can be approved by the Ministry of Manpower as long as there is a recommendation letter from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).

 

Israel

Until at least 31 January 2021, all passenger flights to and from Ben Gurion airport are suspended. 

  • This measure suspends the entry of both foreign and Israeli nationals. 

Special permission may be granted on a humanitarian basis.

 

Japan

Entry under the Business Track and Residence Track frameworks for foreign nationals from all 11 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam) is suspended. 

  • The validity of visas already issued under the Business Track and the Residence Track and visas issued based on “new measures for border enforcement” are suspended. 
  • The relaxation of restriction on movement during the 14-day quarantine period through the Business Track is suspended. 

Until 7 February 2021: 

  • New entry is suspended for all foreign nationals. 
    • Re-entry is permitted for travellers with residence status (“Permanent Resident”, “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident” or “Long Term Resident”, or the spouse or child of a Japanese national without these residence statuses) AND a valid re-entry permit.

Until further notice, all Japanese nationals and foreign nationals with the status of residence are required to sign and submit on entry a written pledge to refrain from using public transportation for 14 days, to quarantine at home or other designated areas for 14 days, to retain the location data, and provide it to the health centres or other institutions, if requested. (If separate quarantine measures are to be taken, those also need to be pledged.) 

Those who do not submit the “Written Pledge” are requested to stay at a location designated by the Chief of the Quarantine Station (only at the accommodation booked by the quarantine office) for 14 days. 

All Japanese and foreign nationals must obtain “Certificate of Testing for COVID-19” from a medical facility in the country proving a negative test result having undergone a test for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to departing from the country(from the sampling time). 

All Japanese and foreign nationals must: 

  • Undergo a health check and PCR test at the airport on arrival (free of charge); 
  • Wait for the result of the PCR test at the designated area in the airport for a few hours; 
  • If negative, proceed to the landing examination procedure at the immigration counter; 
  • Undergo 14 days self-quarantine; 
  • Refrain from using public transport during the 14-day quarantine. 
  • Secure private transport form airport to home/hotel. 

All Japanese and foreign nationals with residence status who have in the previous 14 days visited the United Kingdom or South Africa: 

  • These travellers must submit a certificate of a negative result from a test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • They must self-quarantine for 3 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief (only at the accommodations booked by the quarantine office), even if the result of their pre-entry COVID-19 test is negative. 
  • On the third day they are required to take another COVID-19 test. Those who have negative result in this test are still required to selfquarantine at home for 14 days after entering Japan. 
  • They must submit a pledge to maintain their location information and install a COVID-19 Contact Confirming Application (COCOA) when entering Japan. 

All Japanese and foreign nationals who have in the previous 14 days visited countries whose authorities have confirmed domestic infection of the new variant of Coronavirus (other than the UK and South Africa): 

  • These travellers must submit a negative result of a COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours before the flight, and a COVID-19 test will be conducted at the airport upon entry. 
  • Those who cannot submit the negative COVID-19 testing result mentioned above will be requested to stay at specific facilities designated by the Chief of the Quarantine Station (limited to accommodation facilities designated by the Quarantine Station) for 14 days after arrival. 
  • This applies to Australia, Austria (from 24/1/21), Belgium, Brazil (Sao Paulo, Canada (British Colombia, Ontario, Quebec), China (Beijing from 25/1/21), Czech Republic (from 24/1/21), Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana (from 23 January), Hungary (from 24/1/21), Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York State, Pennsylvania, Texas; and Utah from 24/1/21). 

Foreign nationals who have in the previous 14 days visited any travel ban countries must submit a certificate of a negative result from a pre-entry COVID-19 PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure. 

Japanese and foreign nationals, who have in the previous 14 days visited any travel ban countries or Australia are subject to a PCR test on arrival. 

Japanese and foreign nationals arriving from all countries must self-isolate for 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief and must refrain from using public transportation. 

New visa applications are currently not accepted at Japanese embassies and consulates.

Entry is suspended for foreign nationals who have in the previous 14 days visited the following countries: 

  • Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican, Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Botswana, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

SUSPENDED: The Government of Japan is phasing in a Business Track/Residence Track framework of special measures for resuming cross-border travel on the condition of additional quarantine measures.

–   Foreign nationals intending to enter or re-enter Japan under this framework need either a new visa; or a re-entry confirmation letter (holders of a Japanese residence status returning from Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand or Vietnam on the residence track) or neither (holders of a Japanese residence status returning to Japan having travelled to Singapore on the Business track).

–   On top of the current border control measures (i.e. undergoing PCR testing, refraining from using public transport and 14-day self-quarantine), applicants must take additional quarantine measures:

–   Present on arrival:

–   A copy of the written pledge, and schedule of activities 

–   a certificate of the result of pre-entry PCR testing 

–   a questionnaire including details of health monitoring for 14 days prior to departure

–   Obtain private medical insurance

–   Install LINE, COVID-19 contact tracing and map apps to record and report their health, location and contacts data for 14 days after entry into Japan.

The “Residence Track”:

–   This applies to holders of a Certificate of Eligibility for work or long-term stay who are nationals of Brunei (effective 8 October), Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore (effective 30 September), Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. 

–   Effective 1 October, entry is permitted under the Residence Track for holders of a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for any type of status of residence, as well as cross-border travellers (short-term stay for business) from any country or region, on condition that the person is hosted by a company / entity that can assure observation of quarantine measures. However, the number of people to be permitted to enter Japan under this new provision will be restricted. 

–   If the applicant presents an expired Certificate of Eligibility issued on or after 1 October 2019, the applicant is required to show a document issued by his/her accepting organization in Japan that states the organization will still be able to accept the applicant to have him/her engage in the activities described on the application for the Certificate of Eligibility.

The “Business Track”: 

–   This allows business travellers from Singapore to conduct limited business activities during their 14-day stay at home period immediately after arrival, with a total stay of up to 30 days. 

–   In order to reserve a pre-departure test in Singapore, the traveller must first submit a written pledge and schedule of activities to the Japanese embassy in Singapore and obtain from them a Cover Letter, and a new visa (except holders of a Japanese residence status returning to Japan having travelled to Singapore using the Business Track).

 

Macao

All travellers arriving in Macao, who are not residents of Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China, will be denied entry. Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China who have travelled overseas in the 14 days prior to their arrival will also be denied entry.

Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan or mainland China who have visited Hong Kong or Taiwan in the 14 days prior to entry will be subject to 14 days of medical surveillance in a designated centre.

All air passengers, including Macao residents, must obtain a certificate confirming that they have tested negative for coronavirus within the last 7 days before they are allowed to board their flight to Macao. All air passengers will also have their temperature checked before boarding flights, and will be refused boarding if they have a fever.

 

Malaysia

All foreign nationals entering Malaysia must pay for the cost of 10-day quarantine and testing before departure via the MySafeTravel site. 

  • Returning Malaysians are encouraged to do the same, but it is not mandatory.

The quarantine period for incoming travellers is reduced from 14 days to 10 days (if entering with no prior negative swab test) or 7 days (if entering with a negative swab test result not more than 3 days old.

Returning travellers (citizens and foreign nationals) are now subject to PCR testing on arrival and mandatory 10-day/7-day quarantine at designated quarantine centres. 

  • At least three days before departure, returning travellers must download and complete a Letter of Undertaking (LOU), and submit it at a Malaysian mission in their home country. 
  • Subject to the approval of the Malaysian mission, a Letter of Approval (Entry Permit) is issued via email. This must be presented during flight check-in, and again to the authorities on arrival. 
  • Travellers must download MySejahtera mobile app at least 1 day before departure date and update essential information. 
  • Travellers are not required to undergo a COVID-19 test in their home country before departure but are advised to check directly with airlines if there is any requirement to produce COVID-19 test results before boarding their flight (most airlines are requesting COVID-19 test results at check-in.) 
  • Travellers presenting a negative result of a COVID-19 swab test not more than three days old may qualify for a reduced quarantine period of 7 days. 
  • On arrival, travellers must go through health screening – those showing COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated and referred to hospital for treatment and COVID-19 PCR tests will be performed in the arrivals hall at the traveller’s expense (RM 250 per person). 
  • The travellers will be transported by the authorities to the designated quarantine facility. 
  • During quarantine, the traveller must conduct daily self-health assessments and report to Quarantine Station personnel. Those who subsequently test positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to hospital for treatment. A negative result of an Antigen Rapid Test (RM 120) is required for discharge.

Foreign nationals who are citizens or residents of countries with more than 150,000 COVID-19 cases, or who are travelling from those countries, are no longer permitted to enter Malaysia. The current list is as follows:

–   Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States

–   Exceptions are made for:

–   All long-term pass holders

–   Diplomats and dependants based in Malaysia who have been issued with the Exemption Order. Otherwise, an entry approval must be obtained by the Malaysia Immigration Department. 

–   Seafarers (where entry is for sign on or joint ship activities only 

–   Pilots and cabin crew of commercial and private airlines are entering as crew or passengers but must provide a General Declaration for the next flight operation. 

–   Professional crew and workers in the Oil & Gas industry who already hold a valid Malaysian issued Pass and have been granted with Entry Approval by the Director General of Immigration.

Transit is allowed provided passengers have a confirmed connecting flight and do not pass immigration clearance. 

Malaysian citizens travelling from the 23 countries are permitted entry but must enter 10-day quarantine at government-appointed hotels and testing at their own expense. The Malaysian Embassies in the 23 countries will suspend the issuance of all visa types and Travel Notice/Travel Permission until further notice. It is not clear whether pending or renewal applications for nationals of these 23 countries will be processed or put on hold. There is no clarity as to how long this entry ban may last. 

MSC/ICT status companies are no longer required to obtain a support letter from MDEC in support of an Entry Approval Letter (EAL) application, as enforced previously. After completing the Pass Approval stage, companies may proceed to apply directly for Entry Approval and Exit/Re-Entry Permission via MYEntry. 

Singapore and Malaysia have introduced entry facilities between the two countries to certain types of travellers: The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) enables cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes for up to 14 days. 

–   Travellers of any nationality who have legally resided in Singapore for at least 14 days before travelling to Malaysia. 

–   A medical certificate must be presented showing a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued within the previous 72 hours before departure. 

–   Entry is permitted through direct flights only to KLIA, KLIA2, Penang International Airport and land border crossings (i.e. Causeway and Second Link). 

–   Travellers must remain under temporary self-isolation until the result of an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test is confirmed. 

The Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) allows Singapore nationals and permanent residents with valid Malaysian work authorization to cross the border. 

–   Eligible travellers utilizing the PCA should remain in the other country for work for at least 90 days, after which they are permitted to return to their home country for a short period of time, and then re-enter their country of work for at least an additional three months. 

–   Eligible travellers utilizing the PCA should remain in the other country for work for at least 90 days, after which they are permitted to return to their home country for a short period of time, and then re-enter their country of work for at least an additional three months – no daily commuting is allowed. 

–   Entry is permitted through land border crossings only i.e. Causeway and Second Link. 

–   Travellers must enter a 7-day modified Home Surveillance Order (HSO) until the result of an on-arrival COVID-19 PCR test is available.

–   The sponsor organisation in Malaysia is advised to file an application 10 working days before the traveller’s proposed travel date, via MyTravelPass (MTP) portal.

–   MTP approval is expected to be issued 24 hours before proposed departure date.

–   The traveller must pre-install the MySejahtera app before entry and agree to bear the cost of a COVID-19 test on arrival. 

An online system called MYEntry has streamlined the process of applying for an Entry Approval Letter. MYEntry is accessible via the Expatriate Services Division online system. MYEntry is applicable for all Malaysian passes issued via ESD, MDEC and MIDA. 

Arrival procedure

There is mandatory PCR testing and a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals.

–   This will be carried out at designated quarantine facilities only. Centres will either be hotels or quarantine centres.

–   Arrivals are required to bear the full cost of the entire stay.

–   At least three days before departure, returning travellers must download and complete a Letter of Undertaking (LOU), and submit it at a Malaysian mission in their home country.

–   Subject to the approval of the Malaysian mission, a Letter of Approval (Entry Permit) is issued via email. This must be presented during flight check-in, and again to the authorities on arrival.

–   Travellers must download MySejahtera mobile app at least 1 day before departure date and update essential information.

–   Travellers are not required to undergo a COVID-19 test in their home country before departure but are advised to check directly with airlines if there is any requirement to produce COVID-19 test results before boarding their flight (most airlines are requesting COVID-19 test results at check-in.)

–   On arrival, travellers must go through health screening – those showing COVID-19 symptoms will be isolated and referred to hospital for treatment – and COVID-19 PCR tests will be performed in the arrivals hall at the traveller’s expense (RM 250 per person).

–   The travellers will be transported by the authorities to the designated quarantine facility.

–   During quarantine, the traveller must conduct daily self-health assessments and report to Quarantine Station personnel. Those who subsequently test positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to hospital for treatment. A negative result of an Antigen Rapid Test (RM 120) is required for discharge. 

Holders of expired Employment Pass (EP) Category 1, Residence Pass – Talent (RPT), their accompanying dependents holding a Dependant Pass (DP) and domestic helpers can return to Malaysia but must first obtain prior Entry Approval from the Director General of Immigration (DGIM). 

Holders of already approved Employment Pass (EP) Category 1, Residence Pass – Talent (RP-T), and their accompanying dependents holding a Dependent Pass (DP) and domestic helpers are now able to return to Malaysia without needing to obtain prior approval from the Director General of Immigration (DGIM).

–   Holders of EP/DP approval that are yet to be endorsed on the passport in Malaysia are now permitted to enter without DGIM entry approval.

–   Applicants are advised to check with Malaysian Embassy or Consulate in their home country on entry visa requirements before travelling to Malaysia.

–   Holders of EP II, EP III, Professional Visit Pass (PVP) and Long-Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) must still obtain Entry Approval from the Director General of Immigration (DGIM).

–   The foreign national will be required to complete a COVID-19 test three days before departure and return a negative result. They must also download the ‘MySejahtera’ app and register themselves. A 14 day quarantine may be required, depending on the results of the health screening at the airport upon arrival. 

Quarantine is not required for arrivals from the current “Green Zone Countries”:

–   Australia, Brunei, New Zealand and Singapore

Transit through Kuala Lumpur International airport, without going through an immigration checkpoint, is allowed. 

All holders of long-term passes (Employment Pass, Professional Visit Pass, Dependant Pass, Long-Term Social Visit Pass), along with their dependents and/or foreign maids, must apply for Entry Approval to enter Malaysia. Employers may also apply to the relevant approving agency for new immigration pass approvals for foreign nationals abroad.

–   There is no longer any exemption for Employment Pass (EP) Category 1 holders, Residence Pass (RPT) holders and their respective dependents.

–   Long-term pass holders are exempt from the travel ban on 23 countries.

–   Prospective entrants must obtain a Support Letter from the respective approving agency (ESD or MIDA – no longer required from MDEC), which typically takes 3-7 working days, depending on the agency.

–   They must then apply to taskforce_esd@imi.gov.my for entry approval from the Director General of Immigration (DGIM). If accepted, an Entry Approval Letter will be issued within 14 working days.

–   Entry Approval issued before 7 September 2020 is still valid and holders are advised to return to Malaysia within 60 days from issuance.

–   Visa-required nationals with existing passes which have expired, or with new immigration pass approvals, must submit the Entry Approval Letter with other relevant documents at a Malaysian embassy, consulate or high commission. Subject to approval, the Malaysian mission will issue an entry visa which must be presented to the airline at check-in and to the immigration checkpoint on arrival.

–   The foreign national must undergo a PCR COVID-19 test within 3 days of entry and must present a negative result on check-in and on arrival.

–   The permitted entry points are Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), the Immigration Checkpoint in the Sultan Iskandar Building (BSI) in Johor and the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex (2nd Link), Johor.

–   On arrival, the foreign national must present their Entry Approval Letter and negative test results, and download the MySejahtera app. They will be subject to a health screening and may have to undergo a COVID-19 swab test. Arrivals who test negative must undergo quarantine at a designated quarantine center. Arrivals who test positive will be transferred to hospital. 

A Permission to Exit and Return Letter (PERL) allows eligible foreign residents to exit and re-enter within 60 days of the approval letter being granted.

–   Business and official visits are now also eligible.

–   Social visits and tourism are still not allowed.

–   Expatriates who wish to exit Malaysia and not return during the RMCO will not need to apply for Exit Permission.

–   Permission to Exit and Return issued before 7 September 2020 is still valid and holders are advised to return to Malaysia within 60 days from issuance. 

All new and renewal applications for Employment Pass (EP) and Dependent Pass (DP) at the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) must now be submitted online via the Expatriate Services Division (ESD). The Immigration Unit at MIDA will no longer process any EP or DP applications.

–   Note that registration for ESD services can take 1-2 months.

–   Pre-approved Expatriate Posts (key posts and term posts) are still required.

–   However, an advertisement must be placed in Jobs Malaysia for 30 days before the application for Expatriate Posts is submitted.

–   Certain applications can still be submitted to the Immigration Unit at MIDA: Transfer of endorsement; take-up balance of approved period; cancellation; special pass; DP applications of EP holders already holding MIDA-issued EPs. 

Exit Restrictions

All categories of pass holders who wish to exit and return to Malaysia must obtain exit and re-entry permission, and must return within 60 days. All categories who wish to exit for good must cancel their pass or obtain a special pass if required. 

Immigration

Effective 14 to 27 October, certain states will be put under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO):

–   This applies to Kuala Lumpur, Selangor (where the Immigration processing authority is located), Putrajaya (where the Immigration Department and Units are located), Klang and Sabah.

–   The Immigration Department HQ and Expatriate Services Division (ESD) Immigration Office in Putrajaya, and the Immigration Units at MDEC Cyberjaya and MIDA will be closed throughout this period.

–   It is not yet clear whether the MYXpats Centre and MDEC processing authorities will remain open or if online processing will continue.

The Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) is extended until 31 December.

 

New Zealand

It is no longer permitted to transit New Zealand to China. 

Entry is suspended for all non-resident foreign nationals. The following are exempt: 

  • NZ citizens and residence visa holders (if they have previously travelled to New Zealand on this residence visa); 
  • NZ residents with valid travel conditions; the immediate family of NZ citizens or residents, if travelling together with their NZ citizen or resident family member;
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in NZ; aircraft and marine crew. 

Exceptions will be considered for humanitarian reasons, health and other essential workers, citizens of Samoa and Tonga for essential travel to NZ, and holders of visitor visas who are the dependent family member of a temporary or student visa holder currently resident in NZ. Exception requests may be submitted via the INZ website. Importantly, exceptions are being granted very rarely. If granted, an invitation will be issued to apply for a visitor visa, or to vary an existing visa (as applicable).

Anyone allowed to enter must still be isolated in designated managed isolation hotels from other people for at least 14 days and must then test negative for COVID-19 before they can go into the community.

  • If people do not have symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, they will be placed in a managed isolation facility. They may not leave their facility unless they have applied for and received an exemption from isolation from health officials. However, they can go for walks under the condition they do not have contact with other people in the community; 
  • If people do have symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, or test positive after arrival, they will be placed in a quarantine facility. These people will be unable to leave their room. 
  • People in mandatory isolation or quarantine facilities can be required to have a COVID-19 test at any reasonable time on arrival and during their stay. 
  • People should be tested at least twice unless it would be inappropriate for them to be tested. The testing should be on or around day 3 and on or around day 12 of their stay. 
  • If a resident does not consent to be tested early in their stay (on or around day 3) or agrees to only one test, it will be difficult to be sure they meet the lowrisk criteria by day 14, and they may then be required to stay for longer and potentially up to 28 days. 
  • If a person does not meet low-risk criteria after 28 days, they might be placed in other facilities, a hospital or other arrangements. 
  • If a resident tests positive, they cannot be considered “low risk”, and if they are in a managed isolation facility, they should be transferred to a quarantine facility. They should not be given permission to leave until they meet the low risk indicators

Travellers to New Zealand must register for a voucher, allocating them a place in a managed isolation facility. The voucher is free, although the stay in managed isolation facilities may not be. 

  • Travellers are legally required to obtain a voucher before boarding. Otherwise, boarding will be prohibited, unless the traveller is exempt from using managed isolation facilities. 
  • Places in Managed Isolation and Quarantine are extremely limited leading up to the holiday period. 

Temporary visa holders who were ordinarily living in New Zealand in the last 12 months, and who left New Zealand on or before 19 March 2020 will not have to pay isolation or quarantine charges. Individuals who left after 19 March 2020 will be charged for their time in managed isolation. 

24-hour transit is only permitted for Australian or New Zealand citizens or New Zealand residents (including immediate family) and individuals who meet one of the COVID-19 travel exceptions. All transit passengers must transit New Zealand in less than 12 hours, must remain airside, and cannot enter New Zealand. They can only transit Auckland International Airport. 

Visa waiver travel for tourism or business is suspended.

The suspension of offshore visa processing is extended until 6 February 2021. Exceptions include: 

  • Relationship-based visas for dependants of NZ citizens or residents; 
  • Visas for diplomats, consular and official staff, and their dependent family members; 
  • Individuals travelling for a critical purpose; 
  • Antarctic work and traveller visitor visas; o Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) limited visas.

The suspension of off-shore visa processing for most temporary visas has been

extended until May 2021 from the previously announced 8 February 2021.

 

Philippines

The suspension of entry is lifted for all foreign travellers who have visited the 35 countries that have recorded cases of the new COVID-19 variants.

Travellers arriving at Francisco Bangoy International Airport (DVO) are required to submit a negative RT-PCR test, taken within 48 hours of their departure. Those arriving at DVO without the required test will not be permitted to leave the airport until testing has been arranged. 

Those arriving from a high-risk place of origin or lay-over (as identified by the latest WHO guidelines) and those identified as having influenza-like symptoms by a Quarantine Medical Officer at the port of entry are subject to RT-PCR COVID-19 testing and stringent quarantine under the supervision of the Bureau of Quarantine until the test results are released. If negative they are subject to 14-day home quarantine. If positive, they are subject to hospital treatment followed by 14-day home quarantine. 

Other foreign nationals are subject to Rapid Antibody testing and mandatory 14-day quarantine at an Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)-designated facility.

Effective 1 February 2021: 

  • All foreign nationals arriving in the Philippines must have a valid and existing visa at the time of entry, except for those qualified under the Balikbayan program 
  • All foreign nationals travelling to the Philippines, regardless of origin, must have pre-booked accommodation for at least 6 nights in an accredited quarantine hotel/facility, and are subject to COVID-19 testing on the sixth day. 
  • Unless the passenger exhibits symptoms at an earlier date while on quarantine, a COVID-19 PCR test will be conducted on the sixth day from date of arrival in the Philippines; 
  • If the RT-PCR test yields a negative result, the passenger shall be endorsed to their local government units of destination who shall then coordinate transfer of said passenger from quarantine facility to the Local Government Unit (LGU) and strictly monitor the remainder of the fourteen-day quarantine through their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams. 
  • Outbound travel to countries with reported new variants is subject to the existing exit protocols of the Philippines as well as the entry protocols of the respective countries. 
  • Passengers who only transited the airport in one of the above countries are exempted from facility-based quarantine and may be permitted home quarantine upon testing negative at the point of entry. 
  • All unaccompanied minor Filipino citizens coming from the travel restriction countries are not permitted to enter except if returning under the repatriation programme. 
  • Entry is subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

Philippines citizens are permitted to exit the country subject to the following guidelines:

  • For those travelling on tourist or short-term/visitor visas, submission of confirmed round-trip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance to cover travel disruptions and hospitalization in case of COVID-19 infection during their stay abroad; 
  • Execution of a Bureau of Immigration Declaration acknowledging the risks involved in travelling, including risk of delay in their return trip, to be provided at the check-in counters by the airlines; 
  • Pre-boarding COVID-19 testing is no longer required by the Philippines authorities. However, whenever required by the country of destination or the airline, a negative COVID-19 test result should be taken in accordance with the health and safety protocols of such destination country or airline; and 
  • Upon return, they shall follow the Guidelines of the National Task Force (NTF) for Returning Overseas Filipinos.

Effective until 28 February 2021: 

  • The following areas are under General Community Quarantine (GCQ): 
  • Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region, Batangas province, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur, Iligan City.
  • The rest of the country will be under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) which is less strict than GCQ.

DOLE NCR requires that only the following forms, duly received and verified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) are accepted as proof of issuance of Tax Identification Numbers (TIN). 

DOLE NCR has stated that Order of Payment Slips (OPS) are only valid for 7 days. 

  • After the 7-day validity period and if OPS is unpaid, the transaction number of the AEP application shall be cancelled accordingly and company or its authorized representative shall re-file the application because it will be deleted from the AEP system. Further, this may also entail submission of valid visa or business permit, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) accreditation and Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB) registration which expired at the time of payment. 
  • Applications are deemed accepted upon payment of fees and its processing shall commence accordingly. 
  • A penalty may be imposed if payment was accepted beyond the fifteen (15) days allowable period of filing without penalty. 

DOLE NCR has published new guidelines for online company or establishment registration. The PEZA Visayas IT Zone Office has resumed onsite operations in Cebu City. 

  • Applicants are encouraged to send scanned copies of all required documents for pre-screening; 
  • Once the scanned documents are confirmed to be complete and correct, the local representative can submit the original documents and pay the corresponding fee. 
  • For any in-person transactions, a prior appointment should be booked. 

Foreign nationals with approved and implemented visas but awaiting release of their Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) who wish to leave the Philippines must once more present an ACR I-Card Waiver Order, instead of receipts for ACR I-Card Waiver application fees. 

The Bureau of Immigration – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (BI PEZA) Extension Office has implemented an online appointment system. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) accepts application submission with an appointment booked online. Applicants must present the appointment code and a valid ID and wear a face mask. BI-accredited travel agencies and law firms may book appointments and transact business on behalf of the applicant. 

DOLE NCR has published new guidelines for online company registration, online submission of new and renewal Alien Employment permit (AEP) applications, and courier delivery of AEP cards. The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) in Region IV-A has published a revised online procedure for application for Alien Employment Permit (AEP). 

The Bureau of Immigration has resumed the acceptance of Special Work Permit (SWP) and Provisional Work Permit (PWP) applications for sectors allowed to operate under MECQ. Additional documents are required in support of PWP applications for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). The Tourist Visa Section and subport offices will accept applications for updating/extension of authorised stay for tourist/temporary visitors who will apply for SWP or PWP. 

Consular Offices (CO) in Metro Manila, Parañaque City and ASEANA Business Park have suspended operations. Consular Offices in the Visayas and Mindanao will be operating with skeletal workforces and will provide services only to individuals with urgent consular needs, such as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and those with medical emergencies, until further notice. Applicants who have no urgent need for consular services, including those with confirmed passport appointments or seeking authentication and civil registration services, are requested to defer their visits to these COs until the community quarantine period ends.

 

Russia

All flights from the UK are suspended until at least 12 January.

Foreign nationals, as well as family members, re-entering Russia after spending New Year and Christmas holidays abroad up and until 10 January 2021, must provide a negative COVID-19 test result. Results should be in Russian or English (or both) and confirm a negative test performed via the PCR method, which must be completed no earlier than 3 days before entering the Russian Federation.

Entry to Russia for foreign citizens is currently only allowed for those employees who are employed in Russia under the Highly Qualified Skills work permit category (and their family members). If the employee (and family) have already entered Russia in 2020 on the basis of permission granted from the Federal Security Services, it will not be necessary to apply for entry permission to enter Russia before 10 January 2021. For any HQS employee (and family) who did not enter Russia in 2020 based on the Federal Security Services clearance, the employer and employee has to apply to the appropriate Ministry in order to request entry permission.

Entry restrictions are lifted for citizens and permanent residents of Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Entry is not permitted for citizens and permanent residents of these countries travelling from other countries.

–   These individuals are eligible to obtain invitations and visas of all types. This does not lift the current restrictions to obtain a work permit for foreign citizens who are currently abroad (including citizens/permanent residents of these three countries). 

Entry into Russia remains limited to air travel. 

The inviting entity (company or individual) must:

–   Provide the foreign national with its contact details

–   Guarantee to provide financial, medical and accommodation security according to letters of guarantee provided during the arrangement of invitation letters

–   Perform the stipulated actions to assist the foreign national to fulfil their purpose of entry (i.e. arrange business meetings, sign an employment or services contract and a workplace, arrange for studies, carry out migration registration or accommodation rental etc.)

–   Inform the MIA of Russia, within 2 business days, if it loses contact with the foreign national. 

Foreign nationals permitted to enter Russia, and Russian citizens returning from abroad, are no longer required to self-quarantine on arrival if they can present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, or a positive antibody test, from a test done no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

–   If no test result is available, the foreign national must take a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival in Russia. If this test result is positive, the foreign national will have to self-quarantine until a negative test result is obtained.

–   Employers are required to inform their foreign employees of these requirements and ensure that they comply.

Entry of foreign nationals is still limited to certain categories. 

Entry is now permitted for highly-qualified specialist (HQS) employees approved to enter by the respective Ministry and by the Federal Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Obtaining a work permit and visa invitation letter for HQS employees approved in this way is now possible. HQS employees must present a valid labour or services contract with a Russian employer or customer on entry, and will be subject to a 14-day home quarantine. Their dependents are currently not permitted to enter Russia. 

Applicants for a work permit, work patent, temporary residence permit (TRP) or permanent residence permit (PRP) (but not for a HQS work permit) must submit a negative COVID-19 test results (in addition to the test results that are already required). 

The entry of foreign nationals is suspended indefinitely. Exceptions are for the following:

–   Close foreign national family members (spouses, parents, children), guardians or trustees of Russian citizens with proof of relationship, travelling with their Russian citizen family member

–   Permanent residents

–   Diplomats and other officials and their family members

–   Persons holding private visas related to the death of close relatives

–   Anyone transiting through air border checkpoints without crossing the Russian border

–   Participants in the state program for relocation of compatriots living abroad, provided they have valid ID documents recognized by the Russian Federation, and a certificate of participation (and their family members)

–   Those participating in the installation and technical support of foreign equipment, defined in an application made to the respective government agency, and approved by the Federal Security Service 

All international flights are suspended. Foreign nationals are permitted to exit Russia, but will not be allowed to re-enter. Visa issuance is suspended at Russian consulates, except for diplomats, officials, transport crews and those travelling with their Russian citizen family members. Previously lodged applications may be issued or may be returned without issuance, depending on the consulate and the date of submission. Electronic visa issuance is also suspended. 

A 14 day quarantine period is required for all arrivals coming from countries with high rates of COVID-19 and all who test positive for COVID-19. 

Immigration

Employers in Moscow are required to send 30% of their staff and contractors at any one time to work from home.

–   All workers over 65 years old or with chronic illnesses must work from home, and do not count towards the 30%.

–   Workers whose presence in the office is essential are exempt.

Effective 12 October, employers in Moscow must report online every Monday to the Moscow Mayor’s office regarding staff sent to work from home. Failure to do so can attract fines of up to RUB 30,000 for citizens, or up to RUB 300,000 for companies. 

The Migration office is not accepting or issuing visa applications or documents at this time, with the exception of exit (transit) visas. Likewise, the issuance of visas at Russian consulates are also suspended, with exceptions to diplomats, officials, transport crews and those travelling with their Russian citizen family members. Depending on the consulate and date of submission, previously submitted applications may be issued or returned without issuance. Electronic visa issuance is also suspended. 

Migration documents for HQS work permit, standard work permit; corporate work permit; work patent, visa (all types), address registration, migration card, temporary residence permit (TRP), permanent residence permit (PRP), documents, confirming refugee status, status of the mandatory moved persons, and participants in the state program for relocation of compatriots living abroad that expire between 15 March and 15 June are extended until 15 June.

Extension applications for work permits, visas and visa-free stays for up to 90 days are currently accepted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

 

Singapore

The post-Stay Home Notice (SHN) 7-day testing regime has been extended to all newly-arrived Work permit and S Pass workers in Construction, Marine and Process (CMP) sectors from higher-risk countries/regions.

This will apply to Work Permit and S Pass holders (including those with In-Principle Approval (IPA) letters) from CMP sectors, as well as FDWs and CNs who are issued with an entry approval by MOM and are subject to a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities on arrival.

Previously only those headed to dormitories needed to be subject to the additional 7-days testing.

Foreign domestic workers (FDW) and confinement workers (CW) who have recent travel history to higher-risk countries/regions will have to take an OnArrival Serology test. This is in addition to the On-Arrival Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test requirement already in place from 24 January 2021.

The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL)/Fast Lane arrangements with Germany, Malaysia and South Korea are suspended between 1 February and 30 April 2021. Travellers who have received approval to enter Singapore under the RGL arrangements from these 3 countries can still do so.

The RGL arrangements with Indonesia and Japan remain suspended.

The RGL arrangements with Brunei Darussalam and with selected cities in mainland China (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) are not affected.

For all pass holders entering Singapore from Friday 01 January 2021, the Singapore government will no longer cover their COVID-19 treatment cost if they develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive within the first 14 days of their arrival. This is regardless of when the pass holders left Singapore. Accordingly, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has introduced a new Entry Requirement. For all Work Permit, Training Work Permit and S Pass holders entering Singapore from Friday 01 January 2021, employers are required to buy a 14 day COVID medical insurance which must meet these requirements: 

  • Has a coverage of at least $10,000 for medical expenses if the worker develops COVID-19 symptoms or test positive within the first 14 days of arrival in Singapore; and 
  • Includes coverage for workers on In-Principle Approval (IPA) Letters. After the workers have obtained MOM’s Entry Approval, employers must buy the insurance before they arrive in Singapore.

The Entry Approval request forms will require employers to declare that employers of Work Permit, Training Work Permit and S pass holders will purchase the appropriate medical insurance before the traveller arrives in Singapore. Employers should check that they have purchased the appropriate Medical Insurance. 

For all other pass holders (e.g. Employment Pass holders or dependants), they are encouraged to buy Medical Insurance with the appropriate coverage before entering Singapore as they are responsible for their own medical expenses if they develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive within 14 days of arrival in Singapore. Employers are advised to familiarise themselves with the additional requirements and responsibilities to bring pass holders into Singapore before seeking Entry Approval from the MOM. More details about the mandatory insurance requirement for COVID-19 related medical expenses can be found in the list of frequently asked questions.

The Singapore authorities had earlier announced that travellers from the Republic of Korea (ROK) are allowed to serve their 14-day SHN at a suitable place of residence. However, given the increased risk of community spread recently, all travellers entering Singapore from 26 December 2020, 23:59 hrs who have a travel history (including transit) in the past 14 days to the ROK will be required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities. The 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities also applies to returning Singapore-based travellers under the Singapore-ROK Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL).

From 23 December at 23:59 hours: 

  • All travellers from Australia will be required to declare their travel history prior to boarding; 
  • Singapore Citizens (SCs), Permanent Residents (PRs) and Long-Term Pass holders entering Singapore with travel history to NSW, Australia within the last 14 days before departure for Singapore, will be subject to a 7-day SHN at their place of residence with a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test before the end of the SHN period. 
  • Short-term travellers holding an Air Travel Pass with travel history to NSW, Australia, within the last 14 days before departure for Singapore, will not be allowed to enter Singapore. 
  • All other travellers departing from Australia who have been in Australia (excluding NSW) in the last 14 days prior to travel will continue to be subject to a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport, in lieu of their SHN. 

Also from 23 December at 23:59 hours: 

  • All long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore. This will also apply to all those who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore. 
  • Returning SCs and PRs will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival in Singapore, at the start of their 14-day SHN.

All inbound travellers who are not Singapore citizens (SC) or Permanent Residents (PR), except those from lower-risk countries/regions, are required to present a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure. 

  • This includes travellers aged 12 years and under. 
  • These travellers will still be required to serve their SHN upon arrival in Singapore and be tested at the end of their SHN. 

Effective from mid-January 2021, the new Connect@Singapore initiative will permit a limited number of business, official and high-economic-value travellers from all countries to enter for short-term stays of up to 14 days. 

  • Travellers will be required to undergo an enhanced testing regime. They will have to present a valid negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test prior to leaving their home country, obtain a PCR test on arrival in Singapore, and Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) on days 3, 5, 7, and 11, insofar as the traveller remains accommodated in the facility. 
  • Travellers entering Singapore under the initiative will be required to stay within a “bubble” at appointed facilities. These facilities will have to put in place measures to separate travellers under this initiative from other individuals. For example, while travellers will be allowed to meet with local visitors, there will be floor-to-ceiling dividers separating travellers from local visitors. Staff working in the appointed facilities will undergo routine testing. 
  • Within the appointed facilities, travellers will have to stay within their predeclared travel group of up to five travellers. They will not be allowed to mingle with other travellers outside of this group. They will also have to abide by all prevailing national SMMs, and use Trace Together and Safe Entry. 

Visitors entering Singapore who have remained in Taiwan in the last consecutive 14 days prior to entry can apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) at no charge between 7 and 30 days before their intended date of entry into Singapore. 

  • The Air Travel Pass is valid for single entry into Singapore anytime from the visitor’s intended date of entry and up to seven calendar days after. 
  • Visitors who hold a visa-required passport must separately obtain a valid visa prior to departure for Singapore, after receiving their Air Travel Pass approval. Such visitors are strongly encouraged to apply for their Air Travel Pass early. 
  • If the visitor already has an existing valid visa which has been suspended due to COVID-19, ICA will lift the suspension and there is no need to obtain a new visa. 
  • Air Travel Pass holders must submit their health, travel history, and accommodation declarations electronically via the SG Arrival Card, no earlier than three days prior to his/her date of arrival in Singapore. 
  • When checking in at the departure airport, the visitor must present to the airline staff: 
    • a valid Air Travel Pass approval letter (electronic or physical copy) for the specified period of entry into Singapore; 
    • a valid visa (for visa-required passport holders); and 
    • a mobile device with the TraceTogether app downloaded. 
  • They are not required to serve a Stay Home Notice (SHN). 
    • Instead, travellers will undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport and only be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore after waiting in isolation (1-2 days) to receive the test result. 
    • Travellers are encouraged to register and pre-pay for the COVID-19 swab test before travelling. 
    • Travellers must book accommodation in advance to serve the isolation period. 
    • Children aged 12 years old or younger in that calendar year are not required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at the airport upon arrival in Singapore. o Returning Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders do not need to apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP). 
    • However, Long-Term Pass holders still need to apply for Entry Approval / Approval Letter of Entry (ALE) and undergo a COVID-19 swab test on arrival.

All travellers entering Singapore who have a travel history in the past 14 days to Malaysia are required to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities.

  • This requirement also applies to travellers entering Singapore to work under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement and returning Singapore-based travellers under the Singapore – Malaysia Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL).

All travellers (except Singapore citizens (SC) and permanent residents (PRs) entering Singapore who have a travel history in the past 14 days to any state of Malaysia are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure.

  • This requirement does not apply for returning Singapore-based travellers under the Singapore – Malaysia RGL. However, they are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test before they complete the 14-day SHN.
  • Currently, travellers who are not Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents, and have recent travel history to Sabah state of Malaysia within the last 14 days prior to entry into Singapore, are required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before departure.

The inaugural flights under the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) agreement with Hong Kong have been postponed until early 2021. 

  • Meanwhile, travellers with a travel history in the past 14 days to Hong Kong from Hong Kong and with valid entry approvals may still travel to Singapore on non-ATB flights. 
  • Such travellers are subject to a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon entry into Singapore, as well as a COVID-19 swab test before the end of their SHN. 
  • Travellers from Hong Kong are permitted to opt out of dedicated SHN facilities and serve their 14-day SHN at their place of residence, if they fulfil the following criteria: 
    • Travelled to no other country/region than Fiji, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand, in the last consecutive 14 days prior to entry; and 
    • Are occupying their place of residence (i.e. residential address) alone, or only with household members who are also persons serving SHN with the same travel history and duration of SHN. 
    • There is no one ordinarily residing at the place of residence (e.g. domestic helper) who does not share the same travel history, and the traveller has already made all necessary arrangements to ensure that any such person will not reside at the place of residence until the conclusion of the SHN period. 
  • For non-resident foreign nationals, the request to opt out of serving the SHN at the dedicated SHN facilities should be indicated when the Entry Approval request to Singapore is submitted. 
  • Travellers serving SHN at their own place of residence will be issued with an electronic monitoring device at the checkpoints, after immigration clearance. They will need to activate the electronic monitoring device upon reaching their place of residence. If the device is not activated as required, the authorities will follow up to determine their location, and assist to resolve any technical difficulties, or take enforcement action, as the case may be. 
  • Effective 18 December at 23:59 hours, all travellers (except Singapore citizens and permanent residents) must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before travel at a testing centre recognised by the Hong Kong government and obtain a certificate in English stating a negative result.

Travellers from Fiji, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand who have visited no other country in the last consecutive 14 days can opt out of dedicated Stay Home Notice (SHN) facilities and serve their 14-day SHN at their place of residence instead. 

  • They must be occupying the place of residence alone or only with household members who are also serving the same duration of SHN with the same travel history. 
  • For Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs), the application to opt out must be made prior to arrival via the Safe Travel Office website. 
  • Travellers who are not SCs or PRs may apply to opt out as part of the entry approval process. 
  • All travellers must present the approval to opt out upon arrival in Singapore. 
  • As the list of countries will be updated from time to time depending on the public health risk assessment. 
  • All travellers who opt to stay at their place of residence for SHN must remain in their declared place of residence at all times. They will be subject to close monitoring of their whereabouts, through electronic monitoring as well as physical spot-checks. Such travellers will also be required to utilise specially designated transport services from the checkpoint to their place of residence and to their respective testing facilities and bear the costs for these transport arrangements. Strict enforcement action will be taken against those who breach the requirements of the SHN or make false declarations.

From January 1st: 

  • All returning SCs and PRs who last left Singapore before 27 March 2020 will be responsible for the cost of stay at dedicated SHN facilities. 
  • All returning SCs and PRs and Long-Term Pass Holders (LPTH) who last left Singapore before 27 March 2020 as well as new SCs/PRs/LTPHs will also be responsible for their inpatient medical bills should they develop symptoms within 14 days of their arrival in Singapore. They will be able to use regular healthcare arrangements for their inpatient medical bills.

Singapore and Indonesia have established a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) for essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries. 

  • Indonesian nationals travelling to Singapore via Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (Tangerang) or Batam Center Ferry Terminal, who have remained in Indonesia for at least 14 days prior to departure for Singapore, must be sponsored by a Singapore government agency or Singapore-based company, which will file an application for a SafeTravel Pass. 
  • Once the SafeTravel Pass is issued: 
    • Visa-required applicants can apply for a visa through the usual channels; 
    • Visa-exempt applicants do not need to obtain a visa; 
    • If the applicant already has a valid visa, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved. 
  • Pre-departure, the approved SafeTravel Pass traveller will have to: 
    • electronically submit pre-trip health and travel history declarations and declare his/her accommodation in Singapore via the SG Arrival Card, before departing for Singapore. 
    • Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • On arrival, the travellers will undertake a COVID-19 PCR test at their own expense and remain in accommodation, sourced by the receiving enterprise or government agency, for 1 or 2 days until they receive their test results. 
  • If the result is negative, the traveller can proceed on the pre-declared controlled itinerary. If positive, the traveller will undergo prescribed medical treatment at his/her cost.

Short-term visitors who require a visa to enter Singapore can apply for visas though a local contact, Singapore overseas mission, or authorised visa agent. Visitors who had already been issued with visas which are still valid, as well as those who are eligible for the visa-free transit facility, do not need to re-apply/ apply. 

  • Note that possession of a valid visa alone does not guarantee entry into Singapore. All short-term visitors must still seek prior approval via appropriate COVID-19 travel channels (e.g. obtain a Safe Travel Pass under Green/Fast Lane arrangements, or Air Travel Pass) before they can enter Singapore. More information will be available at ICA’s website (https://www.ica.gov.sg/covid-19).

Travellers from Macau, China and Taiwan are required to serve a reduced SHN of 7 days at their place of residence. A COVID-19 test will be administered before the end of the 7-day SHN. 

  • Singapore Citizens and Permanent Resident may serve their 7-day SHN at their place of residence. Long-Term Pass holders may serve their 7-day SHN at a place of residence that they or their family members own or are sole tenants of, or in suitable accommodations such as a hotel. 
  • All incoming travellers, including Singapore Citizens, Singapore PRs, Student Pass holders, Work Pass holders and their related dependants (including IPA holders) entering Singapore, who will be serving their SHN outside of SHN dedicated facilities (SDFs) need to wear an electronic monitoring device throughout the 14-day SHN. Those aged 12 and below will be exempted from this requirement

Travellers arriving directly from Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand, Taiwan (from 18 December) and Vietnam, who have remained in these countries in the last consecutive 14 days prior to entry, will undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival, in lieu of serving SHN.

  • These travellers are strongly encouraged to register and pre-pay for their post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test prior to departure for Singapore here. 

All other incoming travellers will continue to serve their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities and will be subject to a test before the end of the SHN. 

  • Existing travel conditions, including adherence to SHN requirements and applying for relevant approvals before entering Singapore, continue to apply. 
  • Travel conditions under specific travel arrangements (such as Green/Fast Lane arrangements and Periodic Commuting Arrangement with Malaysia), will also continue to apply. 

All travellers (including Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents) with recent travel history to India within the last 14 days are required to take a serology test (non-fasting blood test) during the 14-day SHN period, instead of the COVID-19 swab test. However, depending on the results of the serology test, a COVID-19 swab test may still be required before the end of the SHN period.

Travellers entering Singapore who have remained in either Australia, Brunei, China, New Zealand, Taiwan (from 18 December) or Vietnam in the last consecutive 14 days prior to entry must apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) at no charge between 7 and 30 days before their intended date of entry into Singapore. 

  • The Air Travel Pass is valid for single entry into Singapore anytime from the visitor’s intended date of entry and up to seven calendar days after.
  • Visitors who hold a visa-required passport must separately obtain a valid visa prior to departure for Singapore, after receiving their Air Travel Pass approval. Such visitors are strongly encouraged to apply for their Air Travel Pass early. 
  • If the visitor already has an existing valid visa which has been suspended due to COVID-19, ICA will lift the suspension and there is no need to obtain a new visa. 
  • Air Travel Pass holders must submit their health, travel history, and accommodation declarations electronically via the SG Arrival Card, no earlier than three days prior to his/her date of arrival in Singapore. 
  • When checking in at the departure airport, the visitor must present to the airline staff: 
    • a valid Air Travel Pass approval letter (electronic or physical copy) for the specified period of entry into Singapore; 
    • a valid visa (for visa-required passport holders); and 
    • a mobile device with the TraceTogether app downloaded. 
  • They are not required to serve a Stay Home Notice (SHN). 
    • Instead, travellers will undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport and only be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore after waiting in isolation (1-2 days) to receive the test result. 
    • Travellers are encouraged to register and pre-pay for the COVID-19 swab test before travelling. 
    • Travellers must book accommodation in advance to serve the isolation period.
    • Children aged 12 years old or younger in that calendar year are not required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test at the airport upon arrival in Singapore. 
  • Returning Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders do not need to apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP). 
    • However, Long-Term Pass holders still need to apply for Entry Approval / Approval Letter of Entry (ALE) and undergo a COVID-19 swab test on arrival.

The government has announced a pilot Business Travel Pass. 

  • Senior executives based in Singapore with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes can apply for a business travel pass. 
  • Travellers on this pass can be required to abide by a strict, controlled itinerary when they travel overseas for work. 
  • Upon return, the traveller will be given the option of a COVID-19 test in lieu of a Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) and self-isolate until the test result is received. 
  • The number of these passes issued will be strictly limited during the pilot phase.

Singapore and Germany have reopened the border between the two countries to residents of each country for short-term essential business and official purposes via a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL). 

  • The Singapore-Germany RGL is only applicable for travel between airports in Singapore and Germany which have available non-stop flight routes. 
  • Travellers of any nationality, resident in Germany, who have remained in Germany for at least 14 days prior to departure for Singapore, must be sponsored by a Singapore government agency or Singapore-based company, which will file an application for a SafeTravel Pass. 
  • Once the SafeTravel Pass is issued: 
    • Visa-required applicants can apply for a visa through the usual channels; 
    • Visa-exempt applicants do not need to obtain a visa; 
    • If the applicant already has a valid visa, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved. 
  • Pre-departure, the approved SafeTravel Pass traveller will have to: 
    • electronically submit pre-trip health and travel history declarations and declare his/her accommodation in Singapore via the SG Arrival Card, before departing for Singapore. 
    • Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • On arrival, the travellers will undertake a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at their own expense and remain in accommodation, sourced by the receiving enterprise or government agency, for 1 or 2 days until they receive their test results.

Singapore and Japan have reopened the border between the two countries to residents of each country for short-term essential business and official purposes via a Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL). 

  • Travellers of any nationality, resident in Japan, who have remained in Japan for at least 14 days prior to departure for Singapore, must be sponsored by a Singapore government agency or Singapore-based company, which will file an application for a SafeTravel Pass. 
  • Once the SafeTravel Pass is issued: 
    • Visa-required applicants can apply for a visa through the usual channels; 
    • Visa-exempt applicants do not need to obtain a visa; 
    • If the applicant already has a valid visa, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved. 
  • Pre-departure, the approved SafeTravel Pass traveller will have to: 
    • electronically submit pre-trip health and travel history declarations and declare his/her accommodation in Singapore via the SG Arrival Card, before departing for Singapore. 
    • Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • On arrival, the travellers will undertake a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at their own expense and remain in accommodation, sourced by the receiving enterprise or government agency, for 1 or 2 days until they receive their test results.

Singapore and South Korea have reopened the border between the two countries to residents of each country for short-term essential business and official purposes via a Fast Lane. 

  • Travellers of any nationality resident in South Korea who have remained in South Korea for at least 14 days prior to departure for Singapore must be sponsored by a Singapore government agency or Singapore-based company which will file an application for a SafeTravel Pass. 
  • Once the SafeTravel Pass is issued: 
    • Visa-required applicants can apply for a visa through the usual channels; 
    • Visa-exempt applicants do not need to obtain a visa; 
    • If the applicant already has a valid visa, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved. 
  • Pre-departure, the approved SafeTravel Pass traveller will have to: 
    • electronically submit pre-trip health and travel history declarations and declare his/her accommodation in Singapore via the SG Arrival Card, before departing for Singapore. 
    • Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • On arrival, the traveller will undertake a COVID-19 PCR test at their own expense and remain in accommodation sourced by the receiving enterprise or government agency for 1 or 2 days until they receive their test results.

Singapore and Malaysia have reopened the border between the two countries to certain types of travellers: 

  • The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) will enable cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes for up to 14 days. 
    • Travellers of any nationality sponsored by a Singapore government agency or Singapore-based company, which will file an application for a SafeTravel Pass. 
    • Once the SafeTravel Pass is issued, visa-required applicants can apply for a visa through the usual channels. 
    • If the applicant already has a valid visa, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved. 
  • The Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) will allow holders of longterm immigration passes for business or work in the other country to cross the border.
    • Eligible travellers utilizing the PCA should remain in the other country for work for at least 90 days, after which they are permitted to return to their home country for a short period of time, and then re-enter their country of work for at least an additional three months – no daily commuting is allowed. 
    • The entry and exit between Singapore and Malaysia must be via Woodlands Checkpoint or Tuas Checkpoint in Singapore. 
    • Singapore work pass holders approved under the PCA scheme will serve at least 7-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and undertake a COVID19 PCR test. 
  • Travellers crossing the border through either of these routes will be subject to entry health screening and testing requirements, including undergoing a COVID-19 PCR test.

Residents in China of all nationalities who are seeking to make essential business or official travel to Singapore may apply for a SafeTravel Pass, allowing Green / Fast lane entry and quarantine rules. 

  • The SafeTravel Pass is valid for a single entry within the stipulated week. 
  • The host company in Singapore can self-sponsor and submit the application for a SafeTravel Pass on behalf of the traveller directly or through a sponsoring government agency, between 20 and 5 working days before the day of the traveller’s planned departure. 
  • If approved, an approval letter will be issued to the applicant as well as to the sponsor (company or Singapore government agency) within 3 working days. With this letter, an approved applicant who is a visa-required passport holder will proceed to apply for a visa for travel to Singapore through the usual channels at least 4 working days before departure. If the applicant already has an existing valid visa, the visa suspension will be lifted when the SafeTravel Pass is approved, and he or she need not apply for a new visa. The applicant can check his/her visa status through https://eservices.ica.gov.sg/esvclandingpage/save. Those who do not require a visa prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will not need to apply for a visa for fast lane travel. These include passport holders from countries and regions with which Singapore has visa-free arrangements, as well as diplomatic and official passport holders. 
  • The approved applicant will also have to electronically submit pre-trip health and travel history declarations via the SG Arrival Card, within 3 days prior to the date of arrival in Singapore. 
  • Approved applicants must monitor their health status before departure, take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours before departure and obtain a certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19. 
  • The sponsoring company or government agency should log onto the SafeTravel Pass portal one to two days before the traveller’s departure to submit the traveller’s negative COVID-19 test result and controlled itinerary in Singapore. 
  • Users of the fast lane between China and Singapore will bear the cost of the pre-departure PCR test. 
  • In addition, applicants travelling from China to Singapore must have remained in any of the sending Chinese fast lane regions for the last seven days prior to departure for Singapore. 
  • The applicant is required to produce a valid SafeTravel Pass, a negative PCR test result, a return air ticket and a valid visa (for visa-required passport holders) for pre-boarding checks. Otherwise, the applicant can be refused boarding. o An approved applicant travelling from China to Singapore will undergo a PCR test after arrival in Singapore. 
  • Upon entry into Singapore, the applicant must remain in isolation at a selfsourced declared accommodation (non-residential address only) for one to two days until the test result is known. The host company or government agency will transport the traveller directly from the airport to the declared selfsourced accommodation, adhering to prevailing health measures. Travellers will bear the costs of the post-arrival PCR test in Singapore and stay in the declared accommodation. If the result indicates that the traveller has tested negative for COVID-19, the host company or government agency will ensure that the traveller is transported directly from the declared accommodation to the workplace, and back. If tested positive for COVID-19, the traveller will undergo medical treatment at his/her cost. The host company or government agency shall ensure that the travellers to Singapore use the TraceTogether app for the duration of their stay. If a traveller does not have a TraceTogethercompatible device, the host company or government agency should provide one to the traveller. 
  • Travellers must adhere to a controlled itinerary that is supervised by the host company or government agency for the first 14 days. The traveller may not use public transportation for this purpose, with the exception of private hire cars/taxis or company transport.

All inbound and outbound travellers who enter Singapore and leave Singapore will be required to pay for their COVID-19 tests (up to SGD 200), where applicable. 

  • Incoming travellers who are not Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents who enter Singapore from 17 June will be required to pay for their stay at dedicated SHN facilities (SGD 2000), where applicable; 
  • Long Term Pass holders granted Entry Approval prior to 15 June 2020 may serve the 14-day SHN at a dedicated facility, and will not be charged for their stay, nor for the COVID-19 test, but only if they did not leave Singapore from 27 March 2020; 
  • The cost of SHN accommodation and COVID-19 test for Work Pass holders who left Singapore for work reasons must be borne by the employer; 
  • The cost of SHN accommodation and COVID-19 test for Work Pass holders who left Singapore for personal reasons, those affected by Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), and those entering Singapore with an InPrinciple Approval for a new Work Pass, can be borne by either the employer or the employee or both by mutual agreement.

All Long-Term Pass holders continue to require prior Entry Approval before entering Singapore.

Entry remains suspended for all short-term visitors, except those coming in under the Green / Fast Lane arrangements or with special prior approval. 

Any travellers (including Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long term pass holders) arriving into Singapore must first submit a Health Declaration via the new SG Arrival Card e-Service on the Immigration Checkpoint Authority ‘ICA’s’ website at SGAC e-Service up to 3 days in advance of their travel to Singapore. Singaporeans and long-term pass holders will need to select “Residents” on the SGAC e-Service page. 

Immigration

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has confirmed that unless a medical examination is required, passes may be issued (activated) while the pass holder is serving their Stay Home Notice (SHN). However, if they are required to attend the registration of biometric data, they first need to complete the SHN and be tested negative for COVID-19. 

The AccesCode of employers and workers who have not been approved to resume work will be displayed as red instead of grey on the SGWorkPass portal. 

  • The status may be red if the worker’s health status or place of stay has not been cleared, or they have not been approved to start work by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) or the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). 
  • From 12 July 2020, a new Safe@Work eService will enable employers to download the AccessCode details. At first, employers will be able to download the AccessCode details of their workers who hold a Work Permit or S Pass. Subsequently, the service will be rolled out for Employment Pass holders. 

Counter services at the ICA Building have resumed in a limited and controlled manner, strictly for selected services and by appointment only. Members of the public should continue to use ICA’s e-Services available at MyICA. Please refer to section “Services offered online” below for the list of available e-Services.

All Malaysian nationals in Singapore intending to return to Malaysia by land will need to apply for an “entry permit” from the Malaysian High Commission, in addition to the exit requirements of the Singapore authorities.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires all new and existing Singapore long-term pass holders planning to enter or return to Singapore from any country to obtain MOM entry approval before commencing their journey. Employers are to make this MOM Entry Approval request at least 3 days before their intended travel into Singapore using this online facility. Applications submitted by 12pm will receive the outcome on the same day (after 12pm will receive the outcome the next day). Applications are processed on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. Approval is not guaranteed but it is important that the approval is received before arranging for the pass holder to enter Singapore. If the approval is rejected, a fresh approval request is to be submitted. 

MOM requires all new and existing work pass holders (including dependants) planning to enter Singapore from Malaysia to obtain MOM’s entry approval before they commence their journey. This is applicable regardless of the mode of travel into Singapore. Only those Malaysians and work pass holders conveying essential services or supplies (e.g., lorry, vegetable, frozen supply truckers) via land and sea crossings will be exempted from this MOM entry approval and SHN requirement. MOM will reject all new work pass applications for foreign workers from mainland China until further notice. Renewal applications for existing pass holders will not be affected.

 

Republic of South Korea

Effective immediately, all foreign nationals, including ARC holders, must present on arrival an original certificate showing a negative result of a COVID-19 test issued by a designated hospital within 72 hours before travel. 

  • Some Korean embassies have received updated guidance, effective 4 January 2021, that for travellers arriving by a transit flight from a third country, the negative PCR test certificate must have been undertaken within 48 hours before boarding, while for transit passengers, the certificate should have been issued within 72 hours. 

All flights from the United Kingdom have been halted until 7 January 2021. The South Korean embassies in London and Pretoria will not issue isolation exemption certificates until 17 January 2021.

Effective from 29 December 2020 (local time in London and Pretoria), the South Korean embassy in London and Pretoria will NOT issue new visas until further notice. Those who have a valid VIN are also NOT allowed to get visas from these two embassies. 

All entrants coming from the United Kingdom and South Africa, including those who depart from these two countries and take a transit flight in a third country before arriving in South Korea:

  • are required to submit their negative Covid19 test result certificate upon arrival in South Korea. 
  • are required to get another PCR test prior to the end of their 2 weeks quarantine period in South Korea. 
  • Exceptions: Official/Diplomat passport holders and those coming for humanitarian purpose (e.g. attending family’s funeral) can get their visas from the Korean Embassy in London and/or Pretoria.

South Korea and Japan have agreed to start implementing a special entry procedure for Korean and Japanese business travellers. 

South Korea and Singapore have reopened the border between the two countries to residents of each country for short-term essential business and official purposes via a Fast Lane. 

  • Travellers of any nationality resident in Singapore who have remained in Singapore for at least 14 days prior to departure for South Korea must be sponsored by a South Korean government agency or South Korea-based company which will apply to the relevant government agencies in South Korea, on behalf of the applicant, for an isolation exemption certificate (processing time at least 4 days). 
  • Once the application is approved: 
    • The South Korean embassy in Singapore will issue a letter that will allow the approved applicant to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test in Singapore. 
    • The approved applicant will thereafter submit a visa application, supported by a letter of invitation from the South Korean host company, to the South Korean embassy in Singapore. 
  • The approved traveller will have to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. 
  • On arrival, the traveller will undertake a COVID-19 PCR test and remain in government-designated accommodation for 1 or 2 days until they receive their test results. 
  • The traveller must keep to the controlled itinerary that is supervised by the receiving enterprise or government agency in the ROK for the first 14 days.

Stricter social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area include possible fines of up to USD 2450 for not wearing a face mask in public – note unpaid fines or taxes can disqualify ARC holders from applying for ARC extension.

Those found to have violated quarantine rules who are confirmed to be COVID-19 positive, the government will not only suspend support for medical fees, but also impose heavy penalty fees, immigration restrictions, and lodge a complaint with the court. 

India and Russia are now considered to have a high COVID-19 infection rate.

All foreign nationals boarding flights from countries with a high COVID-19 infection rate (currently Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan) are required to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, issued within 48 hours. These people are still required to self-quarantine for two weeks at designated facilities or at home, depending on their visa status, and undergo another test within three days of their arrival. 

Visa issuance is now suspended for Pakistan and Bangladesh nationals, with flights from these countries also suspended.

The waiver for re-entry permits for long term visa holders is temporarily suspended. Anyone holding long-term visas other than A1, A2, A3 or F4 visas are required to apply for a re-entry permit through a local immigration office, prior to leaving Korea should they want to maintain their status and period of stay. Failure to obtain a re-entry permit will result in their alien registration cancelled, and they will have to obtain a new long term visa to re-enter Korea. 

ARC holders leaving Korea temporarily must apply for a re-entry permit at the district immigration office, having booked an appointment online at www.hikorea.go.kr or at the airport immigration office on the departure date. From mid-June online applications will be available. 

Foreign nationals that are granted a re-entry permit, and would like to re-enter Korea, must complete a medical examination within 48 hours of the departure date and provide a written diagnosis, written in either English or Korean, and signed by a medical examiner and issued by an authorised medical institute. These will be requested by a transport operator and/or immigration officer. The diagnosis must state the presence or absence of fever, cough, chills, headache, breathing difficulty, muscle pain or pulmonary symptoms. A COVID-19 test result does not need to be included. However, a medical certificate listing a negative COVID-19 test result will also be valid provided the test is conducted within 48 hours before boarding flights. Those foreign nationals holding a quarantine exemption certificate issued by a Korean embassy or consulate, and holders of A1, A2, A3 or F4 visas, do not need to complete a medical examination and provide written medical diagnosis. 

All those permitted entry are required to undergo a free COVID-19 test, submit a Health Condition Declaration Form, contact details, and download a smartphone app allowing them to log their symptoms for 14 days. Short term visitors must complete the free COVID-19 test on arrival at the airport. They will also be required to complete their 14 day quarantine in a government designated facility. Anyone staying in a government designated facility will be subject to a charge of KRW 100,000 per day.

Long term visa holders, who do not yet have an ARC, and who do not have suitable accommodation for home quarantine will be sent to a designated government facility. However, this facility may not be at the airport as short term visitors are prioritised. These people will instead be moved by bus to the public health centre of the district where the host company is located, to complete their COVID-19 test. If negative, they will be sent to a district quarantine facility. As an alternative, they may be able to quarantine in a host-company accommodation, provided the host company has obtained a quarantine-exemption certificate from the district government office prior to the foreign employees arrival. 

Long-term visitors with a quarantine exemption certificate and South Korean citizens who visited China under the special-approval track and who stayed in China for 1-7 days must also complete a free COVID-19 test at the airport on arrival. If the test result comes back negative, arrivals may leave the airport and will not be required to self-isolate. They will be required to answer daily phone call checks from KCDC, as well as record physical conditions on the app. 

Citizens of South Korea and long-term visitors arriving from the US or Europe without a quarantine exemption certificate must get tested for COVID-19 within 3 days of arrival. South Korean citizens and long-term visitors arriving from all other countries without a quarantine exemption certificate, and any South Korean citizens who visited China under the special approval track and stayed longer than 8 days will need to be tested within 14 days of arrival. Anyone staying at a government facility will be tested there. Those staying with direct family members or at their host company’s accommodation are advised to visit the closest public health centre. 

A-1, A-2 and A-3 visa holders with negative COVID-19 tests are subject to active monitoring instead of 14-day quarantine. 

Quarantine exemption certificates can be requested for important and urgent business purposes.

Those who refuse to follow quarantine procedures and health guidelines may be subject to heavy penalties, including up to three years imprisonment, fines up to KWW 20 million, a compensation claim lodged by the city government, visa and ARC cancellation, deportation and future entry bans. 

Visa waiver entry is suspended for nationals of countries which prohibit the visa-free entry of South Korean nationals. This applies to the following countries:

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

All nationals seeking entry, including visa waiver nationals, are advised to obtain a visa issuance number and a visa in advance of travel. Consular visa applicants must complete a medical test at a designated hospital and interview within 48 hours after the application has been submitted. 

C1 and C3 visas issued at any Korean consulate before 5 April are cancelled if the holder has not yet arrived in South Korea. Holders of C type visas that have been invalidated need to contact the South Korean Embassy in their residential country to check the re-application process. Online applications for visa issuance confirmation have also been suspended, as the system did not require a health or COVID-19 status check. A visa issuance confirmation application can still be submitted at a South Korean immigration office. 

All schools and universities are closed and restrictions are in place for anyone entering

that has been to other affected countries such as China and Italy. There are current restrictions on travellers with passports from China’s Hubei Province, as well as anyone who has visited that region in the last 14 days. Visa free entry to Jeju Island for all foreigners, and visa free entry for Chinese nationals are also suspended.

 

Vietnam

Vietnam Airlines will resume international flights from Honoi and HCMC to Tokyo, Japan. Regular flights from the approved airports into Vietnam will not become available until 25 October at the earliest 

Flights are permitted between Vietnam and Guangzhou (China), Taipei (Taiwan), Seoul (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Vientiane (Laos).

–   The maximum number of flights on each route is initially two per week.

–   Permitted travellers include experts, investors, business managers, high-tech workers and their family members; and Vietnamese citizens returning home.

–   Travellers must still obtain special entry permission and arrange quarantine at an approved hotel or government facility.

–   Arriving travellers must present a negative PCR test result issued 3 to 5 days prior to travel and are subject to a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and government quarantine period of 14 days.

–   If a second test after the sixth day after arrival is negative, the remainder of the 14-day government quarantine period may be replaced with self-quarantine. Any plans to work, attend business meetings with others or other travel during the remainder of the 14 days must be approved by the health department.

–   Travellers who are transiting via one of the approved airports but originated elsewhere do not qualify for the reduced quarantine.

–   Travellers must install the “Bluezone” contact tracing app.

–   Travellers staying for fewer than 14 days are exempt from quarantine. 

In HCMC:

–   Quarantine in HCMC will only be approved for those incoming foreign workers whose sponsoring entity is located in HCMC.

–   Foreign workers sponsored by entities in Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Long An, and Tien Giang need to obtain approval from the HCMC CDC (Center for Disease Control) in parallel with approval from IHQC (International Health Quarantine Center) to allow them, upon arrival in HCMC, to be transported and quarantined in another province.

–   For those provinces that are more remote than those in the above list, or that may not have proper quarantine facilities located within the province, the authorities will consider the option for the incoming traveler to stay in HCMC quarantine, with additional approvals from the People’s Committee in HCMC and HCMC CDC. 

–   Note that for those incoming travelers who already have their quarantine stay approval in HCMC (even if their sponsoring entity is in another province) there are no required changes to their current plan or additional steps necessary. 

New guidelines were announced on August 31st regarding short term visits of less than 14 days. The new guidelines now allow (with strict guidelines) individuals to carry out specific meetings and tasks outside of their quarantine hotel. These guidelines are: 

“Any movement outside of the hotel must be arranged, approved, and overseen by Provincial centres for disease control and prevention (CDC). Further, short term travellers must still make a reservation at one of the designated quarantine hotels and are not allowed to travel freely during their stay in Vietnam. o As of today, after consultation with the Hanoi and HCMC centres for disease control and prevention, it remains uncertain whether the centres will approve all requests for meetings outside the quarantine hotel, what the criteria are for decision making, under which conditions the traveller may meet with others, and how long it will take to receive approvals. There is still much to finalize on the authorities’ side regarding how this will work on the ground and we are awaiting further clarification”. 

Pre-approval letter for visa on arrival is again available for all foreign experts, specialists, managers and technicians authorized to enter Vietnam. The visa exemption scheme remains suspended for all foreign nationals. Travellers need an immigration approval and a visa sponsored by their host company. 

Visa renewal and work permit applications, processing and issuance for all foreign nationals has resumed. 

All authorized international arrivals must undergo a mandatory health check and be quarantined for 14 days in a designated hotel, resort or quarantine zone, at their own expense, with ongoing health monitoring tests during quarantine. 

For foreign experts, investors, managers and diplomats staying less than 14 days the 14-day quarantine may be waived. However, all special entry processes and approvals apply.

 

Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA):

 

European Union

EU countries have agreed on a coordinated approach to travel measures and developed common criteria for measuring risk. 

  • Using data provided weekly by member states, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will publish a weekly map of EU member states, broken down by regions as follows:
  • Green: if the 14-day notification rate is lower than 25 and the test positivity rate below 4%  
  • Orange: if the 14-day notification rate is lower than 50 but the test positivity rate is 4% or higher or, if the 14-day notification rate is between 25 and150 and the test positivity rate is below 4%  
  • Red: if the 14-day notification rate is 50 or higher and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher or if the 14-day notification rate is higher than 150  
  • Grey: if there is insufficient information or if the testing rate is lower than 300.
  • Travelers from other EU countries should not be refused entry but could be asked to submit passenger locator forms. 
  • Green areas: 
    • No restriction of free movement of persons can be applied. 
  • Orange and red areas: 
    • Restrictions to free movement of persons could be applied
    • Possible requirements for travellers: quarantine/self-isolation, COVID19 testing after arrival or prior to arrival
    • Measures should take into account the epidemiological situation in their own territory
    • Inform other affected EU countries 48 hours before applying measures.
  • There should be exceptions from any quarantine requirement for travellers with essential function or need while performing that function. 
  • Member states should inform the public at least 24 hours in advance of introducing any new measures.

Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the latest recommendation, member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:

  • Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand.

Austria 

Effective 8 February, anyone entering Austria – except those coming from Australia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and the Vatican – will need to show a negative COVID test and commit to a full 10-day quarantine that cannot be curtailed by getting a test. Effective until 21 February, flights from Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom are not permitted to land in Austria. Arrivals who cannot show a negative test must get tested within 24 hours of arrival.

All travellers entering Austria need to register electronically in advance and obtain a so-called pre-travel clearance (PTC).

At the border, they will have to show their PTC (either digitally or as a hard copy). 

There are exemptions for unexpected personal emergencies, transit journeys without stopover, regular cross-border commuters, and people travelling to the towns of Vomp-Hinterriss, Mittelberg, and Jungholz.

Hotels are closed to leisure travellers/tourists. Essential travel (e.g. for business) is still possible, and Austria’s borders are not closed.

Entry is permitted for third-country nationals arriving from any states except the Schengen area and the safe countries (Australia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, and the Vatican).

Entry is prohibited to third-country nationals when arriving from any states except the Schengen area and the countries listed above as safe countries. Exemptions apply. Travellers arriving from high-risk areas (most of the world) are required to self quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

Travelers arriving from high-risk areas (with a 14-day COVID-19 incidence rate over 100 per 100,000 population) are required to self-isolate for ten days on arrival.

  • EU/EEA/Swiss or Austrian citizens arriving from high-risk areas (with a 14-day COVID-19 incidence rate over 100 per 100,000 population) are required to self-isolate for ten days on arrival. 
  • On arrival, travellers need to present a completed “Declaration of Quarantine” form. 
  • After 5 days of quarantine at the earliest, they may take a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test to shorten their quarantine. 
  • Exceptions from the quarantine requirement exist only for the following: 
    • Arrivals from safe countries: only Australia, Finland, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, and the Vatican.
    • Passengers in transit without stopover, regular cross-border commuters, people travelling to the towns of Vomp-Hinterriss, Mittelberg (Kleinwalsertal), and Jungholz. 
    • Business travellers, who must instead present a medical certificate verifying a negative COVID-19 test taken in the 72 hours prior to entry.
  • Entry is prohibited for third-country nationals arriving from high-risk areas.

First-time residence permit applicants can submit further required documents by email or post, but should expect delays. D visa applications for applicants outside Austria are not possible until the relevant consulate has reopened. D visa holders may be able to enter Austria but should note that they have six months to collect their residence permit in Austria, from the date of the notification by the Austrian consulate that they can apply for a D visa. 

First-time residence permit applicants in Austria whose permission to stay in Austria has expired should be notified by the authority of the requirement to make an additional application under § 21 (3) of the Settlement and Residence Act. Residence permit renewal applications can be submitted by email or post to the relevant branch office. Delays should be expected. A personal appearance is not required until the authorities resume normal operating hours. Holders of work and residence permits who have applied for renewal before their current permit expires can continue to work during processing of the renewal application. 

Residence permits cannot currently be collected in person. Applicants should contact the authorities by telephone, email or post to arrange collection or delivery

 

Bahrain

Entry is restricted to Bahraini citizens, GCC citizens who do not require a visa, travellers eligible for visa on arrival, travellers with a valid eVisa, diplomats, military personnel, airline crew and holders of official, service or UN passports.

Visas on arrival are reintroduced for citizens of eligible nationalities (see evisa.gov.bh). To obtain an eVisa prior to departure, see evisa.gov.bh. 

All arrivals must undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival and another ten days later, at their own expense. 

  • If the first test is positive, they will be required to quarantine for ten days. 
  • If the first test is negative, they will not be required to continue self-isolation, but will be tested again on the tenth day. 

All incoming passengers must sign a declaration stating that they will follow the Ministry of Health’s self- isolating regulations until their COVID -19 test carried out upon arrival in Bahrain is confirmed negative. 

All arrivals showing symptoms upon arrival or those that have visited Iran, Iraq, or Lebanon within 14 days will be subject to further quarantine measures. 

Until further notice, visa on arrival is suspended at all ports of entry.

 

Belgium

As of the 22nd February: 

The green zones will include; Finland (Aland only), Iceland, Australia, New Zealand; Singapore, South Korea, Thailand.

Orange zones will include; Denmark (Southern Denmark, Central Jutland, North Jutland, Capital Region, Zealand), Greece (all except Attica), Finland (Western-Finland, Southern-Finland, Northern and Eastern Finland),  France (French Guaiana, Martinique, Réunion), Italy (Aosta Valley, Sardinia), Norway, Portugal (Azores), Rwanda.

Red zones will include all remaining EU and Schengen Area countries and European microstates, and all other third countries.

Effective 27 January to 1 March, non-essential trips into and out of Belgium by road, air, sea or rail are prohibited. 

  • Anyone travelling to or from Belgium will be required to carry a sworn statement (form available from the Minister of the Interior) linked to the Passenger Locator Form and supported by the necessary documents. 
  • Essential travel includes: 
    • Compelling family reasons: 
      • Family reunification; 
      • Visits to a spouse or partner who does not live under the same roof, insofar as the stable and long-term character of the relationship can be proven; 
      • Journeys in the context of co-parenting, civil and religious marriages, funerals or cremations (of relatives or next of kin); 
    • Humanitarian reasons: 
      • Travel for medical reasons and continuation of medical treatment; 
      • Assistance or care to an elderly person, minor, disabled or vulnerable person; 
      • Visiting relatives receiving palliative care; 
    • Study purposes: 
      • Journeys by pupils, students and trainees as part of a student exchange program; 
      • Researchers with a hosting agreement; 
    • Residents of border areas: 
      • Journeys as part of everyday activities that are also allowed in Belgium; 
    • Professional reasons when performing work-related activities 
    • Miscellaneous: 
      • Animal care, travel in the context of legal obligations (insofar as these cannot be done online), urgent repairs in the context of vehicle safety and a house move are also considered essential

All people travelling to Belgium from the United Kingdom, South Africa or South America must quarantine for 10 days with a PCR test on day 1 and day 7. In addition to the mandatory negative test result prior to departure, the Consultative Committee would like every non-resident travelling to Belgium to be tested again upon arrival. This can be done with a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. The Consultative Committee has requested that the Interministerial Conference on Public Health, the Testing Task Force and the COVID-19 Commissariat make this mandatory.

All persons returning to Belgium by plane or boat and all other persons travelling to Belgium (unless they return following a stay of less than 48 hours abroad or are staying in Belgium for less than 48 hours) must complete and submit a Passenger Locator Form. Travellers who receive a text message after submitting the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) may be required to undergo self-isolation for 7 days (this is mandatory if arriving from a red zone), and test negative after 7 days to exit quarantine. 

All travellers who have stayed more than 48 hours in a red zone are required to undergo a negative PCR test result on day 1 and enter 10-day quarantine, with a test on day 7. If the test is negative, they can then leave quarantine early.

Exemptions exist for: 

  • People with critical roles in essential sectors (working on site may be permitted); 
  • Students are allowed to interrupt quarantine only in order to take an exam; 
  • For residents who were abroad for professional reasons, an exemption from quarantine is possible until 4 January, if it concerns professional travel abroad certified by the employer. As from 4 January 2021, the assessment of the Passenger Location Form will take into account professional travel certified by the employer

Countries in the Red Zone are: 

  • All countries outside the EU and Schengen
  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia 
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark (Capital region, South Denmark, Zealand, Central Jutland)
  • Estonia
  • Finland (Helsinki-Uusimaa)
  • France; (except Guadeloupe, Martinique, Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse)
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece (Attica, North Aegean, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Central Macedonia, Western Macedonia, Thessaly)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland (Northern and Western, Eastern and Midland)
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway (Oslo and Viken, Innlandet, Trøndelag)
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain (Asturias, Basque Country, Navarre, La Rioja, Aragon, Madrid, Cantabria, Galicia, Castille and León, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura, Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Andalusia, Valencia, Murcia, Ceuta, Melilla; La Gomera and Tenerife)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tunisia
  • United Kingdom 
  • Vatican.

Travellers arriving from green zones are not subject to quarantine or test.

Green zones include all other zones in the EU, Schengen and the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

People who have been physically separated in recent months because they come from different countries and who can provide proof of a lasting relationship but are not married will be able to cross the border.

Holders of Work Permits B can enter once they have requested and obtained a Certificate of Essential travel from the Belgian mission in the country of departure, supported by a letter form the Belgian company or client. Highly-qualified third-country workers seeking a D visa to enter Belgium must have been issued a positive single permit decision (Annex 46). This no longer needs to bear the code B29 (for Blue Card).

All passengers on flights to Belgium from outside the Schengen area must complete and submit a public health passenger locator form. Non-essential travel to and from non-EU countries recommended by the EU remains suspended for now.

Entry from non-EU countries is permitted, subject to a 14-day quarantine, for the following essential purposes: 

  • Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals; 
  • Frontier workers; 
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture; 
  • Transport personnel; 
  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions; 
  • Passengers in transit; 
  • Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons; 
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons respecting the principle of non-refoulement; 
  • EU citizens and citizens of Schengen Associated States and third country nationals legally residing in the European Union, as well as their family members (when entry visa is required for a short stay in Schengen), regardless whether or not they are returning home; 
  • third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of study; 
  • highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad.

Entry is permitted for third-country nationals holding residence cards or long-term visas issued by a member state. Arrivals from outside the Schengen area must stay home for 14 days, monitor their health and practice social distancing.

Some communes are closed for all but urgent services. Government ministries are working from home, which is expected to lead to delays in application processing. Visa applications and issuance are suspended and visa application centres are closing.

 

Bulgaria

All direct passenger flights with the UK are suspended until at least 31 January. Entry restrictions are extended until 31 January. 

Entry is permitted without proof of a PCR test or a 14-day quarantine period from: 

  • EU and Schengen states, the microstates, the United Kingdom and their family members.  
  • Australia, Belarus, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.

Entry is permitted with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, for travellers arriving from: 

  • Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Ukraine. 
  • However, the 14-day quarantine and the requirement to submit negative PCR test results taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry still applies to arrivals from Sweden and Portugal and to most other third countries 
  • Tourists not subject to quarantine must submit to health inspectors at the border a declaration regarding observation of the Ministry of Health’s antiepidemic measures and acknowledgement of the risks of COVID-19. 
  • Further exemptions are available.

 

Czech Republic

Effective 5 February: There will be a new category of so-called dark red (high-risk) countries with the strictest epidemiologic measures applicable to journeys from this category. This means that there is the obligation to submit a first PCR test done 48 hours or less prior to the entry, followed by a second PCR test undergone in the Czech Republic at the earliest the 5th day from the entry. The self isolation is obligatory until the second negative test result is submitted.

In case of journeys from orange and red countries, there is the obligation to submit an antigen or PCR test done 48 hours or less. In case of red countries, a person must likewise undergo a second PCR test in the Czech Republic (this can be undergone also earlier than the 5th day from the entry). The self isolation is obligatory until the second negative test result is submitted.

There is the obligation to fill in the electronic Public Health Passenger Locator Form in case of journeys from all orange, red and dark red categories of countries. The form will be checked along with the test at the entry to the Czech Republic.

There will be exceptions applicable to these rules, especially in regard to the international transport and regular cross-border movement for the purpose of work, study and childcare. The journeys of Czech citizens from the Czech Republic for other reasons than those absolutely essential continue to be strongly discouraged.

Effective 31 January 2021, entry is permitted for foreign nationals only for essential reasons.

All travellers who have visited the United Kingdom in the last 14 days are subject to 10-day self-isolation. 

  • Self-isolation may be ended by the presentation of a negative result of a PCR test carried out no earlier than the 5th to the 7th day after arrival. 

All travellers from the United Kingdom are required to present a negative result of a COVID-19 antigen or RT-PCR test taken in the UK in the previous 72 hours. 

Entry by air from the United Kingdom is only permitted for the below-specified categories of persons: 

  • Citizens of the Czech Republic with their common place of residence in the territory of the Czech Republic or their family members who accompany them. 
  • EU citizens with a certificate of temporary residence in the territory of the Czech Republic or with a permanent residence permit for residence in the territory of the Czech Republic or their family members who accompany them. 
  • Holders of a valid long-term visa, a long-term or permanent residence permit card for residence in the territory of the Czech Republic, issued by the Czech Republic.
  • Other foreign nationals who only transit by air across the territory of the Czech Republic or who change flights at the same airport for up to 12 hours after their arrival.

Entry is permitted for foreign nationals for non-essential reasons. Arrivals from high-risk countries must self-isolate for 10 days or until a negative PCR test result is submitted to the respective regional hygienic station. 

Entry is permitted from any country for up to 24 hours for urgent health, family, business and work reasons without completing a Public Health Passenger Locator Form prior to entry or undergoing a PCR test after entry. 

The government has divided countries into low risk (green and orange) countries and high risk (red) countries.

  • Low-risk (green and orange) countries include Australia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Azores and Madeira (Portugal), Singapore, South Korea, Canary Islands and Balearic Islands (Spain), Thailand, Vatican. o High-risk (red) countries include Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (except Azores, Madeira), Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (except Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Uruguay. o Foreign national employees/students travelling from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Malta and Norway, the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (Spain) (orange countries) and from all red countries cannot enter the workplace / educational institute until they have submitted the result of a PCR test taken in the Czech Republic to their employer/institution.

All arrivals who have spent more than 12 hours in the last 14 days in red countries must submit an online form before entry and undergo a PCR test within 5 days after entry. 

  • If they do not submit a negative result to the relevant hygiene station within 7 days of entry, they are subject to quarantine.Until the PCR test result is submitted or for the duration of the necessary quarantine measure, there is a free movement ban within the Czech Republic and an obligation to wear facemasks.
  • Alternatively, Czech citizens, EU citizens and third-country nationals with a long-term or permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic or another EU country can submit to the relevant hygiene station, on arrival, a negative PCR test result issued by another EU member state no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. This does not apply to: 
    • International transport workers
    • Citizens of the European Union and foreigners with long-term or permanent residence in the European Union, who are transiting via the Czech Republic for no more than 12 hours who travel to the Czech Republic for urgent health, family, business or work reasons for a period not exceeding 12 hours.
    • Citizens of the Czech Republic, European Union citizens and their family members with residency in the Czech Republic and foreign nationals with a permit to stay for 90 days issued by the Czech Republic, who stayed only in regions specifically marked in the list of green countries as part of a vacation with a tour operator or through a travel agency (in this case there is a free movement ban, and an obligation to wear facemasks, for ten days)
    • Cross-border workers, pupils and students who for the purpose of work performance or education on a regular basis at least once a week justifiably cross the state border with the Czech Republic from or to the neighbouring state.
    • Persons under 5 years of age.

Entry is permitted for Czech/EU/EEA/Swiss/UK/microstates citizens and third country citizens who are citizens of a low-risk third-country or who hold a residence permit issued by the Czech Republic or an EU member state or a low-risk country.

  • Third-country citizens resident in Czech Republic require a temporary, long term or permanent residence permit; a long-term visa; or a short-term visa issued after 11 May 2020. 
  • Citizens of third countries in a low-risk country require permission to enter the Czech Republic (visa-free travel; or a residence permit issued by another EU state; or a visa issued by Czech Republic or another EU member state); 
  • Third-country citizens resident in an EU member state require a long-term or permanent residence permit from an EU member state (a long-term or short term visa is not sufficient). 
  • Third-country citizens resident in a low-risk third country require BOTH a: 
    • long-term or permanent residence permit from a green third country (a long-term or short-term visa is not sufficient); 
    • AND permission to enter the Czech Republic (visa-free travel; or a residence permit issued by another EU state; or a visa issued by Czech Republic or another EU member state). 

Entry is suspended for third-country citizens and residents of red countries, with the exception of: 

  • Holders of a long-term or permanent residence permit issued by a low-risk country
  • Holders of a valid long-term visa, long-term, temporary or permanent residence permit issued by the Czech Republic
  • Holders of a short-stay visa by the Czech Republic after 11 May 2020
  • Foreigners with a long-term or permanent residency permit in the European Union
  • Family members of citizens of the Czech Republic or of citizens of the EU resident in the Czech Republic
  • Entry in the interest of the Czech Republic
  • International transport workers
  • Accredited members of diplomatic missions in the Czech Republic, including private service members, holders of diplomatic passports travelling to the Czech Republic for up to 14 days for service purposes and official of international organisations registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs o Urgent emergency situations
  • Those with a proven long-term relationship with an EU citizen who has a certificate of temporary residence or permanent residence permit issued by the Czech Republic. To obtain an authorisation, a declaration of honour of partnership must be downloaded.

Foreign nationals applying for a residence permit for economic or educational activity must submit a document guaranteeing the above obligations of the sponsoring entity.

Applications for visas and temporary and permanent stays are only to be accepted at consular posts in low-risk countries, with the following exceptions: 

    • Short-stay visas for the purpose of seasonal employment or for the purpose of employment if the foreigner is employed in food production, health care or social services, or short-stay visas for the purpose of employment, if they are filed in Ukraine by Ukrainian nationals, provided they do not exceed the maximum number of such applications stipulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon discussion with the Ministry of Health, 
    • Short-stay visas for scientific, key and highly qualified staff, provided that the conditions set out in the Key and Scientific Staff Programme and the Highly Qualified Staff Programme, and critical infrastructure service staff are met, 
    • Family members of citizens of the Czech Republic or of citizens of the EU resident in the Czech Republic; entry in the interest of the Czech Republic; international transport workers; accredited members of diplomatic missions in the Czech Republic, including private service members, holders of diplomatic passports travelling to the Czech Republic for up to 14 days for service purposes and official of international organisations registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; or urgent emergency situations; 
    • long-term visas for the purpose of seasonal employment; 
    • Extraordinary work visas; 
    • Temporary residence, if they are submitted by foreigners included in government programmes in order to achieve an economic or other significant benefit for the Czech Republic; 
    • Permanent residence, if they are submitted by foreigners included in the government program according to Government Resolution No. 1014/2014; 
    • A blue card, long-term residence permit for the purpose of scientific research and applications for residence permits for over 90 days for the spouses and minor children of scientific workers or persons applying for a blue card; 
    • Long-term visas and long-term residency permits for the purpose of study; 
    • Long-term or permanent residence permits for the purpose of joint family cohabitation in the country and applications for long-term visas for family purposes, in the case of spouses or minor children of a foreigner with a long term or permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic; 
    • Long-term visas for the purpose of picking up a residence permit in the Czech Republic; 
    • Long-term visas for the purpose of culture, sports or a working holiday; 
    • Residency permit, if the entry of these foreigners is in the interest of the Czech Republic.  

Immigration

Individuals are able to exit the country if they have received government permission based on “reasonable grounds”. On re-entry, they must either present a negative PCR test certificate (tests may be undergone on Czech territory) followed by free movement limitations for 14 days or undergo “necessary quarantine measures” as ordered by the regional hygiene station. 

 

Denmark

Effective 7-28 February 2021: 

  • All persons arriving by air, and non-resident foreign nationals arriving by sea or land, must present a negative test taken no more than 24 hours before boarding; 
    • Exemptions for children under the age of 15, those with proof of a positive COVID-19 test at least 14 days and no more than 12 weeks old. 
  • On arrival by air, a rapid test must be taken before leaving the airport. 
    • Exemptions for children under the age of 15, those with proof of a positive COVID-19 test at least 14 days and no more than 12 weeks old. 
  • On arrival by sea or land, a new rapid or PCR test must be taken no later than 24 hours after entry. 
    • Exemptions listed here. 
  • All entrants must self-isolate for 10 days. 
    • Exemptions for children under the age of 15; persons who have obtained a negative test for COVID-19; those with proof of a positive COVID-19 test at least 14 days and no more than 12 weeks old and certain other purposes, depending on citizenship and country of residence, as listed here. 
  • Self-isolation may be temporarily broken for certain purposes: 
    • To seek necessary treatment in the health service, including to obtain a rapid test (antigen) or PCR test for COVID-19; to visit close acquaintances who are seriously ill or dying; to attend a funeral or burial of a close acquaintance; to attend the birth of their child; to participate in court proceedings or similar. 
    • Certain other purposes, depending on citizenship and country of residence, as listed here. 
  • Self-isolation may be ended with a negative PCR test taken no earlier than the fourth day after entry. 

Entry is only permitted for the following worthy purposes: 

  • Has a job in Denmark 
  • Family member with a Danish valid residence permit 
  • Is family or significant other of someone who is seriously ill or dying in Denmark 
  • Is a spouse, significant other or parents of a person living in Denmark o Is the primary caregiver for minor children 
  • Is a sailor, crew member on a plane, diplomat, etc. 
  • Must deliver goods or services into or out of Denmark 
  • Entry for the purpose of freight transport 
  • Must exercise visitation rights with minor children 
  • Must participate in an ongoing course of treatment with the health authorities 
  • Must be present at the birth of a child in Denmark 
  • Must attend a funeral 
  • Must participate in a trial (criminal prosecution in Denmark) 

Entry from the United Kingdom or South Africa is only permitted for the following worthy purposes: 

  • Is primary caregiver for minor children 
  • Is family or significant other of someone who is seriously ill or dying in Denmark 
  • Entry for the purpose of freight transport 
  • When people residing in the UK transport goods to Denmark, they must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours before arrival. 

The following worthy purposes are temporarily suspended: 

  • Family member without a Danish residence permit 
  • Is the spouse, permanent cohabitant or child of a Dane who lives abroad and travels together 
  • Attending a business meeting o Going to job interview 
  • Is a student in Denmark 
  • Attending an internship 
  • Going to a high school stay in Denmark 
  • An au pair in Denmark 
  • Have a necessary errand at an embassy or representation in Denmark 
  • Has their own holiday home, boat or mooring in Denmark. 

Permanent UK residents are not permitted to enter Denmark unless they have one of the following worthy purposes: 

  • Persons who act as the primary caregiver for minor children in Denmark (it may, for example, be a foster family who is not part of the nuclear family). 
  • Persons who are to visit seriously ill or dying family members or sweethearts in Denmark. 
  • Persons who carry out freight transport to ensure security of supply in Denmark or the EU countries in general. 

Passengers on connected flights to Denmark transiting in one or more airports have two different options: 

  • They can take a test no more than 24 hours before boarding the first flight; 
  • They can take a test while in transit. 
  • Even when a test is taken in the first country of departure, the Danish testing requirement only applies to the connecting flight to Denmark. In the transit airport, the airline must make sure that test was taken no more than 24 hours before the passenger boarded the first flight. However, this possibility applies only if the ticket has been booked as a combined flight ticket. 

Passengers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19, and who may therefore afterwards return a positive test result for a long period even though they can no longer transmit the disease, may show a positive COVID-19 test taken between two and eight weeks ago instead of a negative test.

All SIRI’s branch offices (in Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, Aalborg, Aabenraa and Bornholm) have reopened. The online booking system has reopened and it is now possible to book appointments online. Longer processing times can be expected in all cases (30-45 days for initial cases and 90-100 days for extensions). 

Employers must inform SIRI if their assignees’ employment terms have changed, regardless of the reason (including government-approved reduced time/salary packages). This also applies if the salary (including a possible reduction) still meets minimum salary requirements. The minimum salary threshold overrules collective agreements and must be met regardless of any support package. 

The immigration Service’s Citizen Service is open, but it is only possible to get personal service if you book an appointment in advance. You can book an appointment for the following types of service: 

  • Biometric features for residence permit 
  • New passport 
  • Re-entry permit 
  • Short term visa extension 
  • Laissez-passer (pick up).

The Immigration Service will continue to process all types of cases to the extent possible. Certain parts of the case processing can be delayed or limited because it among other things was not possible to appear in person at the Citizen Service for a limited period of time. 

Immigration Concessions

The deadline for recording of biometric features for residence permit applications has been extended until November 2020. The Danish Immigration Service will begin processing of applications without biometrics but will not reach a final decision until biometrics have been recorded. SIRI will contact applicants for biometric appointments. Biometric recording is possible in some countries outside Denmark. 

Residence permit holders who cannot enter Denmark within the first 6 months of their residence permit’s validity due to coronavirus measures can apply for dispensation from their residence permit lapsing. Residence permit or short-stay visa holders whose status has expired but cannot leave Denmark on time due to coronavirus measures will not be penalised for late departure. 

International House in Copenhagen will issue CPR numbers for Copenhagen-based assignees on the basis of an application form and the applicant’s power of attorney and will send health cards directly to assignees’ homes. In-country biometrics recording not will not be possible, but work permit applications will still be processed. 

 

Finland

All flights toFinland from Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom are banned until 11 January. Entry restrictions are extended until 15 February 2021.

A 10-day period of self-isolation is recommended for travellers arriving in Finland from a higher incidence country. 

  • Travellers can shorten their self-isolation period at their discretion if they take two voluntary COVID-19 tests. It is recommended to take the first test in the country of origin no more than 72 hours prior to travel. Alternatively, the first test can be taken at the airport on arrival , but the traveller may have to queue for several hours for this and may have to wait days for the result. 
  • The second test should be taken no sooner than 72 hours after arrival. 
  • If a traveller is staying in Finland for less than 72 hours, they do not need to self-isolate or take a second test

Unrestricted entry is permitted from countries with a COVID-19 infection rate of up to 25 per 100,000 population in the previous 14 days (green category). 

 

Unrestricted entry (‘green’) is possible from Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the Vatican.

Restricted entry (Category 1: ‘red’) is in force from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Self-isolation for 10 days upon arrival from these countries is recommended. 

Restricted entry (Category 2: ‘grey’) is in force from all other countries including the United Kingdom. Self-isolation for 10 days upon arrival from these countries is recommended.

Category breakdown:

Entry is permitted from restriction category 1 countries for: 

  • Return to Finland:  Finnish nationals and their family members;  EU/Schengen national residents of Finland and their family members,  Third-country nationals resident in Finland with a residence permit. 
  • Return to or through other EU or Schengen countries:  EU/Schengen nationals and their family members;  Third-country nationals resident in another EU or Schengen country. 
  • Work-related or essential travel, including that based on employment or assignment.
  • Traffic across border crossing points between Finland and Sweden and between Finland and Norway will be permitted between local border communities. 

Entry is permitted from restriction category 2 countries for:

  • Return to Finland:  Finnish nationals and their family members; EU/Schengen national residents of Finland and their family members,  Third-country nationals resident in Finland with a residence permit. 

Return to or through other EU or Schengen countries:  

  • EU/Schengen nationals and their family members;  Third-country nationals resident in another EU or Schengen country. 
  • Essential reasons.

The Finnish government has again started to grant first residence permits for applications submitted from abroad that become valid on the day the application is decided. However, for the time being, consulates cannot hand over residence permit cards as usual. New residence permit applications can be prepared, but not fully submitted if the applicant is still abroad. 

The deadline for residence permit applicants to prove their identity at a Finnish consulate or service point has been extended until 31 December. Normally, it is necessary to visit a service point or Finnish mission within three months of application submission. The police may extend the validity of a visa in the event that flight cancellations, for example, prevent the visa holder from leaving Finland before their visa expires.

 

France

Effective 22 February 2021, hauliers arriving from the UK who have spent less than 48 hours in the UK do not need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

Certain consulates have suspended the issuance of visas for family members of professional Talent Passport holders.

Effective 6 February 2021, posted workers and intra-company transfers from all non-EU countries are no longer considered authorised travellers (some exceptions exist for short-term posted workers whose assignments have high economic impact for France). 

Effective 31 January 2021: 

All travellers entering France from the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican by road, rail, air or sea must present: 

  • A negative result of a PCR (not antigen) test taken no more than 72 hours before travel (if aged 11 years or over). 
  • Exceptions exist for road carriers, frontier workers and residents of frontier living areas within an area of 30 km around their home; 
  • A sworn declaration that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms;  they haven’t been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the 14 days preceding travel; they agree to undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival.

Entry is permitted for essential purposes only from the United Kingdom. Please note that categories of travellers authorized to enter and compelling reasons are cumulative conditions.

Effective 18 January 2021, all travellers entering France anywhere except the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican will have to present a negative result of a PCR (not antigen) test taken no more than 72 hours before travel. AND a sworn declaration to self-isolate for 7 days on arrival, then take a second PCR test following the self-isolation period.

Only the following categories of travellers are permitted to enter France from the United Kingdom: 

  • French nationals, and their partners (spouses, civil partners, or cohabiters, subject to evidence of cohabitation) and children; 
  • European Union citizens and citizens of Andorra, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marina, Switzerland and the Vatican, with their main residence in France or travelling to the country in which they are a citizen or resident by transiting through France, as well as their partners (spouses, civil partners, or cohabiters, subject to evidence of cohabitation) and children; 
  • British nationals wishing to establish their main residence in France before 31 December 2020 in order to benefit from the withdrawal agreement, subject to examination of their individual requests by the Ministry of the Interior (DGEF/DIMM/SDV) and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (diplomatic and consular posts); 
  • British nationals wishing to establish their main residence in a Member State of the European Union before 31 December 2020 in order to benefit from the withdrawal agreement, at the request of the authorities of the future country of residence and subject to individual examination of their requests by the French authorities listed at the previous point; 
  • Nationals of a third country with a valid European or French residence permit or long-stay visa with their main residence in France or travelling to their main residence in another European Union or assimilated country and transiting through France; 
  • Nationals of a third country transiting for less than 24 hours in an international zone; 
  • Holders of official passports; 
  • Foreign nationals (including British citizens) working in a diplomatic or consular mission or an international organization headquartered or having an office in France and their partners and children; British civil servants for the purposes of their missions, persons working for the border police, and customs officers; Foreign health professionals (including British citizens) helping to fight COVID-19 or recruited as a trainee for this purpose; Persons working in the transport sector of transport service providers, including drivers of any vehicle for transport of goods to be used in the French territory and those which are only in transit, or such persons travelling as passengers to reach their departure base; Drivers or crew members of coaches or passenger trains; Members of staff of the Channel Tunnel (including for tasks linked to operation, maintenance and security) or cross-channel facilities; Crew members and personnel operating merchant, including cruise, or fishing vessels; o Students with a long-stay visa, a short-stay visa for study or internships, excluding short-stay visas for examinations, or travelling for less than 90 days from a country exempt from short-stay visa requirements, and minors enrolled in school, who can prove they have accommodation in France; Teaching staff and researchers employed or invited by a French higher education establishment or research laboratory, travelling for study and teaching purposes; Nationals of third countries with a “Talent Passport” long-stay visa or an “ICT posted worker” long-stay visa, and their partners and children; Foreign nationals (including British citizens) travelling to France to receive treatment in a public or private hospital. Foreign nationals (including British citizens) travelling to France to exercise custodial rights recognized by a court decision; Nationals of third countries who are humanitarian workers or international volunteers; Border workers and posted workers; British pupils, students or interns travelling to France on a daily basis; Seasonal workers; Journalists travelling for the purposes of their work.

Entry from anywhere except the UK, the EU, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland or the Vatican is only permitted under one of the following exceptions: 

  • French citizens and their spouses (married, civil union or cohabiting partners) and children; 
  • Citizens of the EU, the EEA, the microstates and Switzerland and their spouses (married, civil union or cohabiting partners) and children; 
  • Holders of a valid French or European residence permit or long-stay visa travelling to their main residence in France or Europe; 
  • Travellers in transit for less than 24 hours in an international zone; 
  • Holders of an official passport; 
  • Members of a delegation on official travel, or of a diplomatic or consular mission, or of an international organization headquartered or having an office in France (and their spouse and children); 
  • Foreign citizens from other countries residing in France for compelling professional reasons under a mission order issued by their country of origin; 
  • Foreign citizen residing in France at the invitation of French authorities under a cooperation agreement; 
  • Foreign health professionals helping to fight COVID-19; 
  • Members of crew or personnel operating passenger or cargo flights, or travelling as passengers to reach their departure base; 
  • Those carrying out international goods transport; 
  • Drivers and crew members of passenger coaches or trains; 
  • Members of crew or personnel operating a merchant or fishing vessel; 
  • Students with a long-stay visa (LSV) or short-stay visa (SSV) for study or internships or coming for less than 90 days from a country exempted from SSV requirements, or minors attending school and holding a proof of residence in France; 
  • Lecturers and researchers employed or invited by a French higher education institute or research laboratory and travelling for study or teaching purposes; 
  • Holders of a “Talent Passport” long-stay visa or intra-corporate transfer (ICT Posted Worker) long-stay visa, and their spouse and children. 
  • Travellers to France to receive treatment in a public or private hospital. 
  • Foreign citizens travelling to France in other to exercise custody rights recognized by a court decision; 
  • Citizens of other countries who are international humanitarian workers or volunteers.

All travellers to France from countries not on the list above are required to present an international travel certificate and a sworn declaration that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Please use the attached link for further advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements

Quarantine is no longer required for international travellers unless they fail to present a negative result of a PCR test carried out less than 72 hours prior to boarding and then test positive on arrival at the airport. 

A negative result of a COVID-19 test undertaken no more than 72 hours before departure is required for travellers aged 11 years or older who have been in the following countries in the previous 30 days: 

  • Algeria, Bahrain, China, DR Congo, Ecuador, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States and Zimbabwe. 

Travellers from all other countries are strongly recommended to present a negative PCR test result, carried out no more than 72 hours prior to travel. 

  • If not, they will be tested on arrival at the airport.
  • Travellers who test positive on arrival will be required to spend 14 days in isolation.

Workers with the nationality of an EU member state (including the UK) can enter and work in France under the posting regime if their assignment cannot be postponed. Before their arrival on French territory, the client sends proof of filing of the posted worker notification and all documents justifying the non-reportable nature of the assignment (if applicable, a declaration on free paper) to the address mail: detaches@interieur.gouv.fr. To cross the border, the posted worker must have a certificate of international travel (which includes a declaration on honour of the absence of symptoms of COVID-19 infection) and proof of filing of the posted worker notification. European workers posted for more than 48 hours to France must be subject to a quarantine measure or any other equivalent measure in their country of origin.

Individuals traveling between Metropolitan France and the overseas territories are required to self-isolate on arrival, excluding French Guiana and Mayotte, where all but essential travel is currently prohibited. 

The Paris Prefecture of Police have created a web portal that enables foreign nationals to apply for postal delivery of their residence permits, if they were expected to be delivered during the lockdown.

 

Germany

Effective 14 February, entry restrictions also apply to travellers entering from Austria (Tyrol province except Lienz (East Tyrol), the municipality of Jungholz and the Rißtal valley in the municipal area of Vomp and Eben am Achensee) and the Czech Republic, as areas of variant of concern.

These restrictions apply to both commercial and individual travel. 

Transport bans are also in effect at these borders. 

For travellers from the Tyrol and the Czech Republic, exceptions to the entry restrictions apply to employees who are essential for ensuring that enterprises continue to function, according to no. 2 of the Communication from the Commission: Guidelines concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during COVID-19 outbreak.

Qualifying employees must provide evidence of such employment in the form of a work contract and, effective 17 February 2021, an individual official certificate issued by the authorities of the federal states of Saxony and Bavaria.

For travellers from all areas of variant of concern, exceptions to the entry restrictions apply only to the following persons and in the following cases:

  • German citizens and members of their immediate family who are citizens of countries outside of the EU and are travelling with the German citizen. 
  • “Immediate family members”are spouses, registered civil partners, minor children and parents of minor children.
  • persons who are legal residents of Germany; cargo transport staff and other staff needed for the transport of goods (including mail, freight and empty carriers, as well as returning aircraft, ships and crews).
  • Medical staff (physicians, nurses, and staff of nursing homes) and other escort staff needed for air ambulance and organ transplant flights;
  • Persons travelling to Germany for urgent humanitarian reasons. Urgent humanitarian reasons include the following: death of an immediate relative (spouse, registered civil partner, own child or parent); father for the birth of his child, two close relatives in the absence of any other adult entitled to care and custody of a minor child; persons in need of medical treatment if serious harm to their health would otherwise result (confirmed by medical certificate) and one escort;
  • Individuals admitted for humanitarian reasons in case of threat to life or limb;  persons travelling by order of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations (UN) or a UN organisation.

Travelers entering or returning from regions with particularly high numbers of cases (high-incidence areas) and regions in which virus variants of concern (areas of variant of concern)are particularly obliged to carry proof of a negative test result or corresponding medical certificate confirming the absence of infection with the SARSCoV-2 coronavirus upon entry.. This test must have been carried out at the earliest 48 hours before entry or must be carried out upon entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.

The following are considered areas of variant of concern: 

  • Brazil; The United Kingdom; Ireland; South Africa. 

The following are new high-incidence areas: 

  • Albania, Andorra (Principality of Andorra), Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Iran, Israel, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Palestinian territories, Panama, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, USA. 

The following are new risk areas: 

  • France (French Overseas Territory of Mayotte and Saint- Barthélemy); Malaysia.

Travellers to Germany who have been in a risk area in the 10 days prior to entry must:

  • register online prior to entry and present proof of this registration on entry;
  • self-isolate at home for 10 days.

Depending on the regulations of the Länder, the self-isolation may end after 5 days if a test for Coronavirus carried out on the fifth day after entry to Germany or later is negative.

The obligation to self-isolate at home does not apply in the case of transit through Germany. In this case, however, travellers are obliged to leave Germany immediately. The specific regulations of the Länder apply.

Effective until 31 January 2021, hotels and other accommodation providers may only provide accommodation to people whose travel is essential, and not for tourism purposes.

  • Visas for tourism purposes will only be issued in exceptional cases. 

The Länder are responsible for implementing this decision. Whether a specific journey is possible thus depends on the rules of the destination Land. More information for potential travellers can be found here.

Entry is permitted for travellers arriving from EU member states, Schengen associated states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland), the United Kingdom, and the following non-EU countries: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand.

Entry restrictions do not apply to: 

  • German citizens
  • EU citizens and nationals of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and their immediate family members (spouse, unmarried minor children, parents of minors)
  • Third-country nationals holding residence permits or long-term visas for an EU member state or a Schengen country, and their immediate family members.

Arrivals who have spent time in a risk area within the previous 14 days must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result issued in the previous 48 hours. Otherwise, they must be tested at the airport, port or train station on arrival, and enter a 14-day quarantine until they obtain a negative test result. 

  • Self-isolate at home for 10 days; 
  • If no other grounds for exception apply, these individuals may only be released from the obligation to self-isolate at home – no earlier than 5 days after entering Germany– if they provide proof of a negative test result.

Travellers returning to Germany will be offered free COVID-19 tests up to 72 hours after entry. 

  • Those returning from risk countries will be tested at the airport, while those returning from non-risk countries will be offered an optional test from their local health authority. 
  • Persons who do not want to get tested or those who test positive will be obliged to go through two weeks of mandatory quarantine.

Before traveling to Germany one should double check on the website of the competent federal state of entry regarding the specific regulations there. If the state of entry is not the destination (residence) state at the same time, then the traveller should refer to the website of the destination.

Additionally, foreign specialists and highly qualified employees, whose employment is necessary from an economic standpoint and whose work cannot be postponed or completed abroad, are permitted entry regardless of their country of origin.

Some immigration offices in a number of cities have reopened, however they are operating with limited services and by appointment only. Alien offices in Berlin are also operating by appointment only. Immigration offices in other cities are closed or offering only limited or emergency services. 

 

Hungary

Hungary has temporarily closed its borders to foreign nationals.

The following travellers are exempt from this:

  • Persons with permanent residence cards (ÁTK, á llandó tartózkodási kártya). Persons holding a residence permit entitling them to stay more than 90 day.
  • Athletes, sports experts, sports associations’ delegated/assigned persons returning from foreign sporting events.
  • Hungarian citizens and their non-Hungarian citizen relatives.

Until 1 December, entry is permitted without quarantine for Hungarian, Czech, Polish and Slovak citizens travelling from Czech Republic, Poland or Slovakia (the Visegrad countries) who had already booked trips to Hungary for October prior to 7 October, if they provide a negative COVID-19 test result obtained less than 5 days previously.

Individuals entering Hungary from abroad (including Hungarian citizens) are required to self-quarantine for 10 days. Note that the following individuals will be allowed to leave self-quarantine before the end of the 10-day period if they are able to produce two negative test results taken two days apart after arrival in Hungary: 

  • Hungarian citizens. 
  • Persons who are employees or officers of foreign companies who are in business relations with a Hungarian company or are employees or officers of such a Hungarian company may enter Hungary.

Transit through Hungary within 24 hours via designated routes is possible. Transiting individuals may only stop at designated resting points.

Entry is permitted without quarantine for citizens of EU and EEA member states (not including the UK) arriving from any country. Entry is suspended for all other foreign nationals except: 

  • Permanent residence card holders who are family members of Hungarian citizens; 
  • EU/EEA citizens holding a permanent residence card (all subject to a 10-day quarantine). 
  • Foreign nationals arriving from Japan or South Korea for intracompany business trips. 
  • Serbian nationals can enter Hungary based on a reciprocity agreement. 
  • Ukrainian nationals can enter Hungary for up to 24 hours and up to 30km from the border. o Non-EU/EEA residents of Hungary who wish to return to Hungary but do not have a Hungarian family member, and non-EU/EEA residents of another EU/EEA country may make a special request to re-enter Hungary via an online portal provided by the Hungarian police. Documents need to be attached to the request to prove a court appointment, business travel, medical treatment, school exam, travel connected to transportation or the funeral of a close family member. 
  • Foreign nationals transiting through the airport must have a negative COVID19 certificate, no more than four days old, and signed by a medical professional (from any country). 

Passengers arriving at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc International Airport (except business travellers from South Korea or Japan) will undergo a compulsory medical test upon arrival. Depending on the test’s result, they may be taken to hospital quarantine or ordered to stay in home quarantine for 14 days. 

Consular application submission and processing are suspended. All immigration offices are closed and no appointments can currently be booked for in-person application submission. 

 

Italy

Air traffic with the United Kingdom is currently suspended. Travellers already in Italy who have stayed in or transited through the UK in the last 14 days before this new ban must immediately notify the Department of Prevention of their local health authority and undergo a PCR or antigen swab test.

Delta and Alitalia airlines will allow quarantine-free travel between Atlanta, Georgia in the United States and Rome in Italy: 

  • US citizens permitted to travel for specific, essential purposes, such as work, health, study, absolute urgency, return to one’s own home, and all Italian/EU/Schengen citizens, can travel without quarantine on arrival if they obtain multiple negative COVID-19 test results: 
    • A COVID-19 PCR test taken up to 72 hours before departing the US; 
    • A rapid test taken at Atlanta airport before boarding; 
    • A rapid test taken on arrival at Rome-Fiumicino airport; 
    • A rapid test taken at Rome-Fiumicino airport before departure to the US.

Effective 21 December 2020 until 6 January 2021, all arrivals, including Italian/EU/Schengen citizens, are subject to 14-day quarantine. From 7 January 2021, all travellers arriving from EU member states, Schengen states, the microstates and the United Kingdom can avoid self-isolation by presenting a negative result of a COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours before travel.

All arrivals from abroad are required to complete a self-certification form declaring their purpose of travel, their place of departure and the address of their destination in Italy, and to present this to the carrier before boarding. They must inform the local health authority (ASL) upon arrival.

Public offices throughout Italy remain closed to the public. Employers and assignees in Italy should be prepared for delays in the processing of immigration and work authorisation applications.

Public offices throughout Italy remain closed to the public. Employers and assignees in Italy should be prepared for delays in the processing of immigration and work authorisation applications. 

 

The Republic of Ireland

Flights arriving from the UK are banned from midnight for at least 48 hours. People in Britain, regardless of nationality should not travel to Ireland by air or sea. Ferry crossings for freight will continue.

Irish borders remain open but all persons arriving in Ireland are required to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.Travellers from green regions or those arriving from Northern Ireland are excepted from this rule.Also exempted are:

  1. International Transport Workers, including workers in aviation, maritime and road haulage sectors
  2. Travellers with an essential function or need as set out in paragraph 19 of the EU Council Recommendation, including: 
  • Passengers travelling for the purposes of an imperative business reason, only while carrying out that essential function;
  • Passengers arriving for imperative family reasons, only while pursuing that imperative reason.
  • Children aged 6 or under
  • Passengers arriving from an “orange” region, who have received a negative/’not detected’ PCR test result during the three days before arriving in Ireland. Passengers are requested to have supporting evidence of the negative test in their possession. 

All persons travelling to Ireland are required to complete an online COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form prior to arrival.

  • The information provided may be used to contact the travellers in the following 14 days to verify the details given on the form and to provide public health advice. This form may also be used for the purposes of contact tracing in relation to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. 
  • Travellers are not required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form if they are an essential supply chain worker (that is, air and ship crew and hauliers) or an accredited diplomat.

Travellers arriving from orange, red or grey regions (or nonEU/EEA countries) can end their self-quarantine if they receive a negative result of a PCR test taken at least 5 days after arrival.

The Department of Justice and Equality has recommenced issuing decisions on certain long-stay visas in certain categories, including tertiary study, employment and family reunion. The issuance of short-stay visas for non-emergency/priority travel remains suspended.

The list of emergency/priority exemptions now includes: 

  • Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals
  • Immediate family members of Irish citizens (who are returning to their ordinary place of residence in Ireland)
  • Persons legally resident in the State
  • Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive
  • Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary
  • Frontier workers
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture
  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations and people invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for the well functioning of these organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions
  • Passengers in transit
  • Passengers travelling for critical family reasons
  • Seafarers
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons
  • Third-country nationals travelling for the purpose of 3rd level study
  • Highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad.

Customers renewing their Immigration Registration Permission will no longer need to submit their original passport to have an immigration stamp attached by their Registration Office. 

  • From now on, immigration stamps will no longer be attached to passports, and the Irish Residence Permit (IRP) will prove that the applicant is legally registered in Ireland.
  • This applies to renewals made in the Burgh Quay Registration Office in Dublin and renewals made in local Registration Offices at Garda Stations nationwide. 
  • In Dublin, applicants have to upload scanned copies of their passport personal information page to the online system. 
  • Elsewhere, applicants still need to present their passport as proof of identity but do not need to leave their passport at the registration office. 
  • Applicants renewing their registration with a new passport should make an appointment to visit the registration office in person to have the passport stamped with their immigration permission.

The online Registration Renewal System for immigration registration has been extended to all Dublin-based non-EEA nationals seeking to renew their immigration registration, who have less than 30 days left on their permission. 

  • The renewal registration process involves completing an online form, uploading supporting documents, paying a fee and then submitting the passport and current IRP Card via registered post to ISD Burgh Quay. No attendance at Burgh Quay is required. 

Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) has temporarily stopped accepting visa applications. Online applications are available as usual, but applications will not be processed, apart from emergency visas for essential workers, and visas for immediate family members of Irish citizens, legal residents and EU citizens. Any application made online will remain valid until restrictions are lifted. 

Visa-required nationals, currently outside Ireland, with an expired IRP card are required to apply for an entry visa through their local consulate / VFS Global office.

Current valid permissions to reside in Ireland which are due to expire between 20 September 2020 and 20 January 2021 are automatically renewed until 20 January 2021. 

  • Holders of a valid permission should ensure they renew their registration in the normal way as soon as possible, and by 20 January 2021 at the latest. 
  • This is the fifth, the longest, and expected to be the final, extension of permissions implemented since the onset of the pandemic. 
  • A new IRP or permission letter will not be issued for this automatic renewal. 
  • The renewal of permission is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions attach.  Any permission that was renewed by previous notices is automatically renewed by this notice.

Employees can present their previous Irish Residence Permit (IRP) Card and a copy of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) notice to their employers to show that they can continue to work.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (‘DBEI’) are still accepting and processing employment permit applications and related applications (Stamp 4, Trusted Partner and Reviews) and are issuing permits electronically, once granted. Expired employment permits do not need to be sent back to DBEI within four weeks of expiry during the COVID-19 emergency period.

Atypical Work Scheme (AWS) applications can now be submitted electronically via the Immigration Online Portal.

  • Applications and EFT payment of application fees must be submitted via the new online portal. 
  • The online application process includes important new documentation requirements. 
  • Requests for the re-issue of a letter of permission that has expired prior to use due to COVID-19 travel restrictions should continue to be submitted by email, including proof of postal return of any hard copy letter of approval.

If anyone holding an AWS is unable to travel during the validity period of their decision letter, this letter should be returned to ISD urgently for an amended letter of approval to be issued once revised travel plans have been made and ISD notified. 

Anyone holding an AWS who had to leave Ireland early because of travel restrictions/work shut down and needs to return once restrictions are lifted is advised to return their currently valid letter of approval to ISD. An amended letter will be issued once INIS has been notified of revised travel plans and confirmation from the Irish based host regarding the ceasing of operations and evidence of departure.

 

Kenya 

Scheduled commercial passenger flights are permitted. All travellers boarding flights to Kenya are required to: 

  • present a negative COVID-19 test result produced not more than 96 hours before travel;
  • present a completed Kenya Travellers Health Surveillance form online and present the corresponding QR code to health authorities at the port of arrival

All arrivals are subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine at their own expense, unless they are arriving from countries listed here.

Foreign nationals who have fallen out of status, or are about to, are advised to apply for a visa pending the renewal of their permits or passes, multiple visa extensions are possible to apply for. Anyone who holds a permit that is due to expire is able to continue work and remain in Kenya during this time without penalty. Online applications must be submitted prior to the expiration date. There will also be a drop box provided for hard copy applications to be submitted. 

 

Luxembourg

Individuals seeking to enter Luxembourg by air, whose travel does not originate from an EU member country or one of the countries exempted by the European Union (Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay), must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, administered less than 72 hours (previously 48 hours) before departure, at the time of boarding.

The suspension of entry for third-country nationals is extended until 31 December. New exemptions have been added for third-country nationals traveling for the purpose of study; and for highly qualified third country workers if their employment is economically necessary and their work cannot be postponed or performed from abroad. 

  • For these categories, an express request must be sent by email (service.visas@mae.etat.lu) to the Passport, Visa and Legalization Office, in order to obtain a specific certificate. 

Other exemptions exist for citizens of the EU, Schengen countries and the UK and their family members; long-term residents; health professionals; transport workers; cross-border workers from France Belgium and Germany; diplomats and employees of international organisations; transit passengers; and those travelling for urgent and justified family reasons.

The Immigration Directorate is not accepting manual applications or any document submissions, with all reception desks closed. Appointments can only be made for emergency situations.

 

Morocco

Additional restrictions expected on travel to and from the UK.

Entry is permitted for certain visa-exempt foreign nationals with proof of a hotel reservation or business invitation. Entry is permitted for Moroccan citizens and foreign residents of Morocco, as well as their families. 

All travellers to Morocco over the age of 11 are required to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within less than 72 hours of the flight before boarding their flight. All travellers must also complete a passenger health form before travel and present a printed copy on arrival.

At this time, the government is not processing requests for obtaining, renewing, or extending residency cards until further notice.

 

Nigeria

International flights and the issuance of visas on arrival and electronic visas has resumed. Travellers entering Nigeria from any country must test negative for COVID-19 in their country of departure within 120 hours before departure. Children aged under 10 are exempt. 

Travellers are strongly advised to use the Nigerian International Travel Portal to provide required health information, upload the pre-departure test result and Health Declaration/Self Reporting form, and pay in advance for the second COVID-19 test that must be completed within 7 days of arrival. 

All new arrivals are expected to self-isolate at one location in the city of their arrival until the result of their second PCR test (which should be taken on day 7 of arrival) is known. If the second test is negative travellers can exit self-isolation from day 8 onwards.

Employers can submit temporary work permit applications via email.

 

The Netherlands

All flights are suspended from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela (effective 23 January 2021). 

All flights and ferries are suspended from the United Kingdom (effective immediately). All passengers travelling to the Netherlands by air or sea from high-risk areas must: 

  • Present a negative result of a rapid COVID-19 test performed not more than four hours prior to boarding the aircraft or ship. 
  • Present a negative test result for a PCR test performed no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands. 
  • These measures also apply to people travelling to the Caribbean parts of the Netherlands. 
  • Travellers must self-quarantine for 10 days on arrival in the Netherlands. After five days they can get tested. If the result of this PCR test is negative they may end their self-quarantine. 

Travellers from outside the EU who are business travellers, students, highly skilled migrants, professionals from the cultural and creative sectors and people in long-distance romantic relationships wishing to travel to the Netherlands for a short period will no longer be granted entry.

Entry is permitted from the European Union member states and the rest of the Schengen countries (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland), Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. 

Entry is permitted for EU citizens resident in the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba. Entry is permitted for EU citizens and their family members, nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and their family members, third-country nationals holding a residence card or permit, right to residence long-stay visa or temporary residence permit (MVV), transit passengers, cross-border workers and others working in essential functions. 

The suspension of entry remains for non-essential travel of persons from other non-EEA countries, including the UK. 

Entry is permitted for holders of a residence card or permit for long-term residence, a valid residence permit for Netherlands, those who derive their residence from another EU directive or the law of a Schengen country and holders of a long-stay visa (MVV) and their family members. 

Entry is permitted for cross-border commuters, key workers, seasonal workers, transport workers, energy workers, seafarers, diplomats, members of the armed forces, NGO workers, those with compelling reasons to visit their family, those travelling through the Netherlands to a non-EU country (with proof of a connecting flight within 48 hours) and knowledge migrants (highly-skilled migrants) and students with an IND approval letter (kennisgeving). 

Entry is permitted for Highly-skilled migrants (knowledge migrants – including holders of Blue Cards, ICT Permits or researcher permits), and their family members. 

  • They still require an MVV unless they are of a visa-exempt nationality (Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States); 
  • If they are visa-exempt and travelling from an entry-ban country, then ▪ they must fly direct to Netherlands (no transit); 
    • they must present the IND approval letter (kennisgeving) stating that they will receive a residence permit; 
    • the must also present a written statement from their employer stating that they must be in the Netherlands for their work and why. It should also state why they cannot come to the Netherlands at a later time. 
  • If they arrive from a high-risk area, they must submit a health declaration and undergo a 10-day self-quarantine.

If the Netherlands embassy is closed or not accepting MVV applications, the applicant’s sponsor can submit the application to the IND in the Netherlands. 

  • However, the applicant will have to visit the embassy once the IND has made a positive decision. 
  • MVV’s can be collected from the embassy within 9 months of the original date of approval (if the applicant can explain why they could not collect their MVV sooner because of the corona crisis). 
  • If an MVV sticker has expired, the applicant can obtain a reissued MVV within 90 days after expiry of the original sticker approval (if the applicant can explain why they could not travel in time because of the corona crisis).

People outside Europe with a positive decision on a residence permit application but without an MVV, or with an expired residence permit, cannot enter the country. Dutch consular representations are gradually reopening abroad, and long-term entry visas (MVV) are being processed and approved at a growing number of locations.

Anyone aged 13 years and over flying from or to the Netherlands must fill in a Health Screening Form.

Some travellers aged 13 years or above must present a printed negative COVID-19 test result on entry. 

  • A printed statement/declaration about their test, completed by the traveller, must also be presented. 
  • This requirement applies to travellers from countries that are not on the list of safe countries in the European Union, and who are also exempt from the EU entry ban. 
  • This requirement does not apply to Dutch citizens or residents of EU countries or their family members. 
  • The following people do not need a negative test result and statement: 
    • Frontier workers;
    • Transit passengers who want to travel to another country via the Netherlands and continue directly by air; 
    • Persons with a residence permit from the Netherlands or another EU / Schengen member state and holders of a diplomatic identity card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; 
    • Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City and Andorra and their relatives; 
    • Holders of a long-stay visa, including persons with a provisional residence permit (MVV); 
    • Persons employed in the transport of goods and other transport personnel as necessary. This includes persons working on container ships, bulk carriers (for example ore or coal), tankers (fuels and chemicals), fishing. And also persons working in the energy sector, i.e. oil and gas platforms and wind farms, offshore companies that provide services to this sector, and air, cruise and ferry crew when they travel in the performance of their duties; 
    • Seafarers in possession of a seaman’s book when they travel in the performance of their duties. The exceptions do not apply to seafarers on commercial yachts and pleasure craft; 
    • Heads of state and members of a foreign government; 
    • Students in possession of a notification letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service; 
    • Knowledge migrants in possession of a notification letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service or a Dutch work permit. 
  • This requirement does not apply to arrivals by car, train or bus, or to airport transit passengers.

Appointments at the IND desk continue as usual. Until further notice, the Dutch Immigration Services (IND) is only allowing appointments for collection of first regular residence document. The IND will contact the applicant to schedule an appointment. Applicants who have received a positive decision on a first residence permit and entered the Netherlands without a temporary residence permit (MVV) should call the IND to schedule an appointment to provide biometrics.

 

Norway

Effective 22 February, employers who make accommodation available to foreign employees must have this location pre-approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority. 

When applying to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority for approval of accommodation, the employer must document that it is possible to reside in that location without coming into contact with other people. Employees must have their own bathroom and their own kitchen or dining facilities, as well as access to a private room offering television and internet facilities. A processing fee is due in order to have an application to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority considered.

Norwegian employers/sponsors can apply for permission for an exemption from the current travel ban for foreign workers to travel to Norway who are strictly necessary to maintain the activity of the business. 

The key criteria in relation to this exemption are:

  • Only for technical experts that will come to Norway to install, disassemble, inspect repair or perform maintenance on machinery or technical equipment.
  • The relevant work must be strictly necessary/critical for maintaining the business of the sponsor in Norway.
  • It is not possible to find other people with the required skill set in Norway to carry out the tasks. 
  • The tasks have to be completed in Norway i.e. must demonstrate it is not possible to complete the work remotely from outside Norway.
  • The Norwegian employer/ sponsor must submit the application electronically through the Norwegian Maritime Authority and provide certain supporting information and documents.

The applicant must still hold any relevant visas or residence permits as required by immigration law (i.e. the exemption is only in relation to the current travel ban). The applicant must also still comply with the COVID entry restrictions including quarantine

Travellers from red countries/regions must present a certificate (in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, French or German) of negative result from a PCR or rapid antigen COVID-19 test taken less than 24 hours before entry (rather than 72 hours as previously).

Travellers arriving in Norway from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom are subject to a PCR test on arrival at the border. 

  • This requirement applies in addition to the requirement for a negative test before entry to Norway for specific groups and the requirements for quarantine hotels and quarantine after entry. 
  • Children under 12, personnel with critical social functions, border commuters, HGV drivers and diplomats, people who have proof of having had COVID-19 in the last 6 months are exempted.

All travellers arriving in Norway are subject to COVID-19 testing on arrival at the border.

  • This requirement applies in addition to the requirement for a negative test before entry to Norway for specific groups and the requirements for quarantine hotels and quarantine after entry. 
  • Children under 12, personnel with critical social functions, border commuters, HGV drivers and diplomats, people who have proof of having had COVID-19 in the last 6 months are exempted. 
  • Any positive result from a rapid COVID test taken at the border must be followed by a PCR test in the case of all travellers. A PCR-test is necessary in order to do further analysis to establish if the sample contains one of the mutated and more contagious variations of the virus.

All travellers are required to register themselves at the time of entry to Norway with a new digital travel registration system. 

Entry remains suspended until 1 June 2021 for most third-country nationals without a residence permit, with some exceptions. 

  • Entry is permitted for all Norwegian citizens and EEA citizens and their family members resident in Norway. 
  • Entry is permitted for holders of family immigration permits with a Norwegian or foreign citizen residing in Norway. 
  • Entry is permitted for family members of EEA citizens and EEA citizens who are family members of Norwegian citizens. 
  • Entry is permitted from foreign nationals from outside the EU/EEA (i.e. third country nationals) who have family or an established romantic relationship in Norway. 
  • Entry is permitted for persons who were granted a residence permit before 20 April 2020 and have visa-free status or a valid entry visa. If travel to Norway is impossible within the validity of the visa or before the given entry date, a letter can be sent to the immigration authority (UDI) requesting an extension. 
  • Entry is permitted without quarantine for commuters from the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden). 
  • Entry is permitted without quarantine for travellers entering Norway from all Nordic countries/regions except all parts of Sweden

Entry is permitted for skilled workers holding work and residence permits, students and workers with technical competence that is exempt from the residence permit requirement.

  • Home quarantine for 10 days is required.
  • The deadline for entry in the decision letter still applies.
  • If the holder cannot enter before the deadline, an extended entry deadline must be requested from UDI.
  • If the decision letter was issued after 20 April and stated that the holder cannot travel to Norway yet, they can travel to Norway from 1 July if they are visa-free, or if they require a visa and have a valid visa. If they require a visa and do not yet have one, they must book an appointment to submit a visa application at a VFS visa centre (if it is open). If they have already submitted their visa application, they only need to wait until contacted by VFS.

The red list, from which travellers may enter Norway but are subject to a tenday quarantine, now includes the following: 

  • Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark (except Faroe Islands and Greenland), Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Vatican and parts of Finland.

A 10-day quarantine is required for all arrivals from red countries or areas within the EEA/Schengen region, or countries outside the EEA/Schengen region. 

  • Those under quarantine duty who are not resident in Norway and do not have a home or holiday home in Norway must stay at a quarantine hotel during the 10-day quarantine period. 
    • Persons who are able to document access to a permanent residence in Norway will be permitted to quarantine at that location, regardless of whether this residence is owned or rented. 
    • The requirement to stay in a quarantine hotel does not apply to people who are in Norway to work and who can present confirmation that their employer undertakes to provide suitable accommodation during the quarantine period, where it is possible to avoid close contact with others, with a private bedroom including TV and internet access, appropriate bathroom facilities, and a separate kitchen or eating facility. 
    • Other persons whose stay is for purposes other than work or an assignment and who can document that they have access to a suitable location do not need to stay in a quarantine hotel for their quarantine stay. 
    • A suitable location must be a private room with access to dedicated bathroom facilities, a separate kitchen or eating facility, and it must be possible to avoid close contact with others. 
    • The traveller must provide confirmation that this accommodation fulfils the stipulated requirements, issued by the individual placing the accommodation at the disposal of the traveller A standard confirmation form is available via regjeringen.no and helsenorge.no. This will not apply to those persons who quarantine in their own homes, regardless of whether their home is owned or rented. 
    • Persons who are married to or have children with a person who has a permanent residence in Norway, as well as their children under the age of 18, may undergo quarantine in the home of their spouse in Norway, or the home of their co-parent. 
    • Persons in the same household who enter Norway together who are not arriving for the purposes of work or an assignment may undergo quarantine within the same suitable accommodation without any additional requirements in terms of private bedrooms for each member of the household. 
    • Long-distance hauliers and allied military departments are also exempt.
    • People staying at a quarantine hotel must pay a set charge of NOK 500 per night for private individuals and NOK 500 per night (reduced from NOK 1500) for employers. Children under the age of 10 years old staying in a room with their parent or guardian will not be required to pay an excess. Children aged 10 to 18 years old will be required to pay an excess of NOK 250 per day. 
    • People staying at a quarantine hotel will have the opportunity to be tested for Covid-19. However, even if the person tests negative for Covid-19 during the quarantine period, the duration of the quarantine period will not be reduced. 
  • Time spent in transit through yellow countries or areas is counted as quarantine time. 
  • Transiting through red countries or areas does not trigger quarantine duty, provided the traveller does not use public transport, does not stay overnight in the area and keeps a distance to others than those they normally live with. 
  • Stopping in transit in a red country as part of a flight itinerary does trigger quarantine duty. 
  • Anyone arriving in Norway from a red area/country need to complete their full quarantine period in mainland Norway prior to travelling on to Svalbard, including residents. 
  • Foreign national workers from countries classified as ‘red’ by the EU are no longer exempt from the 10-day quarantine requirement.

Test Certificate: Travellers from red countries/regions must present a certificate (in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, French or German) of negative result from a PCR or rapid antigen COVID-19 test taken less than 24 hours before entry. This does not apply to the following: 

  • Norwegian citizens, foreign residents of Norway or persons in transit. 
  • People regularly entering Norway for work (except heath personnel who have been outside Norway for more than 7 days). 
  • Foreign nationals with a family immigration permit. 
  • Personnel in critical functions when necessary to avoid danger to life and health. 
  • Diplomatic and consular personnel accredited to Norway. 
  • Foreign nationals who have been invited by the Norwegian authorities to participate in international negotiations and similar, and foreign nationals who are part of delegations that are visiting Norway in accordance with Norway’s international obligations. 
  • Military personnel arriving in Norway by non-commercial transport. o asylum seekers and quota refugees. 

Travellers arriving from Denmark should get themselves tested again upon arrival in Norway, and inform the municipality they are visiting that they have been to Denmark.

EU/EEA citizens who need an appointment with the Police related to registration must complete the online registration form and book an appointment in the application portal. 

It is not possible to issue residence permits, submit applications for residence permits or order residence cards. The police’s Immigration Office currently offers a limited service. Citizens of the EEA will not be able to register or have the registration certificate issued by the police. In-country biometrics recording is not possible; however, work permit applications will still be processed if immigration authorities keep working and no closure is implemented. Digital solutions are being implemented where possible. All paper applications (that cannot be delivered electronically) for temporary residence permit must be submitted by mail, rather than in person.

 

Poland

From 28 December 2020 until 17 January 2021, a mandatory 10-quarantine will be required for anyone arriving into Poland by organized transport (airplane, bus, train, or vessel).

A new flight ban is effective until 6 January. The ban applies to:

  • Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Jordan, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, the United Kingdom and the United States (except Illinois and New York states).

International flights are permitted from EU, EEA and EFTA countries and microstates not on the above list, as well as from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay.

Entry is permitted from inside and outside the EU for the following: 

  • Polish citizens and their spouses or children;
  • Citizens and legal residents of EU/EFTA/EEA states, Switzerland or the UK;
  • Nationals or residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia;
  • Holders of a Pole’s Card;
  • People who have the right of permanent or temporary residence in Poland or a work permit; 
  • Foreign nationals who run a means of transport designed for the transport of persons or goods, and whose transit takes place as part of their professional activities consisting in the transport of goods or persons.
  • Pupils and students receiving education in Poland.
  • Athletes, journalists and staff entering to attend sports competitions in Poland.
  • Persons who cross the border of Poland based on a national visa for the purpose of repatriation in order to arrive in Poland as the repatriated person’s closest family member.

All travellers who are permitted to enter Poland, except for the categories mentioned below, must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine at their place of stay in Poland. The following travellers are exempt from the quarantine requirement:

  • Travellers arriving on flights originating from countries not subject to the international flight suspension (except for passengers on flights arriving from Belarus, Russia or Ukraine); 
  • Citizens of Poland and their spouses and children; 
  • Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland and their spouses and children; 
  • Residents of the EU, and their spouses and children, for the purpose of transit through Poland to their place of residence. 
  • Pupils and students enrolled in Polish educational institutions (and their guardians); 
  • Service members of the Polish Army or allied military service members, police officers, border guards, customs officers, fire brigade members, State Security Service members, Road Transport Inspection officers, or sea administration inspectors; 
  • Crew members on airlines, trains, shipping vessels, or offshore drilling platforms; 
  • Persons performing certain work in the oil and energy sectors; 
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles transporting goods or passengers; 
  • Diplomats and their family members assigned to Poland; 
  • Maritime administration inspectors

Also exempt are holders of an employer’s declaration on entrusting work to a foreign national and EU citizens holding EU registration certificates, foreign spouses or children of Polish citizens, Pole’s Card holders, Polish diploma holders and diplomatic staff. 

Employees in the EU or the EEA who travel to Poland from another EU country (i.e. without crossing the external EU border) in connection with work will be exempt from the obligatory quarantine post entry. To benefit from the exemption, the employee will have to prove professional activity in the EU/EEA country. 

Some Poland visa application centres have resumed services. Immigration offices are now allowed to issue negative decisions to immigration applications. It is also possible to submit acceleration requests to a higher authority (ponaglenie). 

Countdown to the deadline for completing immigration formalities, such as submitting missing documents for pending applications or to submit obligatory notifications have also resumed. Similarly, the countdown to the deadline to submit EU registration applications have also resumed. EU registration applications should be submitted by post before Immigration offices reopen. In person residence permit applications are currently suspended, but can still be submitted by post.

 

Portugal

Flights are permitted from and to the EU, the non-EU Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and the UK, and the following nonEU/Schengen countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. 

  • Passengers on these flights are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test result certificate. 

Entry is permitted for travellers from the United Kingdom only if they are Portuguese citizens or legally resident in Portugal. 

  • Passengers on flights from the UK must present a negative result certificate from a COVID-19 test carried out in the previous 72 hours. 
  • Passengers who do not present a negative test result certificate will be tested on arrival and will have to self-isolate (and, in Madeira, be tested again after 5-7 days).

Flights are permitted from and to the EU, the non-EU Schengen countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and the UK, and the following non EU/Schengen countries: Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Tunisia and Uruguay. Passengers on these flights are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test result certificate. 

Flights are also permitted from other countries for essential purposes only. Essential journeys are defined as those undertaken by citizens of EU member states and Schengen states and their family members, and non-EU nationals resident in EU member states, as well as non-EU nationals travelling for work, study, family reunion, health or humanitarian purposes. 

  • Passengers on flights from other destinations for essential purposes must present a negative result certificate from a COVID-19 test carried out in the previous 72 hours. 

Passengers flying to Madeira must present a negative result certificate from a COVID-19 test carried out in the previous 72 hours or take a test on arrival. 

Passengers flying to the Azores must either provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to arrival or take a test and await the results in isolation. Arriving passengers may await the test results in a private residence or contracted lodging of their choice. The results are expected to take no more than 12 hours. Travellers who wish to remain in the Azores for more than 7 or 14 days, will be required to test again on the 6th and 13th days. 

Land borders remain open.

The Immigration Service (SEF) are now rescheduling new appointments for those that were scheduled during the state of emergency, between 18 March and 2 May.

 

South Africa

Effective until 15 February 2021, all land borders are closed, with the following exceptions: 

Those in need of emergency medical treatment; those involved in the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods, returning South African citizens, permanent residents and long-term visa holders, South African citizens and permanent residents departing for the purposes of employment, study or residence outside of the country, foreign nationals returning to their country of nationality or permanent residence, diplomats, daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend school in South Africa and those attending the funeral of a family member within the first degree of kinship of the deceased person.

Borders are open for travellers from all but certain (as yet undefined) high-risk countries.

  • Travellers will only be able to use one of the land border posts that have remained operational during the lockdown or one of the three main airports: King Shaka, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airport. 
  • On arrival, all travellers (including transit passengers) must present negative PCR test results dated within 72 hours prior to boarding, from an accredited laboratory. Those without an adequate negative test result or showing symptoms will be subject to government quarantine for 14 days at their own cost. 
  • All travellers must install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app. 

Entry is permitted for leisure and business from all African countries and from countries not deemed high-risk. 

For travellers from certain high-risk countries, entry is not permitted for leisure or tourism purposes. Currently, high-risk countries include;

  • Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.
  • Any person from a high-risk country wishing to enter South Africa for business purposes may apply to the Minister of Home Affairs by email and demonstrate the reasons for their request.  
  • Seasonal visitors from high-risk countries in Europe who generally spend the summer months in South Africa during the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere may also apply for permission to enter the country.  
  • Holders of long-term visas who are located in high-risk countries may travel to South Africa without any prior approval. Those who wish to apply for long-term visas may also proceed to do so without prior approval. 

The visa waivers/exemptions for the undermentioned countries which were withdrawn have been re-instated. This implies that citizens of these countries, subject to meeting admission requirements, may be issued with a Visitor’s Visa upon arrival in the country for the stated period of the exemption; however, please note that citizens of these countries who are currently resident in the high-risk countries listed above are still prohibited from travelling to South Africa without prior approval from the DHA: France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United States, United Kingdom.

South African citizens and permanent residence permit holders may exit the country without first applying for special permission. 

Immigration

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has resumed normal operations, which implies the full resumption of the processing of all visa, permit, passport and identity document applications at the central permitting hub in Pretoria. It has also started adjudicating applications for all categories of Temporary Residence Visas including, but not limited to, visitor’s, work, study, crew, medical treatment, relative’s, retired persons’, business, corporate, exchange visas, waiver requests and appeal and review requests in respect of adverse decisions taken. 

The South African Missions abroad and the provincial Visa Application Centres within South Africa have resumed accepting the above mentioned Temporary Residence Visa applications, waiver requests and appeal/review applications. 

The DHA remains officially closed for the acceptance and adjudication of new Permanent Residence Permit applications; therefore, foreign nationals wishing to apply will have to continue to wait and those with applications under adjudication should anticipate further delays. It is unclear whether the Permitting Hub in Pretoria is currently adjudicating applications which were submitted prior to the hard lockdown commencing in March. Applications for Lesotho Exemption Permits and Zimbabwe and Exemptions Permits have also reopened.

 

Spain

Effective 22 February 2021, persons arriving from Brazil and South Africa must remain in quarantine for 10 days after arrival, or for the duration of stay if less than 10 days. This period may end earlier if they obtain a negative COVID-19 test result on the 7th day. 

Land border controls between Spain and Portugal are extended until 1 March.

The suspension of entry for travellers arriving from the United Kingdom by air or sea is extended until 19 January 2021.

Travellers arriving by air from high-risk countries must obtain a certificate of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

  • The online health declaration form will include a question on whether the passenger obtained a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to entry and travellers may at any time be asked to present the original certificate of this test in English or Spanish, in paper or electronic format. 
  • If the health declaration form has not been completed online it may be presented in paper format before boarding along with the original test certificate. 
  • Travellers whose temperature or visual or documentary checks indicate they may be COVID-19 positive must undergo diagnostic testing at the airport on arrival. 
  • Travellers who arrive without the requisite certification must take a diagnostic test for antigens, will have to pay a fine and, if from third countries, may be refused entry

High-risk countries in the EU/EEA currently include:

  •  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark (except Nordjylland, Faroe Islands and Greenland), Estonia, Finland (except Etela-Suomi, Lansi-Suomi, Pohjois-Ja Ita-Suomi y Aland), France (except Guadeloup), Germany, Greece (except Kitri, Ionia Nisia, Dytiki Ellada and Sterea Ellada), Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway (except Agder, Innlandet, Møre og Romsdal, Nordland, Rogaland, Troms og Finnmark, Trøndelag, Vestfold og Telemark y Vestland), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden. 

High-risk countries outside the EU/EEA currently include:

  • Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Georgia, Guam, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Palestine, Panama, Puerto Rico, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.

Entry is suspended for non-essential travel from most non-EU countries. Non-essential entry is permitted for travellers from: 

  • European Union and Schengen associated countries and the UK; 
  • Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay

Exceptions to the entry ban continue for Spanish citizens and residents; nationals and residents of an EU or Schengen member state, and their family members; holders of a long-term visa issued by an EU or Schengen member state in transit to their EU/Schengen residence; holders of a temporary residence and/or work permit which has expired during the state of emergency; highly-qualified workers whose work is necessary and cannot be postponed or performed remotely; cross-border workers; exclusively labour-related reasons, including seasonal work, healthcare or elderly care professionals in the performance of their duties; transport of goods personnel; diplomats, international organizations, military personnel and members of humanitarian organizations in the performance of their duties; those traveling for imperative family reasons duly accredited; and those who can prove reasons of force majeure or situation of need, or whose entry is permitted for humanitarian reasons. 

  • Adequate documentary proof of purpose of stay is required. 

All international arrivals are required to complete an online health declaration form no more than 48 hours in advance of travel and present the issued QR code to the authorities on entry. 

All travellers to the Canary Islands, aged 7 years and above, who are booked into regulated tourist accommodation are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours earlier when checking into their accommodation, and to download and activate the Radar COVID notification app throughout their stay, and for 15 days after returning home. 

Consular services are suspended. Government services and offices have reopened and some immigration services can be accessed online. The authorities will continue working behind doors on any new or renewal applications but the legal processing time of 20 working days will not apply and may be exceeded. Services for foreign nationals at police stations are suspended, except for emergency or urgent cases.

 

Sweden

The suspension of passenger flights from the United Kingdom is lifted. 

    • The restriction of travel from Denmark and the United Kingdom is extended until 14 February 2021, and extended to include travellers from Norway. 
      • Frontier workers living in Denmark but working in Sweden, and those with imperative family reasons, are permitted to enter. 
      • All travellers from the United Kingdom, except Swedish citizens, people who live or work in Sweden, those with imperative family reasons and diplomats, will be denied entry into Sweden. 
        • Those exempted from the entry ban for work must present a negative test result of a PCR test taken no more than 24 hours before travelling. 
        • This test requirement does not apply to those transporting goods, nor to Swedish citizens, but is recommended for both categories. 
        • Children travelling to be with a parent who lives in Sweden or on Bornholm, and the person accompanying the child on such trips, can enter the country. In addition, people who are the subject of, or involved in, medical transport services, from Denmark are also exempt from the ban. 
        • The suspension of entry from outside the EU, the EEA, the microstates and Switzerland is extended until 31 March 2021.

Exemptions from the entry ban include: 

  • Those entitled to residence status in Sweden following Brexit. 
  • Swedish citizens and their family members; 
  • Citizens of EEA member states (including UK), Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or the Vatican, and their family members; 
  • Individuals with a long-term residence status, a residence permit or a national visa (3+ months) from Sweden or from another EEA state, and their family members; o Residents of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Exemptions from the entry ban can also be made for foreign nationals with particularly urgent personal needs or who are to perform essential functions in Sweden, such as: 

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Frontier workers
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture, horticulture and forestry
  • Transport workers
  • People travelling for urgent family reasons
  • Transit passengers
  • People who work in international organisations or are invited by such organisations and whose presence is necessary for the organisations’ activities, military personnel, aid workers and civil defence staff
  • Highly-skilled workers, if the job cannot be postponed or performed remotely 

Sweden has now lifted the advice against non-essential travel to the following countries:

  • Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Vatican City. 
    • For other countries in the EU, the EEA and the Schengen area (namely, Estonia, Ireland and Latvia) the advice against non-essential travel is extended up to and including 16 December 2020. 
    • The advice against non-essential travel to third countries (outside the EU, the EEA and the Schengen area and the UK) is extended until 31 January.

The Swedish Migration Agency will not accept work permit applications with start dates during the travel ban. 

Work permit holders who require entry visas are required, and those whose nationality is visa-exempt are recommended, to submit biometrics in the home country so they can show the residence card at the border. It is currently very difficult to have biometrics done at Swedish missions abroad, as many of them are closed due to national lockdowns. For visa-exempt nationals, it is very difficult to get appointments to provide biometrics in Sweden. This can delay the possibility of registering residency locally and hence be part of the Swedish Public Welfare Insurance scheme, Försäkringskassan, which allows medical care.

 

Switzerland

Effective 8 February 2021: Persons arriving from a high-risk country or region can leave quarantine after 7 days if they again test negative (antigen rapid test or PCR test). All persons arriving by air even from a country that is not considered high risk must be able to show a negative PCR test result before boarding the plane.

Anyone entering Switzerland who has in the previous 14 days spent time in ‘high risk’ countries or regions is subject to a mandatory ten-day quarantine and must report their arrival to the cantonal authorities within two days. 

Anyone entering Switzerland who has in the previous 14 days spent time in ‘high risk’ countries or regions is subject to a mandatory ten-day quarantine and must report their arrival to the cantonal authorities within two days. o Effective 1 February: ▪ List of areas from neighbouring countries: Austria (Salzburg), France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), Germany (Sachsen, Thüringen), Italy (Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Fiuli Venezia Giulia) ▪ List of countries and areas: Andorra, Brazil, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Effective 28 December:

List of areas from neighboring countries: Germany (Land Sachsen) ▪ Italy (Region Friuli Venezia Giulia and Region Veneto) 

List of countries and areas: Andorra, Belize, Croatia, Georgia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, South Africa, United Kingdom of Great Britain, and the United States.

Following the discovery of a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus in the UK and South Africa, the Federal Council today decided to take the following steps to prevent the further spread of this new virus strain. These new measures are intended in particular to stop travel from these countries for tourism purposes: 

  • All persons who have entered Switzerland from these two countries (UK and South Africa) since 14 December must go into quarantine for 10 days. 
  • The Federal Council has also introduced a general entry ban from today, 21 December 2020, for all foreign nationals seeking to enter Switzerland from the UK and South Africa. 
  • The Federal Council has approved amendments to COVID-19 Ordinance 3 prohibiting air travel between Switzerland and the UK and South Africa. 
  • The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) yesterday ordered flights between Switzerland and these two countries to be suspended as of midnight on Sunday, 20 December. 
  • The Federal Council also decided to withdraw freedom of movement privileges from persons resident in the UK until 31 December. Persons from the UK are therefore subject to a general ban on entering Switzerland.

The list of countries not considered high-risk, from where entry is permitted, is as follows: 

  • All states in the Schengen area, Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Uruguay and the Vatican.

Travellers from other countries can be permitted to enter Switzerland if they meet at least one of the following requirements: 

  • They also have Swiss citizenship. 
  • They hold a travel document (e.g. a passport or identity card) and a residence permit, i.e. a Swiss residence permit (L / B / C / Ci permits)
    • a cross-border permit (G permit; only for work-related purposes)
    • an FDFA legitimation card
    • a D visa issued by Switzerland
    • a C visa issued by Switzerland after 16 March 2020 in a valid exceptional case or in order to work on a short-term contract
    • an assurance of a residence permit from a cantonal migration authority or an entry permit with a visa issued by Switzerland (an employment contract is not sufficient to cross the Swiss border. Persons with an assurance of a residence permit may enter Switzerland at the earliest three days before the date on which assurance becomes valid.) 
  • They hold a refugee or stateless person’s travel document issued by Switzerland, a passport for foreign nationals issued by Switzerland, a valid residence or permanent residence permit or an F-Permit. 
  • They have rights of free movement. If they require a visa, a valid Schengen Cvisa, a valid D-visa or a valid Schengen residence permit
  • They are transporting goods for commercial purposes and have a goods delivery note. o In certain cases: They are simply travelling directly through Switzerland with the intention and possibility of entering another country. See “Is it still possible to travel through Switzerland?” under ‘Questions on travelling through and leaving Switzerland’. 
  • They are in a situation of special necessity (see below). The border control authority will assess the necessity of the situation. 
  • They are specialists in the healthcare sector who need to enter Switzerland for important work-related reasons and who hold a confirmation of notification, an assurance of a residence permit or an entry permit with a visa issued by Switzerland.

Anyone entering Switzerland who has in the previous 14 days spent time in the following ‘high risk’ countries is subject to a mandatory ten-day quarantine and must report their arrival to the cantonal authorities within two days. 

    • Austria (Kärnten, Salzburg, Steiermark and Upper Austria); Croatia; France (French Polynesia); Georgia; Hungary; Italy (Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto); Jordan; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Montenegro; Northern Macedonia; Poland; Portugal; San Marino; Serbia; Slovenia; United States
    • There are also exceptions from the quarantine requirement for:  
      • Persons in transit
        • Professional transportation activity
        • Essential activities
        • Other professional compelling activities for less than 5 days
        • Medical reasons for less than 5 days
        • Return to Switzerland after sport, cultural or professional events where appropriate sanitary measures were in place.

People on a visitor status, or holders of expired visas or permits are tolerated in Switzerland as long as the restrictions are in force and they cannot regularize their situation or leave Switzerland. Depending on nationalities, new or extended visas can be granted by the cantonal authorities. Overstay will not be sanctioned by the Swiss authorities.

 

United Arab Emirates

Entry permit applications for individuals outside the UAE, including applications for new employment visas and visit visas (long-term, short-term and tourist) are suspended until further notice for nationals of the following countries: 

  • Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. 
  • Applicants of these nationalities who are already in UAE are not affected. Their employer or visa sponsor can continue to apply for permits in-country, subject to GDRFA approval.

The UAE has resumed issuance of employment visas and entry permits for vital sectors. Employers must receive arrivals and quarantine them for 14 days. 

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has resumed the issuance of entry permits (tourist/business/visitor visas) for all emirates. 

All inbound travellers must hold negative COVID-19 PCR test results, issued at most 96 hours before departure. Inbound travellers may also be required to undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival and undergo a 14-day self-quarantine, depending on the emirate/airport/airline. 

UAE residents no longer require an ICA travel permit to return to the UAE. Emirati citizens returning to Dubai from overseas no longer require a pre-travel PCR test result – instead they are only required to take a PCR test on arrival in Dubai. Dubai residents and visitors entering Dubai must first obtain a re-entry permit from the Dubai GDRFA by submitting a form online here. Holders of valid Dubai residence visas and GDRFA approval may re-enter Dubai after more than 6 months abroad. 

  • There is no requirement for a NOC letter issued by the employer or Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) authority to apply for the entry permit. 
  • The re-entry permit should be obtained before booking airline tickets. 
  • Flights must be booked through official airline websites. 
  • The GDRFA approval number must be entered on booking, and a copy of the GDRFA approval email must be presented on boarding. 

Passengers (including tourists) arriving from GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia) are not required to present a COVID-19 test certificate before departure, but have the option to take a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai instead. This is not applicable to those crossing the land border at Hatta. Passengers who are required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival must quarantine until they receive their results.

The following entry rules apply to passengers entering Dubai from Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States (New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, Seattle):

  • UAE residents have the option to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test before departure or take the COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai. 
  • Tourists must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of the test before departure. 
    • Exceptions include passengers coming from the UK, Germany or the GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia) who have the option to take a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival in Dubai (unless crossing the land border at Hatta). 
  • Transit passengers from these countries are not required to present a COVID-19 PCR test certificate unless it is mandated by their final destination

The following entry rules apply to passengers entering Dubai from Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cote d’lvoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United States (California, Florida, Texas), Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe: 

  • UAE residents must take two COVID-19 PCR tests: one before departure with a validity of 96 hours from the date of the test, and a second test upon arrival in Dubai. 
  • Tourists must take two COVID-19 PCR tests: one before departure with a validity of 96 hours from the date of the test, and a second test upon arrival in Dubai. 
  • Transit passengers from these countries must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate that is valid for 96 hours from the date of test, as well as any requirements for their final destination. 
  • Arrivals will be obliged to abide by the 14-day quarantine in case they test positive for COVID-19.

Visit and tourist visa holders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan must hold a valid round trip ticket for the entry in Dubai. Proof of a hotel booking and sufficient funds is also recommended. 

Travellers arriving in Abu Dhabi must: 

  • Present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or DP test taken within 48 hours prior to arrival; 
  • Take a PCR test on day 4 after arrival (if staying more than 4 days); 
  • Take a PCR test on day 8 after arrival (if staying more than 8 days). 
    • The UAE has relaxed its foreign travel guidelines, allowing citizens and residents to travel to all accessible destinations for ‘general’ reasons provided they adhere to all mandatory precautions and safety measures imposed to counter the spread of Covid-19. 
  • Returning travellers must complete a health declaration form before landing, download and activate the Al Hosn app, and follow UAE quarantine guidelines and test procedures, depending on the country from which they are returning.

The UAE has reopened its land border with Oman.

Residence visa applicants who require an in-country medical check and biometrics submission must first obtain the medical results (1-5 days) and then submit their biometric details. Previously, it was possible to submit biometrics on the same day as undergoing the medical check.

UAE authorities have resumed the endorsement of visas in original passports. An applicant who has previously secured a soft copy of a renewed residence permit must submit their original passport to the immigration or free zone authorities to have the visa endorsed on the passport. Transfer of visa sponsorship between certain free zones has been reinstated, depending on the operational procedures of the releasing free zone. If the applicant and employer are in the same free zone then intra company transfer within the same free zone is being processed as per standard process and procedures. 

Employers who have obtained a new entry permit for an employee already in UAE should proceed with the change of status step within the grace period to avoid fines. Individuals with expired visas who are eligible for renewal (within 6 months of the current visa’s expiry) and need to exit and re-enter the UAE are strongly advised to renew the visa before exiting the country. Any salary reduction with mutual consent from employee and employer should be notified to authorities by submitting a Contract Amendment application. The sponsor’s original Emirates ID is required for all dependent visa applications.

 

The United Kingdom

Effective 15 February, all individuals travelling to the UK from a country on the Travel Ban List will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for a period of 10 days.

The government has announced further upcoming measures for inbound and outbound passengers.

  •  Inbound travellers arriving from countries with international travel bans but who cannot be refused entry will be subject to managed isolation in hotels for 10 days.
  • Police will carry out more physical checks at locations to make sure people are self-isolating.
  • Outbound passengers will have to declare their reason for travel. Anyone who does not have a valid reason for travel will be directed to return home and may face a fine.
  • There will be an increased police presence at ports and airports, fining those in breach of the stay at home regulations.
  • The list of travel exemptions will be urgently reviewed to include only the most important and exceptional reasons for travel.

Entry is suspended for passengers who have visited, in the previous ten days, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela; South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Seychelles and Mauritius; Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo (effective 22 January 2021).

Effective 18 January 2021: 

  • All travel corridors are suspended. All arrivals are required to self isolate for ten days. 
  • All international arrivals aged 11 years and above, including UK nationals, are required to present, prior to boarding, a negative COID-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure. 
    • Passengers are subject to an immediate fine of £500 if they fail to comply.
    • An individual can choose to take a test: 
      • in the place where they start their journey 
      • or in another country on their way to England but note that some countries have entry restrictions in place, which mean they may not be able to get tested there 
  • The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml. This could include tests such as: 
    • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests 
    • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device 
    • If in the UK, ahead of a return journey of less than 3 days, a private test provider NOT NHS Test and Trace test 
  • The test result must be in either English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted. It must be the original test result certificate. It must include the following information: 
    • applicants name, which should match the name on the travel documents 
    • applicants date of birth or age 
    • the result of the test 
    • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider 
    • the name of the test provider and their contact details ▪ the name of the test device 
  • The test result can be provided as a physical, printed document, or via email or text message, shown via phone. 
  • Passengers are still required to fill in a passenger locator form and be subject to national lockdown restrictions. 
  • The Test to Release scheme remains in place, giving passengers the option to shorten the mandatory self-isolation period to as little as 5 days. 
  • A breach of self-isolation is punishable with a £1000 fixed penalty notice in England, or potential prosecution and unlimited fine. The devolved administrations will set out their own enforcement approaches. 
  • Some jobs qualify for travel exemptions. However, the following jobs no longer qualify: 
    • advertising productions 
    • business directors bringing jobs and investment to the UK 
    • journalists 
    • National Lottery 
    • performing arts professionals 
    • television production 
    • high-end television production and film 
    • ornamental horticulture workers.

Many UK visa application centres abroad have resumed operations.

Immigration

Applications for visas for work, study or residence in the UK continue to be accepted from all locations but applicants must comply with UK border measures. Most Visa Application Centres (VACs) have resumed services where local restrictions allow. 

Priority and Super Priority services are only available in some locations. If available, applicants can purchase these services when booking an appointment. Applications for a visit visa can be submitted from any UK VAC. Applications for all other UK visas must be submitted from the applicant’s country of residence. 

Until 31 March 2021, if the VAC is closed due to coronavirus restrictions, applications can be submitted online and a VAC in another country worldwide selected to submit the application and biometrics. 

English language tests are available in most countries but may be temporarily suspended in some countries due to coronavirus restrictions. Most UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) have reopened for existing customers (check here). Applicants will receive an invitation email after submitting their application. Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are offering a reduced number of appointments because of coronavirus. As more appointments are made available UKVI will invite applicants to arrange an appointment by email or post. 

Until further notice, Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) for Tier 2 migrants and their dependents are being produced but the National Insurance Number (NINO) field is blank. There will be no future requirement to amend this, and BRPs will continue to be valid for use until their individual expiry dates. 

Life in the UK test centres are currently closed so any Indefinite Leave applications submitted without evidence of a completed test will be held until this can be taken and the results published. Applicants who have paid for courier return will receive their passport if courier routes remain open. TLScontact or VFS Global can be contacted directly to request courier return of passports.

 British nationals abroad who cannot apply for a passport can apply for an emergency travel document. UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre) is still operating services by email or internet. Temporary PDF statements will be issued by email, instead of printed paper statements. It is taking longer than usual to process citizenship applications because of coronavirus. This will not affect the decision. Extra time will be allowed to enrol biometrics and provide additional information. Applicants have 6 months (rather than the usual 3 months) to book their citizenship ceremony after receiving an invitation from the Home Office. Applicants should not apply by post if they’ll need their documents back by a specific date.

The concessions permitting applicants to apply for a visit visa from any UK VAC has been extended to 31 March 2021. All other visa applications should be submitted in the country of residence.

Right to rent checks can be carried out over video calls; tenants can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals; and landlords should use the Landlord’s Checking Service if a prospective or existing tenant cannot provide any of the accepted documents. The check should be marked as “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”. It remains an offence to knowingly lease premises to a person who is not lawfully in the UK. Within 8 weeks of these measures ending, landlords must carry out retrospective checks on existing tenants who started their tenancy or required a follow-up check during these measures. This check should be marked as “the individual’s tenancy agreement commenced on [insert date]. The prescribed right to rent check was undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19.” If the check you have undertaken during this period was done with original documentation, you do not need to undertake a retrospective check.

 

Mobility Suppliers

Suppliers globally have put additional hygiene measures in place such as refraining from shaking hands, sharing of materials (pens, notebooks etc.) and any physical contact where possible. They are also assisting remotely and via online platforms as much as possible. In some cases, assignees may be required to submit documentation, such as a letter from their HR department confirming that, if they’ve been to any affected locations, they have completed the required quarantine period.

Destination Services:

As an alternative to physical programmes, DSP’s are offering virtual programmes as all client facing services are not operating. 

They are also ensuring that all assignees are given critical advice on the symptoms, seeking help and adopting good personal hygiene practices. Additional documentation stating an assignees health and travel history will be required in some instances.

Where service is able to go ahead, our providers have advised the following:

  • Landlords are delaying the arrangement of viewings until further notice.
  • Other service providers such as schools and businesses are closed and delaying integration for anyone who has recently travelled from affected countries.
  • Orientations in crowded areas and hospitals are no longer taking place.
  • Pre-relocation/Look-see trips and school visits have been suspended for the time being.
  • Only urgent services are being arranged.

With the closures of schools in many countries, school search assistance is currently on hold with further delays expected.

Temporary Accommodation:

Many of our providers have implemented a pre-arrival process regarding COVID-19 globally. Providers are requesting from Advocates and relocating employees any relevant information regarding incoming or in-house guests who have travelled from high-risk countries, such as doctors notes. Guests may also be asked to complete a risk assessment in line with Public Health Guidelines.  

Due to travel bans in certain areas globally, many of our providers are unable to access their offices. However, they are working remotely and reachable by email or phone. This also means that any other suppliers that provide services to the corporate housing industry will also be delayed.

Providers are advising that flexible accommodations, such as hotel stays, may be a better alternative to serviced apartments as some of these hold leases that will still carry commitments. Where possible, our providers will be flexible. However, many hotels and serviced apartments globally have advised that anyone with a travel history to high risk affected countries, may face challenges checking-in as providers are not willing to allow anyone to self-isolate in their properties.

Shipping:

There are currently delays being experienced for most shipping services. 

All Shipping services are operating on a case by case basis, as businesses are operating at a low capacity with the continued quarantine period. Flight cancellations and restrictions are also contributing to the delays.

Customs offices in many countries are either closed, or working at a very low capacity.

As the number of countries prohibiting flights in and out of all heavily affected countries continues to grow, there will be significant delays to all shipments, including pet relocations. 

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