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COVID-19 UPDATE: How Does the Outbreak Affect International Travel?

We last wrote about international travel during COVID-19 in March, with a general overview and a separate article about travel in North America.  Since then, many changes have occurred (for example, those traveling to Canada and the United Kingdom must now quarantine for 14 days after arrival), while other elements of travel have remained the same (U.S. consulates around the world remain closed). As of June 18, 2020, countries are continuing to respond with travel warnings, travel restrictions, health screenings, quarantines, and extensions of immigration status for affected individuals.

General Resources

In addition to the country-specific information provided below, several general resources are also available to the public.  As the situation is still changing quickly, check the “Last Updated” date on websites to be sure you are reviewing the most up-to-date information:

Travel to and from the United States

As of June 18, 2020, the US has responded in a variety of ways:

  • Travel warnings. The US has issued a general Level 4 (Do not travel) warning related to COVID-19.  That warning, originally announced on March 31, remains in place.

  • In-bound travel restrictions based on time spent in Brazil, China and Iran, and most countries in Europe. Passengers who have transited through or been in these countries in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter the United States, unless they fall into one of the exceptions or are given advanced permission by US authorities.  Countries include Brazil, China, Iran, and most of Europe:  Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe).  There are exceptions for US citizens, lawful permanent residents, their spouses and children under 21, certain other family members, and certain others.

  • Extensions. To date, the US government has still not issued automatic or blanket extensions for people whose travel plans have been impacted by COVID-19, but extensions can be requested on a case-by-case basis.

Other Countries

Canada

  • Canada has severely restricted travel. Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and people with study permits, along with the families of these three categories of travelers, may still enter Canada.  There are also a few other specific categories who are allowed to enter, including those from the US whose travel is “non-optional and non-discretionary.”

  • Canada enforces a 14-day post-arrival quarantine requirement for nearly all travelers, including Canadian citizens. There are some exceptions to the quarantine requirement, but they are narrow.

  • The government of Canada is still relaxing documentation requirements for immigration applications, if documents are unavailable due to COVID-19.

Mexico

  • Any traveler entering Mexico by land must have an essential reason for travel, but authorities are interpreting “essential” broadly. There are no restrictions when entering by air.

  • Mexico does require arrivals by air to self-report if they have visited any infected countries, have had symptoms, or have been in contact with infected individuals.

United Kingdom

European Union

  • On June 11, 2020, the European Union recommended that member states remove restrictions on travel by June 15. As of June 12, most EU countries still had at least some restrictions on international movement and flights.

  • The Re-open EU Web Platform, listed under General Resources above, consolidates information from all EU countries.

  • The EU Commission’s Mobility and Transport website provides transport-specific details and links among EU countries.

Copyright © 2020, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 171

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About this Author

Lieselot K. Whitbeck Global Immigration Attorney Hunton Andrews Kurth Washington, DC
Associate

Lieselot is a global immigration lawyer advising companies on immigration processes around the world.

With more than seven years of experience guiding companies and individuals through immigration processes in the US and overseas, Lieselot is a multi-faceted immigration practitioner able to meet the diverse needs of global clients. Working from a practical perspective that takes into account the unique needs of every client, she provides immigration support for corporate assignments and relocations to Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

Given her wide experience in...

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