EIG US and Global Update | February 2, 2021

With our mission to uncomplicate the complicated, we’ve always thought of our work in immigration as people-first. Our goal is for these updates to make sense of the changes happening across the world. Please share these updates with your colleagues who may find this information helpful, too.

International Updates

Canada | The Federal Government announced on Friday that it is increasing measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19 from international travel to Canada.

  • As of January 31, 2021, Canada is suspending flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30. Arrangements are being made to bring home those who are already in those areas.

  • As of 11:59 pm ET this Wednesday (Feb. 3), all international passenger, private, and charter flights, including from the US, will be routed through the Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal airports.

  • As soon as the government is able to get it in place, and possibly as early as Thursday, February 4, 2021, all arriving international passengers (including from the US) will undergo mandatory PCR testing upon landing (in addition to the test they need to show before boarding.

Germany | Travelers coming to Germany by land, air, or sea, will have different protocols to follow if they have spent time in a risk area, high incidence area, or areas of variant concern within the previous 10 days.

  • Risk Area Travelers have to provide a negative PCR test from abroad not older than 48 hours or get a PCR test result within 48 hours of arrival and are required to proceed directly to their home or other accommodation to begin a 10-day quarantine.

  • High Incidence Area Travelers have to provide the negative PCR test (in German, English, French) not older than 48 hours before departure. They are required to proceed directly to their home or other accommodation to begin a 10-day quarantine.

Travelers from Areas of Variant Concern — Brazil, Eswatini, Ireland, Lesotho, Northern Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, and the UK — are barred from entering Germany until February 17, 2021. Exemptions apply to German citizens, foreigners with legal residency (residence permits) for Germany, transit passengers, freight transport, medical staff, medical rescue flights and organ transport, urgent humanitarian reasons, airline and ship crews.

Ireland | On Wednesday, January 27, the government imposed new visa requirements on passport holders from many South American countries and South Africa. Following these requirements, INIS has announced a decision to stop accepting new visa/preclearance applications as of January 29, 2021. Read more about exemptions and the online application process.

Israel | The Israeli government has decided that the suspension of all international passenger flights from and to Ben Gurion Airport will remain in effect for another week. The cabinet is set to meet on Wednesday, February 3, to decide whether to extend the restrictions further.

During the flight suspension extended period:

  • Inbound Flights:  All commercial flights are barred from entering Israeli airspace or landing at Ben Gurion Airport, except for emergency flights, cargo planes, and flights that go through Israeli air space without landing.

  • Outbound Flights:  All departing commercial flights are also canceled except for Israeli private planes with up to 9 passengers capacity.

  • Land Borders: The operation of border crossing from Jordan and Egypt is also suspended.

  • Exceptions Committee:  A special committee was set up to examine exemption requests for those who need to arrive in Israel on humanitarian reasons during the flight suspension period, without giving specific criteria.

Russia | The government has lifted restrictions on entry for citizens of EAEU countries who take flights from Belarus and Armenia from February 1 – March 1, 2021.

Nationals of EAEU countries (Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus) may enter Russia during the trial implementation of the EAEU “Travel without COVID-19” program if they meet the following conditions:

  • Enter from February 1 – March 1.

  • Enter by direct flights from Belarus and Armenia and only via Russian airports included in a list approved by the Russian government.

  • Present a negative COVID-19 test result displayed in the mobile app “I travel without COVID-19.”

Spain | The government is extending the current travel restrictions applicable to travelers from third countries until February 28, 2021. The travel bans for the UK and Portugal remain.

Regarding the UK, travel restrictions are extended until February 16, 2021, at 6:00 PM. The restrictions do not apply to Spanish or Andorran citizens, residents in Spain or Andorra, State aircraft, tracing and rescue services, non-commercial flights transiting Spain, flights of cargo, humanitarian, medical, or emergency purposes. All travelers, including those with exemptions, must provide a COVID-19 test with a negative result carried out within 72 hours before arrival to Spain.

For Portugal, the land border controls are reinstated until February 10, 2021. The land border entry ban will not apply to Spanish nationals, their spouses and partners, dependents, legal residents in Spain, students studying in Spain, and residents of the other Member States or Schengen countries traveling to their regular residence. Also exempt are those transiting Spain or who will remain in Spain for labor reasons only, including cross-border workers, diplomatic, health, humanitarian, and transport workers.

As a reminder, all travelers, even those with exemptions, are required to comply with the current health checks: temperature checks, visual screening, documents with proof of negative COVID-19 test results.

Uruguay | Official sources reported the reopening of Uruguay’s borders for citizens and resident foreign nationals as of February 1. The other public health measures — curfews, capacity limits, and teleworking — remain.


We will continue to send updates daily or as more COVID-19-related news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or in past updates or want to hear more about a different topic, just reply to let us know. If you have specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.