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EIG COVID-19 Update | March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020

As COVID-19 impacts the United States and countries around the globe, EIG is sending global digests to inform our clients of all the developments impacting global immigration and global travel. Wednesday’s update is available at this link. 

March 19, 2020

BREAKING | The United States State Department issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel

The Department of State advises US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, US citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. US citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have canceled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or canceled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe. More information from the State Department.

International Updates

  1. Australia | Qantas, the Australian carrier, announced all regularly scheduled international Qantas and Jetstar, it’s low-cost carrier, would be suspended from late March until at least the end of May. On Wednesday, the Australian government raised the advisory for all overseas travel to the highest level and told citizens not to travel at this time.
  2. Canada and the US | As reported yesterday, Canada and the United States will likely close their shared border for all “nonessential travel” late Friday or early Saturday morning.
  3. Colombia | Citizens and residents may still enter Colombia via airports as long as airlines continue to operate. The Government of Colombia also requires that all travelers arriving in Colombia must self-quarantine for 14 days and must complete a form with contact and arrival information.
    The Mayor of Bogota announced a drill from 5 AM, Friday, March 20, through Monday, March 23, when all people must stay off the streets or face possible fines. During this time, the US Embassy Bogota will be closed to the public and available by phone for US citizen emergency services only.
  4. Egypt | All flights in Egypt are suspended from March 19 – 31, 2020.
  5. Hong Kong | Beginning today, March 19, all travelers arriving in Hong Kong from any foreign country, other than Macao or Taiwan, will be put under 14-day home quarantine or medical surveillance.
  6. Italy | The US Mission Italy has suspended routine consular services. The country will also extend its lockdown and quarantine measures and timeline.
  7. Japan | Effective today, individuals who have traveled to or through the following areas in the past 14 days are barred from entering: Chinese Provinces of Hubei or Zhejiang; North Gyeongsang Province / Gyeongsan, Andong, Yeongcheon, Chilgok, Uiseong, Seongju or Gunwi, South Korea; Provinces of Qom, Tehran, Gilan, Alborz, Isfahan, Qazvin, Golestan, Semnān, Mazandaran, Markazi or Lorestan, Iran; Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Piemonte, Marche, Lombardia, Valle d’Aosta, Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia or Liguria, Italy; the Republic of San Marino; Canton Ticino and Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, Comunidad de Navarra, Basque, Madrid or La Rioja, Spain; Iceland.
    The immigration authorities have also decided to extend the expiration dates of foreign nationals’ work/resident permits that expire in April by one month.
  8. Jordan | On Thursday morning, the Jordanian military sealed off its capital, Amman, from the rest of the country to try to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to media reports.
  9. Korea | Beginning today, March 19, all international arrivals, including South Korean citizens, are subject to special entry procedures, including installation of a self-diagnosis app on their phone and reporting any suspicious symptoms for 14 days.
  10. London | Beginning today, the London underground system will be partially shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  11. Switzerland | The Swiss Government has prohibited entry for individuals from risk states or regions; this includes all non-Schengen countries, and Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Visas will not be issued to non-Schengen nationals until June 15. Swiss nationals, persons who have a valid residence title in Switzerland, have a professional motive for entering the country or who only wish to travel to a third country for transit through Switzerland are still entitled to enter Switzerland.
  12. Taiwan | Effective today, March 19, entry into Taiwan is suspended for all except Taiwanese citizens and alien residents. An exemption applies to ARC holders, diplomatic officials, and businesspeople with special entry permits authorized by the ROC Taiwan government.
  13. The United Arab Emirates | Late Wednesday night, the UAE suspended entry for all valid visa holders who are currently out of the country for a renewable period of two weeks effective from noon today. The Federal Authority for Citizenship and Identity temporarily suspended issuing all visas on arrival. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also announced a temporary ban on citizens traveling abroad until further notice.
  14. The United Kingdom | All non-premium biometric application centers ASCs operated by USCIS in the US are closed as of yesterday.
  15. The United States | On Wednesday evening, President Trump approved a relief package to provide sick leave, unemployment benefits, free coronavirus testing, and food and medical aid to those affected by the coronavirus. Additionally, the White House and lawmakers and working out the details of an economic stabilization package to send direct payments to taxpayers and provide loans to businesses.

    The US Embassy and Consulates in the following countries are suspending or limiting routine visa services: Dominican Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and elsewhere are also suspending or limiting routine visa services.


Also, please listen to EIG’s Immigration Nerds podcast for the country by country updates on all travel and border restrictions as of Tuesday, March 17.

We will continue to send updates daily or as more COVID-19-related news is available. We recognize this situation continues to evolve; if you have specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.