Travel Bans: What does this mean for you and your families abroad?
Due to COVID-19, many countries around the globe have made the decision to limit individuals from entering their borders to control the spread of the virus. These measures have been a cause of concern for many as they are unsure of whether they can enter or leave these countries and a lot have worried about family and friends abroad. In light of the virus’s spread throughout Europe, some of the European Union’s Member States have implemented measures setting out clearly who can and cannot enter the country and how to enter the border. Two countries that have implemented such measures are The Netherlands and Portugal, which will be the countries discussed in this blog post!
Who can still enter The Netherlands?
On the 16th of March 2020, the EU Commission presented guidelines on border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services, which The Netherlands have started to implement. As of the 19th of March 2020, the Dutch Government has set out the following rules:
- Foreigners with tourist visas to enter The Netherlands will no longer be allowed to do so. This restriction is only temporary and is in place until the 19th of April 2020. The expiration date of tourist visas may be postponed depending on how the situation evolves
- EU/EEA citizens and members of their families
- Individuals holding a residence card or residence permit (including a temporary residence permit [MVV]) in accordance with Directive 2003/109/EC.
- Individuals with a long-stay visa
- Personnel working in healthcare, in the transportation of goods, in the military and at the border
- Diplomats and personnel of humanitarian organisations
- The following are those who are exempted from the travel ban in place:
- People who wish to travel via The Netherlands to a third country may enter but only via Schiphol International Airport.
- Persons in need of international protection may follow the border procedure and may then enter The Netherlands. The border procedure continues to apply in full. The same goes for Persons who are admitted to the country for humanitarian reasons.
Who can still enter Portugal?
Also on the 16th of March 2020, Portugal has re-introduced border controls and has restricted entry into the country. The following individuals are allowed to enter Portuguese borders:
- Portuguese nationals and their family members
- Holders of residence permits
- Cross-border workers
- Those who work in the transportation of goods
- Healthcare workers
- Military personnel
However, individuals have to prove that their entry into Portugal is reasonable and necessary.
Many flights have been cancelled, namely, all flights from Italy (as per the 10th of March 2020) and all flights to and from Spain (as per the 17th of March 2020) As a result of this, it is recommended to enter Portugal via the following crossing points:
- Valença-Viana do Castelo, saída da Ponte Tuy-Valença-ligação IP1-A3, em Valença, e estação ferroviária de Valença;
- Vila Verde da Raia- Chaves, saída da A52, ligação com a A24, km 0, junto à rotunda;
- Quintanilha-Bragança, saída da Ponte Internacional IP4/E 82, nó de saída para Quintanilha ou junto das instalações do CCPA na N218-1 Quintanilha;
- Vilar Formoso-Guarda junto da linha de fronteira, Largo da Fronteira, junto ao CCPA, N 16/E80, ligação 620 Fuentes de Õnoro, Espanha, incluindo a estação ferroviária de Vilar Formoso e o acesso pelo Parque TIR, via camiões, N16, Vilar Formoso;
- Termas de Monfortinho-Castelo Branco, entroncamento da N 239 com a N 240 em Termas de Monfortinho;
- Marvão-Portalegre, linha de fronteira, Marvão, N 521 ligação de Valência de Alcântara à IC 13 Marvão;
- Caia-Elvas, saída da A6 km 158, ligação Caia-Elvas, junto ao Posto de Turismo, Elvas;
- Vila Verde de Ficalho-Beja, junto da linha de fronteira, ligação A 495 Rosal de la Frontera ao IP 8, Serpa;
- Castro Marim-Praça da Fronteira, km 131 da A22, Ponte Internacional do Guadiana-Castro Marim, incluindo o cais fluvial de Vila Real de Santo António
These rules are set to expire on the 15th of April 2020 but may be extended depending on the development of the situation at hand.
Do you have more questions, or wish to receive more information on your specific case? Please do not hesitate to contact the MQM Legal Center’s Legal Emergency Squad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Schengen Visa Info, ‘Netherlands Explains Travel Ban for Foreign Travelers’ (schengenvisainfo.com, 20 March 2020) <https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/netherlands-explains-travel-ban-for-foreign-travelers/> accessed 24 March 2020.
- Schengen Visa Info, ‘BREAKING: EU Decides to Close All Schengen Borders for 30 Days’ (schengenvisainfo.com, 17 March 2020) <https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/breaking-eu-decides-to-close-all-schengen-borders-for-30-days/> accessed 24 March 2020.
- European Commission, ‘Coronavirus response’ (ec.europa.eu, 17 March 2020) <https://ec.europa.eu/transport/coronavirus-response_en> accessed 24 March 2020.
- Nederland wereldwijd, ‘Gevolgen coronavirus voor reizen naar het buitenland: waar vind ik meer informatie?’ (nederlandwereldwijd.nl, 17 March 2020) <https://www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/documenten/vragen-en-antwoorden/gevolgen-coronavirus-voor-reisplannen> accessed 24 March 2020.
- Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, ‘COVID-19: Reposição de controlo nas fronteiras e restrições à entrada em Portugal’ (Portal das Comunidades Portuguesas, 17 March 2020) <https://www.portaldascomunidades.mne.pt/pt/alertas/covid-19-reposicao-de-controlo-nas-fronteiras-e-restricoes-a-entrada-em-portugal> accessed 24 March 2020.
- European Commission, ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council: COVID-19: Temporary Restriction on Non-Essential Travel to the EU (ec.europa.eu, 16 March 2020) <https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regdoc/rep/1/2020/EN/COM-2020-115-F1-EN-MAIN-PART-1.PDF> accessed 24 March 2020.