COVID-19: An update on border control around the world

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Published 2020-03-17 12:53

“Can I travel to China?”, “Can I travel to Italy?”, “Can I travel to France?” If you were planning to settle in or travel to one of the countries affected by the Coronavirus soon, Expat.com gives you the updates on the border controls around the world with a special focus on countries particularly affected by the Coronavirus.

Asia

As the Coronavirus originated in China and it currently has the highest number of recorded cases, travelling there unnecessarily should be avoided, as advised by the FCO. It is possible to enter China at the moment, however, quarantine will be implemented in Beijing and many other cities. All travellers will be responsible for their own expenses during this unfortunate time. Furthermore, many embassies and consulates there have temporarily closed down, therefore, obtaining sound immigration advice could be difficult. The good news is that the number of new reported cases in China is now decreasing and additional personnel are being employed to speed up processing in all essential sectors. 

South Korea has also taken a heavy hit during the Coronavirus pandemic. Anyone holding a short-term visa who is unable to leave due to cancelled flights is advised to arrange a 30 day extension. Any foreign nationals who have been in the Hubei province of China anytime in the last two weeks will be denied entry into South Korea at this time. 

Taiwan is implementing a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for anyone entering from the Schengen region, Britain and Dubai, as of March 17th. Penalties will be issued to anyone breaching these instructions. In Thailand, visa-on-arrival is no longer being issued to Chinese nationals, or nationals of many other affected countries. 

Europe

Italy is by far the most affected European nation at the moment, with well over 2000 deaths to speak of. As a result of this, the country is in lockdown. The streets of all major cities are practically empty and police officers are performing random spot checks on the streets. Public offices have closed down indefinitely and all citizens are encouraged to prepare for delays in immigration processing. At the moment, flights are still being allowed to enter the country, however, recreational travel is pointless as all bars, restaurants and other attractions have stopped operating. 

Spain declared a national state of emergency on March 14th and all but essential services are out of commission for the foreseeable future. The FCO have warned people not to travel to Spain unless it is essential and leisure airliners Easyjet and Jet2 have cancelled all commutes to this coastal haven. 

As of March 16th, Germany has closed its borders to anyone arriving from nearby European countries like France, Austria and Switzerland. The good news is that in many cases, foreign residents are not being penalised for overstaying their residence expiries. Nevertheless, exercise precaution and contact your embassy regarding any matters of immigration. Anyone in France who is showing symptoms of Coronavirus is being requested to call 112. Additionally, citizens are being asked to avoid all gatherings of more than 100 people. All educational facilities are being closed as the country approaches a state of lockdown. 

The United Kingdom is taking a slow approach to this pandemic and although lockdowns are not as vigorous as their European neighbours yet, operation procedures are changing in many sectors. The home office is automatically extending visas for many foreign nationals living in the UK and regular compliance actions are not being taken against foreign students who fail to attend lessons. 

USA

At present, anyone travelling from Britain or any Schengen country will be denied access onto U.S soil until further notice. Visa services at consulates in India and China have been suspended, or at the very least, limited. 

One final word

We are committed to sourcing the most reliable sources of information for you and will be with you through all of this. Keep your questions coming and we will do our utmost best to find up-to-date information. When we know, you’ll know!