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COVID 19 update October

October 17th, 2020

Due to the latest measures announced by the Dutch government on October 13th concerning the COVID-19 virus, we have the following update for you:

Partial lockdown

Due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections, the Dutch government has implemented a partial lockdown.
The most important measures are:

  • All establishments that serve food and drinks must close. Take away is still possible only until 8 pm. Exceptions are: hotels for hotel guests only, funeral locations and airports (after security)
  • Retail stores must close at 8 pm at the latest. This does not apply to grocery stores.
  • Traveling by public transport is only allowed if it is strictly necessary and only with a face mask.
  • The rules around working from home will be tightened. Work from home, unless there is no other option.
  • Events are prohibited.
  • Wearing a face mask in public areas is highly recommend for people over 13 years old. This will be mandatory after the Dutch government has legalized this.

Please visit the following website to read more about the measures. https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2020/10/13/partial-lockdown-needed-to-bring-down-infections

Travel ban

The travel ban for non-essential travels until further notice is still in place. However, the Dutch government also agreed on the gradual partial lifting of the travel ban.

The ban restricts all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU. This includes tourists, business travellers, temporary family visits etc. In practice, this means that the EU Member States and the Schengen associated countries can refuse entry to non-resident third country nationals at their external borders.

As of July 1st, 2020, The Netherlands has lifted the travel ban for certain groups of travellers, allowing permanent (long-term) residents of the following countries to enter the Netherlands: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. The ban on travellers from China will be lifted once China allows entry to EU citizens.

The list of countries will be reviewed every 2 weeks (or sooner if necessary). Countries can be added to a certain category if the health situation with regards to COVID19 allows it. If, in view of COVID19, the health situation in a country deteriorates, the country can be listed in the category of countries from which one is not allowed to travel to The Netherlands.

The travel ban does not apply to the following groups of people:

  • EU citizens (including British nationals) and their family members
  • Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City and Andorra, and their family members
  • Third-country nationals who have a residence card or residence permit in accordance with EU Directive 2003/109/EC concerning long-term residents
  • Third-country nationals whose right of residence is derived from other EU directives or the national law of a member state
  • Holders of a long-stay visa, including those with an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV).

Third-country nationals who are key workers or have exceptional circumstances are also exempted. These are:

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Cross-border commuters
  • In so far as necessary, people working in the transport of goods, and other transport workers. These are people who work on container ships, bulk carriers (e.g. transporting ore or coal), tankers (e.g. transporting fuels and chemicals), fishing boats; people who work in the energy sector, i.e. on oil and gas platforms and at wind parks, and for off-shore companies that provide services to this sector; and flight crews
  • Diplomats
  • You have a service passport and need to travel to carry out your duties.
  • Members of the armed forces
  • Staff members of international and humanitarian organisations
  • People with compelling reasons to visit their family (exceptional cases). An exceptional case would be to visit a terminally ill family member and to attend their funeral. Family member is understood here to mean a first- or second-degree family member. Partners and children are first-degree family members, and grandchildren are second-degree
  • Transit passengers travelling to a third country via The Netherlands or another Schengen country
  • People who require international protection (normal border procedures apply)
  • People admitted on humanitarian grounds
  • Seafarers in possession of a seaman’s record book
  • Students
  • Highly skilled migrants.
  • Business travellers if they meet the conditions mentioned below.

Exemptions to the entry ban in the interests of the Dutch economy and society

From September 21st, anyone travelling from a country to which an entry ban applies whose purpose of travel will have demonstrable value for the Dutch economy and Dutch society may travel to The Netherlands under the following conditions:

  • The relaxation of entry restrictions is only possible if you have submitted an application for travel to a Dutch embassy, stating reasons for your journey that meets the following conditions:
  • You hold an invitation from an organisation registered in The Netherlands or from The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), confirming a meeting or visit.
  • The appointment is urgent and requires personal attendance.
  • One or more of the following conditions must be met:
    1. The visit relates to potential direct foreign investment in The Netherlands of considerable size which will lead to:
      a. the creation of at least five new jobs, or
      b. investment of at least € 500,000.
    2. The visit relates to potential direct foreign investment in The Netherlands that will contribute to:
      a. strengthening Dutch innovation capacity, or
      b. making the Dutch economy more sustainable, or
      c. further digitalisation of the Dutch economy.
    3. The visit is of major economic importance to a specific organisation based in The Netherlands:
      a. The Dutch-based organisation the business traveler intends to visit must have a staff of at least 10 FTEs and/or an annual turnover of €2 million.
      b. A visit is of major importance if, for example, it is essential to the organisation’s day-to-day operations, and/or the creation and/or retention of jobs, and/or the stability or growth of turnover.
  • Once the embassy has assessed the application it will issue the traveler with a “note verbale” giving permission for the planned trip. If it has any doubts, the embassy will consult the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) in The Hague (if the application concerns a foreign investment) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ International Enterprise Department (DIO) (if the application concerns foreign trade). You and the business you are visiting must sign a declaration stating that you are making an essential journey that has demonstrable value for the Dutch economy and Dutch society, and meets the criteria specified above.
  • You must show the “note verbal” to the Dutch border authorities (the Royal Military and Border Police).
  • You must also be in possession of a return ticket as well as a confirmed hotel reservation.
  • If you require a visa, the regular visa application conditions continue to apply.
  • The regular border procedures based on the Schengen Borders Code apply. This means that the Royal Military and Border Police will check whether you meet all the conditions. You must also have a valid travel document and, if necessary, a short-stay visa. This depends on your nationality. The Royal Military and Border Police have the right to refuse you entry if there is a valid reason to do this.
  • In order to mitigate the public health risk as much as possible, you are urgently advised to keep your visits to The Netherlands as short as possible and to limit your contact with others. Dutch rules on self-quarantine are fully applicable, with the exemption of your business meetings.
  • To further reduce the risk, a limit has been set on the number of travelers that may enter the Netherlands each month under this scheme.
  • You must observe the coronavirus measures that apply in The Netherlands.

The treaty officers at the border will determine whether an exception is applicable. It is not possible to get a confirmation in advance to determine if an exceptional category is applicable. Therefore, we recommend assignees that they travel well equipped with documentation to prove their status and reason for travelling.

Highly skilled migrants

Highly skilled migrants have been added to the list of exceptions, however if the assignee needs a MVV visa to travel to The Netherlands and the embassies/consulates abroad are still closed due to COVID 19, it is not possible to travel to The Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant without obtaining their MVV visa.
For each case we remain in contact with the authorities so that once the embassies/consulates re-open, the employee can apply for a MVV right away. We also recommend assignees to keep in touch with the embassies/consulates because some embassies/consulates are starting to open again.

If the highly skilled migrant does not need a MVV visa to travel to The Netherlands, assignees are only allowed to travel with their IND approval letter and a health certificate.

Via IATA TIMATIC, the airline companies are informed that the IND notification letter for these categories is sufficient for travel and admission to The Netherlands. However, the IND has indicated that this only applies to direct flights to The Netherlands. Other (transit) countries may not accept this proof.

Health declaration

When entering Schiphol Airport, a health certificate and mouth shield is compulsory. Passengers on all inbound and outbound flights in and from the Netherlands are required to fill in a certificate with questions about health complaints that fit in with COVID-19. This health certificate form is provided by the airline prior to boarding. The Netherlands makes it compulsory for passengers in the aircraft and at Dutch airports to wear a non-medical mouthpiece during check-in, security and border processes and boarding.


At this moment it is mandatory to self-quarantine for ten days if you travel to The Netherlands from countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted and some EU countries.

Would you like to know more or do you need assistance, please reach out to us!