Published on July 23, 2020

Travel restrictions cautiously lifting in Asia and Europe
By CapRelo

Although blanket passenger bans continue to be in place for some locations, in general travel restrictions are gradually and cautiously lifting in Asia and Europe. This relaxation has been accompanied by both mandatory quarantine periods and the introduction of new medical measures. Over 30% of countries have introduced medical requirements as a condition of entry[i].  Bucking this trend are Thailand, India and, most notably the United States, where a presidential proclamation has been issued restricting entry until the end of the year.

In recent weeks the United States has been particularly hard hit, with rapidly escalating COVID-19 cases being reported in many areas. This has resulted in continued uncertainty, as states vary widely in their containment and mitigation strategies. Businesses have continued to also vary their response, with many hoping to re-open their offices in line with the upcoming school year, while many others are remaining non-committal

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Recent key observations: 

  • United States Presidential proclamation and amendment: Entry to the United states is restricted until December 31, 2020. The amended proclamation makes it more difficult for foreign nationals to qualify for an exemption from the ban on entry in H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and certain J-statuses, including dependents. Foreign nationals in the United States with an expired visa or whose visa will expire prior to any planned international travel may have trouble or delays obtaining a new H, L or J visa while abroad and while the proclamation is in force. Some groups are exempt from the proclamation, including visa-exempt Canadians, spouses and children of U.S. citizens and those whose entry is deemed to be in the national interest.

    Internal restriction of movement:
    New York & Chicago
    – Travelers entering or returning from states experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases are to quarantine for a period of 14 days. States with a positive test rate higher than 10 (15 in Chicago) per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. In New York there is an explicit list of 22 states that currently qualify. Travel into these areas should be considered carefully in light of the quarantine requirement.

  • EU – From the beginning of July, the European Council has advised EU countries to allow entry to residents from 15 countries. These countries have a COVID-19 infection rate similar to or lower than the EU average and should allow EU travelers to enter their territory. Brazil, Russia and the United States are not on the first iteration of the list, and China is on the list pending confirmation that EU travelers will be allowed to reciprocally enter Mainland China. 

  • United KingdomUnrelated to the COVID pandemic, on July 13, the U.K. Government published further details on the new immigration system. New arrangements will take effect on January 1, 2021, once freedom of movement within the European Union comes to an end.

  • Singapore and Malaysia green lane  Singapore and Malaysia will implement a reciprocal green lane for travel across their border, which some 300,000 people traverse by land each day. Officials are aiming to start the program August 10, 2020, facilitating travel for essential business and official purposes, according to statements from the foreign affairs ministries in both nations. This is an extension of the previously announced ‘fast lane’ arrangement in place with selected Chinese provinces.

For tax compliance-related matters, we suggest working directly with your tax provider to analyze and determine potential risks and concerns.

As travel bans start to be lifted for some locations, below are a few recent updates to note:

  • Argentina As per presidential announcement an entry ban remains in place until July 17, 2020 for all individuals (including Argentinian nationals and residents) with few exceptions. It is worth noting that the sale of tickets for international and domestic commercial flights is suspended until September 1, except as approved by the Argentine Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC). 

  • Australia – Entry ban for non-citizens and non-residents, except Australian citizens, permanent residents and their direct family members with a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government 'designated facility' (typically a hotel) for any traveler who can enter. Internal travel bans for 'non-essential travel' also apply between some Australian States/Territories. International flights are being diverted from Melbourne into other Australian cities until further notice. 

  • Canada – Entering Canada for a 'non-essential' purpose, defined as tourism, entertainment or recreation (and which also includes a wider range of 'non-essential' reasons), is prohibited, with few concessions for citizens and immediate family members. For those entering from the United States, this is in effect until August 21, 2020, and for those entering from all other countries, until July 31, 2020. All incoming flights, except those departing from the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, are landing at one of only four airports: Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ), Calgary (YYC) and Vancouver (YVR).

  • China – China has begun permitting the entry of essential foreign workers performing necessary and urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities. There are also fast-track routes for residents of Germany, Singapore and South Korea.

  • Hong Kong – All non-Hong Kong residents are banned from entering by plane from July 15, 2020 until October 14, 2020. Travelers arriving from specific high-risk countries (to be announced by the Hong Kong government) must obtain a negative COVID-19 test result conducted by a recognized laboratory before arrival. With few exceptions, until August 7, 2020, 14-day enforced home quarantine for all travelers entering Hong Kong SAR, from Mainland China, Macau SAR and Taiwan. Until September 18, 2020, 14-day enforced home quarantine for all international travelers arriving at Hong Kong SAR. 

  • India – Suspension of incoming and outgoing international passenger airline services until July 31, 2020. Certain categories of foreign nationals can travel to India for employment along with accompanying dependents for business and medical purposes. Travel will be facilitated via non-scheduled flights or private chartered flights. 14-day enforced quarantine for all travelers (7 days in a government facility followed by 7-day home quarantine), with limited exceptions.

  • Thailand Thailand has re-instated the ban, previously lifted on July 1, 2020, on international flights effective July 17, 2020. It has also issued new medical requirements as conditions for entry, including a Certificate of Entry issued by the Royal Thai Embassy and a Fit-to-Fly health certificate.

  • United Kingdom No travel restrictions, however a mandatory 14-day quarantine remains in place for international arrivals with a list of exceptions, which does not include the United States. Transport workers, cross-border workers and certain essential staff is permitted with supporting evidence.

Global Travel and Immigration Impact

  • Newland Chase also continues to maintain a Travel and Immigration Guide updated twice daily. The guide includes individual country reports which can be accessed here


CapRelo actively is monitoring all cases to determine how moves will be impacted. The safety and care of our employees, clients and customers is our highest priority. We will continue to share our observations that pertains to the relocation landscape.   

With changes coming frequently, questions on specific cases should continue to be directed to your Client Services contact or to


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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The statements above are not intended as a substitute for legal and/or tax advice. CapRelo is not responsible for any loss or implication arising from reliance on these statements.



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