Q&A's Travel restrictions for the Netherlands (EU travel ban)

The European Member States agreed on the gradual and partial lifting of the EU travel ban that was in force from mid-March to 1 July 2020 in relation to COVID19.

On 30 June 2020 the Dutch government adopted the EU recommendations. The new entry policy has no expiry date and is therefore valid until further notice.

Last update: 10 July 2020, 11:19

1. What exactly does the new entry policy mean for travelers to or via the Netherlands?

Two categories can be distinguished as of 1 July 2020:

  1. The first category concerns residents of countries for which the EU travel ban has been lifted. The inhabitants of this category of countries can enter Europe and the Schengen area, including the United Kingdom, regardless of the purpose of travel.
  2. The second category concerns residents of those countries for which the EU travel ban has not yet been lifted. Residents of these countries therefore do not yet have access to Europe (all EU and Schengen Member States and the UK), unless they fall under one of the exemption categories.

See also the news item The Netherlands lifts travel ban for certain groups of travellers on Government.nl.

2. The travel ban for the Netherlands has been lifted as of 1 July 2020 for the following category of travelers?

This concerns the inhabitants of the following countries:

Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China*.

* The condition of reciprocity explicitly applies to China: the EU will only open to China when China opens to EU citizens.

3. Is it also possible to travel to other Schengen countries for the inhabitants of those countries?

No, each Schengen member state will ultimately decide for itself how it implements the lifting of the EU travel ban. It is therefore important that you inform yourself well in advance about the possibility to travel within the Schengen area, or to transit.

See the FAQs about tourism in the Netherlands and COVID-19 measures on Government.nl for more detailed information about tourism in the Netherlands.

4. I have another nationality. I am American, but I live in Australia. May I travel to Europe?

As an American, whereas USA is on the list of countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted, but living in Australia, which is on the list of countries for which the travel ban has been lifted, you are allowed to travel to Europe from Australia.

5. Will the list of categories of travelers who are allowed to travel, be extended or renewed?

The list of categories, countries, is certainly not definitive. It is reviewed, updated every two weeks. Countries can be added to a certain category if the health situation- with regard 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.

In the event of a rapid deterioration of the health situation -COVID19- there is a specific emergency procedure whereby the inhabitants of that country can be very quickly denied access to Europe.

6. Do these entry procedures also apply to EU citizens with a residence status in a Schengen country?

EU citizens and persons with a residence status in a Schengen country can again travel freely to and within Europe. However, other Schengen countries are free to limit the list of countries for which the travel ban has been lifted and thus keep their borders closed to - one or more of - these third countries.

The Schengen countries cannot grant entry to residents of countries on the list of countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted.

7. Are there exceptional categories, or persons, who are exempted from the entry restriction if they reside in a country for which the travel ban has not been lifted?

The entry restriction does not apply to the following categories of persons travelling due to an essential reason:

  • EU citizens (including UK nationals) and members of their families*;
  • Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and their family members*;
  • Third-country nationals holding a residence card or a residence permit in accordance with Directive 2003/109/EC (the LTR Directive) and their family members*;
  • Third-country nationals who derive their right of residence from other European Directives or from the national law of a Member State and their family members*;
  • Holders of a long-stay visa, including persons with a temporary residence permit (MVV) and their family members*;
  • Other third country nationals who have a vital function or need, including:
    • Healthcare personnel;
    • Border workers;
    • Persons employed in the transport of goods and other transport personnel, where necessary, including container ships, bulk carriers (e.g. ore or coal), tankers (fuels and chemicals), fisheries, persons employed in the energy sector i.e. oil and gas platforms and wind farms as well as offshore companies providing services to this sector, and flight crew;
    • Seafarers in possession of a seaman's book, with the exception of seafarers on commercial and pleasure yachts;
    • Diplomats;
    • Military personnel;
    • Personnel of international and humanitarian organizations;
    • Persons who have important reasons to visit their families; these are journeys in exceptional cases.
      An exceptional case is visiting a terminally ill family member and attending a funeral. It is intended for first-degree and second-degree family members. Partner and children are first-degree and grandchildren are second-degree.
    • Transit passengers who want to travel via the Netherlands or another Schengen country to another third country (outside the EU) and who do not leave the international transit zone of the airport;
    • Persons in need of international protection; the border procedure applies in full;
    • Persons admitted for humanitarian reasons;
    • Students;
    • Highly skilled migrants.

* Who is considered family? Children, spouse, registered partner or partner with proof of cohabitation of at least 6 months so that there is proof of a durable and exclusive relationship. The latter must be demonstrable by means of a notarial deed (cohabitation contract or in Dutch "samenlevingscontract") or a house lease or purchase agreement.

8. Do residents of countries, for which the travel ban has been lifted, have an urgent recommendation for quarantine?

Not always. The countries mentioned in the category where the travel ban has been lifted have an equivalent health situation in view of COVID19. When a traveler from one of these countries enters the Netherlands, there is therefore no urgent advice for home quarantine. See the FAQs about tourism in the Netherlands and COVID-19 measures on Government.nl for more information.

Travelers from countries which are not in the category of free entry, can only travel to the Netherlands, the EU, if they fall under one of the exemption categories of the travel ban. For these exception categories, however, an urgent advice to quarantine at home for 14 days applies. This also applies to Dutch citizens, people with a residence permit who return from these so-called unsafe countries.

The following groups will be exempted from the urgent advice of home quarantine:

Care professionals (including medical researchers and care personnel for the elderly); border workers, transport personnel, diplomats, personnel of international organizations and persons invited by international organizations, persons travelling for necessary family reasons, military personnel, humanitarian aid workers, personnel for civil protection, passengers in transit and seafarers.

9. When entering Schiphol Airport, is a health certificate and mouth shield 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. In addition, at check-in and before entering the aircraft, the airline staff must carry out a health check.

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.

It is, of course, important that persons travelling to the Netherlands are aware of and comply with the Dutch rules for combating the virus COVID19. Information about this will be available in five languages and will be actively brought to your attention through reporting at airports, stations and the information channels of the hotel and catering industry and sister organizations abroad.

See also the FAQ Schiphol and the corona virus on Schiphol.nl for information on measures applicable at Schiphol Airport.

10. What do these measures mean for the Schengen visa policy?

Residents living in countries for which the EU travel ban has been lifted may be able to reapply for visas.

The Dutch representations of those countries will issue visas again in the near future. This will not be as of 1 July 2020, as it will take some time to restart the visa procedure.

If the travel ban for a country is reinstated, due to the deterioration of the health situation, and a visa has been issued for a certain period of time, then this issued visa will not be valid for residents of that country during the period that the travel ban is again in force for that country.

As a traveller, you may also be refused entry at the border, unless you fall under one of the exceptional categories of the travel ban.

11. Does this mean that the Dutch travel advice is automatically adapted to the category list of countries for which the travel ban has been lifted?

The category of countries currently considered safe by the Netherlands does not automatically mean that non-essential travel - such as holidays, tourism - to these countries is recommended. Decisions concerning Dutch travel advices are made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the basis of a set of criteria, which goes beyond the health criteria alone.

12. I fall into the category of exceptions, it is an essential journey, I need a visa. Can I apply for a visa?

In countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted, you can only apply for a short stay visa at the embassy under certain circumstances. Check their website for short stay visas for the terms and conditions. The regular visa conditions apply to an application. 

13. Until when does the restriction apply for travelling to the Netherlands from countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted?

The new policy has no expiry date and is therefore valid until further notice. The list with countries and categories is updated regularly. Every two weeks a review will take place. If the health situation in a country for which the travel ban has been lifted deteriorates, it may be on the list of countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted and vice versa.

In the event of a rapid deterioration in the health situation, there is an emergency  procedure whereby the inhabitants of that country can be rapidly be refused entrance to the Netherlands.

14. I still have a valid Schengen visa, may I enter the Netherlands?

If it concerns a non-essential journey from countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted and you are not covered by the exceptions, you will be refused entry to the Netherlands with regard to Article 6 of the Schengen Code paragraph 1(e).

15. I am in possession of an MVV? Can I travel to the Netherlands?

With an MVV, you fall under the exception category, you can - if possible - travel to the Netherlands, and you will be granted entry.

16. As a national of the USA, Australia and Canada, and some other nationalities* I am not obliged to hold an MVV. Can I travel to the Netherlands?

A. If you are a resident of a country on the EU list for which the travel ban has been lifted and you can show the IND's letter of approval and a health certificate, you may travel to the Netherlands.

B. If you are a resident and you come from a country that is not on the EU list of countries for which the travel ban has been lifted, you will only be admitted to the Netherlands with a letter of approval from the IND for MVV study or MVV highly skilled migrant (including accompanying family members who have a derived residence status).

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.

* Please check the page Exemptions from the requirement for an MVV on ind.nl.

17. I have compelling reasons to visit my family members in the Netherlands, when do I fall under the exceptions?

If you wish to travel to the Netherlands as a resident of a country for which the travel ban has been lifted, this is possible (in the case of a country subject to a visa requirement with the condition that you have a visa).

As far as the category of persons travelling for necessary family circumstances from countries for which the travel ban has not been lifted is concerned, this concerns travel only in exceptional cases. An exceptional case is visiting a terminally ill family member or attending a funeral.

It is intended for family members in the 1st and 2nd degree. This includes the partner and the children in the 1st degree and the grandchildren in the 2nd degree.

18. Can I have it determined in advance whether I fall into an exceptional category?

No, this is not possible. We therefore recommend that you travel well documented.