Travel restrictions

COVID-19 travel restrictions eased in many countries

Due to various factors, including epidemiological, economic and political considerations, many countries are dropping their travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the last remaining conservative COVID countries are opening up, which holds promise for resuming international travel and giving employers the flexibility to send their employees who cannot be vaccinated on assignment to more destination countries.

Below is a non-exhaustive summary of the easing of COVID-19 related restrictions in several areas.

Canada

As of October 1, 2022, Canada has lifted all border requirements related to COVID-19, including those related to vaccinations, health checks, pre-board testing, mandatory use of ArriveCAN, reporting symptoms, mask-wearing and quarantine/isolation. those entering Canada by land, air or sea. Travelers should always follow provincial or territorial requirements related to COVID-19, as applicable.

The Government of Canada said the rollback of the border measures was facilitated by a number of factors, including modeling that indicates Canada is well past the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 wave; high vaccination rates and lower hospitalization and death rates in Canada; and the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including the new bivalent formulation), rapid tests and treatments for COVID-19. Canada also reviewed operational considerations and the international epidemiological situation.

Although the mask-wearing requirement is waived, Canada said all travelers “are strongly recommended to wear high-quality, well-fitting masks during their travels. Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s Minister of Health, said COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses are expected to continue circulating in previous months. “I encourage everyone to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses, and to implement individual public health measures.”

The Canadian government has noted that while travelers no longer need to submit their quarantine and vaccination information through ArriveCAN, they can continue to use the optional pre-declaration feature in ArriveCAN (which is available free of charge as a mobile app or on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA website) “to save time at the airport by submitting their customs and immigration declaration before arrival”. This feature is now available for travelers arriving at Toronto Pearson, Vancouver or Montreal-Trudeau international airports, and will be extended to Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec and Halifax international airports in the coming months, said the Canada Early data shows that using CBSA Advance Declaration in ArriveCAN reduces the time a traveler spends at a kiosk by approximately one-third, and more than 30% of travelers arriving at airports already use it.

Europe

Most European countries have lifted travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Spain still maintains COVID-19 border restrictions for travelers from outside the EU/Schengen area, including proof of vaccination, COVID-19 recovery certificate or negative test (TAAN or antigen). However, it is no longer necessary to fill in the health control form to travel to Spain or to present an SpTH QR code when boarding or at the airport of arrival. Germany has introduced new COVID-19 measures inside the country, with the wearing of a mask compulsory on long-distance trains (FFP2 for those over 14 years old and a surgical mask for those between 6 and 13 years old).

An EU COVID digital certificate, which digitally certifies that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or has recovered from COVID-19, is valid in all EU countries. EU and available to all EU citizens and their family members, as well as third-country nationals who are legally staying or residing in a Member State and have the right to travel to other Member States.

Japan

Japan reopens to tourism and restores visa-free privileges for many nationalities, including the United States, on October 11, 2022. As of that date, according to the Foreign Ministry, testing at arrival, self-quarantine and refraining from using public transport is no longer required, except for returnees and entrants with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 infection. All returnees and entrants must still present either a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate of three doses of vaccine as prescribed on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list, or a certificate of result from negative test for COVID-19 before departure. 19 Test taken within 72 hours of departure from country/region of origin.

Taiwan

Taiwan recently reinstated visa waiver privileges for many nationalities, including the United States. Quarantine rules are expected to be relaxed on October 13, 2022, although rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 and self-monitoring for seven days after arrival will remain mandatory.

According to the Taiwan Consular Affairs Bureau, Taiwan’s visa-free entry regime has been fully reinstated as of September 29, 2022, for nationals of eligible countries to engage in activities that do not require permits, such as business, exhibition visits, facts-finding assignments, international exchanges, visiting relatives, tourism and social events. For activities that require a permit in accordance with laws and regulations of relevant agencies, travelers should seek permission from the central competent authority of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and obtain a special entry permit (visa) from an overseas mission of the ROC (Taiwan).

South Africa

Other COVID-19 regulations were repealed in June 2022. Travelers are no longer required to produce vaccination certificates or recent negative PCR tests. There are no health screening procedures at airports and other points of entry, and no restrictions on intercity or interstate travel.

United States

It is unclear whether the United States will drop vaccine requirements at land borders. Effective October 1, 2022, all non-immigrant and non-US citizen air travelers to the United States must be fully immunized and provide proof of their vaccination status before boarding an aircraft bound for the United States . Fully vaccinated foreign nationals may enter the United States at land ports of entry (POE) and ferry terminals. Fully immunized travelers do not need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter the United States by air, land, or sea. Fully vaccinated foreign travelers can travel to the United States through the northern and southwestern borders with Canada (and Mexico). US citizens and lawful permanent residents do not need to provide proof of their vaccination status at land ports of entry and ferry terminals.

A group of Canadian lawmakers and mayors from border regions of the two countries issued a letter on September 20, 2022 to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden asking them to remove border restrictions.

Contact your WR attorney for advice and assistance in specific situations.

More information:

  • “CAN-US Border Crossing Updates (COVID-19)”, Windsor Detroit Tunnel, https://www.windsortunnel.com/covid-19-updates
  • “Measures for Resumption of Cross-Border Travel,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/cp/page22e_000925.html
  • “COVID-19: Current Measures at Japanese Borders,” Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/covid-19/bordercontrol.html
  • “Border Measures to Prevent the Spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html
  • “Germany to impose new nationwide COVID rules from October 1”, SchengenVisaInfo, https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/germany-to-impose-new-nationwide-covid-rules- from-october-1/
  • “Travel and COVID-19” (Spain), https://www.sanidad.gob.es/en/profesionales/saludPublica/ccayes/alertasActual/nCov/spth.htm
  • “EU Digital COVID Certificate”, European Commission, https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/safe-covid-19-vaccines-europeans/eu-digital -covid-certificate_en#what-is-the-eu-digital-covid-certificate
  • “COVID-19 Information,” U.S. Embassy and Consulates in South Africa, https://za.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
  • “Taiwan adds 44,665 local COVID cases as country moves to lift border restrictions”, Taiwan News, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4672059
  • “COVID-19 Country Specific Information,” US Department of State, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html
  • “Open Letter: President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau”, September 20, 2022, https://twitter.com/jimdiodati/status/1572253493968408576/photo/1
  • COVID-19 Information – Canada, U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada, September 9, 2022, https://ca.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information-canada-3/
  • COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders, https://travel.gc.ca/travel-covid