AMERICAS:

United States—Vermont Service Center May Close Temporarily

Argentina—Mandatory Quarantine to be Extended

EMEA:

South Africa—All Visas to Nationals of High-Risk Countries Who are Outside of South Africa have been Revoked

Russia—Moscow Introduces Digital Passes for Travel on Public or Personal Transport

APAC:

Philippines—Temporary Suspension of Visa Issuance to all Foreign Nationals

China—Government to Continue its Strict Implementation of Home Quarantines and Stringent Social Distancing Measures.

Japan—State of Emergency in Effect until May 6, 2020

India—Country’s Nationwide Lockdown Extended

Singapore—Travel Restrictions for Foreign Visitors


United States—Vermont Service Center May Close Temporarily

Notification has been received of possible closure of the Vermont Service Center (VSC) from Friday April 10, 2020 to Wednesday April 15, 2020 due to COVID-19 exposure.

Argentina—Mandatory Quarantine to be Extended

Through Decree 335-2020, the government extended the period of mandatory quarantine until April 26.  During this time, the country’s’ borders will continue to be closed for an indefinite period of time, the use of masks is mandatory in the city of Buenos Aires and in some locations in the province of Buenos Aires, such as Tigre, and in other provinces.

South Africa—All Visas to Nationals of High-Risk Countries Who are Outside of South Africa have been Revoked

Passport holders of high-risk countries (currently the following countries: Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, UK, USA) who were issued with, for instance a spousal, retired, volunteer or work visa and who are currently outside South Africa will have lost their visa. This is not only applicable for issued but also not-activated visas (i.e. the holder had not yet travelled to South Africa), but also for such foreigners who were already working in South Africa for months or years that left South Africa before the lockdown and are now stuck overseas.  At this stage it is not clear what the DHA will do for these foreigners.  The fact is that their visas are revoked at his time.  This would mean that applicants would have to re-apply for their visa, including to collect and submit a comprehensive new application.

Russia—Moscow Introduces Digital Passes for Travel on Public or Personal Transport

On April 11, 2020 the Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin signed a decree requiring special digital passes for trips in Moscow and the Moscow Region on personal and public transport.  Obtaining a digital pass is required for travel on any type of personal and public transport which includes, motorcycle, scooter, car, taxi, metro, and commuter rail and ground public transport.  This pass is issued in electronic form which includes a QR code for quick verification of information by employees of regulatory authorities.  For travel related to employment the pass is issued until April 30th in cases where the organization continues to work and the presence of the employee at the workplace is absolutely necessary.  If travel is found without a digital pass a warning or imposition of penalty in the amount from one to thirty thousand rubles.

Philippines—Temporary Suspension of Visa Issuance to all Foreign Nationals

Beginning March 19, 2020 the Philippine government has temporarily stopped issuing visas to all foreigners and has cancelled existing ones amid the global threat of the coronavirus.  All Philippine Embassies and Consulates will temporarily suspend visa issuance to all foreign nationals as well as the visa-free privileges of all foreign nationals.  Visas already issued to foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals remain valid.  Furthermore, as of April 7, 2020 Philippine President has declared an extension of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon until April 30, 2020.

China—Government to Continue its Strict Implementation of Home Quarantines and Stringent Social Distancing Measures.

China continues to temporarily suspend all foreign nationals inbound to China.  This includes all foreign nationals with valid visas or residence permits and entry by foreign nationals with APEC business travel cards.  The following entry permits are also suspended; Port Visas for short term entry, Hainan 30 Day visa free policy, among others.

Japan—State of Emergency in Effect until May 6, 2020

Japan government announced a state of emergency for Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka (7 prefectures) effective from April 8, 2020 to May 6, 2020.  Due to immigration restrictions, travel schedules may need to be re-scheduled.

India—Country’s Nationwide Lockdown Extended

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the country’s nationwide lockdown until May 3 in a bid to contain the continued spread of the coronavirus, but said that some states which have avoided outbreaks may be allowed to resume “important activities.”

Singapore—Travel Restrictions for Foreign Visitors

Beginning March 23, 2020 all short-term visitors from anywhere in the world will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.  At this time the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will only allow the entry/return of work pass holders, including their dependents, for those providing ESSENTIAL services (such as healthcare and transport).  All persons returning to Singapore, such as Singapore citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term pass holders, will be issued a 14 day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and must remain in their residence at all times. Additionally, Singapore residents and Long Term Pass Holders returning to Singapore from Hubei province (Mainland China) will be subject to a 14 day quarantine.

For more information on MSI’s Immigration Services please contact us at msi.immigration@msiimmigration.com

Information for this update has been provided by our global network of immigration partners. Given the nature of and speed at which online communications are developed, we will make every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information provided. However, materials contained in this alert are subject to change at any time without any notice.