July 3, 2020

EU: Lift entry restrictions for certain third country nationals

The European Commission has advised EU member states they can lift the travel restrictions for individuals from 15 countries from July 1st, 2020. These select countries meet the criteria of having a Covid-19 infection rate the same as or lower than the EU average, and also reciprocally permitted EU nationals to enter their territories. While the advice is non-obligatory and each EU or Schengen area country will be permitted to decide whether or not to follow this guidance themselves, it is expected that most will reopen their borders to the recommended 15 countries.

What has changed?

Following the arrival of Covid-19 earlier this year, the EU implemented strict travel restrictions for both external borders with third countries and internally between member states and the Schengen zone. Over the last few weeks we have seen restrictions start to be lifted between the internal borders and the European Commission recommends that from July 1st, the external border restrictions can now be lifted for a select number of countries. Those that will now be permitted entry due to their low Covid-19 infection rate and as they also permit entry to EU nationals include:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay

China will also be included if they equally start to permit entry to EU nationals. Of notable absence from the current list are Russia, Brazil and the US.

The list of countries permitted entry will be reviewed every 2 weeks and countries may be added or removed from the above list subject to their Covid-19 infection rates.

Further to the above, the European Commission recommends that the previous exceptions to the travel restrictions remain in place for essential workers and visa or permit holders from countries not yet listed above. Highly skilled workers deemed to be essential to the growth of the economy are also to be included in countries’ definitions of permitted essential workers.

For further information on lifting of Covid-19 related restrictions into the EU, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at immigration@sterlinglexicon.com.  


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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