The Impact of Coronavirus on Business Travel and Immigration

Erez Greenberg June 30, 2020

The continuous effects of Covid-19 cases are causing countries to constantly rethink their entry and exit restrictions. But with the businesses struggling, countries are trying to find ways to boost their economies; whether it be by closing their borders to drive up local businesses, by opening borders to allow for global trade to restart, or by making alliances with specific countries to create strategic opportunities.

August 4


On August 5th, Japan will begin to grant re-entry into the country allowing foreign residents who left Japan before the travel ban to return. The documents they will be required to obtain before reentry are a letter of confirmation of submission for reentry and a negative coronavirus tests conducted within 72 hours of the flight.

United States

The United States President has banned technology workers on H1-b visas from replacing American citizens in federal government contracts. The signed executive order is intended to make sure that American workers are offered these jobs first.


Beginning on August 5th, companies bringing in foreign national employees will need to ensure that they take a coronavirus test 7 days before arriving in Vietnam. The traveler will also be required to obtain international health insurance that covers the treatment of coronavirus related sickness.

July 30

European Union

An updated list of countries that can enter the EU.

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity


Brazil began to allow entry into the country for foreign travelers of any nationality who meet the necessary immigration requirements, and present proof of a health insurance policy valid in Brazil and covering the whole trip. Currently, the maximum duration of stay for tourists is 90 days.

Costa Rica

Travel into Costa Rica will reopen August 1st for tourists from countries that have been deemed safe. Currently, European Union countries, the United Kindom, and Canada will be allowed entry. However, in order to enter, tourists will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 48 hours, purchase insurance covering accommodation in case of quarantine or hospitalization, and complete a digital epidemiological form from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund upon arrival.

Hong Kong

The United States and Kazakhstan and have been added to the list of high-risk countries. This means that travellers arriving from these countries must provide a negative Coronavirus test certificate thats been issued within 72 hours before departure, and confirmation of a 14+ day hotel booking in Hong Kong.

July 23


The Civil Aviation Administration of China has begun to require all travelers prior to entering China to fulfill the following requirements:

All nationalities must provide a negative coronavirus test from a recognized medical facility within 5 days of departure.

Foreign nationals are required to present a negative coronavirus test to obtain a Health Declaration from the relevant Chinese Embassy/Consulate.

Chinese citizens must upload a negative coronavirus test report to the health code portal (international version) prior to their travel.


Ireland has allowed international travel but depending on which countries a traveler is coming from will depend on the restrictions placed on them.

Green Zones – Anyone arriving in Ireland from a “green list” location will not have to restrict their movements. Countries include Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, and Slovakia.

Those not arriving from a green zone country are required to restrict their movement for 14 days.


Beginning July 24th, Malaysia will once again introduce a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all returning travelers. The quarantine must be taken at a designated facility since home-quarantines are no longer permitted.


The Philippines will open its borders on August 1st, however, only foreign nationals with long term visas will be granted entry into the country.


Qatar will reopen its borders to foreign travelers and permanent residents on August 1. Those entering will need to follow specific guidelines depending on if they are coming for a “low risk” or “non-low risk” country.

Those entering from a low-risk country will be required to take a coronavirus test at the airport and sign a pledge to adhere to weeklong home quarantine. After 7 days, the traveler will be required to take another test and will be permitted to leave quarantine once a negative result is returned. Low-risk countries include Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Those entering from a “non-low risk” country will be required to provide a certified negative coronavirus test result from an accredited testing facility within the previous 48 hours of travel. They will also need to sign a pledge and adhere to weeklong home quarantine. After 7 days, the traveler will be required to take another test and will be permitted to leave quarantine once a negative result is returned.

July 16

European Union

An updated list of countries that can enter the EU.

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Although the EU has opened its borders to these countries, individual member states are permitted to enforce their own guidelines and restrictions.

This list will be reviewed by the EU every two weeks and will be updated accordingly.

July 13

South Korea

On July 13th, foreign nationals coming from countries with high Covid-19 infection rates who wish to enter South Korea will be required to submit a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours. All who enter will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, even if test results are negative.


From the 15th of June, travelers from the Nordic region and countries in the EEA / Schengen area will be allowed to enter Norway without quarantine. Those entering from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, and parts of Sweden will still be required to enter a 10-day quarantine.


On July 15th, Russia will begin to ease restrictions and begin talks with countries to restart international flights. Countries will be determined by the amount of Covid-19 infections.

Countries permitted must not have Covid-19 cases that exceed 40 per 100,000 people, an average daily increase in new cases in the last 14 days must be lower than 1%.

July 6

United Arab Emirates

Dubai has announced that it will open its borders to international tourist tomorrow (July 7).

In order to enter, travelers will be required to:

  • Enter Dubai with a Covid-negative certificate that has been issued to later than 96 hours prior to travel. This will allow for entrance without quarantine.
  • Take a test on arrival and quarantine until they receive their results. A negative test will allow for a normal trip, while a positive result will require further self-isolation.
  • Obtain travelers insurance and bring a certificate. The insurance must cover Covid-19 treatments and costs.
  • Travelers will also be required to download a Covid-19 tracking app that coordinates with the health authorities.

The Department of Tourism and Commerce and their efforts to reopen the city, is a move to revive and bolster tourism and businesses that are being effected by Covid-19.

July 1

European Union

The EU has released a list of countries whose nationals will be allowed entry into Europe. The list was built based on the number of new Covid-19 cases each country has had over the last 14 days as well as the country’s current Covid-19 trend.

Entrance is currently permitted to:

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

*China – will only be allowed entry if the offer is reciprocated towards EU countries.

Although the EU has opened its borders to these countries, individual member states are permitted to enforce their own guidelines and restrictions.

This list will be reviewed by the EU every two weeks and will be updated accordingly.

June 30

United States

On June 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States to certain immigrants and non-immigrants who present a risk to the U.S. labor markets in order to protect American workers from competition during the rebuilding of the economy that was hit from the Corona crisis. The new proclamation will begin on June 24 and will extend through December 31, 2020.

The proclamation suspends entry to:

  • H-1B (and dependent family members)
  • H2B (and dependent family members)
  • J-1 (intern, trainee, teacher, camp counsellor, au pair or summer work travel program) (and dependent family members)
  • d L-1 (and dependent family members)

The new proclamation does not include:

  • U.S. citizens
  • lawful permanent residents
  • aliens who are or were inside the United States
  • those holding valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visas


China and Singapore have created a fast lane to facilitate essential business and official travel between the two countries. The fast lane has been established between six Chinese provinces and municipalities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang) and Singapore, and is currently only open to residents in Singapore and China who need to make essential business or official trips between the two countries. Plans to expand to other Chinese provinces and municipalities is in works. For inbound travel to Singapore, business or official travellers sponsored by government agencies may submit applications through their respective sponsors.

China also currently allows residents of Singapore, South Korea and Germany to qualify for an M-visa (A China business visa or trade visa issued to foreigners coming for commercial and trade activities) fast-track route for those who have urgent economic, trade, scientific or technological activities. This fast track also makes them exempt from the 14-day quarantine requirement in certain provinces and cities (Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang).

The applicant is required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days before travelling from their home country after their M visa is issued.

Once a traveller has stayed in the fast lane region for a least 14 days, they will be allowed to travel to non-fast lane regions.


The suspension of travel to Sweden will be extended July 7 for those outside the EU, the EEA, the UK and Switzerland.

Exemptions from the entry ban can be made for foreign nationals who are deemed essential workers or have urgent needs; Such as healthcare professionals, transporters of essential goods, seaman, commercial drivers whose vehicle and cargo is already in Sweden, and people travelling for urgent family reasons.

Other exemptions from the entry ban include:

Foreign nationals with a certain family tie to Swedish citizens (e.g. spouse, common-law partner, children) who are returning home. In such cases there is no requirement for the person who is entering Sweden, to live in Sweden at the time of entry.

Foreign nationals with certain family ties to a foreign national who is already living in Sweden, only if they have been granted their residence permit on the basis of family ties. In such cases there is no requirement for the person who is entering Sweden, to live in Sweden at the time of entry.


The borders of Denmark reopened on the June 27, and business travelers and tourist will be allowed for people who are staying in Denmark for at least six nights, travelling from “open” countries” and “open” regions in Nordic “quarantine countries”.

Countries currently allowed to travel into Denmark include:

All EU and Schengen countries apart from Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Sweden (apart from the Västerbotten region) and the UK.

In order for Denmark to open its borders, a country must ensure low numbers of Covid19 cases. A country must have fewer than 20 infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants per week, and if that number grows to 30 infected persons per 100,000 inhabitants, they will be quarantined.


Since June 22, business travelers and tourist from low risk countries have been able to enter Taiwan. In order to enter the country, they must follow the listed conditions:

  1. Must follow Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) guidelines
  2. Duration of stay may not exceed 3 months
  3. For business such as goods inspection, after-sale services, technical assistance and training, and contract signing.
  4. May only arrive from low/medium risk countries and without any travel to other countries in the previous 14 days.
  5. Must provide documents showing local company, travel itinerary, and a certificate proving a negative covid-19 test within the past 3 days.

If a business traveler plans on staying longer than 14 days, they must observe a 14 day stay at home quarantine upon arrival.

Low/medium risk: New Zealand, Australia, Macao, Palau, Fiji, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mongolia, Bhutan.

Medium risk: South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore.


Entry into Russia for highly-qualified specialist (HQS) employees has now been approved by their respective Ministry and by the Federal Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. For HQS employees to be approved, they must present a valid labour or services contract with a Russian employer or customer on entry. Once the employer has entered Russia, they will be subject to a 14-day home quarantine. Their dependents are currently not permitted to enter Russia.

Since June 27, an applicant for a work permit, work patent, temporary residence permit or permanent residence permit will have to submit negative Covid-19 test results. Those seeking an HQS permit are exempt from providing a negative Covid19 test result. Those who test positive for Covid-19 or are arriving from a region strongly affected by the virus will be required to enter a 14-day quarantine.


Israel is currently only open to citizens and residents or those who have received special permission.

Those who may be eligible for a foreign national entry permit include foreign experts deemed as essential workers. In order for the worker to enter, they must receive a recommendation from  the relevant government office, obtain a work permit, and receive a final approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Those who enter and plan on staying longer than 72 hours will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Further Resources for Restrictions, Rules, and Quarantine Information

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