EU Immigration Response to COVID-19

Here you can find current information about the UK’s response to COVID-19 and the impacts to immigration. Please note that because of the nature of the EU, most border and immigration controls are administered by the individual member states. Accordingly, each member state may have different measures in place regarding access and entry of certain foreign nationals.

The EU Commission Transport Measures Tool is a helpful tool that can allow you to view nation specific responses and restrictions for various modes of transport.

Schengen Zone

The Schengen Zone is temporarily closed in accordance with the Schengen Agreement which permits border controls in exceptional circumstances. These closures will be reevaluated on May 15th. The external borders of those countries are also closed which has meant the isolation of refugees across the Mediterranean in horrible conditions.

Asylum and Refugees

European countries are largely citing coronavirus as a reason to halt acceptance of asylees; however, some countries are constructing facilities with the stated goal of receiving migrants in need. Portugal and the UK have committed to providing public services to all pending immigration requests including asylum seekers. In mid-April, a joint proposal forwarded by Germany, France, Spain, and Italy outlined a “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” which would reintroduce immigration discussion in the EU, beginning with provisions on asylees. The proposal has no specific enactment date and is not published yet but has reignited the debate on immigration in the EU.

Borders Within Europe

All non-essential travel has been restricted within the EU with exemptions from citizens being repatriated. On March 23rd the EU decided to develop ‘green lanes’ between certain Member States to ensure the flow of essential goods such as good and medical supplies. A reevaluation of personal travel restrictions is set for May 15th.

France Immigration Updates

France has decided to fully suspend the issuance of visas until further notice. This includes all visa types and also applies to applications for which interviews/appointments have already been made. Any residence permit or long-stay visa which expires between the 16th of March and the 15th of May have been extended three months automatically. If you are holding a short-stay visa which expires then you should apply for an extension until returning home is possible. More information can be found here.

Germany Immigration Updates

Germany is closed to travel on its borders for all non-essential travel. Over the months of April and May 40,000 seasonal food workers will be allowed in to assist in harvest work. Refugees are still entering Germany but are remaining there after being tested rather than traveling on. In the coming weeks a new written process for asylum applications will be opened; for the time being there are no claims being processed due to restrictions on interviews. More information on Germany’s continual activity can be found here.

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