What's new in Global

With global immigration rules and guidance changing by the day, it is important for businesses and individuals to keep on top of the latest developments to identify any changes that may impact your immigration goals.

With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following key updates in global immigration.

France: Ban on non-essential travel to & from non-EU countries

As of 1 February, the French government have banned all individuals entering the country from outside of the EU for purposes that are not deemed absolutely necessary or compelling. Essential reasons for entry may include:

  • Compelling health reasons
  • Compelling family reasons
  • Compelling professional reasons which cannot be postponed

The announcement was made shortly after the French Prime Minster ended a meeting with the Defence and National Security council on COVID-19, which highlighted the critical condition that France is currently in.

Previously, citizens of certain countries with lower numbers of COVID-19 cases have been allowed to enter France, including those from New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and Rwanda.

In addition to providing a compelling reason for travelling, individuals must now meet the following requirements to be granted entry into France:

  • Present a COVID-19 virological screening test upon arrival
  • Complete a seven-day isolation period authorised by a designated establishment, and provide evidence of a booking
  • Undertake a RT-PCR virological test at the end of their isolation period
  • All arrivals are expected to download and complete a France travel certificate which provides the purpose of entry

Russia: New exemptions for EAEU nationals

Nationals of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), namely Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, have been granted exclusive entry into Russia on the basis that they meet the conditions of the trial implementation of the EAEU “Travel without COVID-19” programme.

To be considered eligible for this programme, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You may enter from 1 February until 1 March 2021
  • You may enter by direct flights from Belarus and Armenia and only via the Russian airports included in a list that has been approved by the Russian government
  • You must present a negative COVID-19 test result, which can be uploaded to a mobile app which displays “ I travel without COVID-19”

Foreign nations who enter Russia on the basis of approvals from Russian ministries, including airline representatives, will also be able to check whether they have received approval for entry using a simplified and user friendly personal account, accessible via the online public services portal.

Thailand: Emergency extensions granted for stranded

Thailand’s Immigration Bureau announced last week that foreign nationals who are currently stranded in Thailand will be able to stay in the country until 30 May 2021.

The new order allows local officers to grant a 60-day visa extension from 29 January up until 30 May. Those who are eligible for an extension will have until 30 March to apply, which will make the order valid until the end of May 2021.

This new order is also applicable for those individuals who were on tourist visas beyond 29 January, when the previous order expired. The previous order authorised Immigration Officers to grant 60-day extensions from 29 September 2020 to 29 January 2021.

The government’s decision to implement yet another extension is a direct result of the ongoing pandemic which has left many individuals in an uncertain position as to their immigration status in Thailand. For many stranded tourists, this announcement has provided a safety blanket and a sense of relief.

Need help to reach your global immigration goals?

If you have questions about global immigration issues, or if you need support in reaching your global mobility goals, we are here to help.

At Smith Stone Walters, moving people across borders is our business. Our expert team are experienced in managing and supporting immigration moves throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements – we are immigration experts.

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