Immigration weekly update: December 17, 2020

Immigration updates for China, Germany, Kuwait, Oman and more


China: Testing requirements adjustments for China-bound passengers from the U.K.

The Chinese Embassy in the U.K. has released several updates refining the diagnostic criteria for Nucleic Acid and IgM Antibody testing.

Passengers are free to choose any convenient testing center that meets the requirements, these include:

  • The center must be registered in the British Mainland or royal territories and has not been suspended by the embassy
  • Sample collection time must be within 48 hours of the departure flight
  • The test report must reflect the following information:
    • Personal information
    • Test agency information
    • Sampling time
    • Reporting time
    • Test items and test results
  • The same institution must issue both Nucleic Acid and IgM Antibody test reports
  • Testing centers will be audited at random by the embassy and should respond to the embassy’s inquiries on time. Passengers whose departure flights are in the evening or on non-working days should choose a testing center that is still contactable
  • Test results from the following centers are not recognized or temporarily suspended by the Chinese Embassy:
    • NHS – not accepted
    • Biograd – suspended from December 4, 2020, to January 3, 2021
    • DocTap – suspended from December 10, 2020, to January 9, 2021
    • DrGlancey – suspended from December 10, 2020, to January 9, 2021

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Chinese Embassy (in Chinese).

PU Invitation Letter process changes

Several cities in China have recently revised their PU Invitation Letter application processes for urgent commercial/economic activities. Previously, the inviting company was only required to summarize the itinerary and state the business reason the foreign national applicant. However, additional supporting documents are now required:

  1. Applicants intending to enter China on assignment – must provide a copy of the Notification Letter for Foreigner’s Work Permit
  2. Business travelers – must provide proof of a legitimate commercial relationship and reason between the applicant and the inviting company (e.g. to purchase contracts and receipts)

Inviting companies are advised to take these into account both in preparing the application documents and in projecting timelines.

No source available at the time of writing.

Countries that will not issue a Health QR Code for transiting passengers

The Chinese Embassies in the countries below will not issue a Health Code to passengers who intend to transit through a third country on the way to China. It is advisable to take a direct flight if flying from these countries:

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Japan
  • Pakistan
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands

However, there are citizenship restrictions on taking direct flights to Beijing. Only the country’s citizens and Chinese legally residing there can board a direct flight to Beijing. Citizens/Residents of other countries must choose alternative flights.

No source available at the time of writing. 

Singapore: Covid-19 test requirements for foreign national children

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has recently reviewed its border measures for incoming travelers. Dependents who meet all these conditions are exempt from the pre-departure Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken 72 hours before departure:

  • Are six years old and below (all ages stated are based on the calendar year)
  • Entering Singapore from December 14, 2020
  • Serving a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN), as stated in their entry approval emails. This refers to dependents who did not spend the last 14 consecutive days in any of the lower-risk countries/regions before entering Singapore:
    • Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong (for entries before Dec. 18, 2020)
    • Macao, Mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, or Vietnam

For Covid-19 swab tests taken during the SHN, please take note of the updated requirements:

  • Dependents who are six years old and below will continue to be exempt from the swab test
  • Dependents who are seven to 12 years old and entering Singapore from December 14, 2020, must take the swab test. Employees will be charged for their tests (up to SGD 200 per person including GST) after they arrive

If foreign national employees and dependents are unable to meet the requirements above or unable to enter Singapore, they should cancel their entry approvals before the approved period begins. Otherwise, they will still be required to pay for their stay at the dedicated SHN facility and Covid-19 tests.

No source available at the time of writing.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Jane Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager (APAC).

Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Germany: Starting work is allowed while waiting for permits linked to change of status or employer

Applicants changing employers or their status category can now continue working while the new permit is being printed by the authorities. They should be given interim permits while waiting for the actual permit to be issued.

No source available at the time of writing.

Kuwait: Work and residency permit renewals cease for expats aged 60 and above

From January 1, 2021, Kuwait will stop the renewal of work and residency permits for expatriates who reach the age of 60 and do not have a university degree.

The Public Authority of Manpower is working on a mechanism that those included in the decision will be required to leave through the cancellation procedure or based on the expiry dates of their residency permits.


Expatriates who are employed must either leave the country or find a new qualifying reason to remain in Kuwait when their permits expire. The Manpower Authority will not renew the work permit and as a result, the work contract will end automatically. The changes only apply to primary work permit holders. Dependents are exempt.

The General Department of Residency Affairs has set a deadline of one to three months for expatriates covered by the ban to leave Kuwait or change visa status.

Proposed action

The new restriction comes as authorities in Kuwait continue to implement various rules aimed at reducing the number of expats in the country. Employers whose employees will be ineligible for work permit renewal should start making alternative plans to meet their staffing needs by soliciting qualified workers through the local labor market.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Times Kuwait.

Oman: 103 nationalities offered visa-free entry to boost tourism

In line with efforts to promote and ease services for tourists visiting Oman, nationals of 103 countries will be exempt from entry visas for a period of ten days. The exemption will be subject to conditions that include the presence of a prior and confirmed hotel booking, health insurance and a return ticket.

Click here to see the list of visa-free countries, according to the Royal Oman Police.

Nationals of 71 other countries and territories can apply for visas on the Royal Oman Police website provided they have six months’ validity on their passport.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Omanobserver News.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Laxmi Vikraman, Regional Immigration Manager (EMEA).

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