Immigration updates for the Americas and APAC regions
United States: National Interest Exception expansion
The U.S. Secretary of State announced that the special National Interest Exception (NIE) will be expanded to include travelers from Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa, the Schengen region, U.K. and Ireland who are:
- Seeking to provide essential support for critical infrastructure
- Exchanged visitor program covered academics
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the U.S. Department of State.
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 Roberta Carnaccini, Global Operations Director, Immigration.
Hong Kong: Air Travel Bubble
The Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble will re-launch on May 26, 2021.
- Any person currently in Hong Kong and Singapore, irrespective of their nationality.
- Anyone with no travel history to any country other than Singapore or Hong Kong in the 14 days prior to departure (the respective quarantine / Stay Home Notice periods in Hong Kong or Singapore arising from the traveler’s last visit outside Hong Kong or Singapore do not count towards the 14-day period).
Arrivals must submit a negative Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test result from a recognized testing institution, collected within 72 hours prior to departure. Hong Kong residents can only take designated flights to Singapore 14 days after they have had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from BBC news.
India: International flight ban
Due to surge of Covid-19 in India, several countries have imposed flight ban for travelers from India.
Countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Canada, Djibouti, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Maldives, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, UAE, the U.K. and the U.S.
All Indian carriers have suspended their scheduled flight operation to the countries which have imposed ban on the entry of Indian citizen. This ban has been extended until May 31, 2021.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Bureau of Immigration and NDTV news.
Malaysia: Quarantine restrictions
The Malaysian Government has set several measures for new arrivals from 40 countries who have reported the spread of new Variants of Concerns (VOCs) as a precautionary measure:
- To undergo a sample swab test for Covid-19 infection three days prior to departure.
- Required to undergo surveillance and observation (quarantine) orders at quarantine stations.
- Quarantine period is now extended to 14 days instead of ten days.
- Complying with other Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place:
- Download and register MySejahtera application on mobile.
- Use MySejahtera app to register for QR code upon arrival in Malaysia.
- Go through the screening for fever and symptoms.
- Monitor personal health status for 14 days from the date of arrival in Malaysia.
- Remain in quarantine station and not to leave the room.
- Undergo second swab test on the tenth day of quarantine.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of Malaysia (in Malay) and Free Malaysia Today News.
Temporary flight bans into/on India
The government has imposed a temporary ban on flights to/from India from April 28, 2021, until further notice.
Travelers who embarked on a journey from any destination in India via direct flight to Malaysia will be prohibited from entering the country. The travel ban is also imposed on travelers who transit in Malaysia from India on route to another country.
Ships with travel history from India in the last 14 days are not allowed to complete the sign-off procedure in Malaysia. Exemptions will be granted for Malaysian citizens only where a mandatory 14-day quarantine is required.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Malay Mail News.
Philippines: Travel restrictions for travelers from India
The Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has released Resolution No. 112, Series of 2021, in response to the rising Covid-19 cases and for the prevention of SARS-CoV 2 variants entering from other countries.
All concerned agencies are directed to do the following:
- Prohibit the entry of all travelers from India, or those with travel history to India, within the last 14 days preceding their arrival beginning April 29, 2021, until May 14, 2021. Passengers already in transit from India and all those who have been there within 14 days of arrival to the Philippines (who arrive before April 29, 2021) are not subject to the travel restriction. However, they’ll be required to undergo stricter quarantine and testing protocols, i.e., the observation of an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period notwithstanding a negative Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) result.
- Bureau of Immigration officers in the airport will conduct a passport inspection to determine the travel history of all arriving travelers. If a traveler is found to have traveled from India within the last 14 days, they will be excluded and boarded on the next available flight to the port of origin.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Philippines News Agency.
Foreign nationals with immigrant and non-immigrant visas may enter the Philippines
The Bureau of Immigration has released revised guidelines for passengers traveling to the Philippines from May 1, 2021, pursuant to the IATF-EID Resolution No. 113 dated April 29, 2021:
Allowed to enter:
- Filipino citizens including those with an Identification Certificate (IC) as a Filipino citizen or proof of retention/reacquisition of Philippine citizenship.
- Foreign nationals holding an immigrant and non-immigrant visa valid and existing at the time of entry.
- Foreign nationals under the Balikbayan Program provided they are nationals from non-visa required countries under Executive Order 408:
- Former Filipino citizens, together with their foreign national spouses and children, regardless of age, who are traveling with them; and
- Filipino citizens’ spouses and children, regardless of age, who are traveling with them.
- Foreign nationals who are holders of valid and existing Special Resident Retirees Visas (SRRV) or Section 9(a) visas provided they present an entry exemption document issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs upon arrival.
All passengers from India or those with travel history to India within the last 14 days preceding arrival shall not be allowed to enter following the IATF Resolution No. 112 Series of 2021.
Foreign nationals allowed to enter are subject to the following conditions:
- Must have a valid and existing visa at the time of entry, except for those qualified under the Balikbayan Program under Republic Act No. 6768 or the Act Instituting the Balikbayan Program.
- Must have pre-booked accommodation for at least seven nights in a quarantine hotel/facility accredited by the Department of Health (DOH).
- Covid-19 testing at the quarantine hotel/facility on the sixth day from date of arrival.
- Within the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Bureau of Immigration.
Singapore: Travelers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
From May 1, 2021, until further notice, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history (including transit) to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (within the last 14 days preceding travel) will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore. This will also apply to all those who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore. Travelers will need to re-apply when border measures are reviewed.
Travelers with recent travel history to India will undergo Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on-arrival, on day 14 of their Stay Home Notice (SHN) and another test before the end of their 21-day SHN period.
All travelers with recent travel history to these countries who have yet to complete their 14-day SHN will need to complete an additional seven-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.
Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents traveling from the above countries will be allowed to enter Singapore without entry approval but will be required to undergo quarantine requirements; additional seven-day SHN at their place of residence, following their 14-day SHN at a dedicated government facility.
Effective immediately, all travelers entering Singapore from Thailand with recent travel history (including transit) to Thailand within the last 14 days will be required to serve a 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities. Travelers will no longer be allowed to opt out event with approval.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the straitstimes.
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).
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