Netherlands Institutes Stricter Entry & Transit Requirements Effective January 23, 2021

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The Netherlands government is in the process of instituting more stricter entry and transit requirements from everyone arriving to or transiting through the Netherlands from countries that are deemed high risk (most).

Passengers need a negative Covid-19 PCR-RT result not administered more than 72 hours before departure plus a rapid antigen test that is performed within four hours of boarding a flight to the Netherlands.

You can access the Netherlands page for Covid-19 information here.

Here’s the update from the Netherlands government:

Extra travel restrictions

Every journey a person makes increases the chance of causing more infections or of bringing new variants of coronavirus into the Netherlands. For this reason, the government has issued a strict travel advisory: do not travel abroad and do not book any trips abroad in the period up to and including 31 March 2021.

The government is introducing extra measures to prevent new variants of the virus being imported via travellers and to further restrict the number of travel movements. A ban on flights from the United Kingdom and a docking ban for ferries from the United Kingdom is in force. A flight ban is also in force for passenger flights from the following other countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. At present the flight ban is expected to remain in force for one month, or until planned legislation on mandatory quarantine rules for travellers is in place.

In addition, all passengers travelling to the Netherlands by air or sea from high-risk areas must be able to produce a negative result of a rapid COVID-19 test performed shortly before their departure. The test must not have been performed more than four hours prior to boarding the aircraft or ship. This requirement is in addition to the existing mandatory negative test result for a PCR test performed no more than 72 hours before arrival in the Netherlands.

These measures also apply to people travelling to the Caribbean parts of the Netherlands. What is more, travellers must self-quarantine for 10 days on arrival in the Netherlands. After five days they can get tested. If the result of this PCR test is negative they may end their self-quarantine. Since rapid test facilities are not available near all ports and airports, the government expects that the double-test requirement will reduce the amount of travel to the Netherlands. As a result it may be difficult for some people to get home. Dutch nationals who have a compelling reason to travel to the Netherlands and cannot produce a negative PCR and rapid test result in time should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For travellers from countries outside the EU, a travel ban has been in force since March 2020. The government has decided to reduce the number of exemptions from this ban. As a result, business travellers, students, highly-skilled migrants, professionals from the cultural and creative sectors and people in long-distance romantic relationships wishing to travel to the Netherlands for a short period will no longer be granted entry.

These measures will take effect on Saturday 23 January 2021 at 00.01.

Conclusion

The Netherlands government’s goal must have been to virtually ban all the travel to the country or transiting through the airport when they instituted this additional requirement of a negative antigen test administered not more than four hours of departure. It makes it impossible to board a flight to the Netherlands from most destinations.

KLM has already decided to stop flying all long-haul flights from Friday, and I would assume that there is not much of the short-haul network left either come Saturday (feeds long-haul flights that no longer exist). It is interesting to see if most other airlines will stop flying to the Netherlands.

Airlines can continue to operate flights to and from the Netherlands that don’t involve night stops that would require crews to be tested using these antigen tests.

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