20 July 2020 – While the Travel ban to the EU was in place, many exempted categories were still allowed to travel to The Netherlands. These were primarily those with an MVV, EU citizens, holders of residence permit card from another EU country and family members of both categories (see the full list of exemptions here).This list still applies. Those Highly Skilled Migrants who are required to have an MVV but were not able to obtain the entry visa due to embassy closure or those whose MVVs expired due to not being able to travel to the Netherlands, ended up in a tough situation as an exception to the MVV-requirement is a very strict one and difficult to meet. Luckily, we notice many embassies are slowly reopening again due to which MVV-required Highly Skilled Migrants and their family members can soon obtain the entry visa and come to The Netherlands. The Dutch embassies prioritize MVV appointments that were cancelled (usually no appointment needed) and in general all appointments for Highly Skilled Migrants.
What if a Highly Skilled Migrant is visa-exempted or does not fall under the travel ban exemption categories?
Previous situation: For Highly Skilled Migrants who did not fall in any of the above, so those nationals who are not MVV-required – better known as visa-exempted – it was a bit more complicated. They usually did not fall under any of the exempted categories of the travel ban even if they had a letter of approval from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (the IND).
Updated situation: Since July 1st 2020, The travel ban to the EU, specifically The Netherlands has been partially lifted for inhabitants of certain countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China (inhabitants of China are only allowed entry to the Netherlands if China allows entry to EU citizens again).
Those who are inhabitants of the countries in bold are visa-exempted, so for Highly Skilled Migrants coming from those countries it is possible again to travel to the Netherlands, but only via a direct flight as other EU countries may have different restrictions per country. Please note that this list is updated weekly (last update was on the 17th of July), but most importantly: it is not final – so countries can be added, but also removed from this list – all depending on the COVID-19 situation per country.
Also, good to keep in mind that the partially lifted travel ban applies to the country, not the nationality.
All Highly Skilled Migrants and their family members who are visa-exempted can come to the Netherlands, as long as they hold the letter of approval and a statement from their employer
A very important update on the travel ban exemptions is that the Dutch Government decided to add to the list the category of Highly Skilled Migrants who have received the letter from the IND in which residence as Highly Skilled Migrant is approved, often referred to as the IND approval letter. This is very important news, because this means that Highly Skilled Migrants with an visa-exempted nationality who live a country for which the travel ban has not yet been lifted, can now travel to the Netherlands as long as they meet the below requirements:
For Highly Skilled Migrants:
- the IND approval letter (named officially in Dutch: “kennisgeving”).
- a written statement from the employer with an explanation why they must be in the Netherlands for work. It should also state why they cannot come to the Netherlands at a later time.
For family members of Highly Skilled Migrants:
- if they are not traveling together, the family member will need their own IND approval letter (named officially in Dutch: “kennisgeving”).
Note: where the word Highly Skilled Migrants is used in this post, this also includes Intra Corporate Transferees as all of the above applies to both categories.