EU entry ban exemption categories

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a European entry ban is in effect for some people, barring them from travelling to the European Union or the Schengen area. You may only travel to the Netherlands if the purpose of your trip falls under one of the following exemption categories. Take documents with you that enable you to prove the purpose of your journey, so that you can show them on arrival at the airport. 

If you live in a country where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low (a safe country), you may also travel to the Netherlands.

Please check if you are also exempted from the ban on passenger flights from South Africa and countries in Central and South America. 

Safe countries

A safe country is a country where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is low. If you live in a safe country, you may travel to the Netherlands. The EU travel ban and does not apply to you.

EU entry ban exemption categories

You fall into an exemption category if one of the following situations applies to you:

Nationality and right of residence

Study, knowledge and research

  • You are a student and are coming to the Netherlands for a short stay of less than 3 months. You have proof of enrolment at an educational institution which is recognised by the IND as a host organisation (referred to as a ‘recognised sponsor’ by the IND).
  • You are a highly skilled migrant, and are coming to the Netherlands for a short stay (less than 3 months). You have a Dutch employment permit or proof of the work to be carried out.
  • You are a researcher or scientist who falls under the exemptions to the entry ban for professionals in the cultural and creative sector

For work

  • You are a key worker or have exceptional circumstances: care worker, doctor, nurse or researcher.
  • You are a cross-border commuter.
  • You are a seasonal worker.
  • You work in the transport sector:
    • transport of goods
    • container ships
    • bulk carriers (e.g. transporting ore or coal)
    • tankers (e.g. transporting fuels and chemicals)
    • fishing boats.
  • You work in the energy sector:
    • on an oil or gas platform
    • at a wind farm
    • for an off-shore company that provides services to this sector.
  • You are a professional providing urgent technical assistance in a crucial sector and your specialist knowledge and physical presence are required.
  • You are part of a flight crew.
  • You are a seafarer in possession of a seafarer's record book. This does not include seafarers on commercial yachts and pleasure crafts.
  • You are a diplomat.
  • You have a service passport and need to travel to carry out your duties.
  • You are a member of the armed forces and need to travel to carry out your duties.
  • You work for an international and/or humanitarian organisation.
  • You are a journalist as defined in the framework for applying the exemption for journalists. 
  • You are an elite athlete as defined in the framework for applying the exemption for elite athletes and their support staff
  • You are a business traveller as defined in the framework for applying the exemption for business travellers
  • You are a professional in the cultural and creative sector.

Compelling reasons to visit your family

You have compelling reasons to visit your family. This is only possible in truly exceptional cases, such as:

  • visiting a terminally ill family member or attending a funeral. You must be a family member in the first or second degree (as defined in Dutch law).
  • coming to the Netherlands to be with your legal partner when they give birth. This applies to the father of the child only. If you are not legally married, you must have acknowledged paternity of the unborn child. You must also be able to prove that your partner is more than 34 weeks pregnant.

Transit, transfer

  • You are travelling through the Netherlands to a non-EU country. You must prove that you have a connecting flight to a country outside the Schengen area. The connecting flight must depart within 48 hours of your arrival in Amsterdam. You must not leave the airport’s international transit zone in this period.
  • You are travelling to a Schengen area country via the Netherlands. You must be able to show you have permission to enter the Schengen country in question. You can do this with a note verbale from that country’s embassy, for example, or another type of document that proves you can travel there. If you do not have such a document, the Dutch border authorities will determine whether you may travel via the Netherlands. Without a document showing you have permission to enter the Schengen country in question, you are advised to fly there directly and not via the Netherlands. If you will be making a short stop at a Dutch airport you may need an airport transit visa. If you are travelling to another country via the Netherlands, you must present a negative test result.

International protection and humanitarian reasons

Negative test result and self-quarantine

Before travelling to the Netherlands, check whether you:

Visa procedure

If, on the basis of your nationality, you require a visa, the usual visa procedure applies. Only apply for a visa if you can submit it to an embassy or external service provider and can actually travel to the Netherlands. You should also check IATA’s international travel requirements.