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Commission Issues Advice on EU Non-essential Travel Ban

Aiming to ensure that a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU in place to limit the spread of Covid-19 is being implemented equally by all member states and to facilitate the free movement of “critical workers”, the European Commission issued on Tuesday, additional guidance.

The European Union banned all travel from third nations on March 17 for a period of 30 days in an attempt to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The new guidance is meant to aid border guards and visa authorities at the EU’s external borders in facilitating the return home of EU citizens stranded abroad. The advice also ensures that persons with essential functions or needs are not stopped and that appropriate measures are in place to safeguard public health and security.

“We can only succeed in successfully combating this crisis if we work together. We are now providing additional guidance to make sure these are implemented all in the same way. The more uniform national actions are, the easier they will be for third-country nationals to understand and respect,” said Commissioner for Home Affairs, Margaritis Schinas.

Detailed practical guidance is provided on issues such as criteria for refusing entry, exemptions, security, exit checks, transit and repatriation, visa applications and overstay.

Member states are encouraged to waive sanctions on non-EU travelers who cannot leave in time due to travel restrictions. Overstays linked to travel controls should not be taken into account when processing future visa applications.

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