Ask a COVID-19 Question
Last updated: 01/13/2021
The Netherlands continues to report confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders. Weekly updates to the number of infections are being tracked on the Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) website: https://www.rivm.nl/en/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/current-information.
On January 12, 2021, the government announced the extension of the current measures to control the spread of COVID-19 that will be in effect until at least February 9, 2021. For more information visit: https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2021/01/12/netherlands-to-remain-in-lockdown-until-at-least-9-february-inclusive
The Dutch government asks residents and visitors to comply with the measures in place to fight the spread of COVID-19: maintain social distance (stay 1.5 meters apart), wash hands, sneeze and cough into your elbow, use paper tissues, stay at home as much as possible, avoid non-essential travel, and get tested at the first sign of symptoms. For detailed information regarding the basic measures: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/basic-rules-for-everyone
The Municipal Health Service (GGD) of the Netherlands and RIVM put the following protocol into action when a new COVID-19 infection is identified: isolation, contact investigation, and monitoring of the patient. People identified as contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 patient must self-isolate, monitor their health, check their temperature twice a day, and report to the GGD.
The Dutch government has developed a voluntary coronavirus tracking app available for download by all residents and visitors to the Netherlands. The app lets you know if you have been near someone with coronavirus. For additional information visit https://coronamelder.nl/en/
The Dutch government’s measures to combat COVID-19:
- Stay at home as much as possible even during the holidays. The government strongly advises against travel or planning any trips abroad until mid-March unless the travel is essential. Holidays and family visits are considered non-essential.
- If returning to the Netherlands from travel to a country with an orange travel advisory, you must self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.
- Everyone is advised to work from home unless it is not possible to complete their duties from home. Workplaces may be closed for 14 days if a COVID infection occurs.
- Everyone must maintain 1.5 meters distance, wash hands often, avoid crowds, and stay home if experiencing fever or other symptoms.
- Everyone 13 years old and over must wear a face mask in indoor public spaces and on public transport. The Dutch governments COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act entered into force on December 1 and allows the government to enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks in all public indoor spaces.
- A maximum of 2 guests 13 years of age and older per day are permitted in private residences in both indoor and outdoor areas. This is in addition to the members of the household. Three guests are allowed per household only from December 24-26. Guests should be asked whether they have any symptoms and should not be received if they do. Guests should maintain 1.5-meter distance from each other. Children 12 years of age and younger are not included in the maximum number of guests allowed.
- A maximum of 2 people from different households are permitted in outdoor public spaces. There is no maximum number of people if they are all from the same household.
- All establishments that serve food and beverages are closed for dining-in and can only provide take-away or delivery food or beverage service. Coffeeshops will continue to provide drug products to take-away clientele.
- No alcohol or soft drug sales and deliveries between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am. Consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs in public spaces between 8:00 pm and 7:00 am is prohibited.
- Hotels will remain open but hotel restaurant and room service are not available.
- Public venues including museums, theatres, brothels, cinemas, amusement parks, zoos, casinos, saunas, indoor sporting venues are closed. Libraries are open for book pickup only.
- Retail stores including clothing, shoe, jewelry, craft, and any other non-essential stores are closed.
- Essential stores including grocery stores, bakeries, butchers, food markets, pharmacies, dry cleaners, flower stands, liquor stores, pet shops, gas stations, maintenance and repair shops, medical service providers, service points for receiving or sending mail, and essential business service providers such as banks and real estate companies will remain open.
- Events are banned except for matches and competitions for elite athletes and demonstrations or gatherings referred to in the Public Assemblies Act.
- Nightclubs remain closed.
- Contact professions (i.e. barbers, hairdressers, nail salons, sex workers, massage therapists, and tattooists etc.) are closed. Only close contact professionals providing services that are medical or paramedical may remain open.
- Sports and recreational activities that occur outdoors may continue with no more than 2 people total for those 18 years old and over 1.5- meter social distancing restrictions must be maintained. Group lessons are not allowed. Sports clubhouses, canteens, showers, and changing rooms are closed. Competitions are not permitted. Children under 18 may participate in outdoor team sports only, including matches and competitions within their own club.
- Certain elite athletes may train and compete without spectators.
- Religious facilities and houses of worship will remain open.
- All educational institutions are closed and only open for remote teaching. In secondary education, the following activities may continue in-person (with mandatory face masks): practical training, lessons for students with upcoming examinations, and school exams in the final two years of secondary school. Examinations, interim examinations and practical training will continue in secondary vocational education (MBO), higher professional education (HBO) and university education (WO). Exceptions can be made when it comes to supporting vulnerable pupils and students. Childcare and out-of-school care establishments will be closed during this period. Emergency childcare will be available for children whose parents work in critical sectors.
- The 1.5-meter rule does not apply to health workers, caretakers, athletes, actors, performers, people who live together, children aged 12 and under, and teenagers aged 17 and under when interacting with other teenagers and children.
Visit the Dutch government’s COVID-19 website for more information on the measures, including the list of exceptions to the measures. The English language translation of the Dutch government’s latest announcement regarding the current measures is available at: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands
The Dutch government has authorized local officials at the regional and municipal level to implement additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including closing parks or shopping centers, closing public parking facilities, managing traffic flow or crowds, and banning large scale gatherings.
Entry and Exit Requirements:
Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? NO, if resident in the U.S. or any other country currently subject to the EU travel restrictions.
The Dutch government strictly enforces the EU travel restrictions banning non-essential travel from outside the EU with limited exceptions. The ban went into effect on March 19, 2020 and has been extended until further notice. The list of countries whose residents will be allowed to enter the EU can change at any time.
A fact sheet outlining the Netherlands’ enforcement of EU travel restrictions is available at: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-residence/visas-for-the-netherlands/qas-travel-restrictions-for-the-netherlands
The current list of countries whose residents are allowed to enter the EU and the list of exemptions available to travelers residing in countries that are restricted can be found at: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/travel-and-holidays/visiting-the-netherlands
Travelers residing in the U.S. who meet the criteria of one of the exemptions as listed on the Dutch Government’s website (economic/business, elite athletes/staff, and professionals in arts/journalism/research) may be granted entry into the Netherlands. For details visit: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/travel-and-holidays/visiting-the-netherlands-exemptions-to-the-entry-ban
On July 16, the Dutch Ministry of Justice announced exemptions for foreigners engaged in long-distance relationships with Dutch citizens/residents. For more information visit: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/travel-and-holidays/temporary-arrangement-for-partners-in-long-distance-relationships
Travelers with questions regarding travel to the Netherlands, including questions about the restrictions and exemptions, should contact the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24/7 call center at +31 247 247 247or download the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Travel App available at: https://www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/documenten/vragen-en-antwoorden/reis-app-buitenlandse-zaken.
On June 15, the Netherlands began accepting tourists who are resident in EU countries where the health risks are similar to, or lower than, those in the Netherlands. Tourists must comply with all the measures and rules that apply to combat the spread of coronavirus. Tourists must also reserve their holiday accommodation before they travel to the Netherlands. For the latest information, visit the FAQ on holiday travel to the Netherlands: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/documents/frequently-asked-questions/qa-holidays-to-the-netherlands. Before planning a visit to the Netherlands please review the Dutch government website on the travel restrictions: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-residence/visas-for-the-netherlands/qas-travel-restrictions-for-the-netherlands.
The European Union has developed an interactive tool to provide information needed for planning travel to Europe. Visit https://reopen.europa.eu/en for information on border restrictions, transportation options, and medical/quarantine requirements.
The Dutch government has developed a helpful FAQ for tourists regarding what expect when visiting the Netherlands: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tourism-in-the-netherlands
Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? Yes
Beginning December 29, all travelers 13 years of age and older traveling from countries not on the EU’s list of low-risk (safe) countries must be able to present a negative COVID-19 test result and printed signed declaration when traveling to the Netherlands by aircraft, ferry, train, and by car if traveling more than 30 km from the border. This requirement applies to all passengers including Dutch nationals and nationals of other EU and Schengen countries. Travelers transiting Schiphol airport and traveling directly by plane to another country and remaining in the transit area are also required to have a negative COVID-19 test (PCR).
Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? Yes
All passengers arriving or departing at Schiphol Airport and any other Dutch airports must complete a health declaration. The form is available at https://www.schiphol.nl/healthdeclaration. Some airlines are no longer requiring a printed copy of the declaration and will allow you to complete it as part of the check-in process or will allow you to fill it out and save it on your mobile device. Please check with your airline prior to commencing travel.
Visa and Residency Extensions: If your stay in the Netherlands will exceed the period authorized and you cannot leave, contact the Dutch immigration service (IND) immediately for assistance at 088 04 30430. If you are currently in the possession of a Dutch visa or residency card, be sure to have it available during the call. If you are staying in the Netherlands on a short-stay visa and cannot leave the country, you can apply for an extension. If you were not granted an extension of stay, the Dutch government has asked all non-EU residents to return home as soon as they are able. The Dutch government is aware that it may be more difficult to return during this period and will therefore be less strict in enforcing penalties and removals at this time. You are expected to make every effort to return to the United States before your visa expires, however. For more information visit: https://ind.nl/en/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Transiting Schiphol Airport:
Travel to the U.S. Or Other Country Outside of the EU: Travelers from areas outside of the EU are being permitted to transit Schiphol airport, remain airside for up to 48 hours, and continue onward to destinations outside the EU, including the U.S. However, passengers will not be permitted to exit the transit area, therefore, they must have a confirmed onward flight outside of the EU prior to commencing travel. Note that it will not be possible to leave the transit area to check your luggage onto a new flight. A list of overnight stay hotel and shower facilities accessible from the transit area is available at https://www.schiphol.nl/en/at-schiphol/services/sleep-after-passport-control Please contact the facilities directly prior to departure to ensure they will be operating during your transit through Schiphol airport.
Travel to a Country within the EU:
Travelers from areas outside of the EU are permitted to transit Schiphol airport on their way to another EU destination if they are resident within the EU, qualify for an exemption based on the Dutch conditions for entry, or are resident in a country exempted from the EU travel ban. Travelers without evidence of legal residency in the EU or who do not qualify for one of the exemptions to the restrictions must provide evidence that they have permission to enter the Schengen country in question. The traveler should have a note verbale from that country’s embassy or another document from that country confirming permission to enter the country. Without such a document, Dutch border authorities will determine if the traveler will be granted permission to transit via the Netherlands and may be denied entry at Schiphol airport on their way to another EU country. Travelers who do not have a note verbale or other document from the EU country they wish to enter should consider obtaining a direct flight from the U.S. to the country in the EU that will be granting the exemption to the travel restrictions. Entry rules vary between countries in the EU and Schengen zone and travelers should consult with the Dutch Embassy in the U.S. prior to attempting to transit the Netherlands on their way to another EU country.
Before planning a visit to the Netherlands please review the Dutch government website on the travel restrictions: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/travel-and-residence/visas-for-the-netherlands/qas-travel-restrictions-for-the-netherlands or call the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ call center at: +31 247 247 247.
- Is a curfew in place? NO
- Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? NO
Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? YES
The Dutch government strongly advises a 10-day self-isolation period for passengers arriving in the Netherlands from locations that are considered high-risk areas for coronavirus infection, including the United States. For more information visit https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tackling-new-coronavirus-in-the-netherlands/travel-and-holidays/self-quarantine.
Country specific information regarding quarantine requirements when returning to the Netherlands is available at https://www.nederlandwereldwijd.nl/reizen/reisadviezen. The website is only available in Dutch, although Google’s Chrome translate feature works well. The webpage allows for selecting countries from a drop-down menu for country specific travel advice.
Travelers who are tested for COVID-19 after arrival and who test negative are not subject to the 10-day self-isolation period.
Anyone experiencing symptoms consistent with a possible coronavirus infection, including loss of smell or taste, or at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 may schedule an appointment to be tested by the GGD. COVID-19 testing can be scheduled online by visiting https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-test or calling 0800-1202 (7 days a week between 8 am and 8 pm). Please note that this test is only to establish whether you currently have the corona virus, not whether you may have had it previously. For more information regarding testing please see: https://www.rivm.nl/en/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-covid-19
COVID-19 testing conducted by the GGD is free of charge. For more information on COVID-19 testing for tourists: https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/tourism-in-the-netherlands
Anyone at an increased risk of exposure will be able to request a test. For example, if the CoronaMelder app sends you a notification about an infection risk, or if you have been identified as part of contact tracing efforts, you will be eligible for testing even if you are asymptomatic.
KLM offers COVID-19 testing at Schiphol airport to travelers not covered by the Dutch testing policy. These tests are generally provided to persons travelling from the Netherlands to a country which requires a negative test before they are permitted to enter that country. Information on the KLM testing center can be found at https://klmhealthservices.com/en/journey-preparation/coronatest/
Additional private testing labs that offer COVID-19 tests for travel are available throughout the Netherlands as well.
Are commercial flights operating? YES
- Commercial flights between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and multiple U.S. airports are available. Visit the Schiphol Airport Coronavirus webpage for updated travel information and check with your airline to ensure you will be permitted to travel to Schiphol for transit onwards to the U.S.
- Face coverings are required in all areas of Schiphol airport in line with the Dutch government policies. Face coverings are available for sale at various locations at Schiphol airport.
Is public transportation operating? YES
- Non-surgical face masks are mandatory on public transport including trains, trams, buses, taxis, and passenger vans. An advance reservation and completion of a health questionnaire are required for taxis and passenger vans. On all other types of transport (such as canal/river boats) passengers must maintain 1.5-meter distance.
Fines for Non-Compliance:
The fine for not wearing a mask in public or not maintaining the required 1.5-meter social distance is 95 euros.
The Dutch government has authorized local officials at the regional and municipal level to implement additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to levy fines for non-compliance. Measures and fines for non-compliance will vary at the local level.
For questions regarding COVID-19 related violations, crimes, and fines visit https://www.politie.nl/en/themes/corona-virus-and-police-work.html.
The American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit at the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam provides limited routine passport services, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, Federal Benefits (Social Security and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number applications), Certificates of Loss of Nationality, and notarial services including Affidavits of Civil Status. To schedule a passport appointment please visit our website. For information on Federal Benefits/Social Security/ITIN Services information please review our Social Security webpage. For all other inquiries and any emergency requests, please email ACS at AmsterdamUSC@state.gov.
The Visa Unit at the U.S. Consulate General in Amsterdam has resumed limited visa services per Department of State regulations and space limitations of our facility. The Visa Unit is currently processing limited visa categories including immigrant visas (IR-1, IR-2, CR1, CR-2) and non-immigrant visas (A, C1/D, E, F-1/F-2, G, certain J-1/J-2, M-1/M-2, and certain petition-based visa categories). We will also continue to provide emergency and mission- critical services. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-nl/niv or contact us via email at email@example.com or call +31 20 241 0364 (Netherlands) and +1 703 543 9346 (U.S.) to request an emergency appointment.
Foreign travelers to the U.S. are reminded that travel restrictions pursuant to Presidential Proclamations 10052, 9993, and 9996 are still in place. Visa and ESTA holders who have an urgent need to travel to the U.S. and believe that you may qualify for one of the exceptions to the travel restrictions should contact the Visa Unit at AmsterdamCOVID19@state.gov. For information on the U.S. travel restrictions and exceptions visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-visa-services-and-restrictions.html.
Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed health care provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel. Passengers must also attest, under penalty of law, to having received a negative qualifying test result or to recovery from COVID-19 and medical clearance to travel. See the CDC Proof of Negative Test Result page to view the order, complete the attestation, and to see FAQ’s.
- Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) COVID-19 Webpage
- Dutch Government’s EU Travel Restrictions FAQ Webpage
- Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) COVID-19 Webpage