One of the most essential aspects of doing business in the Nearshore region has been interrupted for over two months now – and that, of course, is the practice of entering the country and conducting business face-to-face. The sudden closure of borders to foreigners has sharply curtailed the ability to check in on delivery teams, schedule client visits, and evaluate new sites for potential expansion.
The gradual easing of these restrictions is underway. But each country, not surprisingly, is making its own judgments about when and under what conditions foreigners may pass through immigration checkpoints. Over the last few days, our editors reviewed the status of the most prominent nations of the Nearshore — and produced this list:
Argentina has extended the mandatory quarantine period until May 24, banning all foreigners from entering its territory. All commercial passenger flights will be suspended until September 1, although consular services are expected to reopen by the end of this month. The government has threatened that it will impose a hefty fine and arrest those who breach lockdown measures.
Barbados has opened its borders, but those entering the country between May 4 and May 17 will have to spend two days in quarantine. Travelers will be screened; those showing symptoms will be sent to quarantine centers.
All foreign nationals have been banned from entering Brazil until May 28. The South American country has grounded almost all its passenger aircraft, allowing only cargo flights. With Brazil experience widespread infections, the government is under tremendous pressure to tighten the lockdown measures.
Bolivia has ordered the closure of all its international airports until further notice. Reports say the country will remain under lockdown at least until the end of May.
Belize will not allow any foreigner to enter its territory until June 30, with some reports saying that the country could extend the ban longer. Although some businesses are reopening, most of its cities and towns are still observing night-time curfew.
Chile has extended its ban on foreigners until May 13. All Chilean consulates have suspended visa stamping until further notice. Those citizens re-entering the country are subject to a mandatory quarantine.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Colombia until May 30. The Andean country has also banned cruise ships after suspending international flights. Inside the country, travel restrictions have been eased somewhat, but night-time curfew has remained in place.
Canada has only allowed essential travel across its border with the United States. Cross-border trade and regular commuters are not being blocked. It does not deny entry for US citizens, but everyone is subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Foreign nationals seeking to come to Canada from anywhere other than the US will need to have a work permit or approval letter before attempting to travel.
The Central American country has extended the ban on foreigners until June 15, but foreigners who are legal residents in Costa Rica and exited the country before March 25 can come back. “Foreign nationals [that legally reside in Costa Rica] should travel with their valid ID cards or their application filing receipt,” says the country’s foreign affairs office. Everyone must undergo a 14-days of quarantine upon arrival; this includes nationals and foreign residents, which are the only ones allowed to enter the country at the moment. This mandatory quarantine is enforced by a sanitary order, which, if disregarded, results in a fine of almost US$4,000 and possibly penal prosecution.
The Dominican Republic’s borders will remain closed for foreigners until May 17, because lockdown measures are still in place across the island. All its air and sea borders are closed, with all inbound flights being suspended.
This Central American country has not explicitly banned foreigners, but all its airports are closed, with the government refusing permission to international flights in and out of the country. President Nayib Bukele has made it clear he will punish foreigners who cross borders and enter El Salvador.
All international passenger flights to and from Guyana are suspended. Reports say the country is likely to ease travel restrictions shortly, but a definitive date has not been announced.
An outright ban on foreigners entering the country expired at the end of March, but the nation has remained under strict lockdown, with most of its airports closed. The government recently announced that the ban on foreign travelers would stay in place until further notice.
The Central American country has suspended air travel until May 17. As a result, all its checkpoints in air, land, and sea borders are closed. “This measure will be extended if necessary,” says the government.
The Caribbean country has stated that all its airports and seaports will be closed for inbound international passengers through May 31.
Mexico is thinking about reopening its tourism industry on May 17. Resorts and hotels in Cancun hoping to welcome guests in the first week of June. Nevertheless, the country never officially closed its borders to foreigners. The Mexican Civil Aviation Authority requires that airlines ask all passengers to fill out a health form at the airport.
Passengers that have been to Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland or the United Kingdom in the last 14 days or have been in contact with such a person and are without symptoms will need to submit a doctor’s note to airline personnel at check-in or boarding to certify that they are without symptoms and fit to travel. The land border with the US remains closed.
Nicaragua initially refused to impose any restrictions on foreign visitors. However, on April 9, it decided to suspend all international flights. The measure is still in place, although soccer matches are still underway across the country. The Central American country has only reported three coronavirus cases, with a single fatality.
Peru finished its 54-day quarantine on May 10th; it was one of the longest in the world. However, the country’s authorities also announced that Peru would keep its borders closed for an indefinite amount of time. Only cargo flights and repatriation of Peruvian nationals abroad are allowed at the moment.
Panama has suspended all commercial international flights until May 22. Foreigners are banned. Even its own citizens and residents have to self-quarantine at home for 14 days after entry.
Saint Lucia has ordered all its airports to close. Even cruise ships are banned. There are no updates on government websites as to when the country will reopen its borders.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad’s borders will remain closed for foreigners until May 15, but the government has promised to ease restrictions on travel inside the country from May 12 onwards.
Uruguay has stated that it would bar foreigners from entering its territory until further notice. As of May 11, the South American country had 711 confirmed cases of the virus and 19 deaths.