COVID-19 coronavirus has made headline news all around the world since its outbreak in China. Its impact in China has been very serious with over 80,000 people suffering from the virus and the death toll there has exceeded 3000. Since then Europe has become the epicentre of the virus with Italy and Spain being the countries worst affected in terms of case numbers and related deaths. Germany has also had large numbers of cases. At the time of writing there are close to 40,000 cases in the country. North-Rhine Westphalia has made of the majority of the cases here.

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak originated in China with the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei Province, as a primary focal point. The majority of cases in China occurred there and because of that the city and large parts of the Hubei province were placed into lockdown. In this article we will examine what impact COVID-19 coronavirus is having on applications from China for German visas and other German immigration issues.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning events related to the COVID-19 coronavirus, please contact our law office directly. Our lawyers can be reached by phone, email and also provide video conferencing options. For more legal information on the Corona crisis, please visit our Crisis Dashboard.

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Lockdown, Quarantine and Visa Centre Closures

The city of Wuhan was the first city to experience lockdown due to COVID-19 coronavirus. That policy has been followed in many European countries and cities since. All over Europe and around the world there have been major disruptions to daily life and to businesses. Especially in Spain and Italy there are major restrictions with other countries such as the UK following suit.

However, one of the impacts of COVID-19 coronavirus has been the closures of Visa Application Centres in China. These Visa Application Centres can be found in different locations around China such as in Beijing, Shanghai, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzen and Wuhan itself. They perform services that allow for Chinese citizens to avail of the necessary visas and residence permits required to make the move to Germany. However, these services have been now stopped for all non-essential travel to Germany from China.

This action has taken place in line with Germany closing its borders and banning travel from non-EU citizens or German permanent residents. See our article on “Travel Ban to Germany” for information about who this applies to in greater detail.

As a result of the closing of the borders and restricted access to Germany, 9 Visa Application Centres in (Jinan, Xi’an, Changsha, Chongqing, Kunming, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Fuzhou and Shenzhen) have closed until further notice. Applications can be made by post and the offices can be reached by phone and email. The Visa Application Centre in Wuhan is also closed at the moment, as the city remains in lockdown.

COVID-19 Coronavirus: Impact on Traveling to and from China

Just as Germany is not allowing people to fly from China unless they are EU citizens or have German permanent residency, China has implemented restrictions when it comes to flying from Germany. Should you now fly to China from Germany you have to be able to place yourself in a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in China.

Many countries have banned flights from Germany. However, the Chinese situation will also depend on from where you are flying or where you are flying to. The Heinsberg region and North-Rhine Westphalia generally have reported the most cases in Germany so those seeking to fly from this region should check what limitations are in place. Our article on “Travel Restrictions from Germany” will provide more insight for those interested in the current situation.

For those who have plans to go to China in the coming days and weeks make sure to contact your airline in order to find out more information about your flights. At the moment it must be stated that all such flights should only be attempted if it is absolutely necessary. People are encouraged to stay at home and to not travel.

For those hoping to travel to Germany from China it is worth keeping up-to-date with all news developments. Currently, the EU has tightened entry conditions to the Bloc for non-EU citizens, including Chinese citizens. As the epicentre of the outbreak, it is not recommendable to travel to Europe at the moment. Travellers who have been able to make their way to the Germany and other parts of the European Bloc will experience longer delays due to health screenings at entry ports.

COVID-19 Coronavirus: Visa Applications from Around the World

Currently there are huge difficulties all around the world as regards travel due to the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. It is difficult to predict when exactly life will return to normal and when the spread of the virus will subside. However, our lawyers remain available to help with visa applications and we support our clients remotely through email, phone and video conference. If applying for a German visa deadline changes and longer processing times should be expected as countries around the world struggle to deal with the virus.

The situation globally is changing daily and therefore if you are considering this move it is vital to contact professionals in the field. In Germany the rates of infection are increasing daily and the government are taking action. The travel ban to Germany is in place for a month from March 17th, however it is too early to say whether this will remain a month or be extended for a longer period of time.

For up-to-date facts about the situation of the virus in Germany, please visit the website of the Robert Koch-Institut. Our lawyers will also keep our clients informed of all developments.

German Immigration Lawyers

Once the travel bans have been lifted and German life returns to normal, it will be possible for those outside of Germany to come here to live and work once again. When this happens, our lawyers will be there to help you with your plans to travel or move to Germany. At Schlun & Elseven our immigration law team work with clients every day and help them with their immigration and German residence permit issues.

We provide assistance with those needing short-term visits to Germany by helping them avail of Schengen and Business Visas as well as with those looking to move to Germany for work purposes when it comes to availing of the EU Blue Card and the ICT-Card. For those in China with plans to set up a business or invest in companies in Germany we also provide advice on issues concerning the Visa for Entrepreneurs and Investors.

At Schlun & Elseven, we also provide assistance specifically for those based in China through our Chinese Law Desk with our lawyer in this field Frau Huitao Zou-Steinberger. For more information about our services please contact our firm directly.

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