Border restrictions in Europe: Latest changes

Juergen T Steinmetz


The times of border-free travel between many European countries are no longer valid due to the spread of the deadly COVID19 virus. Some countries are completely closed.

This is a list of travel restrictions currently put in place by governments in Europe. European countries are listed in alphabetic orders. The information was researched on March 27, 2020, and is without guarantee. Changes can happen anytime, and travelers should contact appropriate consulates, embassies or immigration authorities before traveling.


Albania’s government decided to halt passenger transport from all neighboring countries, including flights to Italy.

On March 16, authorities also suspended all flights to the UK until further notice, the country’s ministry of infrastructure said.

On March 22, Albania suspended all commercial flights to and from the country, allowing only flag carrier Air Albania to fly to Turkey and operate humanitarian flights.


The borders are restricted, and people were only permitted to leave for health reasons, to transport goods, or for residents abroad. The sale of tobacco and alcohol to tourists was prohibited, and the quantity permitted to be sold to Andorran nationals and residents was restricted


Foreign travelers from outside the Schengen area are prohibited from entering Austria until further notice.

EU citizens and foreigners who are entitled to enter are obliged to do a 14-day self-monitored home quarantine immediately after entering the country by air.

With few exceptions, much of the country’s land borders with Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland and Italy are blocked.


There are no restrictions in Belarus due to Coronavirus at this time.


Belgium has decided to close its borders for “non-essential inbound and outbound travel” to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Interior Minister Pieter De Crem said on Friday.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia on Tuesday in March 10 barred entry to travelers from countries most affected by the coronavirus outbreak, while its Serb region shut all schools and universities and banned public events from March 11 to March 30 to help stem the spread of the infection.


Turkey’s land border with Bulgaria has been closed to the entry and exit of passengers, state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Wednesday.

A TRT reporter said the gates were still open for logistics.

On March 15, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Transport said it would ban incoming flights from Italy and Spain as of midnight (22:00 GMT) on March 17. Rosen Jeliazkov also said Bulgarians who wanted to return home from these countries would have March 16 and 17 to do so and would face a 14-day quarantine.


Crossing the border of the Republic of Croatia is temporarily restricted. Croatian citizens and residents will be allowed to return to Croatia, which means that they may go to the country where they work and reside and must follow the instructions and measures of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) upon their return. These measures went into effect at 00:01 on March 19, 2020 and are valid for 30 days.

On March 12 The Czech government has declared a state of emergency for 30 days. Pubs and restaurants will be closed from 8 pm to 6 am, while swimming pools and other sports facilities, clubs, galleries and libraries will be closed completely.


On March 13, Nicos Anastasiades, president of the Republic of Cyprus, said the country will shut its borders for 15 days to all but Cypriots, Europeans working on the island and people with special permits.

The measure would come into effect from March 15, he said in a state address.

Czech Republic

The Czech prime minister said on March 12 the country would close its borders to travelers from Germany and Austria and ban the entry of foreigners from other high-risk countries.

Czechs were prohibited from travelling to those countries, and to and from other countries deemed risky, effective from Saturday (23:00 GMT on Friday).

The full list includes other European Union members Italy, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Denmark, as well as the UK, Switzerland, Norway, China, South Korea and Iran. International public transport vehicles with more than nine seats will also be banned from crossing borders.


On March 13, Denmark said it would temporarily close its borders to non-citizens.

“All tourists, all travel, all vacations and all foreigners who cannot prove a creditable purpose of entering Denmark, will be denied entrance at the Danish border,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. The closure would not apply to the transport of goods, including foods, medicine and industrial supplies.


On 13 March, the Estonian government declared a state of emergency until 1 May. All public gatherings were banned, including sports and cultural events; schools and universities were closed; border control was restored with health checks at every crossing and entry point. The sale of passenger tickets for the Tallinn-Stockholm cruise ferries was halted

Baer monument in Tartu with COVID-19 warning sign: “Keep distance or go home!”

Further restrictions were set up by the government:

  • To set up full border controls from 17 March on, with only the following people allowed to enter the country: citizens of Estonia, permanent residents, their relatives, and transport workers carrying out freight transport.
  • From 14 March, Estonia’s western islands Hiiumaa, Saaremaa, Muhu, Vormsi, Kihnu and Ruhnu were closed to all but residents.
  • Operating bans were extended to recreation and leisure establishments, ordering sports halls and clubs, gyms, pools, aqua centers, saunas, daycares, and children’s playrooms to be closed immediately.[32]

On 23 March Tallinn decided to close public playgrounds and sporting grounds

On 24 March Government Emergency Committee decided that at least 2 meters distance between people should be kept in public places, and up to two people are allowed to gather in public space.

The Estonian shipping company Tallink decided to suspend their ferry service on the Tallinn-Stockholm route from 15 March. The Latvian airline airBaltic suspended all flights from 17 March including those from Tallinn Airport.


On March 17, Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo said Finland would start heavily restricting traffic over its borders on March 19.

France & Monaco

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on March 16 that France’s borders would be closed from March 17.

The French leader, however, added that the country’s citizens would be allowed to return home.

The EU’s external borders were also shut for 30 days from March 17. This does not apply to US citizens departing France to return to the United States.

Flights from China, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, South Korea, Iran, and affected regions in Italy arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris are met by medical professionals to answer questions and take into care any person presenting symptoms.


On March 15, Germany said it would temporarily introduce border controls on its frontiers with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark from March 16.

The entry restrictions were expanded to include flights from Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Switzerland, the interior ministry said on March 18. The new entry restrictions also apply to sea transport from Denmark, an interior ministry spokesman said.


Greece on March 14 banned all flights that were still operating to and from Italy until March 29.

On March 15, it had said it would ban road and sea routes, as well as flights to Albania and North Macedonia, and ban flights to and from Spain to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Only cargo and citizens who live in Greece will be allowed to travel to and from Albania and North Macedonia, authorities said.

Athens also extended travel restrictions to Italy, saying it was banning passenger ship routes to and from the neighboring country, while no cruise ships would be allowed to dock at Greek ports. Greece said it would put anyone arriving from abroad in quarantine for two weeks.

Turkey’s land borders with Greece have been closed to entry and exit of passengers as a measure against the coronavirus outbreak, state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Wednesday.

A TRT reporter said the gates were still open for logistics.

On March 23, Greece suspended flights from Britain and Turkey to curb the spread of coronavirus, as a lockdown took effect in the country.


Foreigners are not allowed to enter Hungary from midnight March 17 The authorities closed the Hungarian borders for passenger traffic

From 00:00 on March 17, only Hungarian citizens will be allowed to enter the country. The restriction relates to all road, railway, water and air borders. The Hungarian foreign minister has announced that Hungary and Romania will reopen their shared border to commuters. Minister Szijjártó said he and his Romanian counterpart have agreed that the policy will apply to Hungarians and Romanians living within a 30km radius of the border.


Icelandic residents are advised not to travel abroad. Icelandic residents who are currently traveling abroad are urged to consider returning to Iceland earlier than planned.  

This decision is made in light of limited availability of flights and measures taken by other states, including border closures and quarantine requirements, which may impact Icelanders abroad.  

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs encourages all Icelandic citizens to travel abroad to register with the Consular Section –

Icelandic residents abroad, whether for work, study or travel, are further advised to check their health insurance and access to health care.

All Icelandic citizens returning to Iceland from abroad are required to undergo 14-day quarantine and the same applies to all residents of Iceland.

Iceland has been following European Guidelines to close inbound borders for travelers from outside the EU.


The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Italy, San Marino & Holy See

In Italy, government officials placed the country of 60 million people on lockdown on March 10 in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. The restrictions will run until April 3.

People flying into Italy are subject to temperature screening at Italy’s major airports, and the country has suspended flights from China and Taiwan.

Italy also banned domestic travel and shut down a range of industries on March 23 in a last-ditch push against the spread of a coronavirus.


Latvia will go into an effective national lockdown on Tuesday, March 17 when it closes its international borders to all organized passenger traffic on land, sea, and air, following further anti-coronavirus measures announced March 14.


The border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland remains open, while border restrictions are in place to Austria based on Swiss regulations.


Lithuania and Poland will open a second border crossing, Lithuanian PM Saulius Skvernelis informed.
Long queues of trucks on the Lithuanian- Polish border have disappeared and queues on the border with Belarus continues to subside, a spokesman for the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service said on Friday, March 20. Around 260 trucks waited to cross from Lithuania into Belarus at the Medininkai checkpoint on Friday morning, down from over 500 three days ago and about 300 on Thursday, according to the spokesman.


France is about to implement stronger measures due to people not respecting the current restrictions.
As of March 17 the  German borders with Luxembourg are closed. The government here was unaware and unprepared regarding this matter as it was only informed when the measure was already in place.

Cross-border workers are required to fill in a form, stating their workplace and home. This form is mandatory as of Tuesday

Although France has not implemented this measure yet it may follow suit. Those not adhering to this measure will be fined.


The Cypriot government has announced that only its citizens, along with other Europeans working on the island and people with special permits will be allowed into the country for a 15-day period beginning on March 15.


Moldova temporarily shut its borders and suspended all international flights from March 17.


The Dutch government announced that entry restrictions will be tightened for non-EU citizens who wish to travel to the Netherlands starting from March 19.

The travel restrictions do not apply to EU citizens (including citizens of the United Kingdom) and their family members, as well as citizens from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and their family members.

Check here for more details on exceptions.

North Macedonia

As of March 17 the Government adopted a Decision amending the Decision on measures to prevent the introduction and spread of the Coronavirus by closing all land border crossings in the Republic of North Macedonia for the crossing of passengers and vehicles, except the Tabanovce, Deve Bair, Kafasan, Bogorodica, and Blace border crossings. At the border crossings closed for passengers and vehicles, only freight crossings are permitted.


On March 14, Norway said it would shut its ports and airports from March 16, although exemptions will be made for Norwegians returning from abroad as well as for goods.

The country also said it will implement extensive controls of its land entry points, but will not shut its 1,630km (1,000-mile) border with neighboring Sweden.


On March 13, Poland said it would ban foreigners from entering the country from March 15 and impose a 14-day quarantine on its citizens returning home. Those with a residence permit in Poland would also be allowed to enter, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

No international inbound flights or trains would be allowed from March 15, except for some charter flights bringing Poles back from holidays.


Flights from outside the EU are suspended, excluding the UK, USA, Canada, Venezuela, South Africa and Portuguese speaking countries.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that travel restrictions on the land border with Spain should guarantee that free movement of goods continues and protect the rights of workers, but that “there must be a restriction (on travelling) for the purposes of tourism or leisure”.


Romania’s government barred most foreigners from entering the country on March 21 and tightened restrictions on movement inside the country.

“Foreign citizens and stateless persons are banned from entering Romania through all border points,” Interior Minister Marcel Vela said during a national address.

Exceptions would be allowed for those transiting through Romania using corridors to be agreed with neighbouring states, he added.


The Russian government has ordered the civil aviation authority to suspend all regular and charter flights to and from Russia from March 27.

On March 14, the Russian government said it was closing the country’s land border with Poland and Norway for foreigners.

Citizens of neighboring Belarus and official delegations were exempt.


At the Batrovci border crossing with Croatia, a European Union and a NATO member, a Serbian armored personnel carrier and soldiers, wearing surgical masks, gloves and goggles, stood near a long line of Serbians who were flocking home. Borders seemed to be closed except for Serbian citizens returning.


Slovakia banned international passenger travel on March 12 but the border remained open for freight.

On March 27, Slovakia announced it was closing border crossings with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria for the transit of trucks over 7.5 tons delivering non-essential goods.


Slovenia on March 11 said it was closing some border crossings with Italy and began making health checks at those remaining open. Passenger train transport between the two countries was also canceled.


Spain will restrict entry for most foreigners at air and seaports for the next 30 days to help stem its coronavirus epidemic, the Interior Ministry said on March 22. The ban – starting at midnight – comes a few days after Spain imposed restrictions on its land borders with France and Portugal, after European Union leaders agreed to close the bloc’s external borders for 30 days.

Spanish nationals, foreigners living in Spain, aircrew, cargo and health workers and diplomats will be allowed to travel as normal, the ministry said in its statement.

On March 16, the Spanish government announced the closing of its land borders, allowing only citizens, residents and others with special circumstances to enter the country.

Direct flights from Italy to Spain have been banned until March 25.


The government has temporarily stopped non-essential travel to Sweden from countries outside the EEA and Switzerland. The decision took effect on 19 March and will initially apply for 30 days.


On March 25 the Swiss government extended entry restrictions to all Schengen and non-Schengen states. 

Only Swiss and Liechtenstein citizens, Swiss residents, those entering the country for professional reasons (e.g., those who work here and have a permit to prove it), and those transiting through, can enter. Even foreign partners of Swiss citizens, who do not have a right of residence in the country, will be turned away.


Turkey’s land borders with Greece and Bulgaria have been closed to the entry and exit of passengers as a measure against the coronavirus outbreak, state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Wednesday.

A TRT reporter said the gates were still open for logistics.

The government is suspending flights to and from several countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, China, South Korea, Iran and Iraq.

The government further expanded on March 21, its flight suspensions to another 46 countries. The decision brought the total number to 68 countries with which Turkey halted its flights.

The flight ban includes Angola, Austria, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Czechia, China, Colombia, Djibouti, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Georgia, Hungary, India, Italy, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Montenegro, Mongolia, Morocco, Moldova, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Norway, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Oman, the Philippines, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Taiwan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, the UK and Ukraine.


Ukraine said on March 13 that foreign nationals would be barred from entering the country.

United Kingdom

The government on March 17 advised citizens “against all non-essential travel worldwide”, initially for a period of 30 days.


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