Coronavirus - frequently asked questions by Dutch nationals abroad

I’m currently abroad. What should I do?

Orange travel advice

Travelling within Europe

Returning from a high-risk area

Travelling to the Netherlands

Registration with Special Assistance Abroad

I’m currently abroad. Am I required to return to the Netherlands?

No. However, we do advise you to keep a close eye on the situation. Many countries are taking measures that may affect your ability to leave the country. Download the BZ Travel App and regularly check the travel advice.

Some countries have temporarily closed their borders. We advise you to think carefully about whether your stay abroad is essential and to check whether you’re able to travel home. If necessary, contact your tour operator or airline and make use of the departure options available.

If you’re unable to leave at present, find somewhere to stay. Your tour operator or airline may be able to assist you. Use the options available.

If you need help, call +31 247 247 247 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

I’m stranded abroad and can’t get home. What should I do?

It’s important to keep a close eye on the situation. In many countries flights have been cancelled due to coronavirus. But this doesn’t mean that all travel is impossible. For example, you may still be able to travel overland, or fly from a different airport or via another destination.

We advise you to look carefully at all possible ways and means of getting home. If necessary contact your tour operator or airline and make use of the options available. Airlines are gradually starting up services again to certain destinations.

Staying informed

If you want to receive the latest local information you can register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Service. On the Information Service website select ‘aanmelden + registratie bij ambassade’ [sign up + register with embassy].

You can also find the latest information on the local situation and departure options via the media (TV, radio, newspapers, etc.). Dutch embassies use Facebook, Twitter and the Information Service to inform travellers about measures that may affect them.

If you need help, call +31 247 247 247 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

I’m currently abroad and I’m worried about coronavirus. What should I do?

We recommend that you keep a close eye on how the coronavirus situation develops in your area and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

Some countries have temporarily closed their borders. We advise you to think carefully about whether your stay abroad is essential and to check whether you’re able to travel home. If necessary, contact your tour operator or airline and make use of the options available.

If you have specific questions about coronavirus, call the public information number: 0800 1351 (between 8.00 and 20.00).

From outside the Netherlands, call +31 20 205 1351.

I’m stranded abroad and am running out of medicines. How can I get a new supply?

If your medicines are running out, contact a local doctor or pharmacy.

You can also ask your family doctor in the Netherlands for a medical certificate giving the exact details of your medicines. You can take this certificate to a local pharmacy or hospital to get a new supply.

If the brand or composition of your medicine is different in the country where you’re staying, contact your family doctor to check whether the available medicine is suitable for you.

Embassy has no medicines

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy are unable to assist you with medicines and do not have any in stock.

Have medicines sent to you

If you are able to get medicines sent to you from the Netherlands, you can use regular parcel services, such as DHL. Cargo flights are continuing. Bear in mind that delivery times may be longer and costs higher if you’re staying outside a major city.

If I can’t yet return to the Netherlands who will arrange and pay for my accommodation abroad?

If you can’t yet leave, you are responsible for finding accommodation in the country you’re staying in. Your tour operator and/or travel insurer may be able to help you find suitable accommodation.

If you’re unable to return to the Netherlands and can’t find accommodation, the Dutch embassy will look at ways to help you find somewhere to stay until you can safely return home.

You must pay accommodation expenses yourself. If you have travel insurance, contact your insurer.

Will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bring home people who can’t leave?

If you’ve registered on the Special Assistance Abroad website you will be contacted if there is a flight leaving from the country you’re registered for. If you haven’t registered on the Special Assistance Abroad website, keep an eye on the commercial options available.

Use whatever departure options are open to you if you wish to return home. You should also register for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Service. The embassy uses this service to pass on information about any commercial flights or EU repatriation flights that are scheduled. If you have any questions about existing bookings, contact your tour operator or airline.

What rights do I have?

If your holiday cannot go ahead due to coronavirus, your rights as a consumer depend on whether you booked a package holiday or purchased a ticket or accommodation independently. You can read more about how your travel rights are affected by coronavirus on the ACM ConsuWijzer.

I’m currently abroad and need help or information.

If you need help or information, contact your travel insurer. Or contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

  • by phone on +31 247 247 247 or via the number of the Dutch embassy in the country you’re staying in

  • WhatsApp: +316 8238 7796

  • Twitter: @24/7BZ

Follow the Dutch embassies abroad via social media (especially Facebook and Twitter).

How can I get the latest news?

Embassies provide information for each country, for example about travel restrictions, via various channels, including social media.

If you’re abroad, register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Service. On the Information Service website select ‘aanmelden + registratie bij ambassade’ [sign up + register with embassy] to receive updates on the local situation.

Can I still travel?

Only travel abroad if strictly necessary. Countries have taken drastic measures to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. New restrictions cannot be ruled out, and the situation could change quickly, with major consequences for travellers.

Why does code orange apply to the entire world?

All countries worldwide (including EU countries) have taken drastic measures to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. These measures have major consequences for travellers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore advises against all travel abroad, including holidays, unless strictly necessary. This is known as code orange.

What is ‘essential’ travel?

If you have travel plans, you must think carefully about whether your trip is strictly necessary. Holiday travel is not regarded as essential, and is therefore discouraged.

Goods and other professional transport is emphatically considered to be ‘essential movement’. The travel advisory does not therefore apply to the goods and transport sectors.

Can I go on holiday abroad?

In some countries, as in the Netherlands, measures are slowly being relaxed. However, an orange (or red) travel advisory still applies worldwide. This means that travelling abroad (even to European countries) is discouraged, unless it is essential. Holiday travel is not regarded as essential, and is therefore discouraged. This is not expected to change in the near future. If the situation changes, the travel advisory will be updated. So keep checking back.

What does an orange travel advisory mean for business travel?

Business travellers are advised to consider whether their journey is essential at this point.

Goods and other professional transport is emphatically considered to be ‘essential movement’. The travel advisory does not therefore apply to the goods and transport sectors.

What does code orange mean for country-specific travel advisories?

Where coronavirus is concerned, the colour code of the map (orange or red) takes precedence. For safety risks that are not related to coronavirus, consult the Safety Risks section in each country-specific travel advisory.

What is the Schengen area?

The Schengen area consists of 26 European countries, including the Netherlands. These countries have made joint arrangements on entry to the Schengen area.

Can I still travel within the Schengen area?

The ‘essential travel only’ advisory applies to the whole world, including Schengen countries. This means that travelling by car to Germany or Belgium is equally inadvisable, for instance. Many countries have closed their borders to non-essential incoming traffic, such as holiday travel.

How do I know if I’m returning from a high-risk area?

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) publishes a list of airports located in areas with a high risk of coronavirus infection. If you will be departing from an airport in one of the countries or regions listed, you will need to complete a mandatory health screening form and self-quarantine for two weeks on arrival. (See ‘Which measures will apply to me if I fly home from a high-risk area?’)

Which measures will apply to me if I fly home from a high-risk area?

The following measures apply to inbound passengers from high-risk areas:

  • You must complete a health screening form before departure.

  • You are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days immediately after arrival.

If you are an EU citizen, you can only return to Europe (all EU member states, Schengen countries and the United Kingdom) if your journey is essential. A travel ban applies to all non-essential journeys up to and including 14 May.

The government has taken these measures to limit the influx of people who may have COVID-19, and to protect passengers and crew during the flight.

How does the health screening form work? And who checks it?

You will be sent a screening form by the airline you are flying with. The form has been compiled by the municipal health service (GGD) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). You must complete the form before boarding the plane. Keep it with you during the flight.

You must have the completed form with you when you disembark. At the destination airport, passengers will be selected at random and asked to show their health screening form. All travellers will also receive information about the measures to combat coronavirus in the Netherlands.

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions on the screening form, the airline may not let you board. This means you will not be able to return to the Netherlands.

What does self-quarantine on return from a high-risk area involve?

If you are returning from a high-risk area, you are strongly advised to self-quarantine for 14 days immediately after arrival. The airline you are flying with will remind you of this. Self-quarantine means you cannot leave your home or the place where you are staying for 14 days.

You are also strongly advised to avoid physical contact with any family members staying at the same location, and all other people.

If you have any further questions, please contact your family doctor.

Airline crew, medical personnel, seafarers and diplomats do not have to self-quarantine.

Are people tested for coronavirus when they arrive in the Netherlands?

No, travellers are not tested for coronavirus on arrival. Airports are, however, alert to travellers with fever and coughing/shortness of breath, especially if, in the last 14 days, they have been in a region with a high rate of coronavirus infection. Airports are in close contact with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the municipal health service (GGD) on this matter.

I’m travelling to the Netherlands from an area with a high rate of coronavirus infection. Will I have to comply with special rules after I arrive?

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) publishes a list of airports located in areas with a high risk of coronavirus infection. If you are departing from an airport in one of the countries or regions listed, you will need to complete a mandatory health screening form and self-quarantine for two weeks immediately after arrival.

You will also be required to practise good hygiene and social distancing, like everyone else in the Netherlands.

For more information, please read the following PDF documents:

The EU has introduced entry restrictions. Can my foreign partner still travel with me?

Yes. On Thursday 19 March the EU introduced restrictions on non-essential travel. These restrictions apply to people who do not live in one of the EU member states, Schengen member states or the United Kingdom. Family members of EU citizens (spouses/partners, parents and children) are exempt from these entry restrictions. You can see what categories of individual are exempt from the EU entry restrictions at Nederlandenu.nl.

I returned to the Netherlands with help from the Special Assistance Abroad initiative. Who will contact me about paying the fixed fee?

If you returned home on a Special Assistance Abroad flight, you will be charged a fixed fee of €300 for return from within Europe or €900 for return from outside Europe. You don’t need to get in touch about paying the fee. We have your details. Someone from the Disaster Fund or the travel expenses guarantee fund (SGR) will be in touch in due course. It will take time to process passenger information.

You will receive a request for payment of the fixed fee by email from the Disaster Fund. The financial services provider Betalis B.V. will collect the payment.

I previously registered with the Special Assistance Abroad service. Will I be charged €300 / €900 regardless?

No, not for registration alone. You are only liable to pay the fixed fee (€300 for return from within Europe, or €900 for return from outside Europe) if you used a Special Assistance Abroad flight. Please note: if the emergency call centre booked a flight for you but you didn’t actually use it (‘no show’), you will still be charged the fixed fee. You will receive a request for payment of the fixed fee by email afterwards.

If you have any questions about payment and payment plans, you will be able to ask them after you have been contacted by email.

We advise you to keep looking for ways of returning to the Netherlands yourself, even if you have registered for the Special Assistance Abroad service. While our aim is to get all Dutch nationals stranded abroad home as quickly as possible, we cannot offer any guarantees.

A fixed fee of €300 applies to countries bordering Europe. These are:

  • Albania

  • Algeria

  • Armenia

  • Azerbaijan

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Egypt

  • Georgia

  • Iceland

  • Kosovo

  • Libya

  • Liechtenstein

  • Moldova

  • Morocco

  • Montenegro

  • North Macedonia

  • Norway

  • Russia

  • Serbia

  • Tunisia

  • Turkey

  • Ukraine

I previously registered with the Special Assistance Abroad service, but now want to cancel my registration. What should I do?

Call the 24/7 BZ Contact Centre on +31 247 247 247 (from abroad). If you are already in the Netherlands, call 0247 247 247. It is not possible to cancel your registration yourself through the Special Assistance Abroad website.

I registered via bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl and am still abroad. When can I go home?

We’re trying to help all Dutch nationals stranded abroad as quickly as possible. However, depending on the local situation, this may take some time. Please be aware that it may not be possible to return to the Netherlands safely in the short term.

If this is the case, we will if necessary look at ways of supporting you until you can safely return to the Netherlands. The embassy will not pay hotel bills for you or help with the cost of food, but can try to mediate on your behalf.

I registered via www.bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl a while ago but have heard nothing more. What should I do now?

If you previously registered via bijzonderebijstandbuitenland.nl but have not received an email or a phone call, phone +31 247 247 247.