From 18.00 on 15 December 2020, some travellers will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result on arrival in the Netherlands. Passengers who arrive by air or sea from a country outside the EU/Schengen area that is not on the EU ‘safe countries of origin’ list and who are exempt from the EU travel ban must be able to produce a negative COVID-19 test result and a signed declaration. This is one of the measures being taken by the Netherlands to combat the importation and spread of coronavirus. At this time the negative-test requirement does not apply to Dutch nationals and EU/Schengen citizens and their family members travelling or returning from outside the EU/Schengen area.

The negative test result and signed declaration is not an easing of the EU travel ban. It is still the case that only travellers who are exempt from the EU travel ban may enter the Netherlands, either because their country of departure is on the EU ‘safe countries of origin’ list or because they fall within one of the exemption categories and may enter the Netherlands despite the EU travel ban. The negative test result and declaration are thus additional measures.

Test result and declaration

From 15 December 2020, travellers who arrive from a country that is not on the EU ‘safe countries of origin’ list and who are exempt from the EU travel ban applicable to the Netherlands will need to produce the following documents:

These documents must be shown to the airline or (cruise) ship/ferry company, and to the Royal Military and Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee) in the Netherlands.

Compulsory information on test result and declaration

The negative test result must be in English, German, French, Spanish or Dutch.

Both documents must meet five requirements:

  • Type of test: the test must be a molecular PCR test and must be for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. No other type of test, including a rapid test, is valid;
  • Test result: the test result must be negative (or not detected);
  • Passenger’s first and last name: as stated in their passport;
  • Date and time the test was conducted: The test must have been conducted no more than 72 hours prior to the passenger’s arrival in the Netherlands.
  • Documents must contain the details of the institute or laboratory that conducted the test.

Printed negative test result and declaration required

Passengers must be in possession of printed versions of both the negative test result and the declaration. It is not acceptable to show a digital version on a phone or tablet.

Importance of negative test result and declaration

Passengers from high-risk areas pose a risk to the Netherlands in terms of the spread and importation of coronavirus. To limit that risk, they must be able to produce a negative test result and declaration.

72 hours: moment of conducting the test or the result

The time between the moment of conducting the test and the arrival in the Netherlands, must be no more than 72 hours. The test result must be known before departure to the Netherlands.

Passengers who need a negative COVID-19 test result and declaration

From 18.00 on 15 December 2020, passengers will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result and declaration if they:

  • are coming from a country that is not on the EU list of safe countries;
  • are coming from outside the EU/Schengen area:
  • are arriving by air or sea;
  • are aged 13 or over;
  • do not fall into one of the exemption categories listed at the bottom of this page.

The negative test declaration is for passengers from high-risk areas outside the EU/Schengen area. So passengers coming from countries deemed ‘safe’ by the EU do not have to produce a negative test declaration.

Exemption from negative test result and declaration requirement

The following people do not need a negative test result and declaration.

  • Cross-border commuters;
  • Transit passengers travelling onward immediately by air to another country via the Netherlands;
  • Dutch nationals (including nationals of the Caribbean part of The Kingdom of the Netherlands) and nationals of other EU and Schengen countries.
  • Individuals who hold a residence permit for the Netherlands or another EU/Schengen member state;
  • Holders of a diplomatic identity card issued by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Holders of diplomatic passports;
  • Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco, Vatican City and Andorra, and their family members;
  • Holders of a long-stay visa, including those with an authorisation for temporary stay (MVV);
  • Individuals who work in the goods transport sector, and other transportation personnel in so far as necessary. This includes individuals who work on container ships, bulk carriers (e.g. of ore and coal), tankers (fuel and chemicals) and fishing vessels. It also includes individuals who work in the energy sector, including oil and gas platforms and offshore wind farms, offshore companies that provide services to this sector, and air, cruise-ship and ferry crew members if they are travelling in order to perform their job;
  • Seafarers who possess a seaman’s record book and are en route to or from active service or if they are travelling in order to perform their job. The exemption does not apply to seafarers on commercial yachts and pleasure craft;
  • Heads of state and members of foreign governments;
  • Students who hold a letter of notification from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service – only for a long stay;
  • Highly skilled migrants who hold a letter of notification from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service or who hold a Dutch employment permit.
  • Travelers who use  the designated safe corridor flights between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Situations in which a test result and declaration are not required

Negative test result and declaration not needed if travelling by car, coach or train

The requirement to produce a negative test result and declaration does not currently apply to people travelling by car, coach or train. Due to Brexit, as of 1 January 2021 the requirement may also apply to people travelling by air, train or sea from the United Kingdom.

Negative test result and declaration not required for Dutch nationals travelling from abroad

Dutch nationals (including nationals of the Caribbean part of The Kingdom of the Netherlands) and nationals of other EU and Schengen countries are currently not yet required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result and declaration. The law will first have to be changed, so this will not happen before the spring of 2021.

Negative COVID-19 test result and declaration not required for family members from outside the EU

Family members of EU citizens are not required to present a negative COVID-19 test result and declaration. Read more information on family members travelling with EU citizens. The negative-test requirement does apply to travelers that are exempted to the travel ban because of their long-distance relationship. 

Negative COVID-19 test result and declaration not needed for transit through Dutch airports

Passengers who arrive at an airport in the Netherlands and continue their journey without leaving the airport are not required to produce a negative test declaration.

If they leave the airport and continue their journey, for instance by train, they must produce a negative test declaration.

Negative COVID-19 test result and declaration not required after changing planes in another EU country

Passengers entering the EU/Schengen area through another country (i.e. not the Netherlands) are not required to produce a negative test result and declaration on arrival in the Netherlands.

Negative test result and declaration and arrival in the Netherlands

Test was conducted more than 72 hours prior to arrival in the Netherlands, due to delay

If a passenger is delayed through no fault of their own, a negative test result up to 96 hours old (instead of 72 hours) may be accepted. This gives the passenger an extra 24 hours. The passenger is responsible for proving the time limit was exceeded due to a delay that was no fault of their own.

Passengers without a negative test declaration will not be allowed to enter the Netherlands

If an air passenger cannot produce a negative test result and declaration before departure, they may not travel to the Netherlands and will not be permitted to board the aircraft. In the Netherlands the Royal Military and Border Police (Koninklijke Marechaussee) will also check whether air passengers have a negative test result and declaration. If not, they will be denied entry into the Netherlands. They will have to return to their country of departure with the same airline.

Passengers arriving in the Netherlands by ship without a negative test result and declaration will not be allowed to disembark. This too will be checked by the Royal Military and Border Police.

No testing on arrival in the Netherlands

Passengers must get tested before departure. They cannot get tested on arrival in the Netherlands. If they have not been tested they will be denied entry into the Netherlands and have to return to their country of departure.

No travel to the Netherlands if test result is positive

If a person has tested positive for COVID-19 they are not allowed to travel anywhere, including to the Netherlands. They must stay in isolation until they no longer have symptoms, and they must follow the advice of the local health services. 

They can travel to the Netherlands only if they no longer have symptoms and they have tested negative for COVID-19.

Negative test result and declaration is not a health declaration

Air passengers arriving in the Netherlands must also have filled in a traveller public health declaration. Passengers arriving by ship are not required to fill in a health declaration.

Negative test result and declaration for people travelling from the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has left the EU, and the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. This means that, as of 1 January 2021, passengers arriving in the Netherlands from the UK by air, train or sea also have to present a negative test result and declaration, unless they fall within an exemption category.

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