Labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, has significantly changed the lifestyle of expats and non-expats alike. Whether you have been in your new country for six weeks or six months, here’s how to deal with the Coronavirus as an expat.
In this day and age there are many options for staying connected while you are living abroad. FaceTime, Zoom, Uberconference, and many others have the option for face-to-face calls. You’ll be able to check in on how your family and friends are doing, in-between all those emails and texts.
Focus on You
Don’t forget to look after yourself. Go for a walk, cook healthy meals, and find moments to relax. Got activities that have been cancelled? Don’t let the time get absorbed by work. Swap those sessions out for something else you enjoy doing or start a new personal project/hobby.
Know What’s Happening with Visas (for you and/or visiting family)
Due to Covid-19 all consular desks of embassies, consulates-general, local government, and the IND are (generally) closed (to in-person visits).
Short-Stay Visas: If you are in the Netherlands on a short-stay visa, but cannot leave the country and your visa is expiring or expired, you can apply for an extension via telephone (088 04 30430) with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).
Visa Free: For individuals in the Netherlands visa free (i.e. the period of 90-days within 180-days as part of the Schengen agreement) and your time has expired or will expire soon, you do not need to report this to the IND. The Dutch government is aware that it is more difficult to exit the country during this time and is checking less strictly those that fall into this category. However, it is expected that you will try to return when your right of residence expires.
Note: The current travel ban does not apply to holders of a long-stay visa or temporary residence permit (MVV). You will have access to the Netherlands, or another Schengen country. However, keep in mind that in many places traveling is not possible or is not recommended.
If you have to travel for work and are feeling uneasy about it, talk to your employer and see if there is a virtual solution that can work for everyone. If that trip really does have to go ahead, then follow the guidelines set out by the RIVM, including keeping 1.5 metres distance, not shaking hands, coughing into your elbow, and washing your hands more frequently.