COVID-19 Webinar Q&A | Office Not Required: Travel and Mobility Impacts of Work from Home Policies

August 21, 2020

Watch On-Demand Webinar Now – Office Not Required: Travel and Mobility Impacts of Work from Home Policies

Q: What does LOI stand for?

NC: LOI stands for Letter of Invitation. This is an official, government-issued document that should be obtained in China before the entry visa application for essential business travelers during the COVID-19 period.

Q: Are Chinese Embassies accepting applications for Business Visas?

NC: Currently, Chinese Embassies are accepting M (Business) visa applications for essential business travelers who have obtained a Letter of Invitation (LOI) from China beforehand.

Q: One of our Dutch colleagues would like to visit our Chinese office in Ning Bo. Does he need an LOI to apply for a visa? He has been a frequent traveler to China using a multiple-entry visa.

NC: Yes, he does.  The LOI should be lodged with Ning Bo Foreign Affairs Office (FAO) and further submitted to the FAO of Zhe Jiang Province for final approval. The LOI issued by the FAO of Zhe Jiang Province will be accepted by the Chinese consulate in the Netherlands.

Newland Chase can contact the Ning Bo competent authority regarding the Dutch national’s LOI application and further advise if he/she is eligible for this application. If eligible, we will work closely with the local entity in China to go through the application process.

Q: Are international flights being allowed into/out of Russia and the Philippines?

NC: Russia and the Philippines are both allowing entry for some qualifying travelers. Contact your Newland Chase immigration expert for further details.

Q: If someone holds a 10-year visa, do they still need to apply for a visa to enter China? What is required for such an application and how long will it take to apply?

NC: Yes, this is an implemented policy during COVID-19. The previous visa is temporarily suspended, and so to return to China, an LOI should be obtained in China before applying for a new entry visa. The application will take approximately one month to complete, but is subject to change according to the evolving situation.

Q: Are there new rules on traveling to China from the US? What about COVID-19 tests and US government letters about the test results?

NC: For essential business travelers returning to China, an LOI should be obtained from China before the entry visa application. Before departure from the US and upon arrival in China, COVID-19 testing will be necessary in most cases and the 14-day quarantine process in China should be followed.

Q: We have employees that are using their foreign national passports to travel to a European Union member state from the US, which is their country of residence. Will they be denied entry?

NC: This is an important issue. The distinction between citizenship and residence is not always straightforward to ascertain at the time of boarding/entry.  If a US resident does not qualify for an exemption to travel to the EU member state (e.g., holds a highly qualified work permit, is a returning resident, etc.) then using a different passport should not make a difference unless that passport demonstrates that the employee holds EU nationality.  Note that even if an airline allows a traveler to board, the immigration officer at the port of entry may refuse entry.

Q: Is there any way to clarify at what point the traveler may be turned away? Before boarding the plane, or at immigration control upon entry?

NC: It could be either. We are seeing both airlines and border officers being quite restrictive. Newland Chase is able to provide support letters clearly explaining rationale and qualification for travel. Contact us for more details.

Q: Do EU citizens need a separate visa different from ESTA for the US?

NC: Anyone who has been physically present in the UK or the Schengen area within 14 days prior to entry to the US and who is not otherwise exempt (e.g., family members of US citizens, legal permanent residents, etc.) are restricted from travel to the US and may not currently enter on ESTA status.  An individual who attempts to travel to the US in violation of the Presidential Proclamation will have their ESTA canceled. Note that there is a distinction between the EU and the Schengen area – Croatia is in the EU but not in the Schengen area and therefore travel from Croatia is not restricted.

Q: Is there a list of US visa types and what they mean?

NC: Yes. Find it here –

Q: Are there any concerns regarding travel to the US from the UK?

NC:Yes – lots of concerns!  The situation may depend on whether the traveler already holds a visa, and if so, what category of visa., and for what purpose he/she is traveling to the US. Contact us for more details.

Q: Do our employees need specific work authorization for the country where they are currently living?  If I go to Canada and want to work there, do I need Canadian work authorization?

NC: This is a complex matter and varies depending on the country where they are currently living but, in many cases, yes, if an employee is working in a country other than their country of nationality or other than a country where they hold valid work permission then it may be necessary to obtain work authorization for them.

View as a downloadable QA report


Our New Guided-Entry Visa Gets You Where You Need to Be

As COVID-19 has transformed international travel, and entry and eligibility rules are constantly changing, Newland Chase and sister company CIBTvisas have created a new Guided-Entry Visa solution to China. We are uniquely positioned to assess your eligibility to enter countries as borders begin to re-open, navigating you through the complex visa issuance process and assisting in arranging any required documentation.

Our deep expertise worldwide will ensure your ability to mobilize employees with the most comprehensive guidance available. Contact your dedicated Newland Chase representative for additional information or schedule a consultation with one of our experts.

Keep up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 travel and immigration updates on our dedicated online resource – COVID-19: Latest Travel and Immigration Disruption.


This publication was prepared by Sophy King, SVP Global Immigration; Jason Rogers, VP, Sr. Global Immigration Counsel; and Edward Hu, Newland Chase-FSG Deputy General Manager.

Newland Chase, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CIBT, is the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with over 1,700 expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 70 offices in 25 countries. 
With thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, the market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients.
This publication is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are subject to change. We are not responsible for any loss arising from reliance on this publication. Please contact Newland Chase should you require any additional clarification or case-specific advice.