news Duration of stay in Dutch territory of seafarers from third countries (not being EU/EEA/UK) to which entry restrictions apply

06 October 2020

In the COVID-19 situation it is important that the exchange and repatriation of these seafarers between the Netherlands and their country of residence is facilitated. This concerns enlisting seafarers who travel from outside the Schengen borders to a ship in a Dutch port, as well as signing off seafarers who have to travel home from a ship in a Dutch port outside the Schengen borders.

The border crossing points, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (hereinafter: KMar) and the Seaport Police (hereinafter: ZHP), assess whether and for how long a seafarer may stay in the Netherlands before signing on and after signing off. The current starting point in connection with COVID-19 measures is that a signing seafarer will travel to the ship within the foreseeable future after arrival in the Netherlands and that a signing off seafarer will leave the Netherlands within the foreseeable future. Under normal circumstances this is usually 1 to 2 days.

If a shipping company or agency expects the stay of seafarers to be longer on Dutch territory than 1 to 2 days, a substantiated request for a longer stay must be submitted at the border crossing points of the KMar and the ZHP.

In general, the following requirements must be met:

  • The seafarer must be in possession of an airline ticket when submitting the application;

  • The seafarer must prove that he / she is a seafarer (e.g. seaman's book)

  • The seafarer can demonstrate that there is no reasonable alternative for a crew change in the short term.

A demonstrable need for an extension of the stay may include an available flight to the country of residence (due to the limited air traffic), the crew change itself (after all, a seafarer who is leaving on board must be replaced on board by a seafarer who has signed on board), as well as the requirement of certain countries that seafarers must have a COVID-free Certificate. To this end, tests must be carried out in the Netherlands and the test result must be waited for. This can take up to 3 working days, which means that a flight must be combined with waiting for the result of a corona test. The overnight stays for the seafarer have been arranged.

The KMar and ZHP will assess on the basis of the aforementioned requirements whether access to the Netherlands can be granted for a longer period than the average duration of 2 days until the moment of departure to the country of destination.

Ministry of Justice and Security 5th October 2020.