The government of India was one of the first countries to implement a travel ban due to the coronavirus (Covid-19). This travel ban still applies and affects travel plans and visas already granted for India. On this page you can stay up to date on the current coronavirus situation in India, and the expectations for the coming months. Most recent update: 01-10-2020.
What is the current situation in India regarding the coronavirus?
The Indian government acted very quickly after the outbreak of coronavirus outside of China and implemented a general travel ban, including for travellers with a visa. This policy led to the number of infections and casualties of coronavirus in India being relatively low at the start. But despite an initially slow outbreak, the number of infected people and casualties has quickly increased in the past few weeks. On 30 September 2020, there were 6,312,584 infections and 98,678 registered casualties.
India has taken very far-reaching measures against coronavirus, including for people who already hold a visa
Can I currently apply for an Indian visa?
Currently, the application form for the Indian visa on this website can be used as normal, except if you live in Italy, France, Germany or Spain. Submitted applications will not be processed right away by the immigration service of India. Due to the large uncertainties, they are put on hold and automatically processed once the immigration service of India starts issuing e-visas again. No date is currently known on which the visa applications will be processed again. For now, a ban is in place on all commercial passenger flights to India until at least 30 September 2020. Because the Indian e-visa has a validity term of one year, a visa can already be submitted for a trip later this year, even if the precise travel dates have not been confirmed yet.
Starting 1 June, travellers with a physical business visa (with the exception of the B-3 visa for sport) or a worker visa that was issued after 20 June 2020 are allowed to travel to India again. To acquire this visa, you need an invitation from a business partner. Contact the embassy or consulate to apply for this visa, or to have a business visa that was issued before the coronavirus outbreak confirmed again. When entering the country with a business visa, you are required to go into quarantine for 14 days.
Will my Indian visa remain valid after the coronavirus?
Many travellers already possess a visa for India with a validity term of one year. It is currently unclear if visas that were issued before 1-6-2020 will remain valid and can still be used after the coronavirus measures are lifted. At the moment, particularly due to the rising number of coronavirus infections in both India and Europe, it cannot be said for certain when the travel limitations will be lifted.
When can I safely travel to India again?
The government of India might have been early with implementing a travel ban, but not with providing information about the measures to be taken in the near future. It is not yet known when visas for India will be usable again to travel to the country. Commercial passenger flights to India are cancelled until further notice. It is also not possible to travel to India by land.
I was unable to leave India, what now?
A lockdown is still in place in India, although there are regional relaxations outside of the "Containment Areas", and domestic railway and air traffic is picking up again to a limited extent. In some Indian states, wearing a mask is mandatory, even if you are driving in your car alone. In the so-called "Containment Areas" (red zones), you are required to stay indoors from 21:00 until 05:00 due to a curfew which has been put in place. In areas outside the Containment Areas, the curfew has been lifted, or reduced in scope. The measures in place differ greatly per region. It is advised to look up the information of the specific area you are in, or wish to travel to. In some states in India, usage of the coronavirus tracking app "Aarogya Setu" is mandatory. Aside from the rules of the Indian government, also observe the guidelines of the British government. This includes maintaining distance from other persons, avoiding social contacts and regularly washing your hands (at least 20 seconds per wash). If your visa is about to expire, you can apply for an extension online, through the website of an FRRO bureau.
The usage of the tracking app, "Aarogya Setu" is mandatory when travelling with domestic public transportation or domestic flights (although there are alternatives for people that cannot install the app on their phone). In various Indian states, there is a mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers from other states.
European governments are still organising repatriation flights in collaboration with the Indian government, mainly through the airlines Air India, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa. These flights often only appear in the systems of these airlines a week before the date of departure. When booking these flights, search for "one way" flights specifically. If you have to travel through multiple states to get to the departure airport, you are advised to use a domestic flight for this. When you return from India, you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Who will pay for all the financial damages of coronavirus?
This is still very unclear, both with regards to the costs of the visa as well as other costs, such as the flights and any bookings. If you booked a package trip, you can contact your tour operator or travel agency. If you booked individual flights and hotels, you can contact the parties with which you booked them. However, keep in mind that they might not be able to reimburse all customers and might direct you to your own travel insurance. But even travel insurance companies might end up in trouble if they have to reimburse all trips, and will likely point at a clause that declares that in case of force majeure they won’t need to reimburse any damages. You also cannot contact the Indian government with your claim; the immigration service will not refund any costs for approved visas for India which may have lost their value due to coronavirus.
Disclaimer: The coronavirus situation in India changes quickly, and the immigration service as well as government agencies have not been forthcoming with information about the measures and consequences of using visas in the near future. Therefore, no rights can be obtained from the information on this page, which while having been put together with great care, is not guaranteed to be up to date or complete.