The outbreak of the coronavirus came as a surprise to many travellers. Although people had seen the outbreak of the virus coming in several countries for some time (the first reports from China came as early as December 2019), it was still a shock to many how quickly countries moved to a complete lockdown. So too for foreigners in India. Many of them found themselves stuck in the country, without visas and with little to no way to return home. Here are three stories.
Plymouth family stuck in India during visa lockdown
A young family from Plymouth, UK, has been stuck in India for some time. Like so many foreigners, they had gone on holiday to India before the lockdown took effect. The family, consisting of musician Jack, his wife Natasha and their two-year-old child, have been abandoned in Goa. The problem this family faces is that Natasha has Indian nationality. Both Jack and their child are allowed to travel back to England, but Natasha needs a tourist visa. However, the agency that processes all visa applications in India, VFS Global, has ground to a halt due to the coronavirus crisis. Jack refuses to return home on his own. The British government has not yet commented on the situation.
German man detained for 2 months at airport in India
A 41-year-old man from Germany has finally managed to leave New Delhi airport. The German man was stuck there for two months after he wanted to travel from Hanoi to Istanbul, via New Delhi. However, just as he was about to board his flight in New Delhi, the Indian government’s coronavirus rules took effect. All air traffic came to an immediate halt. The man had not applied for an Indian visa, which meant he was not allowed to leave the airport. According to the Indian government, this was because the man knew he would be refused entry due to his criminal past. So the only option left to the German was to stay at the airport. Airport staff gave the man food and water and other essentials such as clothing. Eventually, he was able to fly to Europe.
Psychiatrist cannot start her new job
The last case concerns a psychiatrist from India. Sreemanti Chaudhuri had just won a coveted position with the Counties Manukau District Health Board in New Zealand. However, the lockdown threw a spanner in the works. Previously, Chaudhuri had always been able to travel to New Zealand on a work visa, but due to all the delays and bureaucracy caused by the coronavirus, Chaudhuri missed several flights and is currently stuck in India. This is very unfortunate for New Zealand, as the country has an abundance of people with mental health problems. Specialists from abroad are therefore necessary to make up for the shortage of mental health personnel in their own country.
Stuck in India yourself? What you can do
There are other British people who are still stuck in India like the family from Plymouth. These people are advised to try to return as soon as possible. In a number of cases, the British government provides repatriation flights, but in many other cases return is impossible. It is advised carefully following the rules of the local government in India. In addition, the usual precautionary measures can be taken to prevent infection with coronavirus. This means going outside as little as possible, washing your hands several times a day and avoiding large groups as much as possible. The current lockdown in India will last until 17 May.
Take note: this news article about the visa for India is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the visa for India.