The government of India was one of the first 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: 01-04-2021.
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 coronavirus infections and deaths in India being relatively low at the start. India is also seeing the start of a third wave. On 31 March 2021, there were 12,221,665 infections and 162,927 registered deaths.
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. However, submitted applications will not be processed right away by India's immigration service. Due to the large uncertainties, they are put on hold and automatically processed once the immigration service of India starts issuing e-visas again. Currently, there is a general ban on commercial flights entering India until at least 30 April 2021, although some passenger flights do take place on a very limited scale (for business travellers, diplomats, Indian citizens, etc.). Because the Indian e-visa has a validity term of one year, a visa can already be applied for for a trip later this year, even if the exact travel dates have not been confirmed yet.
Previously issued physical visas of which the validity period has not expired (with the exception of the tourist visa) must first be re-confirmed by the embassy before they can be used to travel to India. Land borders remain closed (except for Indian citizens).
When entering on a physical visa or a previously issued eBusiness or eMedical visa, all travellers must upload a negative PCR test, which cannot be older than 72 hours, along with a Self Declaration Form in the Air Suvidha Portal. On arrival in India, another coronavirus test is taken, which the traveller has to pay for themselves. In light of the outbreak of a new highly contagious strain of the virus, certain Indian states have additional quarantine measures in place for travellers from the United Kingdom and the EU since 21 December.
Will my Indian visa remain valid after the coronavirus pandemic?
Many travellers were issued a visa for India with a validity term of one year which they could not use. It is currently unclear if the government will extend the validity of these visas so that they 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. Travelling to India for tourist or medical purposes will not be possible until at least 30 April. It is also not possible to travel to India by land. Holders of an OCI card (Overseas Citizen of India) or a PIO card (Person of Indian Origin) can generally travel to India (without a visa).
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I was unable to leave India, what now?
Outside of the so-called "containment areas", restrictions are being eased and domestic railway and air traffic is picking up again, although some states do still have restrictions on domestic flight traffic. Wearing a mask is mandatory in public spaces and in your car throughout the country, and there is a ban on large-scale gatherings. The guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19 will remain in place until at least 30 April, but likely longer. In addition to 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, or on arrival from abroad (although there are alternatives for people that cannot install the app on their phone). various Indian states, there is a mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers from other states.
European governments are organising 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 returning to the United Kingdom, you must provide all of your travel details and be able to present a negative Covid-19 test result which was taken at maximum 3 days before departure. Once you arrive in the UK, you must take 2 additional tests which must have been booked before arrival. You must also self-isolate for 10 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.