COVID and VISAS
Updated on 20th June'2020
ADVISORY: TRAVEL AND VISA RESTRICTIONS RELATED TO COVID-19
Vide MHA order No.25022/24/2020-F.V/F.I dated 01.06.2020.
The following categories of foreign nationals has been permitted to come to India:-
(i) Foreign businessmen coming to India on a Business Visa [other than on B-3 Visa for sports] in non-scheduled commerical/chartered flights.
(ii) Foreign Healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians for technical work at Indian health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories. This is subject to a letter of invitation from a recognized and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or accredited University in India.
(iii) Foreign Engineering, Managerial, Design or other Specialists travelling to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India. This includes all manufacturing units, design units, software and IT units as well as financial sector companies (banking and non-banking financial sector firms).
(iv) Foreign Technical specialists and engineers travelling for installation, repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business entity. These could be for equipment installation, or is under warranty, or for after sales servicing or repair on commercial terms.
Foreign nationals covered in sub-paras (i) to (iv) above shall have to obtain a fresh Business visa or Employment visa, as applicable, from the Indian Missions/ Posts abroad. Foreign nationals holding a valid long term multiple entry Business visa [other than B-3 visa for sports] issued by the Indian Missions/Posts abroad shall have to get the Business visa re-validated from the Indian Mission/Post concerned. Such foreign nationals will not be permitted to travel to India on the strength of any electronic visa obtained earlier.
Vide MHA Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) Dated 24th May, 2020
A. Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for movement of Indian Nationals stranded outside the country
In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, international travel of passengers has been prohibited under MHA's Orders related to lockdown measures. As per information available, many Indian Nationals who had travelled to different countries before the lockdown, on various purposes such as employment, studies/internships, tourism, business, etc., are stranded abroad. Due to their prolonged stay abroad, they are facing distress and are desirous of returning to India urgently. Apart from the above cases, there are other Indian Nationals who need to visit India in medical emergencies or death of a family member.
2. In order to facilitate the movement of such Indian Nationals,the following SoP is hereby laid down:
i. Such persons will register themselves with the Indian Missions in the country where they are stranded, along with necessary details as prescribed by MEA.
ii. They will travel to India by non scheduled commercial flights as allowed by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA); and ships as allowed by Department of Military Affairs (DMA)/Ministry of Shipping (MOS). Only those crew and staff, who are tested COVID-19 negative, will be allowed to operate these flights/ships.
iii. Priority will be given to compelling cases in distress, including migrant workers/ labourers who have been laid off, short term visa holders faced with expiry of visas, persons with medical emergency/pregnant women/elderly, those required to return to India due to death of family member, and students.
iv. The cost of travel, as specified by the carrier, will be borne by such travellers.
v. Based on the registrations received, MEA will prepare flight/ship wise database of all such travellers, including details such as name, age, gender, mobile phone number, place of residence, place of final destination; and information on RT-PCR test taken and its result. This data base will be shared by MEA with the respective State/UT in advance.
vi. MEA will designate State/UT wise nodal officers, who will co-ordinate with the nodal officers designated for this purpose by the respective states/UTs.
vii. MEA will display with at least two days notice, the scheduled (day, place and time of arrival) of the incoming flight/ship, on their online digital platform.
viii. All travellers will also be required to give an undertaking that they are making the journey at their own risk.
ix. Passengers arriving through the land borders will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, and only those who are asymptomatic will be enabled to cross the border into India.
x. The guidelines for International arrivals, including for quarantine arrangements, dated May 24, 2020, issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) will be followed.
Vide MHA Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) Dated 24th May, 2020
B. Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) for movement of persons stranded in India who are desirous to travel abroad
In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, international travel of passengers has been prohibited under MHA's Orders related to lockdown measures. As per information available, many persons are stranded in India who desirous to travel abroad urgently for various purposes.
2. In order to facilitate the movement of such persons, the following SoP is hereby laid down:
i. Such persons will apply to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) or to any agency designated by MoCA for this purpose, along with necessary details, including the places of departure and arrival, as prescribed by MoCA.
ii. Only those persons shall be allowed to travel to the destination countries, who are citizens of that country; who hold visa of at least one year duration of that country; and green card or OCI card holder. In cases of medical emergency or death in the family, Indian Nationals holding six month visa can also be allowed.
iii. The travel from India shall be by on the non-scheduled commercial flights that are allowed by MoCA for bringing back stranded Indian Nationals from abroad.
iv. Indian seafarers/crew seeking to accept contracts to serve on vessels abroad, can travel on the non-scheduled commercial flights departing from India under the Vande Bharat Mission or other flights arranged by their employers subject to clearance given by the Ministry of Shipping.
v. Before the tickets of such persons are confirmed, MoCA will ensure that the destination country allows entry of such persons in that country. The conditions, if any, imposed by the destination country, will have to be fulfilled by the person intending to travel.
vi. The cost of travel, as specified by the carrier, will be borne by such travellers.
vii. At the time of boarding the flight, MoCA will ensure that all travellers undergo thermal screening as per health protocol. Only asymptomatic travellers would be allowed to board the flight.
viii. While on board the flight, required precautions such as wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc. are to be observed by airline staff, crew and all passengers.
The Guidelines for International arrival issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
i. Before boarding, all travellers shall give an undertaking that they would undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days - 7 days paid institutional quarantine at their own cost, followed by 7 days isolation at home with self-monitoring of health.
ii. Only for exceptional and compelling reasons such as cases of human distress, pregnancy, death in family, serious illness and parent(s) accompanied by children below 10 years, as assessed by the receiving states,home quarantine may be permitted for 14 days. Use of Aarogya Setu app shall be mandatory in such cases.
iii. Dos and Don'ts shall be provided along with ticket to the travelers by the agencies concerned.
iv. All passengers shall be advised to down load Arogya Setu app on their mobile devices.
v. At the time of boarding the flight/ship, only asymptomatic travellers will be allowed to board after thermal screening.
vi. Passengers arriving through the land borders will also have to undergo the same protocol as above, and only those who are asymptomatic will be enabled to cross the border into India.
vii. Self-declaration form in duplicate shall be filled by the person in the flight/ship and a copy of the same will be given to Health and Immigration officials present at the airport/ seaport/ land port. The form may also be made available on Aarogya Setu app.
viii. Suitable precautionary measures such as environmental sanitation and disinfection shall be ensured at the airports as well as within the flights.
ix. During boarding and at the airports, all possible measures to ensure social distancing to be ensured.
x. Suitable announcement about COVID-19 including precautionary measures to be followed shall be made at airports/port and in flights/ships and during transit.
xi. While on board the flight/ship, required precautions such as wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene etc. are to be observed by airline/ ship staff, crew and all passengers.
xii. On arrival, thermal screening would be carried out in respect of all the passengers by the Health officials present at the airport/seaport/ landport.
xiii. The passengers found to be symptomatic during screening shall be immediately isolated and taken to medical facility as per health protocol.
xiv. The remaining passengers shall be taken to suitable institutional quarantine facilities, to be arranged by the respective State/ UT Governments.
xv. These passengers shall be kept under institutional quarantine for a minimum period of 7 days. They shall be tested as per ICMR protocol available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Revisedtestingguidelines.pdf. If they test positive, they shall be assessed clinically.
a. If they are assessed as mild cases, they will be allowed home isolation or isolated in the Covid Care Centre (both public & private facilities) as appropriate.
b. Those having moderate or severe symptoms will be admitted to dedicated COVID Health facilities and managed accordingly.
If found negative, they shall be advised to further isolate themselves at home and self-monitor their health for 7 days.
xvi. In case, any symptoms develop they shall inform the district surveillance officer or the state/national call centre (1075).
1. All incoming passenger traffic, on all 107 Immigration Check Posts which includes all Airport ICPs, all Seaport ICPs all Land Port ICPs, all Rail Port ICPs and all River Port ICPs, is prohibited, in the view of the spread of COVID-19.
Vehicles/Trains carrying goods for the trade or essential goods and supplies are exempted from this prohibition along with their crew, driver, helper, cleaner etc. subject to their thorough screening by the medical staff for COVID-19.
2. The visa restrictions, as mentioned below, shall remain in force
1. All existing Visas granted to Foreigners except to those belonging to Diplomatic, Official, UN/International organizations, Employment and Project categories shall remain suspended till prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India.(Vide MHA OM No. 25022/24/2020-FV/FI(i) dated 5th May, 2020).
2. “Regular Visa, e-visa or stay stipulation of such foreign nationals whose visa have expired or would be expiring during the period from 01.02.2020(Mid night) till the date on which prohibition on international air travel of passengers from India is lifted by the Government of India, would be extended on ‘GRATIS’’ basis on submission of online application by the foreigners. Such extensions would be granted for a period up to 30 days from the date of lifting of prohibition on international air travel of passengers from India without levy of overstay penalty. Exit to such foreign nationals, if so requested by them, will also be granted on the same lines.” (Vide MHA OM No. 25022/24/2020-FV/FI(ii) dated 5th May, 2020).
3. The validity of OCI card of foreigners presently in India shall remain.
4. Visa free travel facility granted to OCI card holders, has been kept in abeyance till prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India. Any foreign national (including OCI cardholder) who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact the nearest Indian Mission for fresh visa. (Vide MHA OM No. F.NO.26011/Misc./83/2020-OCI dated 5th May, 2020).
Vide MHA Order No. 26011/Misc/83/2020-OCI dated 22.05.2020, the following categories of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), who are stranded abroad, are permitted to come to India:
(i) Minor children born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards
(ii) OCI card holders who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies like death in family.
(iii) Couples where one spouse is an OCI card holder and the other is an Indian national and they have a permanent residence in India.
(iv) University students who are OCI card holders (not legally minors) but whose parents are Indian citizens living in India.
5. International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated Immigration Check posts that have been notified by MHA vide O.M. No.25022/12/2017-Imm dated March 14, 2020.
Mandatory compliance of Travel Advisory issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India
1. Travel of passengers from Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia to India is prohibited with immediate effect. No Flight shall take-off from these countries to India after 1500 hours Indian Standard Time (IST). The Airlines shall enforce this at the port of initial departure. This instruction is a temporary measure and shall be enforced till 31st March 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently.
2. Passengers travelling from / having visited Italy or Republic of Korea and desirous of entering India will need certificate of having tested negative from COVID-19 from the designated laboratories authorized by Health Authority of these countries. This is enforcement since 0000 hrs. of March 10, 2020 and is a temporary measure till cases of COVID-19 subside.
3. All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after Feb. 15, 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. This will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020 at the port of departure.
4. All passengers coming from UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait will be placed under compulsory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days which shall come into effect from 1200 hrs GMT on March 18, 2020 at the port of first departure.
5. Incoming travellers including Indian nationals are advised to avoid non-essential travel and are informed that they can be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days on their arrival in India.
6. Indian nationals are further strongly advised to refrain from travel to China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan, France, Spain & Germany.
7. All incoming international passengers returning to India should self-monitor their health and follow required do’s and don’ts as detailed by the Government.
8. International traffic through land borders will be restricted to designated check posts with robust screening facilities. These have been notified separately by Ministry of Home Affairs.
9. All international passengers entering into India are required to furnish duly filled self-declaration form in duplicate (including personal particulars i.e. phone no. and address in India) (as annexed) to Health Officials and Immigration officials and undergo Universal Health Screening at the designated health counters at all Points of Entry.
10. For any queries related to health, people may contact Ministry of Health & Family Welfare 24*7 helpline number (+91-11-23978046) or email at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mandatory compliance of Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19 from Director General of Civil Aviation to be followed by all scheduled Indian and Foreign Airlines engaged in International air transportation to/from India.
1. All scheduled international commercial passenger services shall remain closed till prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India. However, this restriction will not apply to international cargo operations and flights especially approved by DGCA.
2. No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall take from any foreign airport for any airport in India, after 0001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (0530 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of March 22, 2020). These instructions shall remain in force till prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India.
3. A maximum travel time of 20 hours is permissible for such commercial aircraft to land in India.
4. As such, no incoming scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to disembark its passengers on Indian soil (Foreigner or Indian) after 2001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (0131 hrs IST of March 23, 2020).
5. All passengers who have visited COVID-19 affected countries duly identified by Government of India in earlier travel advisories, who have visited these countries on or after February 15, 2020; and which are mentioned hereunder again:- China, Iran and EU, EU FTA, Turkey, UK (from where passengers have been prohibited from entering India from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia (in force from March 17), shall remain in force and no scheduled international commercial airline shall carry or disembark such passengers on Indian soil.
6. These instructions are in addition to the travel restrictions/advisories already issued and under implementation. The above are temporary measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19, and are subject to review by Government.
Updated on 5th May'2020
Applicants are advised not to submit multiple applications once they have received Application ID on successful submission of application. Submission of multiple applications will delay clearance as each application will be examined before clearing.
Gratis visa extension/exit permit has only been granted by Govt. of India for those who have not been able to return due to suspension of International flights. Presently they have been permitted to get GRATIS EXIT till May 17, 2020.
Those applicants desiring to stay back in India for longer duration beyond the lifting of lockdown and are seeking an extension of visa beyond the stipulated period of May 17 will not be covered under the GRATIS scheme. They may apply in a regular way and pay the requisite fee when they receive a message from Visa Extending Authority.
Update on 3rd April'2020
Foreigners in India
Please contact your Embassy. Embassies are arranging buses for your exit out of India.
If you want to take a private car from Uttarakhand, please seek permission from the Uttarakhand police by applying for an e-pass.
The contact details for Uttarakhand are as follows.
If you are in another state, please contact your local Liu
for contact details for an e-pass
Staying in India
If your visa is about to expire please contact your local LIU as well as the FRRO for a visa extension on:
You can also contact the FRRO directly for any queries
If your application is approved your visa will automatically be extended until 30th April 2020. Information post this date has not been announced yet. If your visa is about to expire please contact your local LIU as well as the FRRO for a visa extension on:
Making the trip out of India
Please make sure you have a flight booked
A hotel to stay in your place of departure
Be aware that you may be quarantined in your country of arrival
Update on 28th March'2020
All existing visas issued to nationals of any country except those issued to Diplomats, Official passport holders, those in UN / International organizations, those on Employment, Project visas and those who are operating aircrew of scheduled commercial airlines, and who had not yet entered India, stand suspended w.e.f. 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020, till April 15, 2020.
Visas of all foreign nationals already in India remain valid. They may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through the e-FRRO module for extension/ conversion etc. of their visa or grant of any consular service.
The validity of the OCI card of foreigners presently in India shall remain.
Visa-free travel facility granted to OCI cardholders who are not in India presently has been kept in abeyance till April 15, 2020. This has come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020, at the port of departure of any foreigner for onward journey to India
Any foreign national (including OCI cardholder) who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact the nearest Indian Mission.