India suspends visitor visas and advises nationals to avoid overseas trips

INDIA. The Indian government has suspended most visitor visas from 13 March until 15 April, effectively halting foreign travel into the country in that period. Responding to the threat of COVID-19, ministers decided to invalidate all visas except for those related to diplomatic, official, UN/international organisation, employment or project activity.

In a further dramatic step, the government advised Indian nationals to avoid non-essential travel overseas, noting that they may be subject to quarantine on their return.

Further restrictions have been placed on arriving travellers, including Indians, from affected locations. Anyone arriving from or having visited China, Iran, Italy, Korea, France, Spain or Germany after 15 February must enter quarantine for 14 days.

The visa restrictions and the advice to Indians not to travel abroad will have a big impact on travel retail (Delhi Duty Free pictured)

India has also set aside the visa-free travel facility granted to OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card holders. The government added that any foreign national requiring entry to India for a “compelling reason” may contact their nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

International traffic through India’s land borders will also be restricted to certain designated checkpoints that have “robust” screening facilities.

India has 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of today.

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