Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, India Revises Travel Advisory for Indian Diaspora, OCI Card Holders, Foreigners

With India’s total number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases having reached 60, the government has revised its travel advisory for overseas Indians, OCI card holders, and foreign nationals. In the sixth meeting held this morning, Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation; Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs; Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, and Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home have revised the travel advisory and issued a new directive based on it after deliberating on preventive measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID19) infection.

visas to India, India coronavirus news, Indian travel advisory, OCI card news

Picture Credit: GNS News

The government of India’s revised travel advisory suspends all visas to India till April 15, 2020, except diplomatic, UN officials, international organizations, project, and employment visas. The suspension of visas to India will be effective from 12 GMT on March 13, at any port of departure or origin, for Indian Diaspora and foreign nationals.

India’s revised travel advisory applies to OCI card holders, too, as the WHO declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. The visa-free travel facility that OCI card holders are entitled to, is temporarily suspended until April 15 from 1200 GMT on March 13, 2020. Any foreigner or foreign national of Indian origin needs to travel to India for unavoidable reasons are advised to contact the nearest Indian Mission or Consulate.

In its revised travel advisory, the government of India advises all incoming travelers, including overseas Indian nationals, to cancel or postpone non-essential travel to India. They are likely to be quarantined for, at least, 14 days, on arrival in India. Indians at home are strongly recommended to cancel or postpone non-essential trips abroad. On return to India, they can face quarantine for 14 days or more.

Can OCI Card Holders travel to India?

As GOI suspends the visa-free travel facility for OCI card holders, with effect from March 13 till April 15, Overseas Citizen of India card holders cannot make non-essential travel to India without a valid visitor visa. In order to facilitate their travel to India for emergency or other unavoidable reasons during the period of suspension, they can contact the nearest Indian consulate or mission.

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One thought on “Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, India Revises Travel Advisory for Indian Diaspora, OCI Card Holders, Foreigners

  1. Purush Bilimo

    I am an OCI card holder, the accompanying visa was stamped in an old Australian passport, since cancelled, and I have not had it transferred to new passport partly because I now also have a US passport and often travel on this passport (e.g. on US government sponsored stints in India). Occasionally I also go and come from Australia (family and some work still there). I am over 65. We were told to have OCI visas transferred to current passport if one has passed 55 years(or some such arbitrary age). I had traveled back and forth to India from June 2019 to January 2020 with no difficulty but the new Citizenship Act in one reading makes it mandatory that the OCI visa should be in a non-expired passport. It is unclear if this applies to OCI cardholders of all ages or those who have passed the threshold of 50 or 55. Does anyone have a clear idea? I had plans to go to India (OCI cell in New Delhi is where I got my OCI application through) to have the transfer processed (onto my current Australian passport not the US one); will the deadline for that be extended under the present circumstances and threat of coronavirus? This is not exactly the situation of a visa expiring, but the deadline set by the Home Ministry for quite an extraordinary measure that defies reason.


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