As the World Health Organization declares Coronavirus a pandemic, the Indian government has announced that all visas, barring a select few categories, will be suspended for a month in order to halt the spread of Covid-19.
“All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/international organisations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020,” the statement said. Millions of foreign nationals of Indian origin, who are traditionally granted visa-free access, will now also need to apply, the order read.
According to the advisory issued only diplomatic, official, employment and project visas will be exempt from the current restrictions, which will be reviewed again in a month. India’s health ministry says it was among the first countries in the world to be ready for an outbreak of the respiratory illness.
The visas of all foreigners in India remain valid. They may contact the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO)/ Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) for extension or conversion of their visa or grant of any consular service. Those with Overseas Citizenship of India cards, Visa-free travel facility granted to OCI card holders shall be kept in abeyance till April 15, 2020.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has also advised Indian nationals abroad to avoid non-essential travel. They can be quarantined for 14 days on their arrival in India. Additionally, all Indians have been advised to avoid non-essential travel abroad.