Government suspends visa of foreign nationals from Coronavirus epicentres

Mayank Kumar

In the wake of the rapid spreading of Coronavirus infections in India, the Ministry of Health has issued fresh guidelines for passengers entering India. The Ministry of Health has mandated a medical certificate showing negative testing for the COVID-19 from the health authorities of the countries battling with widespread Coronavirus. These countries include Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea. The new provision will be brought into effect at 12 AM on March 10. The ministry, however, clarifies that the measure will be in place temporarily and will be lifted once the cases of Coronavirus start subsiding.

The circular has also revealed the changes in the country’s visa policy for the nationals and passengers coming from the Coronavirus-hit countries. The circular has stated that the government has suspended all the Visa, including e-visa issued on or before March 3 for the nationals of Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. The regulation applies only to foreign nationals who are yet to enter India. The suspension has also been carried out on the Visa on Arrivals for the Japanese and South Korean nationals. However, the ministry has said that the individuals who have some compelling reasons to come to India may apply for a fresh visa from their nearest Indian embassy or consulate.

The government has also decided to suspend all forms of Visa– Regular and e-visa — for all foreign nationals who have travel history to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea on or after February 1. Again, people with a compelling reason for travel to India may apply for a fresh visa from the Indian Embassy or consulate.

The government has given relief from travel restrictions to diplomats, officials from the UN and other intergovernmental bodies and Overseas Citizenship of India cardholders. However, they will have to pass through a medical screening on the point of their entry into India.

The government has mandated a stern medical screening for the passengers, irrespective of nationality – Indian or foreigners – coming directly or indirectly from Coronavirus affected countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan at their immediate point of entry into India.

The ministry has urged the Indians to refrain from traveling to Iran, Italy, China, the Republic of Korea, and Japan and avoid their non-essential traveling plans to other COVID-19 affected countries.