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Coronavirus: India suspends all tourist visas, including issued ones, from 13th March

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I thought we might get through the day without a coronavirus announcement, but it’s not going to happen.

India has just announced that ALL tourist visas will be suspended on 13th March.  

For clarity, this covers existing visas as well as ones which are currently being processed.  If you have a visa, it is no longer valid.

Visas will not be reinstated until 15th April.

In addition, all incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15th February 2020 will be quarantined for at least 14 days.  This will also come into effect on 13th March.

Comments (51)

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  • Algor says:

    “India has just announced that ALL tourist visas will be suspended on 13th March.”

    lex retro non agit

    They could just spin this up a bit to look better.

    India is unfortunately a country where this kind of virus could spread rapidly, this move is understandable.

    • Shoestring says:

      “A law does not apply retroactively” – you mean they’re late to the party? Probably down to lack of testing. If you don’t test, you don’t find evidence of Covid-19 – indeed, Italy was one of the best testers per million population in Europe and was criticised in the some quarters of the Italian press for being ‘too keen’ and making Italy look bad in the eyes of the world by finding high positive tests.

      FYI, as of yesterday Italy had tested about 450 people per million population, the UK something like 350 – and the grand total in the USA? – 5 people tested per million population.

      • Anna says:

        In the US they are still arguing about whether testing will be covered by medical insurance. I would wager a tiny percentage of those infected will be tested, let alone treated.

        • Mikeact says:

          We’re down in Texas for another couple of weeks or more……and have two Reward flights booked to get back….but we will see !

          • Anna says:

            Lots of wide open space with no people in Texas! We are supposed to be going to Miami at Easter which is a seething hub of cruise ship passengers 🤦‍♀️

        • Mark says:

          What do you mean? I have it on good authority that it was “stopped at the border” and it’s “going away”….

          🙂

      • Algor says:

        “India has just announced that ALL tourist visas will be suspended”

        They shouldn’t touch visas in the topic and just write about restrictions.

        It is only wording, still would be better.

  • Jcp says:

    Out of interest, does travel insurance tend to cover this sort of stuff? The FCO hasn’t stated that people shouldn’t travel to India…

    • Mark says:

      Depends on the policy detail as always. Ours, as it turns out is pretty useless, including the following amongst the cancellation cover exclusions:

      Any losses arising from the order or regulation, including enactment and/or enforcement of such order or regulation, of any Government, in respect of cancellation claims;
      Any losses arising from an epidemic or pandemic as categorised as such by any Government and/or the World Health Organisation, in respect of cancellation claims;

      So that’s likely to be a no then for us even if we were due to go somewhere that the FCO were to advise against travel. Fortunately we only have avios redemption bookings lined up.

      You may also find that being boarding/denied entry through not having a valid visa is excluded from cancellation cover, which gives them an ‘out’ even though in this case it’s not your fault.

    • Lydia says:

      I doubt it. One of the big US festivals has just been cancelled, and no refunds will be given as the situation is regarded as an “act of God”. I guess that means the organisers won’t be able to claim back the costs they’ve already incurred. It would be worthwhile buying watertight cancellation insurance for conferences/festivals etc in the future.

  • Max says:

    ADVISORY: TRAVEL AND VISA RESTRICTIONS RELATED TO COVID-19 DATED 11TH MARCH, 2020
    In supersession of all earlier advisories issued on this subject, the following advisories are issued for immediate implementation.

    (i) All regular (sticker) Visas/e-Visa granted to nationals of France, Germany and Spain and issued on or before 11.3.2020 and who have not yet entered India stand suspended with immediate effect.

    (ii) All regular (sticker) Visas/e-Visa (including VoA for Japan and South Korea) granted to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan and which have been issued on or before 03.03.2020 and who have not yet entered India remain suspended .

    (iii) Regular (sticker) visa/e-Visa granted to nationals of China, issued on or before 05.02.2020 suspended earlier continue to be suspended.

    (iv) Regular (sticker) visas/e-Visas granted to all foreign nationals who have travelled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany and Spain on or after 01.02.2020 and who have not yet entered India stands suspended with immediate effect.

    (v) All aforementioned restricted category of foreign nationals may not enter India from any Air, Land or Seaport ICPs. Those requiring to travel to India due to compelling reasons, may seek fresh visa from the nearest Indian embassy/consulate. Italian and South Korean nationals, who are granted fresh visa issued after 05.03.2020 should carry ‘tested negative for COVID-19’ medical certificate from designated laboratories of Italy and South Korea.

    (vi) Indians and OCI card holders from Italy and South Korea should carry ‘tested negative for COVID-19’ medical certificate from designated laboratories of Italy and South Korea. OCI card holders of other countries are free from visa restrictions but shall need to undergo mandatory health check upon arrival in India.

    (vii) Visas of all foreigners already in India remain valid. They may contact the nearest FRRO/FRO through e-FRRO module for extension/conversion etc of their visa or grant of any consular service if they choose to do so.

    (viii) Holders of Diplomatic passports, Official passports, officials of UN and other international bodies and aircrew from above eight countries are exempted from such restriction on entry. However, their medical screening on arrival is compulsory.

    (ix) All foreign and Indian nationals entering into India from any port are required to furnish a pair of duly filled self-declaration forms (including personal particulars i.e. Phone number and address in India) and travel history to health officials and immigration officials at all arrival ports.

    (x) These restrictions will remain in force till further orders.
    Source:
    boi . gov .in

    • Mark says:

      I’m not seeing “nationals of the United Kingdom” mentioned anywhere in here….

      • Marc says:

        This looks like an old advisory which has since been updated to include all countries.

        In Goa now due back on Saturday 21st on BA from Hyderabad. Getting home looks like it could be interesting…

  • Aston100 says:

    Blimey. I suppose no chance of BA extending the expiry date of companion vouchers that are due to expire at the end of this year?

    At this rate, I’ll probably have nowhere to use them on.

  • Erico1875 says:

    That’s my Easter Hols up the spout!

    • Shoestring says:

      I think that might be true for a lot of us, the doodah is hitting the fan at just the wrong time, we were supposed to fly out on Sat 28th so that’s just over 2 weeks for various lockdowns or similar measures to go into action, looks like most of Europe is just a couple weeks behind Italy

      • meta says:

        You might be able to sneek out just in time. I’m still hopeful this will be the case for my trip to Japan. I’m due to fly on 26th, two weeks tomorrow. It also looks like it’s calming down in Asia.

        • Lydia says:

          I’m planning to fly to Japan on the 26th too – I have a ticket for the Download festival. No word yet on whether the gigs will be cancelled, but I think there is a good chance of UK nationals being blocked or quarantined by then. Fingers crossed we’ll be ok.

          • meta says:

            I am very hopeful as they haven’t even banned all Italian citizens yet. Only those from Northern Italy have to go to quarantine as of now. I doubt you’ll be able to attend Download Festival judging by the Japanese news. Most events, even small ones, have been cancelled or have significantly reduced seating capacity. My friend’s performance in a theatre of 100 seats has been now classified as closed performance for only 20 people now. But everything else is still open, temples, restaurants, shops, etc. Some shops have reduced working hours, like 11am-8pm, instead of 10-10). Plus apparently it’s a bliss to walk around with less tourists. This also means less chance to get infected. Fingers crossed!

      • Russ 😷 says:

        We have nothing booked till Christmas, all points refundable day before. No flights booked. It’s only 11th March and the delights of chatting with the next door neighbor about football have well and truly expired.

  • r* says:

    Does the quarantine apply indefinitely or for arrivals up to the 15th? Im due to arrive in india on april 17th on lufthansa. Supposed to be from milan via munich, but was trying to change the milan segment but in all cases it would involve munich.

    Does amex plat travel insurance cover this sort of thing assuming the flight doesnt get cancelled?

  • Anna says:

    OT but someone might know – I have a 5 night reward stay at the Westin Grand Cayman booked for Easter (Bonvoy points) It can be cancelled until March 23rd. If travel was suspended after that would I have any chance of getting the (240,000!) points back? I doubt insurance covers loyalty points.

    • meta says:

      Did you purchase any of the points? If so, there is a monetary value which you could present to insurers. I believe I read hear before, but I might be mistaken Amex Plat insurance does cover loyalty points too… Also, Marriott/Hotel in question might be sympathetic and give you the opportunity to change the dates or cancel without penalty after the cancelation deadline.

      • Anna says:

        Thanks, yes some purchased. We have travel insurance through work, both on Platinum hiatus at the moment! I will certainly “reach out” to the hotel as they say, but knowing the Caymanian attitude to gouging tourists I’m not hopeful of any sympathy! Just got to hope they won’t try and charge us the $65 per night “resort fee” and $25 extra person fee for our son to sleep on the sofa bed!

        • meta says:

          Also beware some hotels have the policy of charging a rack rate for cancellations!

          • Anna says:

            I can just imagine! I will make sure to remove my credit card from my Bonvoy account!

          • Anna says:

            Though just realised the card number they have is the SPG one I cancelled when they cut the earning rate. Good luck with that!

    • Russ 😷 says:

      No disrespect to Rob or any other commentators here but any big ticket items I’d go straight to the body responsible. Get something in writing confirming their position and take a view. Bottom line is HFP doesn’t have any authority over any of these providers and the rug can get pulled without notice. Can you go somewhere cheaper this time and perhaps visit later in the year?

      • Anna says:

        I’m aware of that, I just wondered if anyone had personal experience of cancelling a Bonvoy points booking. It’s my retirement trip but no chance of re-scheduling this year as OH is still working and has to book his leave 12-18 months ahead. Though if there’s a social breakdown resulting from the current situation, all his leave might be cancelled anyway!

  • KBuffett says:

    I’ve used a 241 voucher to fly out to Mumbai on 9th April.
    I’m sure it’s been asked many times, but looking for comfort from fellow HFP readers.
    Will I get my points, ‘tax’ and voucher back (and voucher extended)?

    • Mark says:

      You get the avios, voucher and taxes & fees back, all bar £35 per person. There is no official policy on voucher extensions however at the moment, so you’ll likely get it back with the original expiry date. Depending on when it expires that may or may not be much use to you.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, except for the voucher. May or may not get that extended.

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