Are we safe in India

The Indian government was one of the first to impose an entry ban because of the coronavirus (Covid-19). This entry ban still applies and has consequences for travel plans and visas for India that have already been issued. On this page you can read the current corona situation in India and the expected effects for the next few months. Last update: 05/14/2021.

Current corona crisis situation in India

The Indian authorities acted very quickly and shortly after the corona outbreak outside of China imposed a total entry ban, including for travelers with a visa. Among other things, these measures have ensured that the number of infected and deceased corona patients in India only increased slowly at the beginning. However, a large third wave of infections is now recognizable in India. As of May 13, 2021, 24,046,809 infections and 262,317 deaths were recorded. The health system in India is overburdened and the expectation is that the number of deaths will continue to rise sharply for this reason alone.

India has taken far-reaching measures against the spread of the coronavirus, which also affect travelers who already hold a visa

Germans can currently apply for a visa - for future trips

Currently, the India Visa Application Form on this website can be used and completed in the same way as usual. However, the submitted applications will not be reviewed and processed by the Indian immigration authorities immediately after the application is submitted. Because of the great uncertainty, they will be placed in a queue and only processed as soon as the immigration authorities of India issue e-visas again. The immigration authorities of India have been issuing e-visas for business trips again since the beginning of April 2021, but you cannot yet apply for these visas on this website. For the time being, a ban on commercial passenger flights to India applies in any case until May 31, but possibly longer, even if passenger flights - for business travelers, diplomats, Indian nationals, etc. - are carried out to a limited extent. Since India's e-Visa is valid for one year, a visa can be applied for now for a trip that will take place later this year or at the beginning of next year, even if the exact travel dates have not yet been determined.

A visa that was already issued before the corona crisis and affixed to your passport, whose validity has not yet expired, must be confirmed at the embassy before you can use it for another trip to India. However, this is not possible for tourist visas. With a visa issued by the embassy, ​​you can in principle enter India by plane or ship. The road border crossings will remain closed until further notice, with the exception of Indian nationals.

For entry with a visa that is affixed to the passport or a recently issued eBusiness or eMedical visa, the prerequisite is that everyone who is allowed to enter has a negative PCR test before departure must be older than 72 hours, together with a completed self-declaration form in the Air Suvidha portal / the website of the New Delhi airport. On arrival in India, another Covid-19 test is taken at the airport, which the traveler has to pay for himself. However, every Indian state has slightly different quarantine measures for travelers from the UK and the EU. So z. B. in the state of Maharashtra, travelers from the EU or Great Britain remain in quarantine for 14 days after entering the country.

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Validity of the visa after the corona crisis

Many travelers have already obtained a one-year India Visa that they were unable to use. It is still unknown whether the Indian authorities will extend the validity of these visas so that they can still be used after the corona border closings have expired. At the moment - especially in connection with the increasing corona infections both in India and in Europe - it is not possible to predict when the border closings will be lifted again.

Further development of the corona and travel situation in India

The Indian government has imposed an entry ban very quickly, but is less quick to provide information about the measures to be expected in the near future. It is not yet known when India visas can be re-used for entry. In any case, it is not possible for foreigners to travel to India as a tourist or with an eMedical visa until May 31st, and on April 24th the German authorities declared India a virus variant area, and so did they Entry from India is only allowed in exceptional cases. In principle, there is therefore a ban on transport for people who want to travel from India to Germany. However, people who have an OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) card or a PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) card can very well travel to India (without a visa).

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European travelers who are still in India

Due to the medical situation, the European governments strongly recommend that their nationals return to their home country if their stay in India is not absolutely necessary. Because of the third wave of infections, curfews for the night and weekends are being imposed in more and more cities and regions. On various occasions, mandatory health tests (corona rapid tests) are carried out on the population in the country.

Refusing to take the test and not complying with other corona measures is seen as a criminal offense and punished with fines or even imprisonment. Throughout India, the use of a face mask in public spaces and also in cars is compulsory and larger groups are not allowed to gather. In addition to following the rules of the Indian authorities, also follow the rules set by the German government for people living in Germany (Austria / Switzerland). This includes keeping a minimum distance from other people, avoiding social contact and washing your hands regularly (at least 20 seconds). If your visa expires within a short period of time, you can apply for an extension online on the website of an FRO / FRRO agency (Foreigner Registration Office).

Use of the "Aarogya Setu" tracking app is mandatory when traveling on public transport, domestic air travel, and when entering India (although there are alternative options for people who cannot install the app on their phone). Traveling between some Indian states is only possible with a negative PCR test and in some Indian states there is even a quarantine requirement for people arriving from other states.

Return to Germany, Austria or Switzerland

Many European governments are organizing some flights bilaterally with the Indian government, mainly in cooperation with Air India, Air France - KLM and Lufthansa, so that you can travel back to Europe. The flights can often only be viewed and booked in the respective systems of KLM, Air France and Lufthansa a week before the departure date. When booking flights, you should specifically look for 'one-way'. If you need to travel across several states to get to your departure airport, the recommendation is to take a domestic flight to get there. Some countries, such as the UK, Canada, Singapore and or Oman, have banned the entry of people who have previously been in India, even if those people have only had one transit in India.

When returning from India, you must register on the website "Einreiseanmeldung.de" before entering Germany and have a Covid-19 test with a negative result before you leave. Due to the overloading of the Indian medical system and thus also the For testing laboratories due to the recent wave of Covid-19, it can be a problem to have the test carried out in good time before your departure. Upon return, you will go into self-isolation, whereby you must remain in quarantine at home for at least 10 days, as India has been classified as a virus variant area .

Financial consequential damage of the corona measures

Nobody really knows whether there will be any compensation for this, both in terms of the cost of the visa and other costs such as flights and overnight stays. If you have booked a package tour, you can contact your tour operator or travel agent. If you have taken out travel and cancellation insurance, you may be able to contact this insurance with a claim. However, travel insurance companies also get into trouble when they have to reimburse all trips and can rely on clauses that are included in many contracts that state that no damage will be compensated in the event of force majeure. The Indian government will not offer any compensation for the cost of the visa; Finally, all immigration services in the world reserve the right to refuse entry to travelers even after a visa has been issued (even without giving reasons) if they could pose a danger to the country to be visited.

Disclaimer: The corona crisis situation in India is changing rapidly and the immigration authorities as well as other government agencies in India are very reluctant to provide information about the measures and their consequences for the use of visas in the near future. You cannot derive any rights from the information on this page, which has been carefully compiled, but no guarantee is given for its topicality and completeness.