International Travel Restrictions for Indians (Coronavirus Advisory)
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly across the world, governments are scrambling to get it under control and protect their countries from widespread disaster. Strong measures are being taken to curb and manage the effects of the vicious COVID-19.
While daily life is being severely impacted, a major consequence of all the social distancing measures is restrictions on international travel. Below, we highlight what disruptions Indian travellers can face, by region and country.
All passengers entering into India will have to furnish a duly filled self-declaration form (including personal particulars i.e. phone no. and address in India) to Health Officials and Immigration officials. They will also have to undergo Thermal Screening at the designated health counters at all Points of Entry.
The Indian Government has advised Indians to avoid all non-essential international travel. Be a responsible traveller and do not travel until at least the end of April.
The Indonesian government has suspended free visa facility for all nationalities for one month, including Indians. To visit Bali, you will have to obtain a visa from Indonesian embassies/consulates in advance of your trip. To get the visa you will have to provide a health certificate issued by a relevant health authority.
This means that Indians, who could previously just walk into Indonesia, can no longer do so which vastly reduces the convenience of the trip.
The Thai Government has cancelled the Visa on Arrival facility that was previously available to Indians so visa will have to be applied for in advance. Travellers who have recently been in affected countries require a health certificate stating that they are not affected by Coronavirus. They will also be required to self-monitor for 14 days.
The Indian Government has not commented on this as yet.
The Indian Government has not restricted travel to Singapore, but has warned that on return, you may be quarantined for upto 14 days.
Singapore has not restricted travelers from India. However, visitors with recent travel history to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Iran and Korea within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into or transit through Singapore.
Passengers who have been in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia (Bali), Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam or the United Kingdom in the last 14 days will be issued a 14-day Stay Home Notice upon entry into Singapore. In addition, they will have to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN, such as a hotel booking covering the entire period, or a place of residence they or their family members own.
– This does not apply to passengers who are transiting in Singapore without leaving the airport transit area.
Travel of passengers from Malaysia to India is prohibited with effect from 17th March 2020, 3 pm IST up to 31st March. The Indian Government will revise this directive as per the situation then.
Malaysia itself has banned all tourists and foreign visitors from 18th March onwards. All tourist attractions, public gatherings and other largely crowded places have been shut down so there will be no tourism activity at all until 31st March.
Vietnam has suspended issue of all visas till at least 31st March 2020. No new tourists can enter the country.
The Government of India has prohibited travel of passengers from the Philippines to India, with effect from 17th March 2020, 3 pm IST. It will be revised on 31st March, considering the situation at the time.
All international outbound flights from international airports in Luzon area (which is most international flights) will be suspended from 20th March to 13th April 2020.
The Sri Lankan Government has decided to ban all incoming flights for two weeks from 18th March, 6:30 pm GMT to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Visa on arrival facility has been suspended
There are no restrictions from either the Indian or the Maldivian government for travel, but as inter-island travel within the Maldives is restricted, you would have to stick to your resort. Most tourist activities are also suspended.
The country has declared that all tourism visas starting from 6th March onwards are suspended until further notice.
Bhutan has claimed that it is 99% Coronavirus free, and they have achieved this by taking strict steps to curb the spread of the disease.
Currently, there are no restrictions for Indians visiting Nepal. But things are changing fast and there could be a restriction coming soon.
However, all passengers, including Nepalis, flying in from Europe, the UK, West Asia, and the Gulf will not be allowed into the country from March 20 midnight until April 15. Visa on Arrival facility for all nationalities has been suspended from 14th March to 30th April 2020.
All land entry to Nepal has been closed. Only Tribhuvan International Airport can be used as a port of entry and visa will have to be obtained in advance.
All incoming travellers arriving in India from or having visited China after 15th February 2020 shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.
China itself has tightened checks on international travellers, with the capital of Beijing requiring anyone arriving from abroad to be transferred to city quarantine facilities for 14 days.
The Indian Government has advised refraining from non-essential travel. On returning, travellers will be quarantined for up to 14 days and will have to present a medical certificate of having tested negative for COVID-19 from the designated laboratories authorized by the health authorities of South Korea.
While there is no travel restriction from South Korea’s side, visa-free entry to Jeju Island has been restricted. Travellers can expect disruptions in their trips.
The Japanese Government has placed no restrictions on travel to Japan as yet. However, on returning to India, travellers will be compulsorily quarantined for up to 14 days so it is best to refrain from non-essential travel.
The Middle East
United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi)
While the Government of UAE has placed no travel restrictions as yet, India has stated that it will enforce compulsory quarantine for a maximum period of 14 days for passengers coming from/transiting through UAE, effective from 18th March 2020.
According to the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the travel of passengers from Turkey to India is prohibited with effect from 18th March 2020. This means if you go to Turkey you won’t be able to fly back directly and will need to go through another city like Singapore.
While the Turkish government has not restricted incoming passengers from India, it has stated that travellers who have been in or transited through Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, South Korea, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates in the past 14 days are banned from entering Turkey.
As a precautionary measure, Saudi Arabia has decided to suspend international flights for two weeks starting from March 15th, as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of CoronaVirus and banned the entry of Indians
While the Government of Iran has not implemented any travel restrictions as yet, the Indian Government has advised refraining from non-essential travel to Iran. Upon return, Indians can expect mandatory quarantine for up to 14 days.
There are no restrictions on international travel between South Africa and India yet, implemented by either Government. South Africa has classified some countries as high risk, and travellers coming in from there will not be allowed to enter the country. This list is constantly updated and it is risky to travel under such circumstances.
The Kenyan government announced the suspension of all travellers from countries that have reported COVID-19 cases, effective from 15th March. Only Kenyan citizens will be allowed into the country with self-quarantine or quarantine in a government-designated facility
There are no restrictions from either Moroccan or Indian Governments for travel between the two countries. As of right now, incoming travellers will be asked to fill out a health questionnaire and will be subject to thermal scanning.
Egypt will be shutting down its airports and air travel starting from the noon of 19th March until March 31 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Currently, there are no limitations of Indians travelling to Seychelles. However, if you have been in China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Korea, Macao (SAR China) or Spain in the past 14 days, you will not be allowed to transit or enter Seychelles
Currently, there are no limitations of Indians travelling to Mauritius. However, if you have been in China (People’s Rep.), Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (SAR China), Iran, Italy, Korea (Rep.) or Macao (SAR China) in the past 14 days are not allowed to transit or enter Mauritius
While the Indian Government has placed no bans on travel to and from Australia, the Australian government is being cautious about all incoming passengers.
All foreigner travellers (non-citizens and non-residents) have been banned from entering Australia from 20th March, 2020. Australian citizens who do return will be placed under a mandatory quarantine of 14 days.
Similar to Australia, the Indian Government has not restricted travel to and from New Zealand. However, the NZ government is being cautious about all incoming passengers.
Anyone arriving in New Zealand will be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation, monitored by the health authorities.
There are currently no travel restrictions between India and the US.
Canada has closed its borders for all non-citizens and non-PR holders. Earlier it allowed US citizens to enter, but on 18th March, that border was closed as well except for essential travel.
As per a decree by the Indian Government, travel of passengers from member countries of the European Union/European Free Trade Association to India is prohibited with effect from 18th March 2020. No airline shall board a passenger from these nations to India with effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020.
If you need to travel back to India from the EU you will have to do it via another airport like Singapore.
Some notable member destinations this will apply to are:
The United Kingdom (Great Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland) has not placed any restrictions on travellers coming in from India.
However, travel of passengers from the United Kingdom to India is prohibited with effect from 18th March 2020 till at least 31st March. No airline shall board a passenger from these nations to India with effect from 1200 GMT on 18th March 2020.
If you need to travel back to India from the UK you will have to do it via another airport like Singapore.
Russia has closed its borders and foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the country till 1st of May 2020.
As of March 18th, Georgia will ban all foreign passengers from entering the country until at least 1st April 2020.
We strongly recommend all Indian travellers to avoid any international and domestic travel till April end. New travel restrictions are being implemented and updated every day and it is difficult to expect advance notice of any such changes. Being home and avoiding social contact completely is the only way to curb the spread of the virus. Exercise common-sense precautions and compassion in this difficult time.
If you have already booked your trip during this period, we would advise you to look at rescheduling it. Most major airline operators have waived change fees in light of the recent situation and allow rescheduling well into the future.
We would, however, suggest that travellers don’t stop planning and dreaming! Keep an eye on the news and Ithaka’s blog – we will be posting regular updates and travel advisory as the situation evolves.
Feel free to reach out to Ithaka as well, we are happy to help 🙂
Last updated on 19th March’20
- The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- The Guardian
- The New York Times
- Straits Times
- Schengen Visa (Offical Website)
- The US Embassy
- New Zealand Government
- Australia Government
- Egyptian Streets
- Africa News