COVID-19: Impact on Expats living and travelling to India – Update

Despite being the second most populous country in the world, India has some of the lowest number of cases of Covid-19. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India is currently in the second stage of coronavirus transmissions.

This has been possible with the help of a nation-wide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who enforced the lockdown for three weeks starting March 22, calling it a people’s curfew or “Janta curfew”. 

The restrictions were aimed at slowing down the transmission of the coronavirus through community outbreak. 

However, while the country has been able to contain the spike in new cases, the shutdown has created a significant economic impact on various industries. The impact is equally evident on various aspects of global mobility in India.

Destination Services

Local and International Schools in India remain closed indefinitely until further orders are received from the Directorate of Education. Online resources are made available to the students via Virtual Private Network. Many schools have started conducting classes over video conferencing solutions to ensure there is no major impact on the students. 

The administrative staff of schools will continue to work from home.

Ongoing travel bans and the shutdown also have hit the real estate industry pretty hard. Apartment rentals have witnessed a steep slow down.

Immigration Services

All existing visas issued to nationals of any country except those issued to Diplomats, Official passport holders, those in UN / International organizations, those on Employment, Project visas and those who are operating aircrew of scheduled commercial airlines, and who had not yet entered India, stand suspended until April 15, 2020.

Visas of all foreign nationals 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. Visa services granted on account of COVID-19 are GRATIS for e-Visa holders and regular tourist and/or business visa holders. 

While employment and project visas are allowed, other categories of visas including visa-free travel facility granted to OCI Card holders stands suspended till April 15, 2020.

Click on this link to access ‘FAQ ON NEW VISA RESTRICTIONS – COVID-19’ 

Travel Restrictions

As per the directives, no scheduled international or domestic commercial passenger aircraft shall depart from any airport in India, starting 0001 hrs GMT of March 22, 2020 (0530 hrs Indian Standard Time (IST) of March 22, 2020). These instructions shall remain in force till 1830 hrs GMT of April 14, 2020. There is also a similar restriction on any arrival of international commercial flights in India for the period. 

There are relief flights been sent by countries like Japan, Germany, Russia amongst others who are evacutiving their nationals back to the home country.

Buying Essentials

Online grocers have partially restored operations in large cities. However, they are still struggling with a massive backlog of orders and shortage of workers triggered due to the ongoing nationwide lockdown. 

To reduce the number of outsiders who enter the apartment, deliveries are being kept at the gate and the residents are informed about the collection.

Local grocery stores and medical stores are operating for fixed hours to provide supplies to the residents in the neighbourhood.

Fleet Services

Formula cars continue to seek guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Complying with all Central and State Government directives, we continue to support our clients in need of essential medical emergencies or airport travels.

Formula group will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and share regular communication and updates as the situation evolves.