According to the Unlock 5.0 guidelines issued by the Home Ministry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the ban on scheduled international commercial flights till the end of this month.
However, there are a number of countries to which flights are being operated to and Indian citizens can book the same.
If cases continue to rise, most likely this decision will stand in the coming months as well
The government further mentioned that the relaxation on international flights will depend on how the virus behaves. The government is also taking note of the COVID-19 cases in the destination countries.
For those who want to fly abroad, India has established air bubble arrangements with 15 countries. These are the US, the UK, Canada, the UAE, Nigeria, Qatar, Kenya, Maldives, Iraq, Japan, Germany, Bhutan, France, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. These countries are operating flights to and from India under an air bubble arrangement agreed upon by both jurisdictions.
Under the air travel arrangement with the US, Air India has added thrice-a-week flights between Newark and Delhi. The airline is also operating flights between London and Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Goa, and Kolkata.
Additionally, Indian carriers are also operating certain flights under Vande Bharat Mission. Out of these, only a few of them are carrying people on outbound flights from India.
Visa rules for international destinations
With respect to visas being issued for these destinations, visa outsourcing firm VFS Global has said that visa applications for 25 countries have started. This includes a few countries opening up the application process for select categories.
For example, most countries in Europe’s Schengen region are only accepting Category D visa applications. This is granted to individuals studying, working, or residing permanently in one of the Schengen countries. Certain countries in the Schengen region like Estonia and Germany are also allowing Category C visas. These are meant for short-visits.
Apart from this, the US is accepting visa applications for emergency cases, work visas of ‘H’ and ‘L’ classes, student visas, etc. Furthermore, some countries like the UK, the UAE, Turkey, Dominican Republic are accepting applications for all visa categories. However, South Korea and Ireland are only allowing long-stay visa applications.