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4 Feb, 2020 15:16

‘Existing visas no longer valid’: India hardens border with China over coronavirus

‘Existing visas no longer valid’: India hardens border with China over coronavirus

New Delhi has cancelled all visas issued to Chinese nationals and foreigners who have visited China after January 15. Those who have already entered India using those visas have been told to contact a government hotline.

India’s embassy in China has announced that it is suspending all visas granted to people who either reside in China, or have visited the country in the past two weeks. This includes employee visas and business visas and applies to people who traveled from China after January 15.

Chinese nationals who have not yet entered the country must now go to an Indian embassy or consulate in one of three major cities (Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai) and re-apply for a visa in person, a tweet from the organization said.

The embassy has urged those who already entered India from China to contact a government hotline run by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare immediately, as they are now in the country illegally.

Previously, foreigners from most countries, including China, could apply for an e-visa online, without having to visit an embassy or a consulate in person. For a Chinese tourist e-visa, the applicant needed to apply four days before their flight, send in a passport scan, and pay $10-$80, depending on the duration of their stay. After that, they just needed to keep a printed copy of their authorization when boarding their flight to India.

This process was suspended on February 2.

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Due to the visa cancellations, those who haven’t entered India yet now have to physically go to the Indian Embassy in Beijing or one of the consulates in Guangzhou or Shanghai, and re-apply there. On top of the difficulty of travelling to the major hubs from more remote areas amid multiple city lockdowns, the price for applying in person is higher ($100) and those applying need to brave lines at the embassy.

The move follows the third confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in India. So far, the virus has resulted in over 20,000 confirmed cases, and over 400 deaths. The outbreak began in Wuhan, central China in December 2019.

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