‘Existing visas no longer valid’: India hardens border with China over coronavirus
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.
All existing Visas are no longer valid.— India in China (@EOIBeijing) February 4, 2020
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.
It is clarified that existing visas are no longer valid. Intending visitors may contact Embassy in Beijing (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Consulates in Shanghai (Ccons.email@example.com) and Guangzhou (Visa.firstname.lastname@example.org) to apply afresh for an Indian visa. (2/4)— India in China (@EOIBeijing) February 4, 2020
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.
All those who are already in India (with regular or e-visa) and had traveled from China after January 15 are requested to contact the hotline number of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Government of India (+91-11-23978046 and email: email@example.com). (4/4)— India in China (@EOIBeijing) February 4, 2020
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.
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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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