Effects on Visa Processing Due to Covid 19
Coronavirus, this word has created a disaster for the world in the year 2020. This pandemic has not left a single country wherein its effect is not seen. The travel industry is the most affected by the pandemic because of the international boundaries being closed for the visitors.
Since the closure of the international boundaries and lockdown in many of the countries, visa processing had been completely stopped for the visitors till June 2020. All the Indians had to face multiple problems related to the visa and that was as follows:
During Lockdown in India
- There were plenty of applicants who already had a valid visa but couldn’t travel due to the lockdown and during the lockdown, their visa got expired or was about to expire before the travel restrictions are lifted.
- All the applicants who had submitted the passport for the visa processing couldn’t receive their passport because of the lockdown and no logistics operations carried out in the consulate or the VFS centers throughout India.
- Despite holding a valid visa applicants were not allowed to travel, as visitors were completely banned to travel due to the fear of spreading the Covid-19.
- Indians who were on the visitor visa in the other countries had to extend their stay because of the immediate lockdown in India and till the Air Bubbles or Travel Arrangements were started between two countries for commercial passengers.
Post Lockdown in India
- Despite lockdown being lifted in India since June 2020 none of the visa application centers and consulate have started operating the visitor visa for the UK and Dubai which started its operations in July 2020.
- Instead many of the consulates started returning the passports which were submitted before the lockdown was implemented and returned without processing the visa and they were given a letter mentioning that their application will be processed once the consulate/embassy starts the regular operations and will be intimidated with a call on when to submit the passport.
- The applicants who had a valid visa were still not allowed to travel despite the lockdown been lifted as a part of respective airline rules & regulations.
- Only the applicants applying for the student, work, and dependent visa are processed post lockdown and they are allowed to travel.
- Canada visa applications can be applied online but none of the centers in India is open for biometrics which is made mandatory for the applicants applying for a temporary resident visa since 01 January 2018 and till the biometrics is not applied will not be processed so these applicants can either visit Dubai or Colombo VFS center to submit the biometrics and get the visa processed.
- Currently, only US visa renewal is processed for B1-B2 applicants and no new applications are accepted neither pending interviews are scheduled till further notice.
- Dubai Visa is processed for the visitors but they need to have valid insurance with the covid coverage and insurance must be done before processing the visa and submitted along with the application.
- Till no further updates from the consulate/embassy for the processing of the visitor visa or renewal for the visa whose visa had expired during the lockdown are not allowed to travel.
Rules & Regulations post lockdown to travel
- All the applicants must get the PCR test done 96 hrs before the travel and they must hold a negative report then only they will be permitted to travel.
- All the applicants must adhere to the rules and regulations of the quarantine set by the respective countries failing to follow the rules that may lead to deportation.
- Travelers are required to check with the respective airlines before booking the tickets as the rules for ticket booking change every month and it is advised not to book the air ticket till you get approval from the airline/travel agent.
- At the same time despite having a valid visa and the ticket to travel you can still be stopped at the airport depending on the situation of the country you are traveling to.
- Depending on the covid cases all the countries are lifting or implementing the lockdown hence it becomes necessary to check all the details before traveling so that you do not get stuck up there.
Looking into the current scenario it can be clearly stated that international travel has come to a standstill till the visa processing starts for the visitors and the increase in the covid cases constantly state there are very rare chances of visa processing starting in the year 2020 or till the vaccine is been brought into the market for the public.
Currently, only countries such as Dubai, UK, and the Maldives started allowing visitors from India in their country with the quarantine rules to be followed strictly but till the date of October 2020, none of the other countries have opened the doors for the Indian visitors.
Though the maximum of the countries is processing the student, work, dependent visa, and the resident permit but the processing time for the visa is more as the applications accepted are few due to decline in the staff and the working days in the embassy/consulate and the restrictions applied due to the pandemic. Hence before making any travel plans or booking an air ticket make sure to check the rules of the country you are traveling to.