The nationwide lockdown has been extended until May 17, 2020. Keep yourself informed via local media and the information on this website.
The following information on the situation for stranded German tourists and short-term travelers who are still in India is available (11.05):
Information on eventually upcoming repatriation flights
The federal government's repatriation program has concluded. Please check the link below for information on any eventually planned repatriation flights by other European governments from India to Europe.
Please also see our FAQs (in German), which contain information and answers to the most common questions related to the Corona crisis.
In order to be informed directly by us about the current situation, German citizens have the option - if not already done - to register in our crisis preparedness list at www.diplo.de/elefand.
Emergency service telephone of German Consulate General Kolkata in cases of emergency related to German nationals *outside of opening hours*: (+91) (0) 98310 16091
Please remember the time difference between India and Germany (+3 1/2 hrs. in summer and +4 1/2 hrs. in winters). This number is to be dialled only in case of emergency involving German citizens! Visa enquiries of foreign nationals do not qualify as an emergency and can not be processed.
Since 25th March, 12 German Government chartered repatriation flights (2 Lufthansa, 10 Indian Air) brought approx. 3200 stranded tourists and short-term travelers (Germans and other nationals with German relatives, plus over 500 European citizens) from 7 Indian cities home to Germany (Frankfurt). The challenges during this first phase were huge then, and didn’t become less demanding in the weeks to come: countrywide lock-downs (now extended until 4th May), increasing number of sealed-off hotspots, no flights, hardly any public transport, closed hotels and shops, localization of individual travelers across a country bigger than Europe, necessary special permits, and the need to minimize exposure.
With the rising number of transmission-cases in India and the growing restriction of freedom of movement for everyone, including the Embassy as well as the Consulate staff and diplomatic cars, any endeavor of such kind became more and more complex and challenging. Running any operations under these conditions was truly all-hands-on-deck, and obligatory staff drawdowns and intensified lockdowns or seal-offs of cities and regions didn’t make things any easier. Nevertheless, “Team India” (Embassy and our 4 General Consulates) was always there for you – almost 24/7. The Team could not reach everyone but did all it could to reach most of you, foremost the group of our target people, especially those who, as tourists, depended on hotels and restaurants in a special way, without being connected to family, friends or social environment in India. Hence the one-time repatriation programme was primarily aimed at those who stayed abroad for a short time as tourists, as well as at people who depended on a quick return to Germany due to serious illnesses, Germans or people with a residence permit in Germany who are residing in India, having family ties and having been in India for a long time have not been part of this main target group.
The second phase of our repatriation efforts focused on the help for those stranded German tourists and short-term travelers (and other nationals with German family member(s)) who still remained, for various reasons, in India. Additional German repatriation-flights from India to Germany were not foreseen, but the Team closely interlinked its efforts with those nations, which also still had stranded tourists remaining in India. The core of the Team’s task was to coordinate all information on possible transport options, which sometimes materialized on shortest notice, pass them on to our registered tourists and try - whenever possible – to help them make use of those options, e.g. through hotel-suggestions and EU-coordination. Through this procedure the Team was able to place more than 600 of these stranded tourists/short term travelers (Germans and their relatives) on special flights of other European airlines, as Germany also had taken more than 500 non-Germans on German repatriation flights.
We thank all who made those operations possible – especially the relevant Indian authorities (e.g. the MEA), our European neighbor countries and the EU representation in New Delhi.
After six weeks, the repatriation program has now been concluded and most of our target group have been brought back to Germany. For those stranded tourists and short-term travelers who are still in India, the Team is trying to find individual solutions on a case by case approach. This might not lead to solutions in all cases. But some European airlines have still foreseen additional chartered repatriation flights in the upcoming days and weeks. For more information, please check the “Information on eventually upcoming repatriation flights” above.
Information for non-Germans with permanent residency in Germany
Now that our repatriation program is concluded, quite a number of Indian citizens with permanent residency, work permit, Blue Card or student visa for Germany have approached us to see if we could help them return to Germany.
As much as we have a lot of sympathy for these concerns, and understand very well the difficult situation this is causing for many of you, it is also important to be realistic and transparent in what ‘Team India’ (Embassy and our 4 General Consulates) can do for you in this situation.
1. The target group for the one-time repatriation program was those most vulnerable in such a situation: tourists and short-time travelers (as well as people with serious illnesses), those dependent on (closing) hotels and restaurants, without a support network of family and friends in India. Hence all other Germans (or people with residence permit in Germany) residing in India or with family ties in India were not part of this target group. This also includes many Germans for whom this international travel ban has caused quite some economic, educational or personal losses. Negative repercussions of this global crisis are unprecedented and are hitting us all.
2. There is a countrywide lockdown in India (and many other countries) and the fight against the coronavirus necessitates that all of us to respect curfews and travel restrictions. In many cases, there will be no other option than preparing to stay safe and remain where you are until regular travel becomes possible again.
3. Please check the infobox above for more information on the occasional special chartered repatriation flights by some European airlines, which can be booked online. But please be aware that due to their non-commercial nature, relief-flight restrictions by the airline or by Indian aviation authorities might apply on who can board such flights!
4. In case you get on such a flight please be aware that once you fly to Germany you will have to undergo home quarantine for two weeks.
5. As for visa, work or student issues, it is advisable to contact your employer, university, landlord, etc., in order to see how to prepare for the days when commercial flights reopen again. This pandemic, in many aspects, has entered uncharted territory, so it requires flexibility and patience, but most of all, understanding that our main priority must be to fight the virus as efficiently as possible.
COVID-19: Important information for travelers to India
1. Regular visa, e-visa or stay stipulation of all foreign nationals, which have expired or would be expiring during the period from 13th March 2020 (midnight) to 3rd May 2020 (midnight), would be extended till 3rd May 2020 (midnight) on 'GRATIS' basis after making online application by the foreigner to the concerned FRRO. Exit of such foreign nationals, if so requested by them during this period, will be granted without levy of overstay penalty.
2. The Indian Government has halted all international scheduled flight operations as well as all domestic flight operations till 3rd May 2020!
India has changed its entry requirements due to the COVID19 epidemic. All (e-) visas issued to foreigners were declared invalid until 3rd May 2020.
Exceptions to the entry ban only apply to holders of “Employment” and “Project” visas, but not to holders of “Tourism”, “Business” or “Journalist” visas.
German travelers in India can continue their stay on their visas. Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 are subject to change.
Please check with the Indian authorities for complete and updated Information regarding travel restrictions in the region you are in at the moment.
Please see the continuously updated travel advisory for India on the website of the Federal Foreign Office (in German) as well as the updates of the Indian Bureau of Immigration.
Visa and Consular information
1. In wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Section 144 of CrPC is to be imposed in India with effect from 22nd March.
Therefore VFS Global and the Visa Section of the German Embassy will remain closed until further notice.
The European Union has issued an entry ban until 15.05.2020 that prohibits non-essential entry to the European Union.
Exempt from the travel ban are EU-citizens and citizens of Schengen-member states as well as their family members (spouse and minor children).
Also, foreigners with residence in the European Union and a valid residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis, Niederlassungserlaubnis), are allowed to enter.
Health checks will be conducted at point of entry.