Foreign travel advice

India

COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice

As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.

Return to the UK

India’s land borders are closed and international flights are suspended until 14 April 2020. There are currently no commercial options available to leave India.

UK special flights

The UK government will operate special flights from Goa, Mumbai and New Delhi (between 8-12 April 2020) for British tourists, short term visitors and their direct dependants to return to the UK.

  • to be eligible to take this flight, you must be normally resident in the UK. Eligibility will be checked before tickets are issued.

  • if you wish to travel, you should book tickets using the following links:

  • From Goa to London on 8th, 10th and 12th April : to book, visit and register your details

  • From Mumbai to London on 10th and 12th of April : to book, visit and register your details

  • From Delhi to London on the 10th and 12th of April : to book, visit and register your details

  • if you have difficulty booking online, you can call CTM on +44 (0)20 7429 9725.

  • tickets will not be on sale at the airport. Do not travel to the airport without a confirmed ticket

To make a booking, you will need:

  • full passport and contact details for each traveller you are registering
  • your UK home address and postcode
  • your means of payment, such as credit or debit card details

If you cannot pay the cost of the ticket, call CTM on the telephone number above to discuss your options. If you have exhausted all other options available to you for getting funds, you may be eligible to apply for an emergency loan to cover the cost of the ticket. You would need to repay the loan when you are back in the UK.

You should not contact the High Commission directly to reserve a seat as we are unable to take your booking.

A small number of you may receive a call about these flights, if you fall into a vulnerable group. To protect you from scams, callers will identify themselves to you using personal information you have already submitted to the High Commission. However, please do not wait for a call - if you want to board one of these flights visit the portal now.

British Nationals to note that they will not be able to travel if they are currently exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms (they will need to self-isolate and book onto a later flight). There will be mandatory healthcare screening at the airport. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities prior to your departure. If you travel to the airport while exhibiting symptoms, you may be moved to a mandatory quarantine facility for further testing.

More information on the flights themselves, including cost and baggage allowances, will be found on the booking portal.

Guidance on how to travel to airports will follow once you have a ticket secured. We at the High Commission will handle the necessary permissions from the Government of India. Please note the address that you provide will be where you are picked up from (unless you are asked to meet at a muster point), so it is vital that you provide information that is as accurate as possible.

Due to the current travel restrictions in India, it is only possible to book these flights if you are already in the State of the departure airport. Do not worry if you are not - further information will follow on flights running from other locations in India. You should continue to monitor our Travel Advice and social media for updates.

In the meantime do check the validity of your Indian visa. If it has or is due to expire you will need to apply online for an extension at E-FRRO: details in the visa section above.

Exact timings of flights from India will be published on our travel advice and social media channels as soon as they are confirmed.

In the meantime, we continue to work with our partners to secure seats for British nationals on flights that other countries are running.

Given many parts of India remain under lockdown or have additional restrictions in place, we are working with the local authorities to enable British nationals to reach airports. More details will follow.

Sign up for email alerts and follow the British High Commission on Twitter and Facebook. Once flights have been confirmed, you should leave plenty of time to get to the airport as movement may be more difficult than normal. You should make sure you are able to show authorities:

  • proof of a booked flight (a boarding pass if possible)
  • your passport
  • a (printed, if possible) copy of the British movement letter issued by the British High Commission confirming that you should be allowed to travel. Available for download in English and other Indian languages here.

Future options

The British High Commission is in contact with airlines, the Indian authorities and other governments to make sure commercial options for returning to the UK are available as soon as possible.

If you cannot leave India at this time, you should:

  • follow the advice of local authorities, including local measures to help minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus - comply with local isolation, testing or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system.
  • find accommodation that’s suitable for your needs. unless you have an urgent reason to travel within India, you may need to stay where you are whilst the flight ban and lockdowns remain in place
  • many additional restrictions are being introduced at state level. Some states have entry restrictions in place and may quarantine foreign nationals on arrival. Hotels in some states have been instructed to refuse entry to foreign nationals
  • keep in regular contact with family and friends at home, so they know you are safe and well

If you’re currently visiting India and you wish to return urgently to the UK, email Conqry.Newdelhi@fco.gov.uk with the following details for you and any family members with you:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • passport number
  • visa status and contact details
  • exact location in India
  • date of arrival in India
  • details of the return flight that you had booked back to the UK, if applicable
  • any special circumstances we may need to be aware of, such as a medical condition

Due to the high number of emails, we are unable to send an individual response to everyone. There is no need to email again if you have already sent these details and received an autoreply. 

The situation remains fluid. You should continue to monitor the local advice on any state level restrictions and follow the instructions of the local authorities.

The state Government of Kerala has advised a health clearance certificate is required for all foreign nationals before they will be permitted to board outbound international flights if/when they occur. You will need to contact your local COVID 19 District Cell to begin the process.

Staying in where you are

If your hotel asks you to leave, ask them to provide alternative accommodation, or talk to the police who can assist. If you have nowhere to go and you need urgent help, contact the nearest British consulate:

  • New Delhi: +91 (11) 2419 2100
  • Chennai: + 91 (44) 42192151
  • Mumbai/Goa: +91 (22) 6650 2222

The Government of India has ordered that food, medicines and other supplies remain available, but we are aware that supplies are running low, and some shops are closed.

If you need medicine, use Google to find nearby pharmacies and ask if they will deliver. If not, you should walk (not drive) to the nearest pharmacy or ask your accommodation provider to help. Carry any medical papers or prescriptions and be prepared to answer questions if stopped by the police. If your usual medication is not available, consult a local doctor for an Indian alternative or go to the nearest hospital. In a genuine medical emergency, call an ambulance.

In Goa there is a lockdown and curfew, meaning if you are outdoors you may be stopped and detained by authorities. You should stay indoors as far as possible. If you need to go out, be prepared to explain why if you are stopped.

The Goa State Government has set up the following helplines:

  • food requests +91 9423890066
  • medicine requests +91 7823026971
  • food deliveries in North Goa +91 94238 90077 (WhatsApp and Telegram only)

The authorities have also confirmed that small shops will be open throughout Goa and people are allowed to walk to these to buy essentials. If you require urgent consular assistance in Goa, call our consular helpline on +91 (22) 6650 2222.

The Punjab government has asked foreign travellers who have arrived in Punjab after 30 January 2020 to provide the following details. This is essential for those who have not been contacted by civil administration, health and police department so far. Details can be submitted on dial-112@punjabpolice.gov.in or on WhatsApp number +91 9779920404.

  1. Name of person:
  2. Father/Mother name:
  3. Name of airport and date of landing in India
  4. Date of arrival in Punjab
  5. Addresses
    • Permanent (in passport)
    • Present stay
    • Hotel, if any
  6. Places of visit in Punjab
  7. Contact details
    • Mobile no
    • Landline no
    • Email id

For information on travelling within India and extending your visa, see Coronavirus

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, you can contact the British High Commission on:

  • New Delhi: +91 (11) 2419 2100
  • Chennai: + 91 (44) 42192151
  • Mumbai/Goa: +91 (22) 6650 2222

The British High Commission New Delhi cannot provide further information or advice about departure options over the phone. This page will be updated when departure options become available. To get the latest information, register your details(see above) and sign up for travel advice email alerts.

Further information

See additional advice on making travel plans to return to the UK, or what to do if you cannot depart immediately.