The scheduled international flight operations have been banned since March this year as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc.

Unlock 5.0: International flights not to resume as per latest air travel guidelines! With the announcement of Unlock 5.0, a step closer to opening all operations in India that were impacted by Coronavirus pandemic, the Home Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have come up with unlocking guidelines which states that the ban on scheduled international commercial flights has been extended till October 31. Notably, the scheduled international flight operations have been banned since March this year as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc. Since then, DGCA has not lifted the ban on these flights.

According to the DGCA, the extension in the ban on international flights is in line with the decision taken by the Home Ministry. Many a times, the government has notified that the complete resumption of these flights will be dependent on the COVID-19 situation and viral transmission rate in India as well as the destination countries. Due to this, international scheduled flights have been suspended further.

However, Indians can still travel across 15 countries under the air bubble arrangements that have been made in the last two months. These countries include the US, the UK, Canada, Qatar, the UAE, Maldives, Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq, Germany, France, Japan, Bhutan, Bahrain and Afghanistan. Airlines from these countries have signed an air bubble arrangement with India and people from these countries can fly to Indian and those living here can travel to these destinations.

It is to note that apart from the operations to these countries, flights under Vande Bharat Mission are being operated and some of them are also carrying people on outbound flights from the country. The air bubble arrangement with the US allows Air India to operate thrice-a-week flights between Newark and Delhi. Air India flights are operating between London and Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Goa, Kochi and Kolkata.

According to a report by The IE, 25 countries have resumed the process for visa applications for select categories. The report highlighted that in Europe’s Schengen region, visa applications for Category D are only accepted for now which allows people to study, work or reside permanently in one of the Schengen countries. The United States, on the other hand, is accepting visa applications of Indian nationals for emergency cases like student visas and work visas of ‘H’ and ‘L’ classes. Similarly, long-stay visa applications are accepted in South Korea and Ireland. In the UK, the UAE, Dominican Republic, Turkey, applications for all visa categories are accepted.

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