MHA issues SOPs to facilitate movement of Indian citizens stranded abroad

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In a major relief for Indians stranded abroad, the Centre on Monday has issued the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the movement of people stranded in India who wish to travel abroad amid the lockdown enforced due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Many Indian nationals who had travelled to different countries before the lockdown, on various purposes such as employment, studies/ internships, tourism, business, etc., are stranded abroad. Apart from the above cases, there are other Indian Nationals who need to visit India in medical emergencies or death of a family member.

Here are the Standard Operating Protocols for movement of persons who are desirous to travel abroad:

1. Such persons will apply to Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) or to any agency designated by MOCA for this purpose, along with necessary details, including the places of departure and arrival, as prescribed by MOCA.

2. Only those persons shall be allowed to travel to the destination countries who are citizens of that country, who hold visa of at least one year duration of that country and green card or OCI card holder. In cases of medical emergency or death in the family, Indian Nationals holding six month visa can also be allowed.

3. Before the tickets of such persons are confirmed MOCA will ensure that the destination country allows entry of such persons in that country. The conditions, if any, imposed by the destination country, will have to be fulfilled by the person intending to travel.

4. The travel from India shall be by on the non-scheduled commercial flights that are being arranged by MOCA for bringing back stranded Indian Nationals from abroad.

5. The cost of travel, as specified by MOCA. will be borne by such travellers.

6. All the time of boarding the flight, MOCA will ensure that all travellers undergo thermal screening as per health protocol. Only asymptomatic travellers would be allowed to board the flight.

7. While on board the flight, health protocol as issued by MOCA will be strictly followed. This would include wearing of masks, environmental hygiene, respiratory hygiene hand hygiene etc to be observed by airline stail crew and all passengers.

(With Agency Inputs)

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