India has been one of the countries which seemed to have COVID-19 under control, at least until mid-March. However, their fight continues, with the number surging due to the 'double mutated' COVID variant.
With growing concerns over the variant in the UK, the Health Secretary has announced that India has finally and regrettably been put on the 'red list' of travel ban countries. The current list now stands at 40.
We have put together a quick FAQ to help our readers with what they should expect as a result of the latest announcement.
Is travelling to the UK still possible?
The entry ban does not come into effect until 04:00 on 23 April. This means that anyone from India may still travel to the UK until Friday.
Anyone travelling to the UK will be required to undergo pre-travel COVID testing within 72 hours of travelling and self-isolation at a location of their choice for ten days.
Individuals will also be required to undergo a Day 2 and Day 8 post-arrival screening following their entry to the UK.
In some instances, individuals may be allowed to be released earlier after five days of self-isolation via the 'test-and-release' scheme.
What happens after 04:00 on 23 April?
Being on the red list will mean that travelling to the UK will be banned for anyone who has travelled or stayed in India (or any other red list countries) within ten days of arriving in the UK.
The ban does not affect British Citizen or those that have residence visas for the UK.
Individuals who are allowed to travel to the UK (British Citizens or otherwise) from a red list country will be required to follow strict procedures for entry, including but not limited to:
Specify ports of entry from Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Birmingham Airport or Farnborough Airport.
Compulsory managed quarantine at designated quarantine hotels for ten days (11 nights). For full details of this requirement, please see our previous post here.
Completion of Passenger Locator Form
Compulsory post-arrival COVID testing on Day 2 and Day 8 of entry to the UK. Such testing is included with the managed quarantine hotel package—no option for test-and-release after five days.
Individuals failing to adhere to the restrictions may result in a £10,000 fine or, where false information is provided, imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Are business travels allowed from India from 23 April?
Placing India on the 'red list' means a ban on any travel to the UK. Those who are British Citizen or a residence visa for the UK can still travel to the UK. Visit visas or Business Visit visas, irrespective of the length of the grant, are not considered residence visas.
Are my visa applications or potential visa applications affected?
Visa applications are still accepted, and visa application centres in India continues to be in operation. Visa Application Centres will continue to follow local guidelines on COVID, including any local curfew in place. Some visa centres are currently operating limited hours due to local curfew (i.e. Pune).
Decision times are not currently affected in India.
Those who are granted an entry visa to the UK (providing that it is not a visit visa) will be allowed to enter the UK. Individuals will need to follow the necessary rules for those travelling from a 'red list' country.
How long will the ban last?
Unfortunately, the ban can last for as long as it needs to.
The Government review the list regularly and will remove those countries from the list where the threat of the spread of COVID and any new variants stabilizes.
Where can I get the latest list of countries that are banned from travelling to the UK?
We aim to keep you up to date with the latest information but for a complete list of countries on the red list, visit the Home Office website here.
Shores & Legal are experienced and expert immigration partners for your business and personal immigration requirements. We have years of experience in helping Indian companies identify their immigration requirements and strategy to the UK. If you wish to discuss your UK immigration requirements, contact us at +44 (0) 207 097 6778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.