- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Avoid non-essential travel.
Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020
You are strongly advised to avoid non-essential travel to India at this time.
Emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis in many countries have included restrictions of flights to/from Europe; imposition of new mandatory quarantine arrangements and new restrictions affecting the admission of Irish people travelling to and within the Asia Pacific region.
India is currently experiencing a large surge in COVID-19 cases. As a result, there is a severe shortage of available healthcare services, including hospital beds, across the country and Irish citizens may have difficulties in accessing medical care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 treatment. This includes access to medical facilities commonly used by expatriates and the international community in India.
Restrictions on certain visa categories granted to foreign nationals, including Irish nationals, continue to be in place.
International commercial passenger flights are not permitted to operate in India at this time, although some bilateral air travel agreements with other countries have been put in place. Bilateral air agreements with India are subject to change at short notice and most restrict transit options so you should check with your airline regarding the availability of flights. Due to the evolving health situation and resulting restrictions, sudden flight cancellations by air carriers have occurred multiple times over the past few months and may occur again in the coming period.
Please check the Irish Government Travel Advice for the latest information on quarantine requirements here.
If you are in India, you will need to monitor local news sources and official websites for the latest updates on any local restrictions that are in place. Inter-State travel is permitted and domestic rail services, buses and passenger flights have resumed; however, you may be expected to quarantine or produce a recent negative COVID-19 test result if you cross certain State borders. We recommend that Irish citizens continue to monitor local news and follow the directions of local authorities.
Visas of all foreign nationals already in India remain valid. Visa extension services arising from COVID-19 will be provided free of charge and contact details for the Foreign Regional Registration Office [FRRO], as well as further information is available on the website of the Foreign Regional Registration Office [FRRO]
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found on the via the following links:
General Travel Advice
The main metropoles in Northern India are often subject to severe levels of air pollution during the winter months, which can have short-term and long-term health implications for residents and visitors. We advise citizens to monitor air pollution levels, follow the advice of local authorities and to reduce their exposure to air pollution where possible by staying indoors and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are concerned about the impact of pollution on your health, we advise you to seek medical advice before travelling to these locations.
Since August 2019, a security lockdown has been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, with communication systems regularly interrupted and widespread travel restrictions. We advise against all travel to Jammu and Kashmir, including the cities of Srinagar and Jammu. Irish citizens in Ladakh should remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities, and monitor developments in the local and Indian media. We advise against all travel in the vicinity of the border with Pakistan, except the border crossing at Wagah.
We advise against all travel to Manipur and Tripura, and all non-essential travel to Nagaland.
Irish citizens travelling in or through either the Darjeeling hills, Sikkim or the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal are advised to exercise a high degree of caution, follow the advice of the local authorities, monitor local media and avoid any demonstrations or gatherings.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
We advise against all travel to rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir other than Ladakh and all but essential travel to Srinagar. There is a high level of conflict and terrorist violence in the region and a high risk of unpredictable violence, including bombings, grenade attacks, shootings and kidnapping.
We also advise against all but essential travel to Imphal and against all travel in the rest of Manipur and Tripura. Lawlessness and violence are serious risks in the north-eastern part of the country, including in Assam, where risks are further increased by the ongoing campaign of violence by ULFA militants.
A number of regions of central and southern India, including parts of Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal, are vulnerable to violence from the extreme left-wing Naxalite militants who are active in some rural areas. Visitors should be vigilant at all times against the threat of criminality and terrorism.
There is a high risk that terrorists will try to carry out an attack in India. Prominent government buildings, public transport, places of worship and commercial and public areas are all potential targets for terrorist attack.
We advise you to be extremely careful and be aware of your surroundings. Stay vigilant, particularly in busy public places such as shopping malls, markets and on public transport. Avoid any demonstrations that may occur and monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.
A number of terrorist attacks have taken place in recent years, including in major tourist destinations such as Mumbai and New Delhi, which has led to increased security in many major cities. Tourist areas such as Old Delhi and other crowded areas frequented by foreigners could be seen as targets.
Security forces in India consider the threat of terrorist incidents is heightened around major national festivals such as Republic Day (26 January), Independence Day (15 August) and other major festival occasions.
Crime remains relatively low in India but you should take sensible precautions:
- Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Be cautious when using a travel agent in India, use one that is recommended by your guidebook or a reliable hotel. Irish citizens have been the victims of travel agent scams in India.
If you're a victim of a crime while in India, report it to a local police station immediately. You will need to file an FIR (first incident report) and the police must register the crime. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in New Delhi if you need help.
Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night. If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Avoid hailing taxis or auto-rickshaws on the street. Meru Cabs and Mega Cabs are widely available in cities in India. They can be booked online or over the phone. Platforms for ordering taxis at set prices, such as Uber and OLA are now available in many cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Women should use caution when travelling in India. Recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are at risk. Tourists have been the victims of sexual assault in Agra, Goa, Delhi, Bangalore, Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata and Rajasthan. Women travellers often receive unwanted attention in the form of verbal and physical harassment by individuals or groups of men. This may include being photographed.
Women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India. The cultural norms in India are very different to Ireland. In India, it is unusual for women to travel independently. In the evening or at night time women should be particularly cautious. While using the metro, women travellers should use the women's only carriage. This is clearly marked on the platform of each station. Women should consider travelling in a group in India.
You should respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, when alone at any time of day. Women travellers should be particularly careful when selecting their accommodation and consider sharing a room where possible. Women should be cautious about sharing information such as their room number or address with people whom they do not know very well.
If you're planning to drive in India, you should be extremely careful. Driving on Indian roads can be hazardous, particularly at night in rural areas. Inadequately lit buses and lorries, poor driving and badly maintained vehicles are the main causes of accidents. If your vehicle is involved in a collision with a pedestrian or livestock, you are best advised to go to the nearest police station to report the accident.
If you want to drive, bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
Hiring a vehicle
If you're hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you're allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
In India, it is more common to hire a car and driver than to drive yourself.
If you are trekking in high altitudes, make sure your insurance policy covers you for altitudes over 2,400 metres. You should also be aware that there are no commercial mountain rescue services capable of operating at altitudes above 3,000 metres.
There are also parts of the border areas where only the Indian Air Force is permitted to carry out air rescues. They are under no obligation to perform air rescues and have limited resources available to do so.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. The slow judicial process means that lengthy pre-trial detention, usually of several years, is the norm.
On Wednesday, 18th September, a ban was imposed on the advertisement, production, manufacture, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, and storage of e-cigarettes and all similar vaping devices in India, with first time violations of the new rules potentially facing jail terms of up to one year and large fines. We advise citizens not to bring e-cigarettes or similar products into India
We advise you to get legal advice before investing in property or businesses in India. There are often strict rules preventing the purchase of property by non-Indian nationals (for example in Goa). If the purchase is judged to violate local laws (for example, if you purchase whilst in India on a tourist visa), you're likely to lose all the money you have put in to the purchase, and could even face prosecution.
Satellite Phones and other technological equipment
It is illegal to enter India with a satellite phone without prior permission from the Indian authorities. There have been cases of Irish travellers being arrested for possession of satellite phones and you should seek advice from the Indian Embassy in Dublin before travelling to India with a satellite phone. You may also need prior permission from the Indian authorities to bring equipment like listening or recording devices, radio transmitters, powerful cameras or binoculars into India.
The laws governing alcohol vary from state to state. Consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Bihar, Gujarat, Manipur, Nagaland and the union territory of Lakshadweep. Consumption or possession of alcohol in prohibited states can lead to arrest without bail and charges which carry a sentence of 5 to 10 years. In some states foreign nationals and non-resident Indians are able to buy 30-day alcohol permits. Seek advice from your local travel agent/hotel or the authorities to ensure you're aware of any alcohol prohibition in the state.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in September 2018; however, in many parts of the country conservative attitudes to homosexuality still exist and caution and discretion are advised at all times.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
India is a vast and diverse country. Travel in certain parts can be problematic because of specific local conditions, so trips should be thoroughly planned and researched.
Parts of India are prone to extreme adverse weather, geological conditions and natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, cyclones and earthquakes. Parts of southern India were severely affected by the South Asian tsunami of December 2004.
Depending on the area of the country, the monsoon season lasts from June to October and every year causes numerous casualties. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides, which can cut off towns and villages and disrupt transport services, even in urban areas. If you are travelling during the monsoon season, make sure to check local weather conditions, follow the advice of local authorities and take all necessary precautions.
Heavy flooding in Kerala in 2018 caused around 360 people to lose their lives, as many as 700,000 to be displaced, and relief camps to be established across the state.
There is an ongoing global outbreak of a novel coronavirus COVID-19 and a number of cases have been confirmed in India. In response, the Indian Government has announced that visas for all nationalities will be suspended from 12.00 GMT on 13 March 2020 until the 15 April 2020. All non-Indian citizens, including those possessing an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) visa, will not be allowed entry into India. Visa categories exempt from this suspension include diplomatic, official and employment visas. If you have a compelling reason to travel to India you should consult your nearest Indian Embassy or diplomatic mission before attempting to travel to India.
Irish citizens require a visa to travel to India. If you arrive in India without a visa, you will be refused entry. If you over-stay your visa, you will be fined and may be prosecuted or detained and later deported. If you lose your passport, you will have to obtain an exit visa before you can leave India.
In response to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have banned the entry of foreign nationals indefinitely.
If you are transiting through India, you may need a transit visa if you must collect your baggage to transfer it to another airline. Baggage collection areas in Indian airports are normally after clearing immigration. Check this in advance with the Indian Embassy where you are located.
You should note that special permits are required to visit certain areas of the country including the Andamman Islands and parts of Sikkim. More information is available from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.
If you are unsure of what the entry requirements for India are, including visa details and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the Visa Section of the Embassy of India in Dublin.
Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months.
If you're arriving in India on a long-term multiple entry visa, you must register with the nearest Foreign Regional Registration Officer within 14 days of your arrival. If you do not register, you may not be allowed to exit India.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for India. If you are travelling from a country with a risk of yellow fever or polio, you must have proof of vaccination or you will not be allowed to enter India. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Food and Water
Travellers to India should be aware that food and water hygiene standards are not comparable to Ireland. Water-borne and food-borne diseases can cause serious illness and simple precautions include avoiding ice cubes; not drinking tap water; avoiding uncooked and undercooked food, especially from street vendors; and drinking boiled water or bottled water with intact sealed caps.
Malaria and dengue fever are present in India so care should be taken to avoid mosquito bites by covering up and using mosquito repellents. There is prescribed medication, which you can take to prevent malaria that your doctor can advise you on. However, there is no medication which you can take to prevent Dengue fever. Therefore, due care should be exercised to avoid mosquito bites where possible to reduce the potential of infection.
The availability of healthcare facilities in India is inconsistent, particularly in rural areas. Check with your travel insurance before you travel to see what hospitals they recommend.
There has been a number of cases of Swine flu (H1N1) in India. You should consult your doctor before travelling for their advice, particularly on vaccinations that may be available.
The Department of Justice and Equality have issued guidelines on obtaining Irish citizenship for children born of surrogacy arrangements. The guidelines can be accessed here.
This is the only guidance that can be given to people considering surrogacy.
Any Irish citizen who is considering entering into a surrogacy arrangement in India should be aware that the Government of India has announced that it will no longer support commercial surrogacy.
If you are an Irish citizen in need of emergency assistance outside of opening hours please call 011-49403200 and leave a message.
This mailbox is checked regularly.
Embassy of Ireland
C17 Malcha Marg
New Delhi 110 021
Monday to Friday 09:00 to 13:30 and 14:30 to 17:00
Consulate General of Ireland
7th Floor, The Capital Building
Bandra Kurla Complex
Tel: +91 22 4905 5645
Honorary Consulate Contact
Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Honorary Consul-General of Ireland
c/o Biocon Limited
20th K M Hosur Road
Electronics City PO
Bangalore 560 100
Email: Email us
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Rajeev Mecheri
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Number 49, Eldams Road
Email: Email us
Honorary Consulate Contact
Mr. Mayank Jalan,
Honorary Consul of Ireland,
KEVENTER AGRO LIMITED,
34/1 DIAMOND HARBOUR ROAD
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Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.