Indians travelling to Canada are now required to present a COVID Report. Barring the direct route, Indians will now have to take an indirect route to Canada. Since this ban, Serbia has become a transit point for Indian travellers to Canada.
In the recent happenings, Serbia has also imposed a 7-day quarantine period for Indians travelling to Canada. This new rule came as a surprise, as over 200 Indians were caught in a fix due to this mandatory quarantine period. Following the Indians’ appeal for help, the Indian Embassy in Serbia facilitated their further travels.
This new rule came into force last Friday, but did not reach the Indians who were travelling, and caught them by surprise as they landed in Belgrade.
For those Indians heading to Canada, Belgrade has become the new transit point as the US and two other countries banned direct entry in the months of April and May. Another new rule also posits the Indian passengers to take an RT-PCR Test from a third country. This has caused many Indian students to take a halt in Serbia and spend as much as Rs. 1.8 Lakh on the tickets followed by a two to three day stays in Serbia.
Serbia is one such country that allows visa-free entry to the Indians for over 30 days. As a result, it has become a famous tourist spot and also a much convenient transit point for Indians planning to travel to other countries like Canada or US or UK. Because of its popularity as a transit point, many had scheduled their plans accordingly, and the country received a lot more tourists.
But this new rule of a 7-day quarantine for Indians by the Serbian government has forced many to reschedule their plans of travel or change their itineraries.
Other than Serbia, Egypt and Mexico have also become transit-cum-quarantine destinations for Indians travelling to Canada. Many students who were H1 visa holders and had come to India to meet their families have opted for this route to return to Canada and the US.
Although in these hard times, and in the wake of another wave, the Overseas Education Counsellors are advising Indian students against travelling to Canada or the US via a third country. Other students who are applying for a visa for the first time are yet to get their permits.
Some consultants have also said that the students who are flying to Canada via a third country like Serbia for their studies are afraid that their study permits would expire and that they would also have to bear the cost of quarantine, which they are trying to avoid.
As for those travelling to the US, a passenger is required to complete a 14-day quarantine outside of India to be allowed in the country. Although this US restriction is not applicable to all and omits its own citizens and permanent residents from the category.