OCI card holders, Indian Americans barred from traveling to India
The Indian government began to evacuate some Indian nationals from the U.S., but OCI card holders and Indian Americans continue to be barred from traveling to India.Mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed 296,000 lives worldwide, including 2,415 in India, the Indian government first issued a travel ban March 22, stating that no international commercial passenger flight could leave or enter India. Then on April 22, it announced that all visas issued to nationals of any country would be suspended until May 3. The government included OCI card holders in that directive. On May 5, the government issued a new directive, extending the travel ban for residents of any country and OCI holders for an indefinite period of time. Sumati Rao, a spokeswoman for the Consulate of India in San Francisco, clarified the directive May 13, which states that as long as the travel restrictions are in place, OCI card holders cannot travel to India. The San Francisco Indian Consulate evacuated 225 Indian nationals on a special Air India flight May 9 to Mumbai, and continued with the endeavor known as `Vande Bharat` on May 13. Two more flights are scheduled for May 19 and May 23. Similar evacuations of Indian nationals are scheduled this week from Chicago, Illinois; Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, DC.