As diplomatic tensions between Canada and India increase, India has suspended issuing visas to Canadians as of September 21, 2023, until further notice.
This development could have far-reaching effects, as Canadians make up the fourth-largest group of tourists to India.
India Suspends Issuing Visas to Canadians
As of September 21, 2023, India has suspended the issuance of visas to Canadians until further notice. This move comes as the result of a diplomatic dispute between the two countries, which arose earlier this week when the Canadian government accused the Indian government of involvement in the murder of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil.
All Canadians who wish to travel to India are required to have a visa, and without the ability to obtain a visa, this move could disrupt travel plans for many people.
The BLS Indian Visa Application Centre, which processes visa applications for Canadians at locations in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, has a banner running at the top of its website, which states:
Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice. Please keep checking BLS website for further updates.
It’s unclear if this move also affects the issuance of e-Visas at this time, which are processed via a different platform.
According to India’s Bureau of Immigration, 80,000 Canadians visited the country in 2021, which is the fourth-largest group of visitors amongst all countries.
While it’s unknown how long the suspension of visa issuance will last, it’s likely to affect many Canadians’ travel plans in the near future.
Look for Flexible Rebooking Policies
If you have travel to or through India planned, and you’re affected by the suspension of visa issuance, be sure to familiarize yourself with your airline’s rebooking policy.
Air Canada, which operates flights to New Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM), has issued a temporary Goodwill Policy for passengers affected by this situation.
Passengers who are booked on a flight that originates in Canada with India as a final destination, on a ticket issued by Air Canada on or before September 21, 2023, with original travel dates from September 21–October 15, 2023, are permitted a one-time change fee waiver.
If you meet the above criteria, you can change your flight to another Air Canada-operated or Air Canada-marketed codeshare flight without a change fee; however, there may be an additional collection of fare, as per your ticket’s fare rules.
You can also change your ticket to travel to or from an alternative Air Canada destination with a waived change fee; however, you’ll have to pay the difference, if any, in fare.
For eligible tickets booked with Aeroplan points, passengers are being asked to get in touch with the Aeroplan Contact Centre by phone.
If you have travel booked with any other airlines, refer to their websites and call centres for up-to-date information on flexible rebooking policies, if any.
India has suspended the issuance of visas to Canadians, as a result of a growing diplomatic dispute between the two countries. Since Canadians require a visit to travel to or through India, this move affects anyone with plans to travel to India in the near future.
The suspension of visa issuance is set to continue until further notice.
Air Canada is offering a one-time change fee waiver for eligible passengers – for travel with other airlines, be sure to get in touch with them directly for information on options available to you.