Nepal closes land ports and suspends travel visas to combat coronavirus

Mar 13 2020, 1:11 pm

The Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Immigration announced on Friday that they would be suspending visas-on-arrival for newcomers from March 14 until April 30, 2020, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision comes following the announcement from the World Health Organization that the scale of coronavirus has extended from outbreak to global pandemic.

According to the statement, travellers already holding prior valid visas to Nepal must participate in a swab test and possess a PCR health certificate that proves that they are coronavirus-free.

The certificate must be issued a maximum of seven days before arriving in Nepal and must be submitted at the immigration office of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA).

Foreign nationals visiting Nepal for “compelling reasons” can contact the Nepali government and must also have a valid PCR health certificate along with their visa application.

According to the statement, “On-arrival-visa facility granted to non-resident Nepalese cardholders is also suspended for the aforementioned period.”

Non-residents possessing diplomatic and official visas entering Nepal for the first time or returning to the country will be subjected to stay in self-isolated quarantine for 14 days.

Additionally, travellers conducting business, schooling, or working visas will also be required to stay in self-isolated quarantine for 14 days.

The statement also urges Nepali nationals that are currently living abroad to avoid any non-essential travel and engage in precautionary measures to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

All land ports of entry in Nepal will also stay closed during this period to international travellers. They are requested instead to use Tribhuvan International Airport only.

As well, seeing as it is a primary trekking destination due to the magnificent Mount Everest, all permits for mountaineering expeditions for the spring 2020 session are also suspended.