India – The Immigration (Carrier’s Liability) Act, 2000
Mumbai Correspondents P&I Services Pvt. Ltd. have advised the Club that the Ministry for Home Affairs has recently reiterated to the shipping industry the requirement that foreign nationals being landed in India need to be in possession of a valid visa or entry permit and valid travel documents.
The Immigration (Carrier’s Liability) Act which was endorsed by Parliament in 2000, makes carriers liable when they have conveyed passengers into India in contravention of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. For the purpose of these regulations, “passenger means any person not being a bona fide member of the crew, travelling or seeking to travel on a vessel”. Carriers who are found to be landing passengers that are not in possession of the necessary travel documents can be fined up to 100,000 Rs (Approximately US$2,200). In the event that the fine is not paid, the Indian Authorities can seize and sell either the vessel or the goods thereon in order to recover the penalty.
Members who are engaged in the carriage of foreign nationals to India are advised to ensure they have in place procedures to check that passengers are in possession of a valid Indian entry visa or entry permit and that their travel documents are valid and in order prior to boarding. It should be noted that passengers in possession of travel documents issued by Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore can obtain a tourist visa on arrival.
When stowaways are onboard and their presence has been notified to the Indian Authorities prior to the vessel’s arrival, and steps have been taken to ensure their detention onboard whilst in port, no action under these regulations can be expected to be taken by the Immigration Authorities.
Members requiring further information should contact the Loss Prevention Department.