Centre relaxes visa restrictions; except for tourism, all categories of foreigners allowed to enter India

Under this graded relaxation, the government has decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa, and medical visa, the MHA said in a statement

Press Trust of India October 22, 2020 14:58:52 IST
Centre relaxes visa restrictions; except for tourism, all categories of foreigners allowed to enter India

Representational image. Reuters

New Delhi: The government on Thursday decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic, tourist, and medical categories, almost eight months after their suspension following the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent imposition of a nationwide lockdown.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also announced giving permission to all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders and all other foreign nationals to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa.

The ministry said in a statement that in view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February 2020.

The government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India.

Under this graded relaxation, the government has decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa, and medical visa, the statement said.

If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the Indian mission or post concerned.

Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply afresh for a medical visa, including for their medical attendants.

Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes, etc.

The government has also decided to permit all OCI and PIO cardholders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa, to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts.

This includes flights operated under 'Vande Bharat' mission, air transport bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

All such travellers will, however, have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/ COVID-19 matters.

While the restrictions on visas were imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in February, commercial flight operations were suspended when the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25.

However, the government has been allowing limited operations of Air India flights under the 'Vande Bharat' mission for certain categories of OCI and PIO cardholders and those Indians who were stuck due to the COVID-19 outbreak since June.

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