Relaxations in VISA rules announced, tourism still banned in India
New Delhi : The government on Thursday announced relaxations in VISA rules for foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to visit or leave India almost eight months after the lockdown was announced to stop the spread of coronavirus in the nation. Tourism VISAs will still remain banned until further notice.
The Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) has issued a statement in which it said, "It has been 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 authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts."
This will also include 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 travelers 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.
The relaxations will be implemented on all VISAs (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa) with immediate effect, the statement said.
For all those VISAs which expired during the lockdown, fresh free VISAs can be obtained from Indian Mission/Posts concerned. Foreigners who want to visit India for medical treatment can obtain medical VISA including for their medical attendants.
Meanwhile, the government has been allowing limited operations of Air India flights under the 'Vande Bharat' mission for certain categories OCI and PIO cardholders and those Indians who were stuck due to COVID-19 outbreak since June.