Updated: October 22, 2020 10:22:20 pm
The Home Ministry on Thursday further liberalised the visa restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic by allowing entry to all foreigners except tourists. Besides, the government has also allowed all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders and all other foreign nationals to visit India.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak, only a certain category of OCI card holders and foreigners were allowed into the country until now.
“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. Therefore, it has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa,” an MHA statement said.
The MHA said OCI and PIO card holders and all other foreign nationals can 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 travelers will, however have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/Cobid-19 matters,” the MHA statement said.
Under this graded relaxation, the government has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa).
“If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from 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 said.
The government had suspended all visas on March 11. In June, the Centre allowed the entry of foreign minor children with at least one parent who is an Indian citizen or an OCI card holder. Entry of foreigners married to Indian citizens and single foreign parents whose children hold an Indian passport or an OCI card were also allowed.
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