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Visa curbs relaxed for OCI, PIO card holders, restrictions to continue on tourists: MHA

‘The government has 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,’ MHA said

SNS | New Delhi |

The Ministry of Home Affairs has on Thursday relaxed visa restrictions allowing more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals to visit the country for any purpose except on tourist visa.

Visa restrictions were imposed due to coronavirus pandemic. The government had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February 2020.

With the relaxations, the government has allowed all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders and all other foreign nationals to visit India, nearly eight months after they were suspended.

“The government has 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,” the statement released by the Ministry of Home Affairs said. 

The government also said that it has restored all existing visa with immediate effect, except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa.

OCI and foreign nationals can enter the country through authorised air or water routes, including flights operated under the Vande Bharat Mission air transport bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, it further added.

All the travellers have to adhere to the covid guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health regarding quarantine and other protocols.

This decision by the government will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes and others.

“Under this graded relaxation, Government of India 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/Posts concerned.  Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply 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 statement read.

The government had taken steps to curtail the air travel both inward and outward from February. International flights have been suspended in India since March 23.

The government had resumed domestic air travel from May 25 onwards, nearly two months after the suspension of flight. The flights initially operated at 33 per cent of its capacity and was later increased to 45 per cent.