Government ease visa norms, all categories of foreign nationals can visit India, barring tourism

The Government of India on Thursday announced relaxation in visa and travel restrictions and allowed all categories of foreign nationals to enter India through air or sea for any purpose except for tourism.

“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 to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts,” Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

“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/COVID-19 matters,” it 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/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,” it added.

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.