India's Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has given a major relaxation to all Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose. But, this excludes foreigners, OCI and PIO holders applying to come on a tourist visa.
The move comes in an effort to provide relaxation to people trying to come to India amid COVID-19 pandemic. "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 authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts," MHA said in a press release.
"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," MHA said.
The Union Home Ministry said that under this graded relaxation, the 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 or 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," MHA said.
In view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February 2020. (ANI)