Certain categories of foreigners including engineers and health professionals can come to India now, the government said today as it eased visa restrictions as part of the "Unlock 1" strategy to bring the country out of the coronavirus crisis in phases and safely.
The other categories are people engaged in business who want to visit India on a business visa in a non-scheduled airline or chartered flight; health researchers and technicians to work with Indian health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories; managerial, design or other specialists coming to India on behalf of a foreign firm located in India.
Technical specialists who want to visit India for installation, repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment can come if they have an invitation from a registered Indian firm, the Home Ministry said in a statement.
The health researchers and technicians must have a letter of invitation from a recognised healthcare facility, a registered pharmaceutical firm or an accredited university in India, the Home Ministry said.
Foreign specialists who will get Indian visas could be those working in manufacturing units, design units, software and information technology units as well as banking and non-banking financial sector firms, the Home Ministry said.
All of them will have to apply fresh for the visa.
Foreigners who have valid long-term multiple entry business visa will have to get their business visa re-validated from the Indian mission in their country. They cannot come to India using any electronic visa issued earlier, the Home Ministry said.
All flights - international and domestic - were stopped and new visas were no longer issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic in late March. Only repatriation flights and those carrying essential goods and services were allowed until the centre restarted domestic flights last week. The lockdown has been extended four times.