- India eased visa, travel restrictions imposed amid pandemic
- Government restores validity of some existing visas
- They can visit India for any purpose, except on tourist visa
Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders and foreign nationals can visit India for any purpose, except on tourist visa, the government said today as it eased visa and travel restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a big move to get air travel back on track, the government has restored the validity of all existing visas, nearly eight months after they were suspended in the wake of the virus crisis and the nationwide lockdown.
"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," an order from the Union Home Ministry says.
Under this graded relaxation, the government has decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa, the statement said.
The permission for Overseas Citizens of India and foreign nationals to enter the country includes 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.
All such travelers will, however have to follow the guidelines of the Union Health Ministry regarding quarantine and other Covid protocols.
The government had restricted air travel - inward and outward - since February this year due to the pandemic.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23.
After nearly two months of suspension to combat the coronavirus outbreak, the government resumed scheduled domestic passenger flights on May 25.
However, it had then allowed the airlines to operate maximum 33 per cent of their pre-COVID domestic flights. The Civil Aviation Ministry increased the limits on June 26 from 33 per cent to 45 per cent.