Visa Curbs Eased; OCI Card Holders Can Visit India, Not For Tourism

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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.

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