The government on Thursday decided to allow more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals to travel to India. Extending further relaxations to travel guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Union Home Ministry said all OCI, PIO card-holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist visa, are permitted to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts.
Under this graded relaxation, the government said it is restoring with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic, tourist or medical visas. Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a medical visa including for medical attendants, the home ministry further said.
If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian mission or post concerned.
Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply afresh 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.
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.
While the restrictions on visas were imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in February, commercial flight operations were suspended when the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25.
However, the government has been allowing limited operations of Air India flights under the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission for certain categories OCI and PIO card holders and those Indians who were stuck due to COVID-19 outbreak since June.
(With PTI inputs)