Centre Eases Restrictions On Entry of Foreigners: Who Are Allowed?

All foreign nationals, except on a Tourist Visa, are allowed to enter by air or water routes.

2 min read
Passengers arrive to take a flight at Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. Image used for representation.

The Home Ministry on Thursday, 22 October, announced that it decided to permit 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.

The government had restricted entry of international passengers since March this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the new visa rules? Who can enter India? Here’s what we know from the latest guidelines.

Is there a restriction on foreign nationals wanting to enter India?

No, all foreign nationals, except on a Tourist Visa, are allowed to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts.

This decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc, the MHA said.

How can they travel to India if regular international flights are still banned?

The ministry said that this includes flights operated under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. However, it reiterated that all such travellers will have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Are there any restrictions for OCI, PIO card holders?

No, all OCI and PIO card holders are allowed.

In addition, the Centre in June also allowed the entry of foreign minor children with at least one parent who is an Indian citizen or an OCI card holder. Entry of foreigners who are married to Indian citizens and single foreign parents whose children hold an Indian passport or an OCI card were also allowed.

Does this mean that my visa to India is now valid?

The Home Ministry has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic, tourist and medical categories.

What if my visa to India expired during lockdown? What option do I have?

The ministry added that if the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained.

I want to travel to India for medical treatment. Can I apply for Medical Visa?

Foreigners wanting to visit India for medical treatment can apply for fresh Medical Visa.

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