India Suspends Tourist Visas for Chinese Nationals: What Are the New Rules?

China has continued to refuse to let Indian students enter their country, despite appeals. What are the new rules?

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India has reportedly suspended tourist visas issued to Chinese citizens, according to a statement by International Air Transport Association (IATA), an association of global airlines, accessed by news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).

"Tourist visas issued to nationals of China (People's Republic) are no longer valid," IATA said in a circular issued on 20 April, as per PTI.

What are the new rules for getting a visa to India?

The circular said that only those passengers will be allowed in India who are from within the country or are from Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal, or passengers who have a residential permit or visa/e-visa issued by India, or passengers with an overseas citizen of India (OCI) card or a persons of Indian origin (PIO) card and passengers with a diplomatic passport.

Why has India cancelled tourist visas for Chinese?

This move comes after China again refused to let Indian students enter their country, despite India's appeal on behalf of over 20,000 Indian students who came back to India because of the pandemic and are now unable to move back to China to resume physical classes in Chinese universities.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement last month said that these strict restrictions will impact the academic careers of thousands of Indian students.

He had also said that the Chinese foreign ministry has said that they are examining arrangements for the return of Indian students to China.

"But let me clarify that till date, the Chinese side has not given any categorical response about the return of Indian students. We will continue to urge the Chinese side to adopt a congenial stance in the interest of our students and that they facilitate an early return to China so that our students can pursue their studies."
Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs

For which countries will long-duration tourist visa be issued?

The new long duration (10 years) tourist visas will be issued to the nationals of the US and Japan.

Further, all currently-valid regular tourist visas with old long duration (of 10 years) given to the citizens of Japan and the US have also been restored, news agency PTI reported on Wednesday, 16 March, citing officials.

Which countries are eligible for e-visa for tourism?

Citizens from 156 countries will be eligible for fresh e-tourist visas according to the Visa Manual, 2019.

Further, foreign nationals will be able to enter India on tourist and e-tourist visas only through designated Sea Immigration Check Posts (IPs) or Airport ICPs via flights. These will include flights under 'Vande Bharat Mission' or 'air bubble' scheme or via flights as per the DGCA or Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Will foreign nationals be allowed to enter through the land border or sea on tourist visa?

No, foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter through the land border or sea on tourist visa or e-tourist visa in any case.

(This story contains inputs from the Press Trust of India.)

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