The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday, 17 August, introduced a new category of electronic visa, called "e-Emergency X-Misc Visa," to speed up the applications requesting entry into India from Afghanistan.
The announcement comes two days after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after President Ghani fled the presidential palace, pushing the country into deep humanitarian crisis.
"MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called 'e-Emergency X-Misc Visa' introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India," the spokesperson for the MHA said in a tweet.
Who can apply?
Anyone who wishes to leave Afghanistan as the country witnesses more uncertainty, can apply for e-Emergency X-Misc Visa
It will help in fast-tracking applications for entry of the Afghans in India
This is not for Indian nationals.
Can only people from particular religions apply?
No, there is no such rule. Afghans from any religion can apply.
How long is this visa valid for?
According to an Indian Express report, these visas will be valid for six months online and will be granted only after the individual has been given security clearance.
However, the report states that there is no clarity on the status of Afghan nationals travelling on this new visa after its validity expires.
At present, India does not have a refugee program and grants asylum to foreigners facing persecution in their home country on a case to case basis only.
How much is the application fee?
The visa is free. There is no application fee for this visa.
How to apply for this visa?
Click on indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/Registration
Visa category is "Emergency X-Misc Visa"
Click on "Apply here for e-visa"
Please provide the necessary details, including passport number
Each application requires the Name, Phone Number and Address of one Reference person in India and one Reference person in Afghanistan.
What has the MEA said about situation in Afghanistan?
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday, 17 August, said that he was monitoring the situation in Kabul continuously. He indicated that he understands the anxiety of those seeking a return to India.
"Airport operations are the main challenge. Discussions on with partners in that regard," he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
Alluding to the uncertain situation in Kabul, Jaishankar noted that it was necessary that the Government of India was provided accurate information about the Indians there, and shared the contacts for the Ministry of External Affairs Special Afghanistan Cell for this purpose.
"We are in constant touch with the Sikh and Hindu community leaders in Kabul. Their welfare will get our priority attention," he stated in another tweet, reiterating a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday, 16 August.