India allows graded relaxation in visa, travel restrictions

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) As Indian government has almost lifted all restrictions imposed earlier to contain Covid-19 pandemic, it has now decided to make a “graded relaxation in the visa and travel restrictions”.
Under the relief, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will now extend these relaxations for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India.
This graded relaxation will restore with “immediate effect” all existing visas except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa.
Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can now apply for a medical visa, including for their medical attendants.
This decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research and medical purposes — a move to kick start the economy and other sectors affected due to pandemic as restrictions were imposed on the visit of foreigners.
In view of the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February this year.
Therefore, the MHA — a nodal Ministry which has the authority to give visa and foreign travel approvals — has now 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, except on a tourist visa to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts.
This includes 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 strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF) regarding quarantine and other health and Covid-19 matters.
If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the Indian Missions or Posts concerned, the Ministry said.

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