Indian Government Eases visa restrictions for OCI, PIO and Non-tourist visa holders

In a move to bring air travel back on track, the Indian Government on Wednesday announced the relaxation of visa norms and restored the validity of all the visas, nearly eight months after they were suspended due to the corona pandemic.

In its move to ease travel restrictions, Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and foreign nationals now will be able to visit India for any purpose, except on tourist visa, the government said today.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had curtailed the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February, 2020.

“The Government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India,” the statement read.

The Government has decided to permit all OCI and PIO cardholders and all other foreign nationals who wish to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts.

Under this graded relaxation, the government has decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa, the statement said.

This includes flights operating under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements, or any non-scheduled commercial flights which are 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 regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters,” the statement warned.

The announcement clarified that if the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the Indian Mission/Posts concerned. Foreign nationals who intend to visit India for medical treatments can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants. The decision is aimed to enable foreign nationals to visit India for purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research and medical emergencies.

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