Centre relaxes visa restrictions, allows foreign students, businessmen, but not tourists.

Extending further relaxations to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the Centre on Thursday has decided to allow more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals to travel to India. All OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) and PIO (Persons of Indian origin) card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa, will be allowed to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts., the new visa rules said. This also includes flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, air transport bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the ministry of civil aviation.

All such travellers will, however, have to strictly adhere to the health ministry guidelines, the notification said.

Under this graded relaxation, the Centre has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa). If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian Mission/Posts concerned, the ministry of home affairs has said.

Foreign nationals planning to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a medical visa including for their medical attendants.


In its earlier order, the home ministry had specified four categories of OCI cardholders to travel to India.

Those were:

1. Minor children who hold OCI cards and whose parents are Indian nationals.

2. OCI cardholders who wish to com eto India for some medical emergency of immediate family members or death.

3. Married couples when one is an OCI card holder and the other is an Indian national

4. Students who are OCI cardholders and at least one of their parents is and Indian national or an OCI card holder.

With the new rules coming into force all OCI and PIO card holders will be able to come to India.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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