Govt Announces Graded Relaxation In Visa And Travel Restrictions For Indian, Foreign Nationals To Enter Or Leave IndiaIndira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. (Wikipedia/IGI Airport)

The government on Thursday (22 October) said that it has 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, a Home Ministry statement said.

The development comes as the government, in view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February 2020.

The government 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 authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts, the Home Ministry said.

This 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 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 ministry said.

Under this graded relaxation, the government 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, it said.

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

The ministry said that this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.

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