NEW DELHI: After two years, India has restored all currently valid tourist visas, including electronic ones held by the nationals of 156 eligible countries and regular tourist visas held by citizens of all countries, subject to restrictions issued from time to time, in view of improvement in the Covid-19 situation.
These visas, issued to foreign tourists for five years and, in respect of US and Japanese citizens, for 10 years, were suspended in March 2020 due to outbreak of the pandemic.
The home ministry on Tuesday also cleared resumption of issuance of fresh e-tourist visas (to nationals of 156 countries allowed e-visa facility) and regular visas with up to 5 years validity as also 10-year-duration tourist visas in case of US and Japanese nationals.
The conditions specified in the 2019 visa manual will apply in case of e-tourist visas issued for five years.
The foreign nationals on tourist or e-tourist visas may enter India only via designated immigration points upon arrival by sea route or via the airport immigration checkposts. Such flights for now shall be ones operated under Vande Bharat Mission or ‘air bubble’ arrangement with select countries. However, with scheduled commercial passenger flights also set to resume by March 27, 2022, the MHA order also states that tourist and e-tourist visas may be used by foreign nationals arriving by flights as allowed by DGCA or the ministry of civil aviation.
As per the latest MHA order, foreigners are not allowed yet to cross over to India through land borders or riverine routes. A separate order is expected to be eventually issued for immigration through land border and riverine crossings. Afghanistan nationals will continue to be governed by the home ministry’s separate instructions relating to e-Emergency X-Miscellaneous visa.
The home ministry had on October 7, 2021 ordered the resumption of issue of fresh e-tourist visas, which was discontinued in March 2020, for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights, with effect from October 15, 2021. This was done after assessing the Covid situation then.