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India is reopening its borders to international visitors, order issued by the MHA

Easterntimes, New Delhi, October 22: Government of India on Thursday relaxed visa restrictions to allow all categories of foreign nationals to enter India through air or sea for any purpose except for tourism.

“It has been decided to permit all OCI and 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.” reads an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

It is said that the relaxations include 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, however, will have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters,” it added.

It also said that the decision was 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.

Under this graded relaxation, “Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa)” The MHA in its order said. With these relaxations, now foreign nationals will be allowed to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes and a few others.

In February, this year, the government had decided to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers in view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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