According to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, the government has restored the electronic tourist visa (e-TV) facility to citizens of 156 countries, as well as regular paper visas issued to nationals of all countries, on Wednesday. The move is intended to boost tourism, which has suffered the most as a result of the pandemic. Following the Covid-19 outbreak, these visas have been suspended since March 2020.
As per sources, not only will foreigners be able to apply for new e-tourist visas, but existing five-year visas will also be honoured. Foreigners with five-year visas can visit India multiple times during that period. Foreigners with tourist visas can stay in India for up to 180 days per year, with a maximum stay of 90 days.
Report published in this regard, the government has restored the regular (paper) tourist visas issued to citizens of all countries with a five-year validity period. In addition, new long-term (10-year) regular tourist visas for citizens of the United States and Japan have been reinstated, according to officials.
According to the official, new regular (paper) tourist visas with a validity of up to five years will be issued to nationals of the eligible countries, subject to the restrictions imposed from time to time.
Currently, valid old long-term (10-year) regular tourist visas, which have been suspended since March 2020, will be reinstated for nationals of the United States and Japan.
New long-term (10-year) tourist visas will also be issued to citizens of the United States and Japan.
According to the Visa Manual 2019, nationals of these 156 countries will also be eligible for the issuance of a new e-tourist visa.
All things considered, a legitimate normal (paper) tourist visa with a validity of 5 years issued to foreign nationals, which has been suspended since March 2020, will be reinstated.
According to the authority, new regular (paper) tourist visas valid for up to five years will be issued to nationals of the eligible countries, subject to the limitations imposed from time to time.
In the midst of a pandemic, the government suspended all visas in March 2020. As the situation has improved, the government has gradually relaxed visa requirements over the last two years. The Centre began issuing visas to all foreigners, including tourists, arriving on chartered flights in October 2021. This was expanded to include regular flights by November 2021.
Except for those with special permission, all land and riverine borders, including the Attari-Wagah post along Pakistan’s border, will remain closed. According to the Ministry, the “instructions will not be applicable to Afghanistan nationals,” who will continue to be subject to the e-Emergency X-Miscellaneous Visa.
“Order for the opening of Land ICPs (Integrated Check Posts) and riverine routes will be communicated separately,” the order said.
Foreign nationals on tourist and e-tourist visas will be able to enter India only through designated Sea Immigration Check Posts (IPs) or Airport ICPs via flights, including those under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ or ‘air bubble’ scheme, or through any flights permitted by the DGCA or Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Foreign nationals will not be permitted to enter through the land border or riverine routes on a tourist visa or an e-tourist visa in any case.
According to the official, the government instructions will not apply to Afghan nationals, who will continue to be governed by separate instructions issued by the Union Home Ministry regarding the grant of -e-Emergency X-Misc visas.
In October 2020, the government affected the first major relaxation in Covid-related visa restrictions by allowing entry of all foreigners except tourists.
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