Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and foreign nationals can visit India for any purpose, except on tourist visa, the government said today as it eased visa rules and travel restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Government 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.

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The Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) has issued a statement in which it said that “It has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO cardholders 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.

This will also include flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements, or by any nonscheduled 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.

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In view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February 2020.

Under this graded relaxation, the Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa, and Medical Visa).

MHA has also said that if the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the Indian Mission/Posts concerned. Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants. Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes, etc.