In a move to boost air travel, the government on Thursday announced that Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders can visit India for any purpose, except for tourism. The government has eased the restrictions imposed in view of coronavirus pandemic and restored the validity of all the existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa nearly after eight months after the nationwide lockdown. The government had suspended all the visas and restricted travel to contain the spread of the disease both outside and inside the country.
The Home Ministry said the OCI and PIO card holders can also now enter India by water and air routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts.
The Ministry of Home Affairs statement 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.
If the validity of existing visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the concerned Indian Mission/Posts. 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, the statement further read.
After nearly two months of suspension of the international flight, the government resumed domestic passenger flights from May 25 with 33 perent occupancy. The Civil Aviation Ministry later increased the limit from 33 to 45 percent on June 26.