India will start issuing tourist visas from October 15 after one-and-a-half years of suspension due to Covid-19 pandemic.
But, for a month, tourists will be allowed entry into India only on chartered flights. Those wanting to visit India on scheduled commercial flights would have to wait till November 15, reports The Indian Express.
“After considering various inputs, the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has decided to begin granting of fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15, 2021,” the ministry said in a statement.
It added that foreign tourists entering India by flights other than chartered aircraft would be able to do so only with effect from November 15 on fresh Tourist Visas.
“All due protocols and norms relating to Covid-19 as notified by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from time to time, shall be adhered to by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations,” the statement said adding that with this, the restrictions placed on visa and international travel stand further eased given the overall Covid-19 situation.
“The Covid pressure has eased up considerably and so the government has decided to open up the economy further. However, we are taking one step at a time as we do not want an influx of tourists suddenly. So, initially chartered flights are being allowed. Tourists can get together themselves or through a travel company and hire a chartered flight to visit India. Regular tourist operations will begin only from November 15,” a home ministry official said.
Due to the pandemic, all visas granted to foreigners were suspended last year. Various other restrictions were also imposed on international travel by the Centre to arrest the spread of the pandemic.
After considering the evolving Covid-19 situation, foreigners were later on allowed to avail any kind of Indian visa other than tourist visa for entry and stay in India.