In a major decision to boost inbound tourism to India, the Indian government has taken a decision on issuing tourist visa to foreign travellers as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will start issuing tourists visa from October 15. Those travelling through chartered flights will be allowed to enter India from October 15 while other travellers coming via regular flights will be granted entry from November 15. The government has clarified that tourists entering India via land routes will not be issued visas. This means that citizens from India’s neighbouring countries, which share land borders with India will not be able to able to visit the country on a tourist visa if they travel to India by road. It also mentioned that visa will be of single-entry type having a maximum validity of 30 days for now.

The Government of India had earlier announced that first 500,000 tourists who come to India will not have to pay visa fees. This scheme will be applicable until March 31, 2022, or will be closed after distribution of first 500,000 visas. Tourists will be able to avail this benefit only once.

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.

With this move, the restrictions placed on visa and international travel stand further eased given the present overall Covid-19 situation. All visas granted to foreigners were suspended last year. Various other restrictions were also imposed on international travel by the Central Government 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.