Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders from the US, UK, German and France, with whom India has signed ‘air bubble’ arrangements, will be allowed to visit the country, the Home Ministry announced on Friday.
Other foreigners from these countries have also been allowed to avail Indian visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes.
According to a home ministry notification, Indian citizens have also been allowed to travel to these countries on any type of visa.
“Ministry of Home Affairs has permitted to enter India OCI card holders who belong to countries with which ‘air bubble’ arrangements have been finalised by Ministry of Civil Aviation,” a home ministry spokesperson said.
India so far has bilateral air travel arrangements or ‘air bubbles’ with the US, UK, Germany and France during the coronavirus pandemic-related international travel restrictions.
Other countries may be included under this scheme in future, the notification said.
The home ministry said it has further considered the need for relaxation of visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals who want to travel to India and Indian nationals intending to visit other countries in the context of the ‘air bubble’ scheme.
Accordingly, in respect of countries with which ‘air bubble’ scheme has already been worked out, i.e. the US, UK, Germany and France and the countries that may be included in such a scheme in future, it has been decided that OCI card holders holding passports of such countries are permitted to enter India, the notification said.
Indian missions of these countries will grant appropriate visa, provided papers of the applicants are in order and there is no adverse input about them.
Any Indian national holding any type of valid visa of such countries may be permitted to travel to the country concerned provided there is no travel restriction for entry of Indian nationals in that country.
It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian nationals to enter the country concerned with the particular visa category before issue of tickets and boarding pass to the Indian passenger, the home ministry said.
It has also been decided that the existing restrictions on incoming passenger traffic into India through the immigration check posts will not apply to such travellers.
The existing restrictions on incoming passenger traffic into India will not be applicable on movement of cargo or goods and supplies in any vehicle, aircraft, ship, train etc. along with their crew, sailor, driver, helper, cleaner etc.
However, in respect of quarantine and all other health/ COVID-19 related matters, guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare shall be adhered to, the home ministry said.