Visa norms relaxed, Centre allows entry of foreigners on select purposes

The MHA has allowed selected category of foreigners to fly to India on a business visa through non-scheduled charter flights.

Overseas Citizen of India, foreigners, coronavirus, COVID-19, Lockdown, travel restrictions

Three months after the government suspended visas granted to foreigners due to COVID-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has finally allowed the arrival of foreigners for purposes of healthcare, healthcare, technical, and engineering works. Foreigners will be able to fly to India on the non-scheduled charter flights.

In an order issued on Monday (June 1), MHA said that foreign businessmen coming to India on a business visa (other than on the B-3 visa for sports) in the non-scheduled commercial/chartered flights will be permitted.

According to MHA, certain other category of foreigners who could also avail of this relaxation, which include foreign healthcare professionals, engineers, health researchers, and technicians for practical work at the Indian health sector facilities, including factories and laboratories.

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For those industrial units which need the expertise of foreign specialists, the MHA has stated that foreign managerial, engineering, design or other related specialists travelling to India on behalf of the foreign business entities located in the country would be allowed.

This includes all the design units, manufacturing units, software as well as IT units and the financial sector such as banking and non-banking firms. MHA added that the foreign technical specialists and the engineers travelling for repair, installation and maintenance of the foreign-origin machinery or equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business firm, will also be allowed to fly to the country.

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However, these foreign nationals will have to obtain a fresh business visa or an employment visa, as applicable, from the Indian missions abroad.

On March 11, the government had suspended all visas due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Since then, the government gave certain relaxations to the stranded nationals abroad and began repatriation flights. It also granted permission to the stranded overseas citizens of India (OCI) card holders to fly in the country.

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