14 Apr 2021: Government lifts restrictions on e-visas for 156 countries, excluding China
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has lifted restrictions on e-visas, allowing nationals from 156 countries to avail e-medical visa, e-business visa, e-medical attendant visa, and e-conference visa, according to reports.
However, the ban on tourist visa is still in place.
All these visas were suspended last March as the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading in India.
Here are more details on this.
Details: Who all can travel to India now?
An order issued by the MHA in this regard read, "Vide Office Memorandum 25022/28/2020-F.I dated 30.03.2021, e-Visa under the following categories viz. e-Business Visa, e-Medical Visa, e-Medical Attendant Visa and e-Conference Visa has been restored with immediate effect."
The fresh order allows foreign nationals to come to India for medical treatment, attending to patients, as well as for business and conference purposes.
Details: Order excludes travelers from China, the UK
However, the order excludes nationals from China and the United Kingdom. Travel restrictions for these two countries will be reviewed later this month, News18 reports.
The restrictions on travel to and from 107 immigration check-posts were first introduced in March last year ahead of the 21-day nationwide lockdown over the COVID-19 outbreak.
Those measures were later eased in August and October.
COVID-19 situation: Relaxation comes amid second wave of COVID-19
The relaxation has come even as India continues to witness a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. In fact, the country yesterday reported 1.85 lakh infections, taking the nationwide tally past 1.38 crore.
The second wave of the pandemic in India has mainly been attributed to mutated strains of the virus and severe laxity among people in following coronavirus-linked safety protocols.
Quote: Order issued when COVID-19 was not surging, say officials
Meanwhile, officials said that the order was issued in early April when COVID-19 cases were not rising at an alarming rate as they are now, according to a report by The Economic Times.
"In the past ten days, we have received very few requests under e-medical and e-business visa categories," one of the officials was quoted as saying.