Amid the tense situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban seizing power, India has recently introduced a new category of e-visa for Afghan nationals. This visa would fast-track the Afghans’ entry into India.
These visas will be granted after security clearance and will be valid only for six months, sources confirmed.
“MHA reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan. A new category of electronic visa called “e-Emergency X-Misc Visa” introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India,” a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Tuesday, August 17.
According to sources, the visa will allow Afghan nationals fleeing Afghanistan to stay in India for six months. However, there is still no clarity on what would happen after the expiry of the validity period. India does not have a refugee policy in place. The country only shelters foreigners facing persecution in their countries on a case-to-case basis.
“India already provides X Miscellaneous category visa to foreigners whose purpose of entry into India does not match with any prescribed category. In the case of Afghanistan, the e-visa facility was not extended to the nationals of that country until now. However, since our mission is now shut in Afghanistan, people are being allowed to get online visas. All these applications, however, will first be cleared by security agencies,” a home ministry official said.
MHA’s visa policy says that foreign nationals who apply for a visa for a purpose that is not covered under any visa category may be granted an ‘X-Misc’ Visa for the appropriate duration.
“Such a visa may be granted only with single entry and for the specific duration taking into account the purpose of visit. If the visa is granted for a period of stay exceeding 180 days, the foreigner will have to register himself/ herself with the FRRO/ FRO concerned within 14 days of arrival. This visa will be non-extendable and non-convertible to any other type of visa,” the MHA policy document on the X-Misc visa says.
X-Misc visas can either be granted independently or in conjunction with other visa categories.
Across the country, the Taliban have taken control of numerous districts. As per US intelligence assessments, the country’s civilian government could fall to the terror group within months of the withdrawal of US forces.