India To Re-open Its Borders For Tourists From October 15

India will welcome international tourists from October 15 after being closed for over a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Union government announced on October 7.  

With this, the Indian government will issue tourist visas after almost 19 months. The Home Ministry said it would begin issuing fresh tourist visas in a phased manner, starting with foreigners arriving on chartered flights.  

Issuing a statement, the Home Ministry said, “After considering various inputs, the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to begin granting fresh Tourist Visas for foreigners coming to India through chartered flights with effect from October 15, 2021. Foreign tourists entering into India by flights other than chartered aircraft would be able to do so only with effect from November 15, 2021, on fresh Tourist Visas.”  

The facility will be extended to foreign nationals coming in flights other than chartered ones from November 15.   

‘Other than chartered flights’ means fresh tourist visas may initially be granted to foreign nationals coming in from countries with which India has signed an ‘air bubble arrangement’. When demands increase and leading commercial flights start operating, tourist visas will be issued to those entering India by commercial flights.  

In another statement, the Home Ministry said, “All due protocols and norms associated with Covid-19, as notified by the ministry of health & family welfare from time to time, shall be acknowledged by the foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India and all other stakeholders at landing stations.”  

Last month, PM Modi said that the Union government was gearing up to welcome back foreign tourists during a virtual event. “The government has taken a decision to give five lakh tourists free visas. Travel and tourism stakeholders will be given loans up to Rs 10 lakh with a 100% guarantee by the government,” he declared. 

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