In the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for granting tourist visas to foreigners starting October 15, the government has clarified that tourists entering India via land routes will not be issued visas. This means that citizens from India’s neighbouring countries, which share land borders with India will not be able to able to visit the country on a tourist visa. It also mentioned that visa will be of single-entry type having a maximum validity of 30 days for now.
With India being a popular long-haul destination in the global tourism market, this move might prove to a dampener for foreign tourist who are eagerly waiting to visit the country, but looking at the Covid-19 situation, the government is taking cautious decisions for the gradual reopening of the country for inbound tourism.
In absence of land routes, tourists from neighboring nations can enter via air and sea routes. India shares land borders with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar. The MHA guidelines also clarified that foreign tourists would have to apply for fresh tourist visa to visit India as the existing visa or the ones issued before and were not used will remain suspended. The government previously has already announced the move to grant free-tourist visa to first 5 lakh applicants in a bid to boost tourism.Reportedly, the government is also working on preparing a list of countries with high number of Covid-19 cases and where the infection rates remain a case of concerns. Stakeholders have also been deliberating on weather foreigners visiting India on Vande Bharat flights under the air bubble agreement will be grated tourist visa from October 15 under the chartered flights category or they will have to wait till November 15, when citizens arriving on regular flights are allowed. The industry has been demanding clarity on resumption of scheduled international flights, which can help them plan before the upcoming inbound tourist season.