New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) For the first time since the nation-wide lockdown was announced in March, the government has allowed foreign businessmen, healthcare professionals and engineers to visit India but they will have to obtain fresh visas.
In an order, the Home Ministry said the foreign nationals, holding a valid long-term multiple-entry business visa, would also have to get their travel documents re-validated from the Indian missions.
"The Government of India has considered the matter regarding relaxation of the visa and travel restrictions for certain categories of foreign nationals who need to come to India.
"It has been decided to permit the following categories of foreign nationals to come to India," a home ministry statement said on Wednesday.
Those who are allowed to visit India are: foreign businessmen coming to India on a business visa (other than on B-3 visa for sports) in non-scheduled commercial and chartered flights.
Foreign healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians who wish to come for technical work at Indian health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories.
This is subject to a letter of invitation from a recognised and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or accredited university in India.
Foreign engineering, managerial, design or other specialists who wish to travel to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India.
This includes all manufacturing units, design units, software and IT units as well as financial sector companies (banking and non-banking financial sector firms).
Foreign technical specialists and engineers who want to visit India for installation, repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business entity.
These could be for equipment installation, or is under warranty, or for after sales servicing or repair on commercial terms.
"The above categories of foreign nationals would have to obtain a fresh business visa or employment visa, as applicable, from the Indian missions and posts abroad," the statement said.
Also, foreign nationals holding a valid long-term multiple-entry business visa (other than B-3 visa for sports) issued by the Indian missions abroad would have to get the business visa re-validated from the Indian mission concerned.
Such foreign nationals would not be permitted to travel to India on the strength of any electronic visa obtained earlier, the statement said.
The government on May 7 launched a special operation under the name of Vande Bharat Mission for evacuation of stranded Indians in foreign nations through air and sea.
Subsequently, it allowed Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies.
This was for the first time that foreign nationals are allowed to visit India.
The nationwide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
It was first extended till May 3 and then again till May 17. The lockdown was further extended till May 31 and now in containment zones till June 30. PTI ACB ABH