India allows foreign tourists on chartered flights from today

India: From Friday, foreign tourists travelling by charter flights will be allowed into India. Regular international flights will be allowed from November 15 under bilateral air bubble agreements with countries, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoFA).

All international flights were suspended in March last year to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic since the onset of the pandemic 18 months ago.

Domestic flights were allowed to operate with curtailed capacity from May 25, 2020 but international flights remained suspended as Covid-19 cases continued to spread. India also allowed domestic carriers to operate at full capacity from October 18, 2021.

The MHA in revised guidelines on October 7, 2021, lifted the blanket ban on inbound international travellers.

The Ministry had clarified that chartered flights mean those allowed under the air bubble agreement under Vande Bharat mission or any scheduled or non-scheduled commercial flights allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Also, visa restrictions for international travellers was also eased.

Fresh tourist visas will now be granted to foreigners travelling to India through chartered flights as the existing ones remain suspended under Covid-19 restrictions.

“The bureau of immigration, Indian mission and posts abroad may grant fresh single-entry e-tourist or tourist visas for 30 days. Existing e-tourist visas shall remain suspended,” the MHA had said.

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