India opens up travel, apart from tourism and medical reasons

India had closed visa issuance for a very long time, since Q1 2020. Since then, they started to allow a certain category of individuals to visit the country and relaxed the regulations on Overseas Citizens of India as well. Now, however, the Government of India has announced sweeping changes and authorised more visa categories to be opened up.

a close up of a visa

The Government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India.  Therefore, it has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO cardholders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts.  This includes flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. All such travellers will however have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters.

Under this graded relaxation, Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa).  If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian Mission/Posts concerned.  Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants. Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.


India is still not open for tourism and medical travel but is open for all other sorts of visits. So, if you have access to one of the open flights to India right now and an existing visa (or can get a new one), the Indian borders are open for you.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. 14 days home quarantine in a few states if you produce a negative RT PCR test certificate on arrival. For short term business visits of less than 7 days, you can apply for a special exemption.

  2. so, what about quarantine rules for inbound passengers upon arrival in India. is 7 days institutional and 7 days home quarantine is still mandatory for Indian Citizens?

    • I think quarantine depends on the state and particular airport you land at. In Mumbai for example I am hearing that there is no “institutional” quarantine arranged by the government. All they ask you is to “home qurantine ”

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