Iran no longer on restricted visa list

The Union government's move indicates that it wants to reach out to the Persian Gulf nation.

Updated - March 29, 2016 04:24 pm IST

Published - August 21, 2015 12:24 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The Union government has removed Iran from the list of countries put under the restricted visa category, indicating that it wants to reach out to the Persian Gulf nation.

India sees Iran as a key supporter in the wake of the growing threats and influence of Islamist terror groups such as the Islamic State in Central Asia. India has liberalised its visa policy for Iran and struck it off the prior referral category (PRC) of countries. Three categories of visas — employment, conference, students and research visa — were on the restricted list till now.

On Wednesday, the Union Home Ministry issued an order which said Iran was no longer on the PRC list, which has countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and China.

“The order means that Iranians can easily apply for visas at our consulate in Iran and each application will not have to be forwarded to [the] Intelligence Bureau and [the] Research and Analysis Wing here for verification,” a senior government official said.

The two countries have agreed to facilitate development in various fields including ports, north-south corridor, petrochemicals, steel industries, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment.

In May this year, India inked a memorandum of understanding to develop the Chabahar Port in Iran. India is keen to open new avenues of connectivity with Iran, which will pave the way for its entry into Afghanistan and the Central Asian region.

Sushma may visit Iran

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to visit Iran later this year.

“For the ease of doing business, we have liberalised the employment and conference visa. It will lead to large number of Iranians visiting India and help boost economy,” said the official.

The decision also comes in wake of the P5 + 1 (U.K, China, France, Russia, U.S. and Germany) nations clinching a nuclear agreement with Iran, easing economic sanctions on it.

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