MHA relaxes visa restrictions for foreign journalists

Home Ministry has relaxed visa restrictions to allow foreign journalists and their dependents to enter India.

As per an August 17 order of the Ministry, in addition to the categories of foreigners who are permitted to enter India, it has also been decided to “permit foreign nationals holding Journalist (J-1) visa and their dependents holding J-1X visa to enter India.”

The order further said, “if they have J-1 or J-1X visas, which have been suspended, such visas shall stand restored with immediate effect….however, if the validity of such visa has expired, they may obtain a fresh visa.”

Several foreign journalists who left India before the first lockdown that was enforced on March 24 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, could not return as all types of visas were suspended. Only specific categories of visas were revived in a phased manner since May.

On August 7, the Ministry allowed foreign nationals from the U.S., the U.K, Germany and France to travel to India on “business, medical and employment” visas under the air bubble scheme.

Under the air bubble scheme, commercial airlines from the four countries were allowed to travel to and from India on a limited basis, an arrangement that was solely reserved for the Air India under the Vande Bharat mission. Full scale international commercial air operations are yet to resume.

Some visa restrictions for foreigners were eased on June 1 as well. As per the June 1 order, foreign businessmen coming to India on a chartered flight, healthcare professionals and engineering, managerial, design or other specialists were allowed to enter India after seeking fresh visas.

Earlier in May, the MHA had relaxed visa and travel restrictions to allow a limited category of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders, stranded abroad, to come to India.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 4:35:38 AM |

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