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India Reinstates the e-Visa Except for Tourism

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Tourist eVisa remains suspended.

India has made headlines around the world as the center of the most recent wave in the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, the country closed off its borders to international flights, and there are still many restrictions in place. On top of that, many countries around the world are stopping their residents from traveling to India, and if they do have to travel, they will face strict quarantine restrictions upon their return home. Countries such as the UK, Australia, UAE, the US, and China have banned travel to and from India, and Australia even temporarily stopped its own citizens from returning home from India, but that ban was reversed on May 7. A travel bubble was planned with Sri Lanka, but for now, that has been postponed.

Who Can Enter India?

At this current time, only Indian nationals, anyone moving to the country as a resident, or certain visa holders are allowed to enter the country. Some countries are only allowed to send diplomats and government officials to India, but absolutely no one can enter on a tourist visa currently. eBusiness and eMedical visas are available through the eVisa fascility. All regular international flights are currently suspended, but there were some repatriation flights during this most recent outbreak. For anyone who does travel to India, you will be screened upon your arrival. If you do show any symptoms of COVID-19, you’ll immediately be taken to a medical facility. As well as these air restrictions, land borders are closed unless you are an Indian national returning home.

Entering India

When entering India, you’ll need to have a negative PCR test that will be uploaded to the self-declaration form on the online portal. This test must be taken within 72 hours of your flight to India, and you must also state that you’ll quarantine for 14 days when you enter the country and head home. International travelers are expected to declare their travel history and any connecting flights they’ve been on. Some country’s residents, such as those from the UK and the Middle East, will be required to take another PCR test in the airport, which they must pay for. Until the results are given to you, you’ll need to remain at the airport.

India Struggles With The Pandemic

As you’ve probably seen on the news recently, India is now the central focus on the most recent outbreak of COVID-19. By July 2nd, 2021, the previous week had seen 323,806 cases, which is a good reduction from the 700,473 registered just three weeks before. In the week before May 8, the country hit the peak of its COVID-19 cases, with 2,737,058 cases in just one week. However, there is some doubt surrounding these figures, as many individuals believe these numbers may actually be higher than shared. Around the holy Ganges river, there are horrific scenes with a huge number of bodies from those suffering from the virus.

In certain states in India, there are still lockdowns, especially in areas such as Rajasthan. The government has also closed its tiger reserves, as a lioness in the country died from the virus. With a staggering 30.5 million cases since the start of the pandemic, the country is now the second-highest in the world, following the United States. When traveling to India this year, ensure you check the most recent updates and take extreme caution. The health system here is under immense pressure, with minimal space in hospitals for locals and visitors alike at this current time.


Updated: Apr 22, 2021

The Indian government was amongst the first ever to impose and implement a travel ban on account of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19 pandemic). The government of India acted almost instantly after hearing about the coronavirus outbreak outside China and quickly executed a general travel ban, including for visitors who had an Indian visa.

This policy resulted in a significantly low number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the beginning. However, at present, India is now experiencing an incredibly massive and threatening third wave. As of April 14, 2021, approximately 14,074,564 infectious cases and 173,123 confirmed and registered deaths have been reported.

Despite the escalating number of cases, the Ministry of Home Affairs has restored the India e-Visa facility for visitors from 156 countries who wish to travel to India for conferences, business, or medical purposes. This also includes medical attendants. However, the e-Visa for tourists still awaits its restoration.

India Restores Most of its Electronic Visas (e-Visa)

In India, an electronic visa (e-Visa) falls under 5 different categories: conference, business, tourist, medical attendant, and medical. According to the MHA, all the eVisa categorized under an e-medical visa, e-business visa, e-conference visa, and e-medical attendant visa have been restored under immediate effect.

While four out of five e-visas have been permitted, tourist e-visa is still not open. Even though this facility is offered to 171 countries across the globe, ever since the restrictions were announced and imposed in 2020, it was only restored for 156 countries. The following countries have been excluded from this list:

  • Malaysia
  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • United Kingdom
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • Indonesia
  • Canada

A few months earlier, on October 22, 2020, India relaxed its visa restrictions and permitted foreigners to travel to India for reasons of employment, business, medical, research, conferences, and education after individuals availed their regular visas from foreign embassies and missions.

The MHA suspended all international air travel back and forth for 107 immigration check posts on March 23, 2020. This was just one day before the initial phase of the countrywide lockdown for 21-days was announced in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The visa limitations were gradually relaxed with time. Eventually, later onwards in 2020, the MHA permitted foreign nationals from France, Germany, UK, and the US to travel to India on medical, employment, and business grounds under an air bubble scheme.

When will India Reinstate the e-Visa for Tourism?

It remains incredibly crucial and risky to reopen India to foreign tourists. Some of the hotels across the more leisurely destinations of India like Kerala, Rajasthan, and Goa are occupied by 65-70%, mainly due to domestic travelers’ robust revenge travel.

According to a combined report by the Federation of Associations of Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) and tourism ministry, the tourism activity is most likely expected to return to its normal, pre-Covid levels in about 2-3 years.

The international tourism activity across the world has seen a downfall of over 70% in 2021, reaching an alarming level that was widespread 30 years ago.

Even though most countries have gradually started lifting travel restrictions, international travel demand is anticipated to be restrained. Meanwhile, domestic travel and tourism will continue to drive the tourism and travel industry in the short term.

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