News report | | 01/10/2021 | ┬▒2 minutes reading time

Due to the military conflict in Afghanistan, the Indian government has announced a special e-visa for Afghan citizens who want to travel to India.

Advance of the Taliban

Since US President Joe Biden announced America╩╝s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban have rapidly conquered large parts of the country. Recently, the Taliban also claimed to have taken the Panjshir Valley, the last major bastion of resistance to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. This would mean that the Taliban now control all of Afghanistan.

As a result, there has been a huge influx of refugees. One country that receives a relatively large number of applications from Afghan citizens is India. The Indian government has therefore decided to introduce a new electronic visa type to process all these applications as quickly as possible: the e-Emergency X-Miscellaneous Visa.

Indian e-visa

One of the reasons that India was able to introduce a new e-visa so quickly is that they already had an electronic visa system in place. This allows travellers from different countries to apply for their visas online, eliminating the need to visit the embassy for a physical visa. These Indian e-visas are suitable for tourism, attending short programmes or courses (such as a yoga programme or language course), or undergoing medical treatment in India.

However, the regular e-visa is not available to travellers with travel purposes that are not covered by the e-visa requirements, such as Afghan refugees. Normally, they have to go through a long application process, which can easily take months. Because the situation in Afghanistan is so urgent, the Indian government has decided to speed up the process by using the e-Emergency X-Misc Visa.

One consequence of the new Indian e-visa is that all other visas issued to Afghans who are not currently in India will be invalidated. Afghans who want to travel to India can only apply for an e-visa. The e-Emergency X-Misc Visa system is intended for e-visa applications that do not fall under the current e-visa travel purposes (tourism, business or medical treatment). This visa is a single-entry visa, which means it is valid for one trip to India. It cannot be extended, nor can it be converted to another visa type.

Indian visa validity extended

The Government of India had also recently announced that the validity of visas granted to foreigners currently in India would be extended till September 30, 2021. So these persons do not need to get their visas extended at any regional FRRO/FRO office, at least till September 30. The previous deadline was August 31, but this deadline had been extended due to the coronavirus. There is a possibility that it will be extended again before September 30.

Applying for an Indian visa

Travellers from both the UK and the EU are eligible for the standard Indian e-visa. If the trip falls under the visa requirements, the application can be submitted online. Since 2019, all business and tourist visas for India are valid for 365 days. A tourist e-visa allows you to stay in India for 90 days, a business e-visa for 180 days and a medical e-visa for 60 days. The passport used for online visa applications must be valid for at least six months upon arrival in India, and a return or onward ticket must already have been booked.