5-years e-visas for India that were approved pre-pandemic have been restored with immediate effect for 156 nationalities. The validity of paper visas has been restored for all nationalities.
Validity of old visas restored
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Indian government made the decision in March 2020 to close the borders and revoke all valid visas for India. As a result, even travellers with valid visas could no longer travel to India. All expenses were not reimbursed, which led to a lot of frustration, especially among those with long-term visas such as the electronic India visa which is valid for 5 years. In October 2021, the government announced that tourist visas granted before 6th October 2021 would expire. Travellers who entered India by land could no longer apply for tourist visas at all. The validity of all tourist visas was reduced to 120 days, with a maximum stay of 30 days.
After almost two years, the Indian government has decided to restore the validity of all e-visas issued before the pandemic outbreak that are still valid. The decision applies to 156 nationalities. The validity of paper visas issued before the pandemic outbreak has been restored for all nationalities. The governmentʼs decision comes shortly after the announcement that India will allow regular international flights again from 27th March 2022.
There are 21 different versions of the India visa. For the first time since the pandemic outbreak, all visas for India are available again.
10-year visas for the USA and Japan
Tourist visas with a validity period of 10 years that were issued before the pandemic outbreak are valid again. Currently, this only applies to American or Japanese travellers. Since 16th Marc 2022, they have also been able to apply for new 10-year visas.
E-visas conditions stay the same
The visa requirements for travellers on long-term tourist visas remain the same. They must have a valid passport, and it must be the same passport that was used to apply for the visa. If a person has meanwhile used a new passport, he or she must apply for a new visa. Travellers on tourist visas are allowed to enter India only at specific air or seaports. Tourist visas are still not allowed to enter India by land.
The Indian governmentʼs decision does not apply to people of Afghan nationality. They still have to apply for the special e-visa for Afghans, the -e-Emergency X-Misc visa. This visa was brought into effect during the Taliban rise in Afghanistan in August 2021, to accommodate refugees from Afghanistan to India as soon as possible.
Lack of clarity on certain countries
During the Covid-19 crisis, a certain number of countries were excluded from the electronic India visa system. The reason was that these countries had introduced strict level rules for travellers from India. These included the UK, Canada and China. Travellers from aforementioned countries still cannot apply for an electronic India visa. For now, it does not appear that the Indian government’s recent decision will apply to these countries. The government refuses to comment if and when travellers from these countries will be able to apply for an electronic India visa once again.