News report | | 14/10/2021 | ±3 minutes reading time

The Indian government has announced that tourists will soon be able to travel to India again. However, different rules apply regarding the validity of visas for India.

India open for tourists again

After having kept the borders closed for more than a year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government has now decided that it is time to welcome tourists again. India is one of the countries that has been hit the hardest by the global coronavirus outbreak. Although the government was quick to close the borders, the virus has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. For a long time, it was feared that Indiaʼs health system would collapse under the pressure.

Today, the situation looks much brighter for India. Currently, the countryʼs coronavirus cases are at historically low levels by Indian standards, and the government is working hard to fully vaccinate the population. Almost 70% of the Indian citizens have had at least one shot. Indiaʼs largest state, Uttar Pradesh, recently reported that almost 50% of the state is completely free of corona.

As a result, tourists will soon be allowed to travel to India again. Travellers on chartered flights will be allowed to enter India again from 15 October. For tourists on commercial flights, the date is 15 November.

Tourist visas available again from 15 October

The Indian government has also announced that it will start issuing tourist visas again from 15 October. Following the coronavirus outbreak in the country, India had suspended all visa applications. International travellers were not allowed to enter the country under any circumstances. After some time, this ban was relaxed. Travellers could again apply for business and medical visas. However, applying for a tourist visa remained impossible until recently. After discussions with stakeholders in the tourism sector among others, the Indian government has decided to lift this last restriction as well.

Initially, tourist visas will be available only to travellers on chartered flights to India. Travellers on commercial flights will be able to get their visas from 15 November.

Is my India visa still valid?

Many travellers already have a tourist (e-)visa India in their possession for which they had applied earlier this year or last year. These visas are not automatically valid. The e-visa India is normally valid for 365 days. However, different rules currently apply. If you have obtained an approved e-visa India before 6 October 2021, you will no longer be able to travel to India on this visa. All electronic tourist visas to India issued before this date will cease to be valid. If you want to travel to India with a tourist e-visa, you must submit a new application.

The same applies to the physical tourist visa India (Type T). These are valid only if issued on or after 6 October 2021. For medical visas, they must have been issued on or after 6 October 2020. No date applies for business visas.

Travellers with a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card may travel to India without a visa.

Coronavirus test and quarantine

The Indian government has not yet announced any changes with regard to mandatory coronavirus testing and possible quarantine. These rules are aimed at ensuring that there are no new COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. This means that Dutch and Belgian travellers must be able to provide a negative coronavirus test for their trip to India, taken up to 72 hours before departure. On arrival in India, they must undergo a second COVID-19 test at their own expense. If the test is positive, they must spend 14 days in home quarantine.