New Delhi: The Centre has decided to allow foreign journalists with valid visas to come to India along with family members. A Home Ministry notification said the decision has been taken after considering various aspects. The Home Ministry feels further relaxations of visa and travel restrictions should be done. It will then bring in more categories of foreign nationals who want to travel to India.
Accordingly it has been decided to permit foreign nationals holding Journalist (J-1) visas to come to India. Their family members and dependents holding J-1X visas will also be allowed to enter India, the notification said. If they have J-1 or J-1X visas, which have been suspended, such visas shall stand restored with immediate effect. There will be no problems for their entry into India.
However, the Home Ministry said if the validity of such visas has expired, foreign journalists will have to fresh J-1 visas. They have to do so from the Indian missions or posts concerned.
It has also been decided that the existing restrictions on incoming passenger traffic into India through the immigration check posts will not apply in respect of these categories of foreign nationals, the notification said. However, in respect of quarantine and all other health and COVID-19 related matters, guidelines of the Ministry of Health shall be adhered to.
The government has already allowed Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders from the US, UK, Germany and France to enter India. These are the nations with whom India has signed ‘air bubble’ arrangements.
Other foreigners from these countries have also been allowed to avail Indian visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes.
The government has restricted travel of foreigners to India since March 25. It was the day when the coronavirus induced country-wide lockdown came into effect.