NEW DELHI: The home ministry on Friday restored the right of multiple-entry, lifelong visa facility to certain categories of overseas citizens of India (OCI) to facilitate their travel to India. The right was kept in abeyance in view of the prohibition on international air travel due to Covid-19 lockdown.
OCI categories that will now be able to travel to India include minor children born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards; OCI cardholders who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies like death in family; couples where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the other is an Indian national and they have a permanent residence in India; and university students who are OCI cardholders (not legally minors) but whose parents are Indian citizens living in India.
Sources said the above categories of overseas citizens shall immediately be eligible for boarding special ‘Vande Bharat’ flights and ships ferrying stranded Indians home from across the world. Also, as and when commercial international flights resume, they will be able to make own arrangements for flying to India.
Government had earlier on May 5 ordered that the right of multiple-entry, life-long visa facility for visiting India for any purpose granted to persons registered as OCI shall continue to be kept in abeyance till the prohibition on international air travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India.
Any foreign national holding an OCI card who intended to travel to India for compelling reasons during this period was however advised to contact the nearest Indian Mission.
In case of persons holding OCI card who are already in India, the OCI card shall remain valid for their stay in India for any length of time, the ministry had stated in an office memorandum.