India allows charter flights for foreign businessmen, healthcare professionals, techies

Aircraft

Permitted categories will have to get fresh or revalidated business or employment visas.

As India starts opening up after two months of world’s largest covid lockdown, it has allowed foreign businessmen, healthcare professionals and techies among others to come to India.

An order issued Monday by the foreigners division of the Indian Home ministry permits certain categories of foreigners to travel to India on non-scheduled commercial chartered flights.

Foreign nationals in the permitted categories “shall have to obtain a fresh business visa or employment visa, as applicable, from Indian missions/ posts abroad,” the order said.

Those holding a valid long-term multiple entry business visa (other than B-3 visa for sports) shall have to get the business visa re-validated from Indian mission / post concerned, it said.

Such foreign nationals will not be permitted to travel to India on the strength of any electronic visa obtained earlier, the order added.

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The Home ministry said travel restrictions imposed by it on May 7 to such foreigners would not apply to any aircraft, ship, train or any other vehicle by which they may travel to India.

India had suspended international travel in mid march and cancelled all visas except for diplomats, officials and a few other categories. As of now commercial international flights remain suspended until June end.

By another order on May 5, India had kept in abeyance multiple-entry, life-long visa facility given to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders. The travel restrictions have since been relaxed for some categories of OCIs.

The categories of foreigners allowed include foreign businessmen coming to India on a business visa (other than on B-3 visa for sports) in non-scheduled commercial chartered flights.

Foreign healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians are also allowed for technical work at Indian health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories.

However, they would require a letter of invitation from a recognized and registered healthcare facility, registered pharmaceutical company or accredited University in India.

Foreign engineering, managerial, design or other specialists too would be allowed to travel to India on behalf of foreign business entities located in India.

This includes all manufacturing units, design units, software and IT units as well as financial sector companies (banking and non- banking financial sector firms).

Also permitted are foreign technical specialists and engineers traveling for installation, repair and maintenance of foreign-origin machinery and equipment facilities in India, on the invitation of a registered Indian business entity.

These could be for equipment installation, or is under warranty, or for after sales servicing or repair on commercial terms.

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