Yesterday, the Indian Government”s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) eased restrictions on tourist visas which had enforced a two-month gap between consecutive visits by foreign nationals.
However, it is important to note that nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bagladesh, foreigners of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin and “stateless persons” will continue to come under the 60-day gap rule.
The tourist visa restriction was introduced in November 2009, as a response to the Mumbai terror attacks. In the three years since implementation, concerns have since been raised by the tourism ministry that the move had created negative perceptions which was reducing the number of tourists to India and this was in turn impacting Indian businesses.
The move to ease this rule has been approved just ahead of peak tourist season and is expected to cause a rise in the number of tourists visiting this year, since India”s share of international tourist arrivals in 2011 was only 0.64%.
In the order announcing this change, dated November 23rd 2012, the Ministry of Home Affairs stated “the provision relating to the two-month gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa has been reviewed by the government. It has now been decided…to lift the restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India.”