Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Be Prepared! Indian Tourist Visa Changes are NOT Common Knowledge Worldwide!

On December 4, 2012, the Government of India lifted the restriction for tourist visas and no longer requires a two month gap between visits for most foreign nationals. Apparently, the word has been slow getting out to other countries. You may want to print out a copy of the Dec. 4th press release from the Indian Government (found below) if you leave India and plan to return in less than two months as proof of the change. It may lessen the hassles experienced when checking in with airlines worldwide who haven't been updated on the new rules for Indian tourist visas.

I just received a comment from one of my readers concerning his frustrating experience re-entering India after a trip of less than two months out of the country. 

"I advise readers to print this post (Indian Government Eases Tourist Visa Restrictionsand those of the government websites listed therein. On 21 Jan (about 1.5 months after the change took effect), I went to the Silk Airways (the regional carrier for Singapore Airlines) Check-In Counter at the Mactan (Cebu) International Airport to return to India. I waited a very long time. I was eventually informed that because I was on a tourist visa I could not normally return to India within 2 months after leaving. (Although they were in the process of getting special permission.) I then provided a print-out of the Press Information Bureau link. It was then obvious that they were not informed of the change. I assume that other airlines and other airports are also not aware of the change, and may make travelling difficult for you unless you provide the verification."

Thanks for sharing this, Micky!!

Here's the information again:
Updated Info - Official Indian government websites concerning the easing of restrictions:

Government of India Press Information Bureau:

http://www.pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=89835

Embassy of India, Washington, DC:

http://www.indianembassy.org/prdetail2070/important-notice-restrictions-on-tourist-visa-re-entry-within-2-months-lifted

Here is the announcement which was posted on the Travisa website for Indian tourist visa applications for US citizens:

Permit to Re-Enter Restriction Lifted

Travelers on a Tourist visa were previously required to have a gap of at least 2 months between two separate visits to India. The restriction has now been lifted except for nationals of China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, foreigners of Pakistan and Bangladesh origin and stateless persons.

You can find more information here concerning the new rules on Indian tourist visa: https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/homepage

Here's another link from Netglobers.com regarding the easing of the two month wait for tourist visas.

lhttp://www.netglobers.com/asia/indian-government-eases-tourist-visa-restrictions--35773.html