New York, November 17
As India opened its doors for vaccinated foreign tourists after over one-and-a-half years of travel restriction due to Covid, New York-based social activist Prem Bhandari has called on the Indian government to restore the already issued and valid multi-year multiple entry tourist visas to ensure ease of travel for tourists.
India from Monday allowed individual tourist travel and is issuing the first five lakh foreign tourist visas free of cost. The newly-issued tourist/e-tourist visa will be a single entry visa for 30 days.
According to an advisory on the website of the Indian Consulate here, the existing valid e-Tourist Visa/regular paper Tourist Visa issued before October 6, 2021, will continue to remain suspended and travel on such visas will not be permitted.
Bhandari, who is the Jaipur Foot USA Chairman, called on the Indian government to allow travel for foreign tourists on their existing tourist visas, which are issued for five and 10 years, saying this will ensure that the tourists do not have to go through the additional burden of applying for new visas. It will also lessen the burden on authorities to issue new visas.
“Foreign tourists with valid five-, 10-year multiple entry Indian visas should be allowed entry into the country. If required, authorities can stamp their visas with limited stay periods when they reach India. This will be much more convenient and hassle-free than the new rules requiring tourists to re-apply for the single entry 30-day visa,” Bhandari told PTI.
“Even though the travel is now open, people still are not travelling to see the Taj Mahal or the Qutub Minar. Those travelling now are essentially people who want to meet their parents, families, friends whom they have not seen in nearly two years because of the pandemic,” he said, adding that the government should restore the multiple-entry tourist visas soon to ensure ease of travel for all those waiting to meet their loved ones in India.
Bhandari said he would make this request to the Ministry of Home Affairs and expressed hope that it would look into this matter and take measures that would benefit the travellers. PTI
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