India allows overseas citizens to return via international flights - Here’s all you need to know

OCI Services
  • The Indian government has eased visa restrictions for international travellers under its ‘air bubble’ scheme.
  • This has allowed all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and other foreigners of countries which have “air bubble” agreements to enter India.
  • Indian embassies of these countries will grant an appropriate visa, provided papers of the applicants are in order, and there is no adverse input about them.
The Indian government has eased visa restrictions for international travellers under its ‘air bubble’ scheme. The government has allowed all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and other foreigners of countries which have “air bubble” agreements to enter India.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs announced that OCI holders from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France would be allowed to visit the country. However, with this ease of restriction, Indian citizens will also be allowed to travel to these countries on any kind of visa that they hold, according to the guidelines.

Indian embassies of these countries will grant an appropriate visa, provided papers of the applicants are in order, and there is no adverse input about them, the home ministry said, according to PTI.

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Earlier in March, the government suspended all visas granted to foreigners except to those belonging to Diplomatic, Official, UN/International organizations in the wake of coronavirus.

What is an OCI card?

The Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is an immigration status permitting a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely. The OCI was introduced in response to demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora, particularly in developed countries.

What is an ‘Air bubble’ agreement?

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According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, “Transport Bubbles” or “Air Travel Arrangements” are temporary arrangements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are reciprocal in nature, meaning airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.

Even after this, International travel continues to remain banned in the third phase of “Unlock 3”. But, the government has released various flight schedules under Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate and facilitate the travel to these countries for Indian nationals.

Earlier in June, India also allowed entry to OCI cardholders who are a single parent of minors, students, dependent family members of foreign diplomats and service staff accredited to foreign diplomatic missions.
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