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Headley fallout; India revises its tourist visa regulations

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 19:59

New Delhi: In the aftermath of Pakistani-
American terror suspect David Coleman Headley episode, India
has revised its regulations pertaining to entry of foreign
nationals holding long-term tourist visas.

In an advisory to its citizens, the US has said India
has revised its regulations pertaining to the entry of foreign
nationals holding long-term Indian tourist visas and various
ports of entry in India have already started enforcing the
revised regulations.

"Americans with five-or ten-year tourist visas will no
longer be allowed to enter India within two months of their
last departure from India if their last visit was longer than
ninety days or if they have stayed longer than 180 days during
the past year," the advisory on the embassy website said.

The revision of the regulations comes in wake of the
arrest of Headley and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana Hussain
by FBI on charges of plotting terror attacks in India. Both
Headley and Rana were issued multi-entry visas by India
without proper security clearances.

The US advisory also said these restrictions will be
enforced whether or not the tourist’s passport has been
stamped to indicate that return is not allowed within two

However, the changes will not affect Americans with
other types of visas such as tourists with short-term visas,
and those who have not stayed in India for the stipulated
time period.

Tourists who wish to return within this two-month
period can apply for special permission through any Indian
High Commission or Consulate, the US embassy said.

It also asked the applicants to clearly state their
purpose of travel and that they are not traveling to India for
business, employment, study, or research.

There are no standard guidelines for approving these
applications but they will only be approved in emergent
situations like a death or illness in the family or the need
to travel through India en route to another country, the
advisory by the US Embassy said.

Tourists, who are given permission to return within
two months, will be required to register with the Foreigners’
Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within fourteen days of
arriving in India.

The updated information also notes that tourist visas
are intended for recreation, sightseeing, and short-term
visits with family and friends and other travelers should
apply for an appropriate visa based on their purpose of
travel, whether business, employment, medical, or other.


First Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 19:59

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