The Indian government on Friday announced easing of visa and travel restrictions for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card holders, but with certain conditions.
The OCI card holders who will be allowed to return to India are:
- Minor children born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards
- OCI cardholders who wish to come to India on account of emergencies, such as a death in the family
- Couples where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the other is an Indian national, and they have a permanent residence in India
- University students who are OCI cardholders (not legally minors) and whose parents are Indian citizens living in India
On March 18 the government had suspended the visa-free entry facility granted to OCI card holders due to the COVID-19 outbreak and on May 6 had announced that it has kept in abeyance multiple-entry life-long visas given to OCI card holders till the resumption of international travel.
However, there had been an outcry amongst members of the Indian diaspora across the world who were unable to travel back to India due to issues such as their infant children being OCI card holders or who were unable to travel home even for emergency reasons due to the suspension of their visas.