The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday eased more visa restrictions, permitting certain categories of foreigners, including Overseas Citizen of India cardholders, to enter the country, ANI reported.

Foreign nationals who are single parents of minors with Indian passports or OCI cards, students who are foreign nationals but one of their parents is an Indian citizen, dependent family members of foreign diplomats and service staff accredited to foreign diplomatic missions, consular offices or accredited international organisations in India will be allowed entry.

Foreigners married to OCI card holders or Indian nationals and minors who hold the overseas citizenship cards and whose parents are Indian nationals will also be permitted to come to India. The Centre will also allow entry to OCI cardholders who wish to return to India for family emergencies.

The home ministry, however, said that the specified categories will have to get a new visa of an appropriate category from Indian missions, according to The Indian Express. “Foreign nationals holding a valid long term multiple entry visa of appropriate category issued by the Indian Missions/ Posts abroad shall have to get the visa re-validated from the Indian Mission/Post concerned,” the Centre was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “Such foreign nationals will not be permitted to travel to India on the strength of any electronic visa obtained earlier.”

On May 22, the Centre had allowed four categories of OCI cardholders to return to India. These categories included minor children born to Indians abroad and holding OCI cards, OCI cardholders who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies such as deaths, couples, of whom one is an OCI cardholder and the other an Indian citizen and they have permanent residence in India and university students who are OCI cardholders, have attained adulthood and whose parents are Indian citizens living in India.

International travel continues to remain banned in the first phase of “Unlock 1”, the government’s plan to gradually ease restrictions put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus. The only flights operating internationally are those meant to bring back stranded Indian citizens.