In news- As the Taliban has seized power in Afghanistan, India has introduced a new category of e-visa for Afghan nationals to fast-track their applications for entry into India.
- The new category of electronic visa is called “e-Emergency X-Misc (Miscellaneous) Visa” introduced to fast-track visa applications for entry into India.
- These visas will be valid for six months only and will be granted only after security clearance.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) reviews visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan.
- India does not have a refugee policy and grants shelter to foreigners facing persecution in their countries on a case-to-case basis.
- According to MHA’s visa policy, foreign nationals applying for a visa for a purpose, which is not specifically covered under any visa category, may be granted ‘X-Misc’ Visa for appropriate duration.
- Such a visa may be granted only with single entry and for the specific duration taking into account the purpose of visit.
- They are granted in general either independently or in conjunction with other visa categories such as to a dependent child of a medical visa applicant.
- If the visa is granted for a period of stay exceeding 180 days, the foreigner will have to register himself/ herself with the FRRO/ FRO concerned within 14 days of arrival.
- This visa will be non-extendable and non-convertible to any other type of visa.
- However, in the case of Afghanistan, the e-visa facility was not extended to the nationals of that country until now.
- India has in the past granted long duration visas to Afghan nationals of all religions facing persecution in that country, but a Stay Visa/ Residential Permit for one year at a time is granted by FRRO/ FRO to such Afghan nationals on a case-to-case basis with prior approval of the MHA.
- This is, however, available only to those facing persecution and not to economic immigrants.
- These permits are also State/UT specific with movement of such Afghans being restricted to the State/UT where they are permitted to stay.
- Afghanistan already falls under the Prior Reference Category (PRC) countries for grant of visa to India.
- This means that to visit India for any purpose, an Afghan national has to take clearance from MHA.
- Other foreigners in this category include those from Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistani origin and stateless persons.