The Govt of India has now agreed to resume the 2018 visa exemption agreement with the Maldives starting from 15th October 2021, which means no visa will be required for Maldivians for traveling to India.
It must be noted that the 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between the Maldives and India was temporarily suspended due to the border closures amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Abdulla Shahid, the Foreign Minister of Maldives tweeted on Sunday and said;
“Delighted that India has agreed to resume the 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between the Maldives and India, which was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 border closure.”
“From 15 Oct 2021, Maldivian Nationals will be exempt from visa requirements for tourists, medical and business purposes,” he added.
Delighted that India has agreed to resume the 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between 🇲🇻& 🇮🇳 , which was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19 border closure.— Abdulla Shahid (@abdulla_shahid) October 10, 2021
From 15 Oct 2021, Maldivian Nationals will be exempt of visa requirements for tourists, medical & business purposes.
Abdulla Shahid also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar for considering the request to resume the agreement.
“Thank you Prime Minister @narendramodi and EAM @DrSJaishankar for the favorable consideration of the request,” he wrote in a subsequent tweet.
No Visa Required For Maldivians
The Indian High Commission in the Maldives also tweeted about the same and said no visa will be required from mid-October for Maldivians traveling to India.
“NO VISA required from Oct 15 for Maldivians traveling to India for Medical, Business & Tourism purposes. Maldives will be the 1st beneficiary of VISA-FREE TRAVEL since COVID restrictions were imposed by India in Mar 2020. This move restores the bilateral visa-free agreement of Dec 2018.”
2018 Visa Exemption Agreement
The 2018 visa exemption agreement eases travel for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education, and medical purposes and it also allows Indian employees work permits within 15 days of their arrival and eases visa rules, allowing their visa fees to be paid for by their employers.
The agreement was signed in December of 2018 during the visit of Maldives President Ibu Solih.
India To Start Issuing Fresh Visas
This move comes as India is gearing up to open up to welcome tourists after being closed for more than a year. Last week, the Indian govt has announced that it will start issuing fresh tourist visas from 15th October 2021.
However, this is only applicable to foreign tourists who are coming into India on charter flights.
Foreign tourists traveling to India by flights other than chartered aircraft would be able to do so with effect from 15 November, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all visas granted to foreigners were suspended last year. Various other restrictions were also imposed on international travel by the Central government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tourism industry in India has been worth hit by the two waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector accounted for about 10 percent of the Indian economy in pre-pandemic years.
The Maldives on the other hand has remained open for tourists since July 2020.