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Home ministry introduces new electronic visas for fleeing Afghans

The MHA reviewed visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan

Home ministry introduces new electronic visas for fleeing Afghans
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The disturbed conditions in Afghanistan have prompted the Union home ministry to introduce a new category of electronic visas for persecuted and fleeing Afghan nationals and minority communities.

The new category, called "e-Emergency X-Misc Visa" can be used to fast-track visa applications for entry into India.

The MHA reviewed visa provisions in view of the current situation in Afghanistan, said an MHA spokesperson Thousands of Afghan nationals have been rushing to Kabul airport, desperate to escape the Taliban.

The ministry of external affairs had also said on Monday it was in constant touch with representatives of the Afghan Sikh and Hindu communities and assured them of assistance.

Over the years, Stay visas and residential permits have been granted by the home ministry to those Afghan nationals fleeing Afghanistan due to well-founded fears of persecution based on race, religion, sex, ethnic identity, membership of a particular group or political opinions in Afghanistan.

The current humanitarian crisis has spelt the need to fast-track entry of fleeing Afghan nationals and others once again.

The MHA has been strict in not allowing entry to those looking for economic opportunities under this category.

Further, long-term visas have been granted to persecuted minority communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians; Afghan nationals married to Indian nationals in India and Indian women holding Afghan nationality or married to Afghan nationals. Such people can apply for short-term visas and enter India and after six months, apply for L-TVs.

The humanitarian gesture has also kept security concerns in mind by making the stay permits for Afghan nationals "state specific" and requiring mandatory reporting to the foreign regional registration office (FRRO) in case of travel outside the state and police verification from time to time.

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