India resumes 2018 Visa Exemption Agreement to facilitate visa free travel for Maldivians – Happytrips

India resumes 2018 Visa Exemption Agreement to facilitate visa free travel for Maldivians

India has agreed to resume the 2018 Visa Exemption Agreement with the Maldives from October 15. As per the reports, the agreement was temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Referring to this, Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid said that he is delighted that India has agreed to resume the 2018 Dec Visa Exemption Agreement between the two countries, under which Maldivians will require no visa to travel to India.

The High Commission of India in the Maldives tweeted on the same and stated, “No visa required from Oct 15 for Maldivians travelling 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.”

This move comes as India is all set to reopen for tourists from October 15, after remaining closed for more than a year, while the Maldives remained open for tourists since July 2020. Reports have it that the domestic tourism industry has been adversely hit by the two waves of COVID-19 pandemic.

The tourism sector made up for around 10 percent of the Indian economy in pre-pandemic years.

As regarding the 2018 visa exemption agreement, it eases travel for Maldivian nationals to visit India for business, tourism, medical and educational purposes, whereas it also grants Indian employees work permits within 15 days of their arrival and eases visa rules. Reportedly, the agreement was signed in December of 2018, when Maldives President Ibu Solih visited India.

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