Previously, visitors who came to India on tourist visas were subject to a two-month gap between consecutive visits under regulations that were introduced in November 2009.  This was a reactionary measure introduced by the Government of India after the terror attacks of November 2008. David Headley, who conspired in the attacks, allegedly traveled to India on reconnaissance missions on several occasions on his tourist visa. 

This restriction has made it very difficult for genuine tourists who need to travel to India on short notice within the two-month period. There are provisions to grant waivers under certain circumstances, but this has inevitably led to a race against time and, more often than not, the visas have not been granted in time.

It was reported that on November 23, 2012, the Ministry of Home Affairs, issued a notification that "The provision relating to the two-month gap between two visits of a foreign national to India on a tourist visa has been reviewed by the government. It has now been decided... to lift the restriction of two-month gap on re-entry of foreign nationals coming to India.''

It is important to note that nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Bangladesh, foreigners of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, and "stateless persons" will continue to be subjected to the two-month gap rule.

Authored by Poorvi Chothani, Managing Partner, LawQuest in cooperation with Baker & McKenzie