India scraps NORI for Tibetans travelling abroad

Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay speaks during a press conference in Dharamshala, India, on 31 July 2018.

Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay speaks during a press conference in Dharamshala, India, on 31 July 2018. Tibet Sun/Contributor

Tibet Sun Online News

ON THE WEB, 1 August 2018

Central Tibetan Administration President Lobsang Sangay announced that the Government of India has scrapped the “No Objection to Return to India” (NORI) permit for the Tibetans to travel abroad.

The NORI is a permit stamped in the Identity Certificate (aka Yellow Book, because of the colour of the cover of the document), which is issued by the Government of India to Tibetans living in India, and also serves as a travel document, similar to a passport.

Until this change, the permit was given after a lengthy process that included police verification. It had taken a minimum of one year, or up to a few years in some cases, to process the NORI.

Now the requirement to undergo this verification has been rescinded. However it is not clear if the NORI will still be stamped in the Yellow Book without the process. And if it is not stamped, whether immigration officials will be adequately informed so there will be no problems on return to India.

Sangay also announced that two other travel permits can now be applied for online from eight zones. Applicants from a few places outside those eight zones will still have to apply in person, and will not be able to apply online.

These are an “Exit Permit”, required for a Tibetan to leave India, and then a “Return Visa” which is required to re-enter the country.

Obtaining these permits takes about a week in Dharamshala, whereas it takes about three months in South India. It is not clear how long it will take with the new online processing.

The “Return Visa” and “Exit Permit” can be applied for at the same time depending on the situation. Some embassies ask for the “Return Visa” as part of processing the visa. The “Exit Permit” is issued only after a visa is obtained.

Both the permits are valid for three months. Multiple exits and entries can be done within the validity period of the permits.

Due to lack of proper guidelines or access to copies of the rules, even the immigration officials are vague about the rules, ending up in confusion and sometimes major inconvenience for Tibetan travellers.


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