Protected and restricted areas of India
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The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958 states that a Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India (mainly in the Northeast India). Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to get this permit. Indian citizens who are not resident in these areas need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter these places. The Inner Line Permit is significantly easier to get.
In addition, the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1963 states that a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for non-Indians to visit certain areas in India. As of 2009, RAP are required for all visits to the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of the state of Sikkim. Unlike PAP, RAP are generally available for individual travellers and can be issued by overseas embassies or even, in some cases such as Port Blair's Vir Savarkar Airport, on the spot. Indian citizens do not need special permission to visit Restricted Areas.
General Protected Area Permit requirements
- Tourists have to travel in groups of at least 2
- They have to travel with a registered travel agent
- In some areas only certain entry/exit points are allowed. In certain areas non-Indians cannot enter at all
- Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar can get the PAP only with approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs
Normally the PAP has a duration of 10 days, with the option of extending for another 7 days. The PAP is issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, the different authorities of the concerned Indian states can also issue the PAP, and also the Indian missions abroad. Normally the travel agent will take care of getting the PAP for the tourists.
Areas for which a PAP is required
- All of Arunachal Pradesh
- Parts of Himachal Pradesh
- Parts of Ladakh
- Parts of Rajasthan
- Parts of Sikkim
- Parts of Uttarakhand
Formerly required for
As per the Circular issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and dated 30 December 2010, the entire area of the States of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland has been excluded from the Protected Area regime notified under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958, initially for a period of one year with effect from 1 January 2011, subject to some conditions. The exemption was extended to 31 December 2012 by MHA vide MHA ID Note No.13/6/99-NE.II Vol.V dated 23 March 2012.
Areas for which a RAP is required
At the moment only a touristic visit is a widely accepted purpose for a non-Indian's visit to a protected area. However, there are also other legitimate reasons why a non-Indian would want to visit these areas, for example if such a person is married to a native person of this area to visit his/her in-laws. As a consequence native people from the concerned areas who are married to a non-Indian or having children of a different nationality cannot settle permanently in their native area with their family because it is not possible to get a permanent permit for their non-Indian family-members.