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Travel Restrictions Eased for Tibetans

By Tenzin Samten  /  October 25, 2017;

Tibetan refugees living in India will soon be free from the hassle of applying for the exit permits which are currently compulsory for every trip abroad, a senior official from the Home Ministry in Delhi has announced.

Currently, to travel abroad, as well as any visas needed for their destination country, Tibetans living in India must secure an exit permit which involves a background check for any criminal cases, by the Indian government. Hindu has reported a senior government official as saying that the intention is to remove this “redundant” procedure for Tibetans.

The official continued by saying that the present procedure will be replaced by the issue of a no-objection certificate which will be issued to Tibetans along with their Identity Certificate (IC), and that this will be the requirement for them to travel to any country – and return to India. The IC, also known as the “Yellow Book”, is issued to Tibetans by the Indian government and is a document in lieu of a passport for Tibetans to travel abroad.

IC or Yellow Book

“The present rules are such that a Tibetan refugee has to apply for an exit permit every time he or she has to travel abroad. Since identity certificates are issued after carrying out due diligence and a background check, the exit permit is an unnecessary requirement”, said the official.

He added that the Home Ministry will soon get approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on this issue.

The majority of the Tibetan diaspora resides in India, Nepal and Bhutan. However, in recent years, the Tibetan communities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Norway, Australia and Taiwan have also increased in number and with this comes an increased requirement for Tibetans to travel abroad.

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