New exit permit regulations to facilitate Tibetans’ travel abroad
Thursday, 14 December 2006, 10:30 a.m.
Dharamshala: “There is some confusion”, said Mr. Tempa Tsering, Kalon for the Department of Information and International Relations, and representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, “within our community regarding the circular issued by the Kashag on 21 September 2006 on the new regulations for issuance of exit permits by the government of India to Tibetan refugees.”
Mr. Tempa Tsering said that these new regulations are in place not to curb Tibetans traveling abroad. Rather these regulations are there to facilitate Tibetans traveling abroad. Mr. Tempa Tsering said these regulations are applicable ONLY to new arrivals from Tibet who wish to immigrate abroad.
In view of the misunderstanding within the Tibetans community, the bureau feels it is important to once again highlight the important points in the Kashag’s exit permit circular.
As you are aware, since recently quite a few Tibetans have migrated to the West. Some among them are new arrivals from Tibet and have now settled in the country of their residence and have even started to invite their family members for family unification.
The persons invited for family re-unification have Travel Documents issued either by the host country or from an international organization such as the International Red Cross. They also have immigration visa clearance from the to be host country.
Until recently, the Government of India has been issuing exit permit to these people who have the above documents. However, as the number of such people kept steadily increasing, the Indian Government found it uncomfortable with this situation. They feel that some Tibetans are using India as a conduit or a passage to travel abroad and therefore, expressed its inability to issue Exit Permit to such people with effect from December 31st, 2006.
But to all Tibetans who arrive through our Reception Centre in Kathmandu, the Indian Embassy there, issue them with Special Entry Permit (SEP). The SEP is issued under the categories of either for pilgrimage or education or others and the duration of stay for education is normally for a year while the validity for SEP for pilgrimage is normally for one month.
Those who arrive in India with SEP validity of one year will be allowed to apply for Registration Certificate (RC), resident permit in India. Any RC holder can apply for Identity Certificate (IC), which normally take 14-18 months to process. A person with an IC will be allowed to travel abroad without an Exit Permit, provided a visa is obtained, but for those who are migrating to other countries will have to obtain an Exit Permit which normally takes between 7-14 days to process.
This is to inform that no request for Exit Permit will be entertained by the Government of India after December 31st, 2006 for those who obtained Travel Document on SEP and therefore, we ask all the representatives to make sure that our people under your jurisdiction are informed and kept updated with these developments to avoid unnecessary complications to all the concerned and to make necessary arrangements accordingly.