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New Exit Permit Regulations to Facilitate Tibetans Travel Abroad

The Government of India is going to stop issuing Exit Permit to Tibetans traveling abroad from Dec.31, 2006. Tashi Wangdi representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas tells VOA that these new regulations are in place not to curb Tibetans traveling abroad, rather these regulations are there to facilitate Tibetans traveling abroad. He adds that these regulations are applicable to new arrivals from Tibetans who wish to immigrate abroad through Travel Documents issued by the International Red Cross and other sources; and aren't applicable to Tibetans who had already been there in India. Those Tibetans who have Registration Certificate can continue to apply for Identity Certificate and travel abroad as before.

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 effective from December 31st, 2006.

But to all Tibetan refugees who arrive through 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. Many Tibetans take the longer SEP and then apply for a registration certificate (RC) once they reach Dharamsala or any other Tibetan settlement in India.