Medical Value Travel remains a niche and largely untapped segment in India!
Medical Value Travel remains a niche and largely untapped segment in India!

e-Conference & e-Medical Attendant visa marks liberalisation of visa regime of India

India has a robust visa regime to facilitate smooth entry, stay and movement of foreigners in India for legitimate purposes while ensuring the security of the country. During the last one year, the MHA has taken a series of steps to liberalise the visa process in India.

The Electronic Visa Facility now covers practically all the countries of the world. Foreign nationals of 166 countries can now enjoy this facility at 26 airports and 05 seaports. The foreigner does not have to interact with any Indian official till his arrival at the immigration counter. The Bureau of Immigration (BoI) generally decides within 24-48 hours whether or not to grant an e-visa to a foreigner. The popularity of e-visa is sky rocketing. The number of foreigners who visited India on e-visa has gone up from 4.47 lakhs in 2015 to 17.00 lakhs in 2017. The figure for 2018 is 18.78 lakhs upto 30th October, 2018.

Two new categories of e-visa i.e. e-Conference & e-Medical Attendant visa have been introduced recently. E-visa is now available for five categories i.e. (i) Tourist, (ii) Business (iii) Medical (iv) Conference and (v) medical attendant. The local FRRO has been empowered now to extend duration of electronic visas beyond 60 days upto 90 days. Moreover, these e-visas can now be availed three times in one year against twice in a year earlier.

For foreigners who are already in India and who require any consular/visa services like extension of visa, conversion of visa, exit permission or any of the total 27 visa-related services, an online e-FRRO facility has now been launched throughout the country. The foreigners do not have to physically visit the offices of FRROs/FROs. They can apply as well as receive consular/visa services online after making online payment.

To promote cruise tourism immigration facilities have been provided at five major seaports where e-Landing Permits are granted to passengers for their onshore site-seeing. The condition of biometric enrollment for such tourists arriving at the ports of Mumbai, Cochin, Mormugao, Chennai & New Mangalore has also been suspended till December, 2020 to ensure faster immigration clearance so that cruise tourists can spend maximum time on shore.

Foreign nationals who fall sick during their stay in India can now avail medical treatment without converting their visa into Medical Visa. This would take care of sudden medical emergencies.

            Allowing conversion of any category of visa of a foreign national who is married to an Indian citizen/Person of Indian Origin/OCI Cardholder into an Entry Visa at any point of time by the FRRO himself Facilities such as extension of employment and business visas for a period up to ten years within India as against five years at present; extension of visa of foreigners who are staying in India upto 15 years continuously and for 5 years at a time; permitting a foreign national who is already in India on Long Term Visa to attend international conferences/seminars/workshops without any specific permission from the FRRO concerned have also been extended.

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