The Union Cabinet has approved incremental changes in the visa policy of the country. The new visa policy would liberalise, simplify and rationalise the existing visa regime in India.
The approval will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes.
It is hoped that it will stimulate economic growth, will increase earnings from export of services and make Centre’s flagship schemes such as ‘Make in India’ successful.
The changes were initiated by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with various stakeholders.
The approval will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes. This is expected to stimulate economic growth, increase earnings from export of services like tourism, medical value travel and travel on account of business and to make ‘Skill India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and other such flagship initiatives of the government successful. This will also considerably ease the travel of foreigners to India for the above-mentioned legitimate purposes.
The long-term, multiple-entry visa will be given upto 10 years but under this category the visitor will not be allowed to work or stay permanently. Except those covered under 10 year travel and trade visa policy, citizens of other countries would be offered five year multiple visa for travel and trade.
As per the proposal, if a foreigner is granted long-term, multiple-entry non-working or non-permanent stay visa and his or her stay is restricted to 60 days on a visit, the government may waive the visa fee as well. However, the visitors have to give biometric details and fulfil certain security obligations.
Business and health visa to be granted within 48 hours after submitting the application in case of emergency.
Citizens from Pakistan and China will not be covered under the new liberalised visa policy.
Government to establish help desk and immigration counter to help medical tourists.
Government to fix minimum salary limit to grant employment visa in Indian rupee in lieu of the US dollar.
Government to start issuing intern-visa for foreigners to do internships. For sensitive countries, the government will consider extending group visa to tourists and business persons.
India will also allow tourists coming under the e-Visa to stay up to 60 days instead of 30 days now. Tourists also can apply for the e-Visa four months in advance instead of the 30 days now.
TVoA (tourist visa on arrival), enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), popularly known as e-Tourist Visa scheme, was launched on November 27, 2014.
Under the e-tourist visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a print-out of this authorisation.
On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.
Till now, the scheme was extended to 150 countries at 16 Indian airports designated for providing e-tourist visa service. On an average, 3500 e-tourists visa are being granted every day.
The proposal for new category visa assumes significance as the services sector constitutes about 60 per cent of India’s GDP but its share in global export of services remains at a low 3.15 per cent.