The Indian government is planning to switch over to a more liberalized policy that will let tourists to stay in India up to a period of 3 months and make multiple entries to the country. Home ministry officials have held several rounds of discussions with the impacted departments, in order to work out the intricacies involved in granting this visa on arrival. Focus is also on increasing the footfall of tourists who visit the country for medical tourism. At present, tourists from Afghanistan and Bangladesh have the highest enrollments for medical tourism visas.
Currently, international tourists are given a visa on arrival which has a validity of 30 days. The government is planning to extend this validity from 30 to 90 days. The window for the application of the visa is at least 4 days prior to the date of landing in India. The government is also planning to ease the visa processing timelines for the employment and services sectors, without compromising on national security. The list of PRC or prior referral category countries have to be revised as these countries have restrictions on students, businesspersons and patients from entering the country borders.
Discussions are also on to relax the visa norms for SAARC students which will allow students multiple entries for a year. Waivers to the 60 day cool off period for second time visitors from SAARC countries have also been suggested. Asking the government for liberalization of Visa rules, the Commerce Ministry suggested that faster movement professionals in services should be facilitated to support the government’s Make in India Initiative. The proposal included visa reforms for Tourists, medical tourists, business visitors, and conference & seminar attendees. It is reported that the proposal was rejected by the home ministry.
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