Foreign tourists, who have been issued e-visa for visiting India can now stay up to two months in the country, instead of the earlier one, and enjoy double-entry benefits while those coming for treatment can avail triple-entry facility.
Home minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that a new liberalised visa regime has been rolled out by the government beginning April 1 under which tourists coming on e-visa can stay up to two months with double-entry benefits.
"Duration of stay on e-visa increased from 30 days to 60 days with double entry on tourist and business e-visas and triple entry on medical e-visa," he said in a statement.
Read | Visa facility to be extended to boost tourism and trade: Nirmala
Earlier, a tourist coming on e-visa could stay in India up to 30 days only. With the double-entry benefits, tourists can visit neighbouring countries like Bhutan and can return to India within the stipulated time.
"The government has liberalised its visa regime to promote tourism, business travel and attract potential investors to the country," Singh said. Effective April 1, e-visa has been sub-divided into three categories - e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa.
The window for application under e-visa scheme has been increased from 30 days to 120 days. Besides, both business and medical visas will be granted within 48 hours of application upon urgent requests.
The home minister said separate immigration counters and facilitation desks to assist medical tourists have been provided at six major Indian airports. The airports are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
A new category of visa - Film (F) visa has also been introduced with maximum duration of one-year with multiple entry facility. Another category of visa, titled Intern (I) Visa, has been rolled out for foreigners intending to pursue internship in India.
Singh said e-visa facility has been extended to the nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports and three Indian seaports. The seaports are Cochin, Goa and Mangalore.
Read | Govt rejigs visa policy, now foreign tourists can make multiple entry
The multiple entry tourist and business visas for a period of five years will now be available to nationals of most of the countries. Nine-four Missions having bio-metric enrolment facilities have started giving five-year tourist and business visas.
The remaining Missions will be providing this facility in due course. Under the e-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 allow the entry into the country.