India has decided to liberalise e-visa regime from Saturday by increasing the time limit for seeking the entry permit from existing 30 days to a maximum of four months.
The duration of stay for foreigners, coming into the country through select categories of e-visa, has also been extended to two months from existing one month, the Union Home Ministry said in a statement.
There will be three new sub-categories for grant of e-visa, i.e. e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa, from April 1.
In addition, two more new categories—Intern or (I) visa and Film or (F) visa—will be granted for foreigner seeking internship in non-government organisations, and those seeking to shoot movies in India, respectively.Also, both business and medical visas will be granted within 48 hours of application upon urgent requests, it said.
“The liberalisation of the visa regime will considerably facilitate entry of foreigners into India for tourism, business and medical purposes. Consequently, the arrival of foreigners in India is expected to go up substantially in the coming years.
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“This will in turn give a boost to tourism, medical and business sectors resulting in substantial increase in direct and indirect employment in these sectors,” the statement said.
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.
E-visa facility has been extended to the nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports, up from 16 airports allowing such entries, and three Indian ports i.e. Cochin, Goa and Mangalore to tap the potential of cruise tourism from different countries.
“This service will also be provided from Mumbai and Chennai seaports shortly,” it said.
The window for application under e-visa scheme has been increased from 30 days to 120 days and duration of stay on e-visa has been increased from 30 days to 60 days with double entry on e-tourist and e-business visa and triple entry on e-medical visa, the statement said.
Separate immigration counters and facilitation desks to assist medical tourists have been provided at Indian airports namely, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
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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 with effect from March 1, 2017. The remaining Missions will be providing this facility in due course.
A new category of visa titled Intern or (I) visa has been rolled out with effect from March 1, 2017 to a foreigner intending to pursue internship in Indian companies, educational institutions and NGOs, subject to certain checks and conditions.
Another new category of visa, titled Film or (F) visa has also been introduced with maximum duration of one-year with multiple entry facility.