31 March | New Delhi
The government has further liberalised its visa regime aimed at bringing more tourists and business travelers to the country. The new changes approved by the cabinet will be rolled out from April 1. Here is all you need to know about the new changes in various visa categories.
- With effect from April 1, e-visa has been sub-divided into 3 categories — e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e-medical visa. Till now, e-visa was only for tourists
- E-visa facility has been extended to nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports (earlier granted through 16 airports) and three ports: Cochin, Goa and Mangalore.
- 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.
- Separate immigration counters and facilitation desks to assist medical tourists have been provided at airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
- The multiple-entry tourist and business visas for a period of 5 years will now be available to nationals of most of the countries. Upon urgent requests, business visa and medical visa will be granted within 48 hours of application.
- 94 Indian missions having bio-metric enrolment facilities have started giving 5-year long-term tourist and business visa from March . The remaining missions will provide this facility in due course.
- A new category of visa titled intern (I) visa has been rolled out with effect from March 1, 2017 to a foreigner intending to pursue intership in Indian companies, educational institutions and NGOs, subject to certain checks and conditions. The period of visa is restricted to the duration of internship programme or one year, whichever is less. The intern visa will be granted immediately after completion of graduation/post-graduation.
- Intern visa, however, will be issued with prior clearance from the home ministry in case of internship in NGOs or internship involving visit to protected and restricted areas.
- Another new category of visa, titled film (F) visa has also been introduced with maximum duration of one year with multiple entry facility.
- The minimum salary limit of for grant of employment visa, which is presently US $ 25,000 per annum, has also been modified. This will facilitate foreign nationals engaged as teaching faculty by the central higher educational institutions.
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