Aiming to attract more tourists and boost trade, government on Wednesday approved a new liberalised visa policy that include long-term multiple-entry comprehensive visa by merging tourist, business, medical and conference visas into one.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also decided to extend the e-Tourists Visa to eight more countries, taking the total number of countries which are under cover the scheme to 158.
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for liberalisation, simplification and rationalisation of the existing visa regime in India and incremental changes in the visa policy decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with various stakeholders, an official statement said.
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 release said.
Tourists, businessmen or people coming for treatment or to attend conferences or even for film shoots will be covered under the new category of visa, which was first mooted by the Commerce Ministry following a suggestion by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to boost services trade.
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, a government official said.
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.