India is celebrated as the land of culture and heritage. It is home to thousands of sculptured temples, fascinating monuments, and other beautiful scenic places. Every year thousands of foreigners visit India. But this year the number of foreigners who visited India has reached new heights.
As per a survey, it has been recorded that a total of 18.78 lakhs foreigners visited India on E-visa. This was four times more than what was recorded in 2015. The statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned: “The number of foreigners who visited India has gone up from 4.47 lakhs in 2015 to 17.00 lakhs in 2017. The figure for this year is 18.78 lakhs up to October 30, 2018.” The fee collected this year till October 31 was $ 137,527,270 and it was $ 105,558,496 in 2017. The top countries whose nationals applied for E-Visa India are the UK, the US, China, France, and Germany.
The facility to obtain E-visa can be enjoyed by the foreign nationals of 166 countries at 26 airports and 5 seaports. Also, E-visa is available for five main categories that include- Tourist, Business, Medical, Conference and a medical attendant. The E-visa facility can be availed three times in a year but earlier it was only available twice a year. In order to promote cruise tourism, immigration facilities have been provided at five seaports.
As per the statement released, ‘The local Foreigner Regional Registration Office has been allowed to extend the duration of electronic visas beyond 60 days up to 90 days.’ They can apply and receive visa services online after making an online payment," it said.
FRROs have been given power for various visa related services such as visa extension, visa conversion, registration, etc.
As per the release, foreign nationals who get sick while their stay in India can go for medical treatment and there is no need to convert their visa into medical visa. The Centre has also allowed conversion of any category of the visa of a foreigner who is married to an Indian citizen, a person of Indian origin into an entry visa at any point of time. Other facilities include the extension of employment and business visas for a period of ten years from five years.
Earlier, the foreigners who were visiting Andaman and Nicobar Islands required a visa as well as a Restricted Area Permit (RAP). In order to promote tourism and investment, 30 Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been excluded from the RAP regime, as per the release. The release also mentioned that ‘Foreigners will also be allowed to visit 11 uninhabited islands, which will be notified by Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration. This will be applicable only for the days without any Registered Area Permit.
The Ministry has also reduced the requirement of minimum remuneration, earlier which was, 7.80 lakh and now it is 3.60 lakh per annum. It is for the grant of intern visa which can be availed at any time during the course of study.
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