India to allow biz visa extension for up to 15 years
New Delhi: In a move aimed at encouraging economic growth, the Centre has now permitted extension of business visa for a duration of 15 years. At the same time, a regular visa can be converted into the medical category by foreigners in case of an emergency.
According to home secretary Rajiv Gauba, in the last four years there has been a sharp increase in the number of e-visas from 5.17 lakh in 2015 to 21 lakh till November 30 this year.
He said relaxation has also been given for internship visa, which can be obtained without remuneration by any student studying in the country. Even permission is being granted for foreigners, who are on long duration visas, to attend conferences.
While speaking at a conference in the national capital, Mr Gauba said that the Centre’s main objective is to create a simple and hassle-free visa regime to facilitate the arrival and stay of foreign travellers in the country.
The home secretary also stressed on various steps to liberalise the visa regime keeping in view the concerns and suggestions made by different ministries like civil aviation, tourism, health, higher education, and other stakeholders.
He also stressed on the need to further strengthen security with greater use of technology. He claimed that the newly introduced e-FRRO module, which provides 27 visa related services to foreigners, has been very successful as foreigners now need not visit the foreigner regional registration offices (FRRO) for issues like extending their stay, change of visa status, and other things.
The e-visa facility is now extended to 166 countries and foreigners can obtain online visa within 72 hours for travel related to tourism, business, me-dical, and conference purposes. Nearly, 40 per cent of the total number of visas are issued through e-visa scheme and the figure is soon expected to cross the 50 per cent mark.
The home secretary claimed that India’s e-visa scheme is one of the best in the world.