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To ensure smoother travel, govt plans to merge visa categories

nation Updated: Jun 08, 2016 13:14 IST

NEW DELHI: The government is deliberating to merge existing categories of business, tourist and medical visa, to make a comprehensive non-working or non-permanent stay visa class, in order to simplify it.

“Tourists, businessmen or people coming for medical treatment or even for film shoots can be covered under it. They can be given multiple entry visas on long-term basis,” said a senior government official.

The ministry of commerce has circulated a note in this regard among all stakeholders including ministries of home and external affairs, said the official, adding that at present, the proposal is at discussion stage.

A commerce ministry official confirmed the move.

“Yes, we have moved a note for discussions. Under the rules of business, this is a subject of the home ministry. The formal note will be moved by home ministry after a detailed understanding.,” said a senior commerce ministry official on the condition of anonymity.

According to the proposal, if a person is granted long term, multiple-entry non-working or non-permanent stay visa and his or her stay is restricted to 60 days on a distinct visit, the government may wave off visa fee as well.

Deliberations will also be held to incorporate the new category in its online e-visa on arrival scheme for short term visits.

Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that visa issues were cropping up every now and then. “We have asked the stakeholders to look into for a relaxation for categories like medical, tourism and business,” she said.

The move comes after the launch of government’s e-tourist visa on arrival scheme which is now available to nationals of 150 countries.

Under the e-Tourist Visa scheme, an applicant receives an email, authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorization to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.

On an average, 3500 e-tourists visas are being granted every day. The government is also planning to extend e-visa on arrival facility for those coming to India for medical treatment.

First Published: Jun 08, 2016 13:14 IST