Category Archives: Visa

India extends e-visa facility for conference and medical attendants from China

India has further liberalised visa regime for Chinese nationals by extending e-visa facility for the conference and medical attendants as part of its efforts to attract more tourists from China. Previously those attending conferences in India needed to get clearances from New Delhi to get visas. The Conference Visa will be issued for those who intend to travel to India to attend conference/seminar/workshop organised by Ministry or Department of Government of India, State Departments or Union Territories, Administration and their subordinate/attached organizations and PSUs, the Indian embassy said in a statement. The documents required included scanned bio-page of passport showing the photograph and details, invitation from organisation. It also needs political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs, the statement said. The e-Medical Attendant Visa will be issued for those who wish to travel as attendant to e-Medical visa holder. The e-visa facility is now available for Tourist Visa, e-Business Visa, e-Medical Visa, e-Medical Attendant Visa and e-Conference Visa, it added. Despite special measures like e-visas, only 2.4 lakh Chinese tourists visited India last year against 14 lakh Indians visiting China. Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, accompanied by about 20 Indian tour operators, conducted special campaigns in Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai in August as part of India’s efforts to attract more Chinese tourists to the country. Source: PTI

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Bangladesh constitutes 45% of total FTAs to India on medical visa

Bangladesh alone constituted about 45 per cent of total foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) to India on medical visa in 2017, according to a FICCI study on ‘India: Innovating Transforming and Defining Medical Value Travel’. Bangladesh holds the eighth place among largest population countries in the world. The major destination countries include India, China, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the UK, Australia, Japan and Germany for treatments including cardiology, oncology, neurology and orthopaedic. Majority of deaths in Bangladesh are due to non-communicable diseases out of which cancer has a share of 10 per cent. However, the existing infrastructure caters to approximately 10 per cent of cancer patients with 16 cancer treatment centres in Bangladesh. High costs, poor services, long waiting lists, lack of technology in Bangladesh are the major reasons for medical value travel from Bangladesh.

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Niti Aayog proposes increase in e-visa validity to 10 years

To attract more tourists in India, Niti Aayog has proposed increasing the validity period of e-Visas to 10 years and the number of annual visits for those on e-medical visa be enhanced. Currently, the validity of e-Visa (except e-Conference visa) is 60 days from the date of arrival in India. In case of e-Conference visa, the validity is 30 days. Double entry is permitted on e-Tourist visa and e-Business visa. Triple entry is permitted on e-Medical visa and e-Medical Attendant visa. Only single entry is permitted on e-Conference visa. e-Visa can be availed for a maximum of three times in a calendar year between January to December. In its report ‘The Strategy for New India @ 75’, Niti Aayog has said that despite the introduction of an e-Visa facility, visitors find the process of applying for a visa cumbersome. Niti Aayog has also suggested that the number of annual visits allowed under an e-Medical visa be enhanced. Currently, e-Medical visa holders are allowed three repeat visits during their one-year visa period. According to the report, “This may not be sufficient for patients who require follow-up/post-operative care.” The report also said that India should increase the number of persons accompanying those with e-medical visa from the current two to four under the same visa, as has been done in countries like Malaysia. Source: PTI

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Russia visa available through VFS Global in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai

Residents of India can now apply for visas to Russia at VFS Global Visa Application Centres (VACs) opened for the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The new centres will cater to the growing needs of outbound travellers to Russia, and increase accessibility to, and convenience of, visa services. With approximately 55,000 travellers visiting Russia from India each year, the application process through the new centres will prove to be more streamlined. The centre in New Delhi was inaugurated by H E Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India. He said, “The new Russian Visa Application Centre looks very impressive, very advanced and it perfectly fits into the new substance of our bilateral ties as well as our global co-operation. As you would surely know our relationship is a relationship of Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. It carries political, economic, cultural and humanitarian content, but after all and finally, it is all about people; it is all about people to people connection, making this enormous relationship going. And this person to person connection will not be possible without such a simple thing as visa. I hope this visa application centre will make a real contribution to the growing strategic connection between our countries and our people.” Speaking about the development, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, South Asia & China, said, “The network of Russia Visa Application Centres serves the needs of the ever-increasing numbers of travellers to Russia from this region and we are confident it will deliver services that exceed the expectations of the applicants.”

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Ukraine discontinues visa on arrival facility for Indians from January 1, 2019

The visa on arrival facility for foreign citizens including Indians will no longer be available with effect from January 1, 2019 as Ukraine has recently modified its legislation on visa regulations. According to the new Decree no 954 of the Cabinet of Minister of Ukraine, the rules of visa issuance of entering Ukraine and the transit have been modified.

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Myanmar offers visa on arrival for Indian nationals

The Myanmar government has introduced new regulations to facilitate easier access for tourists to visit the country. Indian nationals can now enter Myanmar with visa-on-arrival (VOA) at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International Airports . This means that for these passport holders, no pre-arranged approval is required and on arrival they can apply for a visa which will be granted instantly. The fee for the visa on arrival is 50 USD. The timing of granting visa on arrival to Indian nationals could not have been better as President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, recently visited the country. In early October, Japanese, South Korean, Macau and Hong Kong tourists were granted visa-free entry while Chinese nationals from the mainland were also granted VOA into Myanmar in a move to attract more Asian tourism into the country.

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India offers visa on arrival for South Korean nationals

India has decided to offer visa on arrival to South Korean nationals, a home ministry official said. Like the Japanese nationals (who have been getting the privilege since March 2016), the facility to South Korean citizens include double entry visit for a period not exceeding 60 days for business, tourism, conference and medical purposes for entry through six designated international airports – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. According to an estimate, around 2 lakh Indian visas are issued to South Korean nationals every year, of which 80 per cent are tourists. On an average, 600 South Korean nationals arrive in Delhi daily. Though visa-on-arrival facility was earlier offered to citizens of 12 countries — Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea — it was discontinued in November 2014 after the launch of e-Tourist Visa scheme. The e-visa facility now covers practically all the countries of the world, 166 as of now, and foreigners can arrive at any of the designated 26 airports and five seaports in India without interacting with any official before checking in at the immigration counter. Under the e-visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it has been approved. The tourist can travel with a printout of this authorisation. On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then allow entry into the country. Source: PTI

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Tourism is the future of India: Alphons at 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit

Addressing delegates during the inaugural ceremony of 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit in Delhi, KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) Tourism, said that tourism is the future of India. “Tourism is the future of the country. Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) have gone up by 14 per cent, while the global figures were at 7 per cent. Approximately, 84 million people are currently employed by the tourism industry across the country,” he said. Suggesting ways to keep tourists for longer in the country, he said, “We are also thinking in terms of further visa reforms. I think Yoga and Ayurveda are the two things that can bring wellness and help us to keep tourists for longer in our country. Tourism is about jobs, money and bringing the world together. We have ambitous targets and we all can achieve them together.”

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UK registers 10 per cent growth in Indian visit visas from October 2017 to September 2018

Indian visitors and tourist numbers saw a strong growth with visit visas increasing by 10 per cent to 468,923 from October 2017 to September 2018, according to the latest report on Immigration Statistics published by the Home Office. This was the largest absolute increase for any country and means that over one in five UK visit visas are going to Indian nationals. Commenting on the figures, Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, the British High Commissioner to India, said, “This update provides yet more evidence that the UK is open to Indian business, students and tourists. I’m particularly pleased by the 33 per cent increase in Indian students, which means thousands more young Indians are making the most of the UK’s world-class education system.” Moreover, Indian student numbers have strongly increased for the second year in a row. About 18,735 Indian nationals were granted a Tier IV student visa in the year ending September 2018. This was a 33 per cent increase compared to the the previous year – which was in itself a 27 per cent increase on the year before that.      

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VFS Global to provide visa services for the Netherlands in eight regions, including India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has awarded VFS Global the global tender to provide visa services in eight out of nine regions worldwide. It will operate for the Netherlands government in Africa, North America, Central and South America, Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Western Europe, and India. VFS Global has worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2006 and will provide Schengen visa services, Caribbean visa services, long-stay national visas, Dutch Travel Documents and Civic Integration Exams under the new contract. Chris Dix, Head—Business Development, VFS Global, said, “VFS Global is delighted that we will continue to serve the Netherlands Government. We have enjoyed a strong partnership with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for well over a decade, and welcome this opportunity to enhance our service capabilities on their behalf. We look forward to opening our facilities in 40 new locations to offer Netherlands visa applicants best-in-class visa solutions and a seamless application process.” Since August 2018, VFS Global has signed visa service contracts with nine existing and new clients, and governments from Europe to extend their visa service network. This includes contracts to provide additional visa services for client governments such as Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and The Czech Republic.

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