Tag Archives: Ministry of Home Affairs

Visitors with e-visa can visit India via Madurai airport

Amid growing demands, the Government of India has included Madurai airport in the list of entry points where persons holding e-visa can enter India. According to a circular released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, visitors holding valid e-visa can enter the country without going to the nearby airport with e-visa on arrival facility. This facility is expected to benefit a large number of tourists from Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the UAE, Mauritius, the US and the UK. Overall fourth in Tamil Nadu, the Madurai airport is the 26th airport to get the facility in the country.

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Cruise tourists with e-visa exempted from biometric enrolment

In order to promote cruise tourism in the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs has, on request of the Ministry of Shipping, exempted cruise tourists arriving with e-visa from the requirement of biometric enrolment for a period of three years i.e. till December 31, 2020. This will make immigration clearance of such passengers faster, leaving them with more time to spend on shore.  The shipping ministry has been working towards simplifying the immigration clearance procedure and providing passengers a customer-friendly and hassle-free logistics process at Indian ports. E-visa has been in the place in five major ports of Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai. Till now biometrics of passengers were required at port of first arrival for immigration clearance. However, with the existing facilities at the cruise terminals at these ports, the immigration procedure was taking more than the internationally accepted norm of clearing immigration for all cruise passengers in a maximum of 90 minutes. This is especially significant because, as per the schedule of arrivals of cruise ships for the current cruise season 2017-18 and 2019-20, many of the cruise ships coming to India are mega ships with 2000-4000 passengers on board. Most of these cruise passengers are expected to arrive on E-Visa, and biometric enrolment of all these passengers would slow down immigration clearance. Hence the need for the exemption.

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45% growth in medical tourism to India

According to data provided by Ministry of Home Affairs, the number of medical visas issued by India in 2016 rose by 45 per cent over 2015. India issued more than 1.78 lakh medical visas in 2016, including for follow up treatment, as against 1.22 lakh in 2015, according to the data. A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report titled “India Services Sector—A Multi-trillion Dollar Opportunity for Global Symbiotic Growth 2017” stated that the presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals has strengthened India’s position as a preferred destination for medical tourism. Treatment for major surgeries in India costs only a fraction—in some cases as low as 10 per cent of that in developed countries. “Majority of the patients coming to India for treatment are from the Middle East, Africa, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. India’s cost advantage will significantly open doors to the US and Europe over future, due to lower cost than the US and almost half that of Europe.” Dental tourism accounts for 10 per cent of the medical tourism and the government is keen to promote it. “India provides competitive cost advantage at one tenth of the cost of the US and Europe. By 2020, medical tourism industry of India is expected to touch $8 billion,” the report said. Source: Livemint

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eTV now available for yoga programmes

The Ministry of Home Affairs has taken a decision to include short term yoga programmes in Tourist Visa and e-Tourist Visa (eTV). Realising the importance of yoga world over, the government has decided to include ‘attending a short term yoga programme’ in the list of permissible activities under Tourist Visa. Besides, the government has decided to include ‘attending a short term yoga programme’ and ‘short duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine’ in the list of permissible activities under eTV. Presently, a Tourist Visa is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing and casual visit to meet friends or relatives and e-Tourist Visa (eTV) is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit. All Indian Mission abroad and Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs)/ Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in the country have been requested to take action as per above amendments.

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