India has a robust visa regime to facilitate smooth entry, stay and movement of foreigners in India for legitimate purposes while ensuring the security of the country. During the last one year, the MHA has taken a series of steps to liberalize the visa process in India.
The Electronic Visa Facility now covers practically all the countries of the world. Foreign nationals of 166 countries can now enjoy this facility at 26 airports and 05 seaports. The foreigner does not have to interact with any Indian official till his arrival at the immigration counter.
The Bureau of Immigration (BoI) generally decides within 24-48 hours whether or not to grant an e-visa to a foreigner. The popularity of e-visa is sky rocketing. The number of foreigners who visited India on e-visa has gone up from 4.47 lakhs in 2015 to 17.00 lakhs in 2017. The figure for 2018 is 18.78 lakhs upto 30th October, 2018.
Two new categories of e-visa i.e. e-Conference & e-Medical Attendant visa have been introduced recently. E-visa is now available for five categories i.e. (i) Tourist, (ii) Business (iii) Medical (iv) Conference and (v) medical attendant.
The local FRRO has been empowered now to extend duration of electronic visas beyond 60 days upto 90 days. Moreover, these e-visas can now be availed three times in one year against twice in a year earlier.
For foreigners who are already in India and who require any consular/visa services like extension of visa, conversion of visa, exit permission or any of the total 27 visa-related services, an online e-FRRO facility has now been launched throughout the country. The foreigners do not have to physically visit the offices of FRROs/FROs. They can apply as well as receive consular/visa services online after making online payment.
To promote cruise tourism immigration facilities have been provided at five major seaports where e-Landing Permits are granted to passengers for their onshore site-seeing.