Increase e-Visa validity to 10 years to boost tourism: NITI Aayog


Government think tank NITI Aayog has proposed that the validity period of e-Visas be increased to 10 years and the number of annual visits for those on e-medical visa be enhanced to attract more tourists in the country.

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 i.e., 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 still cumbersome.

"Increase e-Visa awareness globally by launching an information campaign through our consulates abroad. It is also necessary to launch an e-Visa regime to attract clientele from the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market. To attract repeat visitors, the validity period of e-Visas may be increased to 10 years," the report said.

It 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.

"This may not be sufficient for patients who require follow-up/ post-operative care," the report stated, adding 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.

A total of 1.8 million foreigners visited India this year within the first 10 months on e-Visa -- four times more than the 447,000  figure registered in 2015 and the highest so far. The maximum number of visitors who availed this facility were from the UK, the US, China, France and Germany, according to official figures.

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