The government has approved a new liberalised visa policy where tourist, business, medical and conference visas can be merged into one. This long-term multiple-entry comprehensive visa, sources said, will help boost tourist and trade-based visits to India. The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday also decided to extend the e-Tourist Visa to eight more countries, taking the total number of countries which are under the cover of the scheme to 158.
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An official statement said that the Cabinet has given its approval for liberalisation, simplification and rationalisation of the existing visa regime in India and incremental changes in the visa policy decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with various stakeholders. The approval will facilitate entry of foreigners for tourism, business and medical purposes.
The long-term, multiple-entry visa will be given up to 10 years but under this category the visitor will not be allowed to work or stay permanently, a government official said. Except those covered under 10-year travel and trade visa policy, citizens of other countries would be offered five-year multiple visa for travel and trade.
As per the proposal, if a foreigner 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 visit, the government may waive the visa fee as well. However, the visitors have to give biometric details and fulfil certain security obligations.
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