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Coming soon: India Business Cards for big foreign investors

The idea is that a cardholder be permitted to start a new venture or acquire existing business, be self-employed in own business and bring family members during the stay but after a separate application.

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Published: June 19, 2016 4:53:31 am

As a prelude to attracting overseas entrepreneurs to “Come, Make in India”, the government is working on an India Business Card for high net worth foreign nationals which will allow them a longer duration stay in the country with multiple entries.

At a meeting on June 7, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) gave the go-ahead to Ministry of Commerce to explore and formulate the eligibility conditions for issuing such cards. It, however, cautioned that adequate safeguards be devised to prevent entry of fraudulent businessmen.

Borrowed from the UK Business Immigration Tier 1 Visa, the Ministry of Commerce suggested unfettered entry and exit to investors who have access to large funds and serious intention of investing or starting a business in the country.

The idea is that a cardholder be permitted to start a new venture or acquire existing business, be self-employed in own business and bring family members during the stay but after a separate application. The investor will not be allowed to seek funding from within the country.

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Like in the UK, the applicant will have to submit documentary proof of access to large funds either held by self in recognised financial institutions or assigned by a reputed venture capital firm. Once the guidelines have been formulated, a formal note will be moved by the Ministry of Home Affairs for approval of the Cabinet, officials said.

At the meeting, the PMO also gave in-principle consent to double-entry e-visa for tourists, increase its validity to 60 days from the present 30 as well as permit applicants to seek approved visa six months ahead of the actual visit. At present, multiple-entry is allowed only when an application is submitted through the conventional embassy appointment process and the present window for applying for e-visa is a month before the actual visit.

This is being done to allow Buddhist circuit tourists to land in India, visit the holy sites and take off to Sri Lanka or Nepal and come back to India for the return journey on the same airline at discounted fare. As for visa approvals six months ahead of the visit, this will allow tourists to book and pay hotels and other facilitations.

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