India: Change in visa regime could be on the horizon

The Times of India, citing sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs, reported Friday, Sept. 2, that India’s e-Tourist visa program “may be rechristened as ‘e-visa’ with specific codes for each of its sub-categories like e-tourist visa, e-medical visa and e-business visa.”

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What does the change mean? If India implements the proposed changes to its visa regime, business travel to India could be made significantly easier for select nationalities.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The changes could affect a number of Indian visa programs, including its e-Tourist Visa and visa-on-arrival programs.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who travel to India frequently.
  • Impact on processing times: The changes could significantly reduce processing times for business and other travelers.
  • Next steps: BAL is working to confirm information about possible visa changes and will provide updates to clients once more information is available.

Background: The Times of India reported that the proposals are at “an advanced stage of discussion” and could be approved soon. Besides the codification of visas described above, the report said India is considering replacing many of the country’s e-Tourist Visa facilities with visa-on-arrival facilities. While the e-Tourist Visa program is available for nationals of roughly 150 countries, however, visas on arrival would likely be available to significantly fewer nationalities. No information was available about which countries might be included in an expanded visa-on-arrival program.

BAL Analysis: The changes described above could hold significant benefit for business travelers from select countries. BAL continues to follow developments in India and will update clients with additional information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

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