India: India introduces subcategories to liberalize e-visa regime

What is the change? India has retooled its e-visa program, introducing visa subcategories for tourists, business travelers and medical visits. Officials have also increased the window of time when travelers can apply for an e-visa and have extended the maximum length of stay to 60 days.

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What does the change mean? Effective immediately, foreign nationals from any of the more than 160 countries covered by the e-visa program may apply for e-tourist, e-business or e-medical visas, depending on the purpose of their visit. Authorities expanded the application window to 120 days and extended the permissible duration of stay to 60 days, with double entry permitted on e-tourist and e-business visas and triple entry permitted on e-medical visas.

  • Implementation time frame: April 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: E-tourist, e-business or e-medical visas.
  • Who is affected: Eligible foreign nationals from countries traveling to India for tourism, business or medical treatment.
  • Impact on processing times: The changes could significantly reduce processing times for business and other travelers.

Background: Officials have discussed the possibility of introducing e-visa subcategories for months.

The changes described above will build on India’s existing e-visa program, which is now available to nationals of more than 160 countries traveling to any of 24 Indian airports or three seaports. Travelers who use the e-visa program must apply and pay a fee online and receive their electronic visa online before traveling to India.

The changes are meant to boost tourism and business travel as well as increase investment in India.

BAL Analysis: While the introduction of specific visa subcategories, along with the longer application periods and length of stay provisions, may make the e-visa program a more attractive option, travelers must be sure that their specific activities are permitted on the visa on which they are traveling. BAL continues to review the recently announced changes, which took effect Saturday. Those with any questions about their travel to India should contact their BAL attorney about what their best options are before traveling or applying for a visa.

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.

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