What is visa?
A valid passport and visa are required for travel to India. The word ‘visa’ derived from Latin, meaning “paper which has been seen”. It is a provisional sanction granted by a country to a foreigner, allowing them to enter, remain within, or to leave that country. Visas usually include duration of the foreigner’s stay, specific areas in that country where the person is permitted to travel around.
Who doesn’t need a visa for entry in India?
Citizens of the Bhutan and Nepal:-
- do not require visas or passports to enter India (unless arriving from mainland China)
- may remain in the country without any limit of stay
- may also live and work freely in India.
Nationals of Maldives:-
- do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days, however a separate visa regime exists for diplomatic/official passport holders)
Getting the Visa
Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa.
Visas are granted through various Indian Missions (Indian Embassy or Consulate) abroad. However, the Embassy/High Commission/Consulate reserves the right on granting and deciding the type/duration of visa irrespective of the fees tendered at the time of making the application.
What is meant by medical visa?
‘Medical Visa’ refers to the term where visa is given to the citizens of other countries on the basis of medical grounds where an applicant seek a visa to receive medical treatment in recognized hospital/treatment centre in India.
Medical visa to travel India
In the recent years, a steep growth in medical tourism has been observed. International patient footfall to India has been increased tremendously for medical treatments.
The government of India has introduced medical visa for foreign nationals across the world seeking specialty medical treatment in India for extended periods. A medical visa is issued by the government of India to every medical tourist.
This visa can be extended for over one year. A patient who gets this extension, he or she can visit India on medical tour in India, three times in a year, accompanied by an attendant who can be a friends or a relative.
Eligibility for medical visa applicant to travel India
The medical visa is based on certain conditions to ensure that people who are immigrating to India are genuinely in need of receiving treatment. Indian immigration authorities require the following criteria to be satisfied due to the above mentioned reasons –
- All the medical documents are scrutinised by Indian Missions/Posts situated abroad to confirm whether the request to obtain a medical visa is genuine or not.
- The Indian Missions also ensures whether initial medical advice has been sought by the applicant in his/her home country and being advised to go in another country for the special treatment required.
- Medical Visa to India is given only when it is been declared /confirmed that applicant’s treatment is scheduled in the recognized healthcare institute.
- Medical visa to India is issued for a number of treatments but there are major procedures for which approval is instant such as radio therapy, neurosurgery, heart treatments, renal disorders, plastic surgery, organ transplants, gene therapy, plastic surgery, ophthalmic disorders, and congenital disorders.
What are the basic documents required to get a valid medical visa?
These are the basic required document to get a valid medical visa:-
- Valid passport with minimum of 6 month validity
- Photo copies of passport
- Passport size photographs
- Proof of Residential Address
- Medical reports
- Recommendation from the home country certified doctor to visit particular hospital in India for treatment
- Visa request letter from the hospital.
- Copy of online Filled form
Process of getting Indian medical visa
1) Visa application Form to be filled-up completely with all the correct details by the patients (applicants).
2) Take a print out copy of the application.
3) Attach required documents.
4) Visit nearest Indian embassy in your home country.
5) Submit printed application with required documents as suggested by the Embassy and wait for approval
6) Once visa is approved, travel can be planned. All major airports in India will accept the visa.
7) On arrival in India, visa will be stamped at the Airport (point of entry) and is valid for one year. (Note: Visa status starts on the day of approval not on the day of arrival.)
Procedures to approve ‘M’ Visa by the Indian Mission / Post
1. Scrutiny of medical documents (reports and records) by the Indian Post/Mission to confirm genuineness of the need to travel and obtain visa.
2. The Mission may also check if the applicant (patient) has sought initial medical assistance in his/her own home country and advised to look for special medical treatment at recognized hospital in India.
3. The main idea is that the mission must be satisfied that the foreign national is in a serious need of medical treatment in India.
Validity of medical visa in India
- For the first time medical visa for India is granted for a maximum up to 1 year. The time required to perform the concerned medical treatment determines the duration of a medical visa.
- Initial period of 1 year is valid for a maximum of three entries in a year. Permission for one extra entry can also be given by FRRO/the State Government in the case of emergency situations.
Extension of medical visa in India
- Though Indian Government provides medical visa for one year but it can further be extended to one more year, if required.
- Extension of medical visa can be approved by the FRROs or the State Government. It is only possible when there are valid medical reasons for further treatment recommended by recognised & reputed hospital in India through issuing a medical certificate along with supporting documents.
Medical attendant visas
- Maximum of two attendants who are blood relatives are permissible to accompany the patient under separate medical attendant visas. Such visa may be granted to the spouse/ children or those who have blood relations with the patient.
- Attendants travelling to India will be provided with miscellaneous visas equivalent to the ‘M’ Visa of patient. These visas are known as MX visas. Such attendants also have to get register themselves with the local FRROs / FROs within fourteen days of entering India.
- The validity of medical attendant visa will be same as the patient Medical visa.
- The preliminary duration of medical visa is up to a year or duration of the treatment, whichever is less. The visa allows maximum of 3 entries during 1 year.
Registration for medical visa with FRRO/FRO
International travellers in India with ‘Medical Visa’ have to register themselves without fail within 14 days of arrival with the concerned FRROs/ FROs. Nationals of all foreign countries along with those of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh can obtain a medical visa to India. However, there are specific requirements given in visa manual for Pakistani & Bangladeshi nationals.
Registration Rules for Bangladeshi & Pakistani nationals
As mentioned in the document issued by the Government of India, there are certain specific rules that citizens of Bangladesh and Pakistan will also inevitably have to follow such as registration formality requirements given in Para 106 & 118 in the Visa Manual. Similarly entry and departure rules will also be governed as per the existing policy.
Visa on Arrival
A visa-on-arrival (VOI) system for tourists from few selected countries has been instituted by government of India, which allows foreign nationals to stay in India for 60 days for medical procedures.
Citizens of many countries can now apply for a visa-on-arrival, cutting out the need to visit an Indian embassy and wait in line for a permit. The VOA facility can only be used for no more than two times in one calendar year.
What are the ways to apply for obtaining visa in India?
A valid passport and visa are required for travel to India. The Indian government now offers two options for travellers:
(i) Traditional Visa A traditional Indian visa is stamped inside the traveller’s passport. The visa application process requires the original passport and original signed application form along with all required supporting documents to be sent to Indian Consulate for processing. Official visa is issued and stamped inside the traveller’s passport.
(ii) E-Visa An e-visa refers to the visa which is being issued online electronically. With the ETA visa a person is allowed to stay for 30 days in India.
Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)
Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) facility was launched in India w.e.f. from 27 November, 2014. ETA is issued for tourism, visiting friends and family, short duration medical treatment and business visits. The scheme was renamed e-Visa with three subcategories:
(i) Tourist e-visa (i) Business e-visa (iii) Medical e-visa
The window for application under e-visa scheme was increased from 30 days to 120 days, and duration of stay on e-visa was increased from 30 days to 60 days, with double entry on e-tourist and e-business visa, and triple entry on e-medical visa.
Points to remember for obtaining e-visa
- An application for e-Visa must be made at least four calendar days in advance of the date of arrival and can be made as early as 120 days in advance.
- The visa is valid for 60 calendar days from the date of arrival, and can be obtained twice in a calendar year. Double entry is permitted on e-Tourist Visa and e-Business Visa.
- Triple entry is permitted on e-Medical Visa. The duration of stay cannot be extended
List of countries / territories whose nationals can opt for e-Visa is given below in an alphabetical order:
A : Azerbaijan, Austria, Australia, Aruba, Armenia, Argentina, Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Angola, Andorra, Albania
B : Burundi, Bulgaria, Brunei, Brazil, Botswana, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bolivia, Belize, Belgium, Barbados, Bahamas
C : Czech Republic, Cyprus, Cuba, Croatia, Cote d’lvoire, Costa Rica, Cook Islands, Comoros, Colombia, China- SAR Macau, , China- SAR Hong Kong, China, Chile, Cayman Island, Cape Verde, Canada, Cameron Union Republic, Cambodia
D : Dominican Republic, Dominica, Djibouti, Denmark
E : Estonia, Eritrea, El Salvador, Ecuador, East Timor
F : France, Finland, Fiji
G : Guyana, Guinea, Guatemala, Grenada, Greece, Ghana, Germany, Georgia, Gambia, Gabon
H : Hungary, Honduras, Haiti
I : Italy, Israel, Ireland, Indonesia, Iceland
J : Jordan, Japan, Jamaica
K : Kiribati, Kenya
L : Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Liberia, Laos, Lesotho, Latvia
M : Myanmar, Mozambique, Montserrat, Montenegro, Mongolia, Monaco, Moldova, Micronesia, Mexico, Mauritius, Marshall Islands, Malta, Mali, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malawi
N : Norway, Niue Island, Niger Republic, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Nauru, Namibia, Netherlands
O : Oman
P : Portugal, Poland, Philippines, Peru, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Panama, Palestine
Q-R : Rwanda, Russia, Romania, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Korea
S : Switzerland, Sweden, Swaziland, Suriname, Sri Lanka, Spain, South Africa, Solomon Islands, Slovenia, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Serbia, Senegal, San Marino, Samoa, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Saint Lucia
T : Tuvalu, Taiwan, Turks & Caicos Island, Trinidad & Tobago, Tonga, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Thailand
U : Uzbekistan, USA, Uruguay, UAE, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uganda
V : Vietnam, Venezuela, Vatican City-Holy See, Vanuatu
W-Z : Zimbabwe, Zambia
E-Visa allows arrival at the following 24 airports and 3 seaports
The India e-Visa allows only for arrival through the 24 designated airports and 3 designated seaports. Departure may be from any of the authorized Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India. If arriving by land or through any other airport or port of entry, apply for a traditional Indian visa.
Indian Airport and Seaports
1. Ahmedabad 2. Amritsar 3. Badodra 4. Bengaluru 5. Chandigarh,
6. Chennai 7. Coimbatore 8. Delhi 9. Gaya 10. Goa 11. Guwahati
12. Hyderabad 13. Jaipur 14. Kochi 15. Kolkata 16. Kozhikode 17. Lucknow
18. Mangalore 19. Mumbai 20. Nagpur 21. Pune 22. Thiruvananthapuram
23 Tiruchirappalli 24. Varanasi
What is the term NRI, PIO and OCI stand for?
NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) NRI means a person who is a resident of a foreign country but is a citizen of India.
PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Person of Indian Origin (POI) are people whose ancestors were of Indian Nationality and who is presently holding another countries’ citizenship/nationality (i.e. he/she is holding foreign passport).
OCIs (Overseas Citizen of India) are non-Indian citizens who have a lifetime visa to live and work in India with fewer restrictions.
Entry Visa for NRIs and PIOs
People of Indian Origin must apply for an Entry Visa instead of a Tourist Visa. An Entry visa is granted to the following types of applicants.
A person of Indian Origin (PIO) defined as a person (i) who has held Indian nationality OR (ii) is a child or grandchild of a person who has held Indian nationality.