Visa rules in India had been stringent in the past that consumed a lot of tourist’s time and efforts for getting processed. This was, however, discouraging indeed for the tourists that made them reluctant to visit this country despite their knowledge of India’s enormous potential in the domain of traditional wellness therapies time tested through generations.
Keeping in view a target of 10 % growth of wellness tourism to India which would promote country’s economy, the Indian government had basically simplified the visa procedures. This would encourage more foreign visitors who areaware of the Indian Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani medicines but could never make it to this country for the agonizing visa procurement game plan.
Necessity for amendment in visa rules – High popularity of alternative medicine in India:
Of late, Indian alternative medicine has become hugely popular on a global scale. Most of the traditional modes of treatments are approved by the government. Consequently, overseas tourism to India have shot up astronomically. The healthcare industry sees a bright silver lining that visa procedural amendments would largely safeguard the interests of the prospective foreign consumers.
Amendment in visa rules:
Considering India’s amazingly promising wellness tourism market, the government has initiated amendments in visa rules for the benefit of foreign tourists from 150 countries seeking wellness vacation here. Now, the visa formalities for entry to this country would turn almost an effortless exercise for foreign visitors. The new features for wellness tourists to India seeking a visa would be in the following lines:
-The Indian government has taken steps to modify e-visa regulations which would cater to the needs of foreign tourists seeking short term treatments under traditional Indian medicines and therapeutic treatments that include Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha system as approved health enhancing activities permitted through e tourist visas.
-With amended visa procedures, tourists from Russia, Germany, UK, and other European nations would find it rather easy to find the much sought after gateway to Indian medicinal treatments.
-The revised visa rules enable the users to submit the visa application online.The documents would include scanned copies of medical reports, test reports and the prescription that can be submitted to the embassy through the online portal. The biometric details can be collected from the tourist upon his arrival to this country. The procedure also enables the tourist to fill in the application form at home.
– The online e tourist visa doesn’t call for any facilitation by any agent or intermediaries feeding on a chunk of the hard-earned money of the tourists just forliaisoning the work.
-However, the passport should at least have six months validity from the date of arrival in this country. It should also contain at least 2 blank pages where the immigration officers would put their approval stamp.
-International tourists should possess return ticket or online journey ticket and must have sufficient fund to spend in India during wellness vacation.
-Tourists carrying Pakistani passport may apply for regular visa at Indian mission.
-Visa can be applied from the tourists’ home country without visiting Indian mission and the payment can be done online from anywhere.
-After approval of visa, the foreign tourist gets an e mail authorizing him to travel to India. But he should carry the printout of the authorization.The authorization is checked and stamped by immigration authorities upon the tourists’ arrival. This will allow him entry into Indiawithin 30 days from date of approval. It will remain valid for 30 days stay in India from the date of arrival.
-The e-tourist visa can be availed twice in a calendar year.
-The e tourist visa fee has been amended in 4 stages since November 2015 of 10 USD, 25 USD, 48 USD and 60 USD. The latest visa fee is 60 USD with a bank charge of 2 USD which is same for all countries.
– Currently, the bank charges have been mitigated to 2.5 % of e tourist visa fee.
– Even short term yoga programs and short duration medical treatment have been considered eligible for e tourist visa.
Availability of e- tourist visa:
E tourist visa facilities are available in the following airports:
Medical tourism in India is predicted at 3 billion USD and extrapolated at 8 billion USD by 2020. India’s new relaxed Visa policy is a step in the right direction.