In an effort to streamline and simplify the visa framework in
India, the government may introduce specific codes for various visa
categories and sub-categories, and include additional select
countries to avail the visa-on-arrival option. India presently
offers 24 visa categories that include Diplomatic, Employment,
Tourist, Business, Student, Spouse, Research and Conference
Sources in India's Ministry of Home Affairs have stated that
the e-Tourist Visa 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. The purpose for doing this is
to ensure and facilitate hassle-free immigration for foreigners
frequently travelling to India. According to the Home Ministry, the
specific code mentioned in the visa will enable the immigration
officer to gather maximum information about the purpose of the
foreigner's visit thereby minimizing room for discretion on
part of immigration officers while questioning foreign visitors as
part of immigration checks.
According to the Home Ministry, the proposals regarding the
above changes are at an advanced stage of discussion and could be
The government is also considering replacing many of the
e-Tourist Visa facilities with visa-on-arrival facilities.
Currently, the e-Tourist Visa program is available to nationals of
about 150 countries, however, visa on arrival would likely be
available to much fewer nationalities.
The god news is that these proposed changes could significantly
reduce processing times for business and other travelers frequently
visiting India. LawQuest will continue to follow any developments
in this regard and will update clients as and when new information
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In response to growing demands to introduce dual citizenship from its overseas diaspora,
India introduced the concept of the person of Indian origin (a "PIO") in 2002 and an overseas
citizen of India (an "OCI") in 2006 as categories of persons who enjoy certain legal rights in
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