India will further smoothen the process of granting visa for foreigners and is implementing the Immigration Visa Foreigners’ Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) in a mission mode for their safety and convenience, the country's Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said.
He said the government is focusing more on the popular e-visa scheme for foreigners under which visa-seekers do not have to meet any Indian official before their arrival at the designated landing port, reports our correspondent in New Delhi today.
Home Ministry has decided to increase the scope of this scheme to include e-Conference and e-Medical Attendant Visa also, he said.
Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on Immigration Visa Foreigners’ Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) at Kochi in southern state of Kerala on Friday, He underlined the importance of IVFRT and said at the home ministry “we need to facilitate safe and convenient entry inside the country to legitimate international travellers.
“We also need to provide all visa-related and consular services to foreigners staying in India in a faster and convenient mode”, an official statement quoted Singh as telling the meeting.
Singh, however, said the government has to keep in mind the security aspect while facilitating easier immigration and “there is a need to track the movement of foreigners already present in the country”.
Singh said the government will be focusing more on “e-visa which, according to him, has become “very popular among the foreigners.”
In 2015 the number of e-visas issued by India was 5,17,417 which increased to 19,01,309 in 2017. This year till July 5, 11,16,985 e-visas have already been issued, Singh said.
“The Home Ministry has now decided to increase the scope of this scheme to include e-Conference and e-Medical Attendant Visa also”, he added.
Giving the future projection of the e-visa scheme, Rajnath Singh said “it is expected that in few years time, the number of e-visas issued by the Home Ministry’s Bureau of Immigration would overtake the number of regular visas issued by all the Indian (diplomatic) Missions abroad.”
“We are increasing the number of Departure and Arrival counters at major airports as well as providing human resource to the Bureau of Immigration to fast-track the immigration process”, he said.
The IVFRT project has been implemented in 165 Indian diplomatic missions abroad and 91 immigration check-posts and biometrics software installation in 132 Indian missions has been done within the given time, Singh said.
India launched e-tourist visa scheme in 44 countries in November 2014 and it was later extended to 165 countries. The government has installed e-Visa processing facilities at 25 airports and five seaports in the country, the statement said adding that the home ministry is working to extend the e-visa scheme to more countries.
The extension of e-visa scheme is aimed at encouraging tourism, business travel and health tourism in the country. After the introduction of e-visa scheme, more than 90 per cent visas are issued within 72 hours of application submission.
India has also done away with embarkation and disembarkation cards for foreigners to streamline the immigration process.
The home ministry has also introduced e-Foreigners Registration Office services for those foreigners who are staying in India and who need services like visa extension, visa conversion, exit permit, registration, change of passport details, change of address and others.