India will ease the medical visa rules and go electronic. The change is part of a wider plan to increase Indian medical tourism by 10% a year –with the latest government figures showing a total of 184,298 in 2014,
After much criticism of the tedious medical visa process, India will change the rules soon.
For years, patients and hospitals have complained about the process where patients going to India have to wait for several weeks, visit embassies and obtain a certificate from the Indian hospital where they expect to undergo treatment. Currently, patients going to India for medical treatment have to seek online appointments from Indian missions that take several weeks or even a month. Besides the long wait, the patient is required to be physically present during the embassy interaction. The patient also has to furnish a prior tie-up certificate from the Indian hospital willing to treat him/her.
The change is part of a wider plan to increase Indian medical tourism by 10% a year –with the latest government figures showing a total of 184,298 in 2014, compared to 171,021 in 2012 and 236,898 in 2013.
After pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs has agreed to changes but no date has been set as for reasons that have not been made clear, the cannot be made until after the current session of Parliament
Applicants from nearly 150 countries eligible for e-tourist visas will be able to send online applications for medical visas with scanned copies of medical prescriptions from a government-accredited hospital of his/ her country. The applicant’s biometric details will be taken on arrival.
The visa relaxation follows the tourism ministry’s efforts to bring India to par with competing nations Thailand, Malaysia, Dubai and Singapore that offer visa on arrival.