Sevenfold rise in e-visas issued to India

Energy Monday 22/January/2018 22:03 PM
By: Times News Service
Sevenfold rise in e-visas issued to India

Muscat: E-visas issued in Oman for travel to India have seen more than a sevenfold increase in a single year, according to data released by the Indian embassy.
The number of e-visas issued in 2017 numbered 35,920, up from 4,741 in 2016. The e-visas were issued to Omanis and other non-Indian nationals living in the Sultanate, travelling to India for business, tourism, or medical treatment.
However, the number of regular paper visas issued to India in the past year decreased by almost 30,000. Paper visas issued last year numbered 65,658, down from 95,134 in 2016.
As many as 1,703 more visas were issued in 2017 compared with 2016. The total number of visas issued was 99,875 in 2016, while it numbered 101,578 last year.
Moreover, the number of regular medical visas issued to India increased by over 22 per cent. The number of paper medical visas issued in 2017 was 24,575 compared with 20,104 in 2016, an increase of 4,471. In addition, e-medical visas were also issued, but the embassy does not have these numbers.
Indian Ambassador to Oman Indramani Pandey expressed happiness at the overall developments. He attributed the increase in the number of e-visas to the policy changes that were made early last year.
The Indian government has eased the rules and divided the e-visas into three categories: e-business, e-tourist, and e-medical visas.
The duration of stay in the country on e-visas was increased, apart from allowing multiple visits on the same visa. The ambassador said these “positive” changes were reflected in the spurt in the number of e-visas.
“We’re quite happy with the growing popularity of e-visas to India. Obviously, people are responding to this facility wherein one can apply for a visa from the comfort of their homes. Also, the initiative by this government to divide e-visas into three categories, and opening things up more, certainly helped,” he pointed out.
Ambassador Pandey stressed that the increase in the number of e-visas came down to trust in the system. “The trust of the people in the system has increased. They now know that if they apply for an e-visa here in Oman, it’ll be honoured in India. This includes tour operators too, who have taken to e-visas,” he added.
He called upon people to register for an e-visa if they wished to travel to India, as it is very easy to do. “The process is very simple, and you get your visa within four days,” he noted.
He said medical tourism was also being facilitated by e-visas. “India is known for quality healthcare. The fact that doctors deal with Omani patients with a sense of familiarity and friendliness also helps,” he said.