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MHA Relaxes Visa Procedure For Foreign Patients

To give a boost to the medical industry in India, the Ministry of Home Affairs has relaxed the visa procedure to avail medical treatment.

According to the recent revisions, foreigners with long-term visas of six months and more need not convert to medical visas for treatment of minor conditions which only requires outpatient consultation.

A medical certificate from a recognized hospital with information about the recommended treatment and its duration has to be submitted to the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) if the illness is sudden and the hospitalization of fewer than 180 days is required.

The FRRO can grant a medical permit of fewer than 180 days against a fee. In such cases, the primary visa will not be canceled. The government circular said foreign nationals on valid visas were facing difficulties in getting medical treatment in India when they fell ill and were being asked to convert these before being admitted to hospital. The changes are intended to facilitate such treatment.

The revisions will also be applicable to those holding short-term visas of less than six months with the following differences:

In cases of conversion of a short-duration visa into a medical visa, the primary visa will be canceled. On acquisition of a fitness certificate, the foreign national will be granted exit from the country.

However, Foreigners holding X1visas (person of Indian origin, children of an Indian citizen/OCI cardholder) and X2 visas (spouse of an Indian citizen/OCI cardholder) will be allowed to avail of treatment without converting their existing visas into medical visas and without seeking permission from the concerned FRROs. The ministries of tourism, health, and family welfare, as well as state and union territory administrations, have been asked to disseminate the information widely.

About Aakanksha Khajuria

The author can be contacted at aakankshakhajuria@gmail.com

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