Visa regime changed to help foreigners

Visa regime changed to help foreigners

(File Photo for representation)

Foreigners from now on need not convert their original visa to a medical visa for treatment for 180 days even for pre-existing diseases before their entry into India, with the government announcing liberalising the visa regime.

However, this facility is not available for an organ transplant.

This was announced by the Ministry fo Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday following reports that foreign nationals were facing trouble in the country while approaching hospitals after falling ill in the country during their stay in India, with some hospitals advising them to get their visas converted into medical visas before admitting them.

Last year, the government had exempted foreigners from getting their primary visa converted into medical visa for obtaining indoor treatment up to 180 days for seeking admission in a hospital for falling ill in the country.

"Now, the government has further liberalised the medical visa regime and permitted foreigners to get the indoor treatment on their primary (original) visa even for pre-existing diseases (except in cases of organ transplant) which the foreigner may have been suffering from even before his/her entry into India," a senior Ministry of Home Affairs said.

Officials said a foreigner suffering from a minor medical condition, which needs only out patient department (OPD) consultation may take treatment at any hospital on their primary visa.

As per the new changes, the indoor treatment may now be taken on primary (original) visa irrespective of the fact that the diseases, which the foreigner may have been suffering from even before his/her entry into India and even for ailments which were in their knowledge.

"Treatment of diseases, which require organ transplant shall, however, be permitted only on a medical visa," the official said. 

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