In an attempt to boost tourism numbers to India, the home ministry is considering introducing new visas for Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) nationals that would allow them to stay in India for 5-10 years.
According to the Economic Times, regions such as Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei would be able to apply for multiple entry long-term Indian visas lasting 5-10 years.
Further, the ministry is considering new Indian visas for selected 18 countries including the US, the UK, Germany, France and Japan, which would allow visa approvals on arrival.
The ministry is trying to boost the tourism industry, particularly after it took a massive knock from the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
"The home ministry does not have any major disagreement over allowing long-term visas to ASEAN countries. It is, however, apprehensive on granting visa-on-arrival due to security concerns," an official from the home ministry said.
A decision regarding the visa-on-arrival for 18 countries has been pending for some time now; however, ministry has approved a pilot visa agreement with a few countries offering reciprocity.
"Extraordinary situation requires extraordinary solution. The foreign tourist arrival has already started falling and the trend needs to be checked," the official added.
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in India visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.