The government of India has introduced a liberalised medical visa policy which will allow citizens to obtain medical treatment on other Indian visa types, such as the eVisa for tourism.
The Consulate General of India has confirmed that foreign citizens visiting the country on an Indian eVisa for other purposes will now be exempt from changing another visa to a medical visa in order to obtain certain treatment in the country.
The new visa policy will allow travelers in India to receive short-term indoor treatment for minor medical conditions and diseases during the validity of their approved visa for India. However, it will still be necessary to obtain a medical visa for India in order to undergo major operations and receive treatment for serious conditions in the country.
What Medical Treatment Can I Get on my India Visa?
Previously, Indian visa requirements stated that eligible foreign nationals were required to obtain a medical eVisa to enter India for any kind of medical treatment. To do so, it was necessary to first obtain a letter from the hospital of the intended treatment in India.
However, it is now possible for foreign citizens traveling on one of the other electronic visas for India, such as a tourist or business eVisa, to obtain certain types of medical treatment without having to change their visa type.
The new visa policy will allow holders of a visa for India who fall ill to obtain treatment in any hospital/medical treatment center hospital for up to 180 days, with the exception of Pakistani nationals.
The new policy applies to those who:
- Are suffering from a minor medical condition which only needs Out Patient Department consultation or treatment
- Had been suffering from a condition before entering India, but it had only come to light during diagnosis by a doctor in India, necessitating medical treatment in a hospital in India.
Conditions of Medical Care on an Indian eVisa
In order to receive medical care on a non-medical visa for India, it is necessary for:
- the foreign traveler to provide their details to the hospital/treatment center where they intend to receive care
- the hospital or treatment center to provide details of the treatment to be received, certified by the practicing doctor, to the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO), within 24 hours of admission of the foreign patient.
Hospital authorities may later provide the foreign patient with a copy of the confirmation from the FRRO stating that the treatment has been approved, to keep for their records.
For treatment periods expected to last over 180 days, foreign citizens with a non-medical Indian are still able to receive indoor medical care in India. However, the treatment must be carried out at an Indian government medical facility.
These could include:
- The Indian Council of Medical Research
- The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers
- The Medical Council of India
- Any Central Government Health Scheme-recognised hospital or treatment centre.
What Are the New Requirements for an Indian Medical Visa?
The new visa policy means that it is possible to travel to India and receive medical treatment even if medical care is not the primary purpose for the stay in the country.
Travelers who have minor medical conditions while in India will no longer be required to exchange their visa for a medical visa by obtaining a letter from a hospital and answering questions about their medical treatment.
However, the new visa policy for medical care does not cover treatment of serious diseases which require organ transplant. Such operations will only be permitted for foreign citizens with a valid approved medical visa for India.
How to Apply for an Indian Visa for Medical Treatment
Eligible citizens who require an Indian medical visa are able to apply through the simple online India eVisa application, which only takes a few minutes to complete with basic personal, passport, and travel data.
In addition to a letter from a hospital in India, and answering questions about the intended treatment, the applicant must also provide proof of sufficient funds to cover the stay in india, and confirmed return or onward flight tickets. These supporting documents can be supplied at the moment of application or at a later date.
The tourist and business eVisa types for India are only double-entry visas for India, while the medical treatment visa is a triple-entry visa for the country. Therefore, those who may need to enter India multiple times for medical appointments may benefit from obtaining the eVisa for medical treatment over one of the other India visa types.
An approved online medical visa for India allows a total stay of 60 days from the first date of entry of India, and it is possible to apply for the medical eVisa up to 3 times in a year. Those who wish to accompany a person traveling to India for medical care are also able to apply online for an India medical attendant visa.