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GOVERNMENT MOVES SWIFTLY TO IMPLEMENT VISA SCHEMES

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, made a number of announcements on consular and visa issues during his address at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on September 28th, 2014. The Union Government has moved swiftly to implement these announcements.

According to a Gazette notification issued on September 30th, 2014, all PIO cards are now valid for the lifetime of the cardholder, instead of 15 years. This effectively fulfils the Prime Minister`s announcement that PIO cardholders would enjoy a lifelong visa to India.

Further, following the Prime Minister`s announcement that PIO cardholders would be exempt from police reporting, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued instructions through the same Gazette notification dated September 30th, that PIO cardholders would not be required to report to a police station even if their visit to India exceeds 180 days.

Fulfilling yet another announcement made by the Prime Minister, instructions have been issued to Embassies and Consulates that unless there are exceptional circumstances, visas to US nationals should normally be given for 10 years.

Systems are in place to introduce visa on arrival for US tourists in October itself.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is working on a new scheme that will merge the PIO and OCI schemes.

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