Indian Govt Launches Online Platform Offering Visa Services to Foreigners
Foreigners visiting India would now be able to get 27 visa and immigration-related services online.
Foreigners visiting India will no longer be required to visit the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) for services associated with visa. These services will now be offered to them online via the web-based application e-FRRO (e-Foreigners Regional Registration Office) platform. The scheme was launched by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on April 13 to provide visa services to foreigners coming to India in a fast and efficient manner.
“The e-FRRO scheme is aimed at building a centralized, transparent online platform for foreigners to avail visa related services and to provide faceless, cashless and paperless services to the foreigners with a user-friendly experience,” Singh said in a statement.
The FRRO tracks applicants coming in and going out of India. The offices function like a division of a police department, where the applicant was earlier required to come in person to register.
Foreigners can now create their own user ID by registering themselves, and they can then apply online for various visa and immigration related services in India, including registration, visa extension, visa conversion, and exit permit.
The e-FRRO initiative has already been implemented and is running successfully as a pilot project in four centers –Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai — since Feb. 12 this year. It has now been rolled out in the remaining eight FRROs — Kolkata, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut, Lucknow and Ahmedabad.
No facilitation is required by any intermediary, agents or any other person for the e-FRRO scheme since it involves online application submission and document upload.
In the present system, foreigners staying in India on visa duration of more than 180 days have to get themselves registered with their respective FRROs, according to the home ministry.
“The e-FRRO scheme would be a quantum jump in improving the ease of service delivery with respect to foreigners visiting and staying in India. In the new system, foreigners would be able to get as many as 27 visa and immigration related services in India from the comfort of their place of stay,” the statement said. Foreigners can apply online on the portal using the e-FRRO application, and obtain the services through email or post without appearing in person at the FRRO office.
Over one crore foreigners visited India in 2017, out of which around 3.6 lakh people had to visit FRRO offices across the country for various visa-related services, according to the statement.