In an effort to make India a global hub for medicare, the Indian government has introduced a medical visa for foreigners seeking speciality treatment for extended periods.
To be open to residents of all countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Sri Lanka, those availing of the medical visa - with a validity of one year that can be extended for another year by the FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration Office) and thereafter by the Union home ministry - would, however, be required to register themselves with the local FRRO within 14 days of their arrival at the place of treatment here .
The medical visa would benefit foreigners seeking speciality treatment, both allopathic and in Indian systems of medicine, in recognized / registered hospitals or treatment centres.
Until now, such patients had to enter the country on a tourist visa, valid for barely six months and subject to extension by the Union home ministry alone, causing them tremendous inconvenience in case an extended treatment was needed.
As per the rules pertaining to medical visa, the applicant would have to produce exhaustive local medical documents about the nature of his ailment and satisfy the mission of the need for superior treatment in India. Though the list of ailments put down on paper is not exhaustive, those qualifying for a medical visa include neurosurgery, ophthalmic treatment, heart ailments, organ transplant, congenital defects, gene therapy, plastic surgery and joint replacement.
The medical visa would also require the applicant to produce documents pertaining to his communication with the hospital where he seeks to be treated during his stay in the country. The authorities have left it to the Indian missions abroad to sensitise the applicant on whether or not the hospital is reputed enough or has the requisite facilities, before granting him the medical visa.
The medical visa would grant three entries to the patient during its one-year validity period (it can be 4 in emergency cases). Not only this, it would also allow two attendants to accompany the patient at any given time on an ex-visa co-terminus with the medical visa. These attendants, however, would have to be the spouse, blood relation or child of the patient and would have to register themselves with the FRRO.
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