The number of business travellers and medical tourists travelling to India from the United Arab Emirates will be increased now that Emiratis are being granted a visa on arrival when they enter the country.
The UAE is only the third such nation to have been given double-entry visas upon arrival in India, according to Abu Dhabi’s Indian Embassy last week.
The other two countries to have been given these visas are Japan and South Korea.
The new visas, which began to be issued last week, enable UAE residents to remain in India for as long as 60 days after they have arrived at airports in the likes of Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Before the new visas, UAE residents were allowed to put in applications for e-visas that allowed them to remain in India for up to 30 days.
Tourism firms say that the decision is an advantageous move for families who have relatives getting medical treatment in India as well as the business community, for whom the previous visa could sometimes be rather limiting.
Premjit Bangara, the general manager of Dubai’s Sharaf Travel, says that businessmen heading to India will see an increase in opportunities to check out and create new collaborations with Indian business partners.
The new visas provide greater flexibility for travel due to being multi-entry, allowing UAE visitors to India to leave whenever they want, according to Bangara.
Bangara adds that the new visas will also be supporting families wanting to take care of relatives who have gone to India for medical procedures.
The most popular destinations for UAE residents heading to India to undergo specialised surgeries are Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi.
Business travellers from the UAE, meanwhile, favour the likes of Mumbai, Coimbatore in southern India, and Nagpur in central India.
Bangara says that the two countries already have very strong relations and this is another helpful step that will foster interaction between people.
Around 1,500 visas from all categories were received by UAE residents in July, August and September this year, the Indian Embassy says.
The move to facilitate easier travel for UAE residents was made because of the strategic ties between the two nations and is intended to further strengthen trade and interpersonal links, according to an official with the embassy.
The last few years have seen increased ties between the UAE and India, with numerous new trade deals and bilateral visits being made by the nations’ leaders.
Ties between the two countries are the best in history, according to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.
The UAE will play an important part in realising India’s goal of having a $5tn economy within the next six years, with particular focus on the likes of ports, defence, food, airports and energy.
Anyone intending to travel to India from the UAE, or vice versa, will need to take out travel insurance coverage.
Taking out fully comprehensive travel insurance prior to such a journey offers financial protection from events such as cancelled flights and falling ill while away from home.