Visa liberalisation between India and Maldives

Based on inputs by Shahid Kazi

From March 11, some visa liberalisation between India and Maldives, which will come into effect. These were signed during Maldives President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India in December last year.

As per sources said that many citizens from Maldives send their children to study in India, mostly in and around Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru. Earlier India did not grant dependent visas to parents who wished to stay in India while their children studied. This in turn would mean that parents would have to come on a tourist visa, return to Maldives before the 90-day period expired, and then apply for visas again.

Similarly, those seeking medical consultation in India would earlier come on a tourist visa-on-arrival. If, after consulting a doctor, they needed to stay back for medical treatment, they could not convert these tourist visas into medical visas. So, they would go back to Maldives and re-apply for medical visas. “Now, that conversion has been allowed in India, and they can bring attendants as well,” said the source.

For Indian professionals and workers, their work permits or employment visas were not getting cleared on a regular basis earlier. “Now, with the liberalisation, the prospective employer in Maldives will have to do the paperwork, pay the fees and it will be done in 15 days, either way. The Indian professionals won’t have to pay the fees here and wait indefinitely for the permit. The Maldives authorities will take a decision within 15 days,” said the source.

Earlier, Indian businessmen had to apply for separate business visas, for which they needed letters of invitation from a businessman in Maldives. “Now, they can go and do business on the visa-on-arrival in Maldives,” the source said.

For Maldives, India is a preferred destination for education, medical treatment, recreation and business. The number of Maldivians seeking long term visas for pursuing higher studies and medical treatment has shown a sharp increase over the last two years.