The governments of Maldives and India, on Monday, signed the Agreement on the Facilitation of Visa Arrangements.
A signing ceremony was held in the office of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On behalf of Maldives, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid signed the contract, while Shushma Swaraj signed on behalf of the Indian Government.
Benefits from the new VISA agreement include:
1. A 90-day visa will be issued for Maldivians travelling to India for medical, leisure or business related purposes. Such visas will be issued once per every 6-month period.
2. If an individual visiting India on a tourist visa requires medical treatment, they can attain a medical visa without having to travel back to Maldives. In such cases, family members can apply for medical attendant visas.
3. For long-term medical treatment in India, the Indian embassy located in Maldives may issue visas valid up to a one-year period. In such cases, two caretakers will be issued medical attendant visas.
4. Multiple entry student visas will be issued to students for the duration of their chosen courses.
5. Parents can qualify for multiple entry visas to visit their underage children studying in India.
6. Dependent visas and elderly dependent visas will be issued to underage children or elderly parents of Maldivian students in India.
7. In addition to elderly dependent visas, students carrying out research or pursuing higher education in India will be allowed to bring spouses on family visas.
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid had previously stated that the visa agreement is among the most lenient visa policies India has ever opted for and that it will ease difficulties faced by Maldivians travelling to India.
In addition to the new visa regulations, several other agreements were also reached during President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s three-day state visit to India, including:
- Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation.
- Memorandum of Understanding for establishing Mutual Cooperation to Improve the Ecosystem for Agribusiness.
- Joint Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the field of Information, and Communications Technology and Electronics.
While this is President Solih’s first trip abroad after assuming office, he was accompanied by a high level delegation from Maldives.
The President’s entourage comprises of Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer, Minister of National Planning and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Aishath Nahula, Minister of Economic Development Fayyaz Ismail, senior government officials, and a business delegation.
So far, Solih has visited Maldivians residing in India and met with Indian investors and businessmen regarding investment opportunities in the island nation.
The aim of the state visit is to improve bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries, in the areas of defence, economic issues and visa arrangements.