Maldives – India mutual easing of visa restrictions expected with President’s visit

President Abdulla Yameen’s much anticipated visit to India will resolve delays in obtaining medical visas, reports ‘Haveeru’.

Referring to an unnamed source, Haveeru confirmed the arrangement will be announced during the visit in January.

Previously, Maldivians traveling to India for medical treatment were granted on-arrival tourist visa. However visa restrictions were imposed last year during strained diplomatic relations with India under President Dr. Mohamed Waheed’s administration.

Last week Indian High Commission relaxed the procedure for issuing medical visa, accepting applications directly till 12pm everyday, allowing people to submit their documents without staying in a queue with tokens. The High Commission also annoucned the visa processing duration will be also be shortened in a near future.

The issue of medical visa was dicussed with indian officials during Defense Miniister Nazim’s recent trip to India as well. Nazim also confirmed the issue will be further discussed druing the Pressident’s visit.

Meanwhile ‘The Economic Times’ had reported that Maldives might be relaxing consular and visa restrictions and amend foreign investment laws to encourage more investments from India

Earlier this year India issued a list of consular grievances that affected the India-Maldives relations. The issue of collecting visa fees from all Indians and high penalties for delays in visa renewal, and the requirement of a letter from Indian High Commission for granting dependent visa for elderly parents of Indian employees in Maldives were among them.

President Yameen’s first visit abroad was prompted by an invitation from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.