The Indian Embassy in Oman has released figures from 2016 showing that the number of travellers issued visas to journey to India for medical reasons rose over 100% from 2015 to 2016.
The Indian ambassador to Oman, Indra Mani Pandey, explained the reasons people were travelling to India for medical procedures and treatment. She described India as having an excellent reputation for healthcare. Indian doctors are well educated and known for their experience and competence. The cost of healthcare in India is also much lower than in other countries.
Doctors from India currently working in Oman said that for many oncology, neurology and gastroenterology treatments, and doctors, in Indian hospitals were better than those in Oman. These doctors are referring some patients who require specialist assistance for treatments in India.
In 2015 the Indian Embassy issued 5255 medical visas and 3,902 medical attendant visas. In 2016 they issued 11,613 medical visas and 8,491 medical attendant visas.
Tourist visas declined from 83,959 to 72,768 in 2016. In 2016 900 business visas were issued. The government of India announced changes in visa rules for business, tourism and other purposes to encourage more Omani citizens to visit India. E-tourist visas are available for recreation and sight-seeing. E-business visas for business activities, and e-medical visas for those travelling to India for medical treatment.
The duration from the issue that a visa can be used has been extended for these e-visas from 30 days to 120 days. Which means the visa holder can now travel within a 120 period. The duration of stay has also been extended from 30 days to 60 days and for the medical visas, an extension may be granted for up to 6 months in certain circumstances. The Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) are responsible for granting extensions. The e-business and e-tourist visas can be used twice for entry to India for the duration of the visa. The e-medical visa can be used three times for entry. Travelers can visit India for three times on a single e-medical visa.