India... surge in medical visa numbers


India has seen a huge jump in the number of medical visas for patients and their companions. The number of medical visas given in 2014 was 134,344, compared to 75,671 in 2014. The first six months of 2016 saw 96,856 medical visas issued. The number of medical visas issued by India in 2013 was 56,129 and that increased to 75,671 in 2014.

This follows the online tourist visa scheme that was initiated in 2013 and has gradually been increased to 150 countries.

The highest number of patients in 2015 came from Bangladesh (68,034) followed by Afghanistan (19,644), Nigeria (5,765), Iran (5,656) and Oman (4,728.) The figures under medical visa category include patients and their attendants, so the numbers cannot be equated with number of medical tourists.

The steady increase in the number of medical visas is partly due to a tightening up of the system so more medical tourists have to use a medical visa rather than a normal visa, and partly due to an increase in medical tourist numbers.

The figures do not tell the whole story as many medical tourists still go to India using normal travel visas.



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