The Union Home Ministry on Friday announced that foreigners visiting India can avail treatment, except organ transplant, anywhere in the country without obtaining a medical visa.
The ministry said in a statement that indoor treatment may now be taken on primary (original) visa for pre-existing diseases, which the foreigner may have been suffering from even before his or her entry into India and for ailments that were in his or her knowledge.
The decision has been taken as some foreigners, who are already in India on valid visas, were facing difficulties in availing medical treatment in the event of their falling sick during their stay.
They were being advised by some hospitals or medical centres to get their visas converted into medical visas before getting admitted, the statement said.
The Home Ministry said a foreigner suffering from a minor medical condition, which needs only OPD consultation or treatment, may take treatment at any hospital or treatment centre on his or her primary visa.
In case of indoor medical treatment of less than 180 days or up to the stay stipulation period, if any, stipulated on primary visa of a foreigner or the duration of his or her primary visa, whichever is earlier, a foreigner is permitted to take such indoor medical treatment subject to certain conditions, it said.
Treatment of diseases that require a organ transplant shall, however, be permitted only on a medical visa.
The central government had already revised the procedure last year, exempting foreigners from getting their primary visa converted into medical visa for obtaining indoor treatment of up to 180 days for seeking admission in a hospital wing owing to illness.
"Now, the government of India has further liberalised the medical visa regime and permitted foreigners to get the indoor treatment on their primary (original) visa even for pre-existing diseases (except in cases of organ transplant), which the foreigner may have been suffering from even before his or her entry into India," it said.