Friday, September 05, 2014

Red tape cut for foreign students planning to extend stay in India

Foreign students studying in India stand to gain as the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has empowered Foreigner Registration Offices (FROs) to extend the validity of student visas. Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday approved the delegation of more powers to the FROs.

Currently, about 93,300 foreign students are studying in India. The FROs can now extend validity of student visa and of provisional student visa for up to six months. They can also grant additional entries on student visa over and above three entries per academic year.

The FROs have also been given the power to cancel visas in case a foreigner discontinues study and wants to leave India voluntarily. They can also now convert entry visa to student visa as well as student visa to entry visa on marriage to an Indian national. 

Earlier, these powers were with the foreigners' division of the MHA. "The delegation was done with a view to ensuring that services to foreign students already in India are further streamlined," an official statement of the MHA said.

Roll out of the Information Technology-based Mission Mode Project of Immigration, Visa, Foreigners' Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) would enable greater delegation of powers as all transactions and decisions are recorded in the online system for any future review or audit. Greater use of IT has allowed facilitation of legitimate travellers while strengthening security, the statement said.

Source: The Times of India, September 5, 2014

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