India is among the main destinations for medical treatments. People travel from all around the world to India for treatment. If you are a foreign national, you need a valid medical visa for your travel. However, if you are a citizen of Nepal, Bhutan, or the Maldives, you can travel without a visa.
India introduced e-visa in November 2014. Nationals of more than 140 countries are eligible for e-visa. It made a big difference in the time taken to get the visa. Now, you will get e-visas within 2-3 days. This is great news for patients looking for treatment in India.
Those who are coming as attendants to the patients will get an e-Medical attendant visa. The visa will usually be valid for one year. However, you can stay only up to 90 days at a stretch.
If you are a US, UK, Canada, or Japan national, you can stay up to 180 days. The stay period and validity will be stated clearly in your visa.
What do I need to have before applying for the e-visa?
The process is easy. You need to have the following documents ready
A passport which has more than six (6) months validity
A letter from the hospital in India in its letterhead. The letter should mention the tentative dates of treatment, name, nationality and passport number of the patient and attendant
Photographs - It must be as per the below specifications
File size Minimum 10 KB Maximum 300 KB
The photo height and width must be equal
The photo should present a Full face, front view with eyes open
The background should be plain, light-colored, or white background
There should be no shadows on the face or the background
The photo should be without borders
Make sure that the photo presents full head from the top of the hair to the bottom of the chin. The dimensions should be 350 pixels (height) by 350 pixels (width)
How do I apply for the e-medical visa?
Once you have all the documents, you are ready to apply.
Connect to the visa application web site
Fill the details on the form online
Upload photographs and documents
Pay visa fees online
If everything is in order, you will get the visa on your email within 1-3 days.
Indian government's E-visa portal has all the information you will need about the visa process. Some of the most useful links are listed on the right side section for your easy reference.
Note: It is best to use only the e-visa portal for the e-visa application. There is also a telephone helpline(+91-11-24300666) and an email service (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
What do I do if I am not eligible for an e-medical visa?
If your country is not on the list of eligible countries for e-visa, you will have to go through the regular visa process. The steps are as below.
Fill the visa application form online on the visa portal
Print the completed application form and sign in the marked areas
Make sure that you get an invitation letter from the hospital in India in its letterhead.
Submit the application form, invitation letter at the nearest Indian embassy in your country.
Note: There may be additional documents and vaccinations needed in some cases. Check with the Indian embassy in your country for details.
A Checklist for medical travel to India
There are a few items that you must be aware of before your trip.
Select your hospital from among the best hospitals in India
It is always good to have a remote discussion (over phone or video) with the doctor before traveling.
Then, of course, air tickets and visas are mandatory for travel. It is best to have a return/onward ticket from India.
Another vital point is to have a confirmed hotel booking in India. Patients can stay in hospitals only during the treatment period. You will have to make arrangements for stay during the pre and post-hospitalization period. Thus, booking a proper hotel or serviced apartment is vital.
There will be daily trips between the place of stay and the hospital. So, it is best to have local travel arrangements made with local travel companies before travel itself.
Finally, having someone to meet you at the airport is a huge comfort factor. So make sure that there is someone who can take you to the hotel/hospital from the airport.
Now that you are ready for the travel, let us give you a list of 10 items that you should consider packing in your bags.
Valid Passport and Visa
Medical documents: All the latest reports, X-rays, scan reports must be with you. Don't forget to take the prescription slips as the doctor will know what medicines were prescribed to you before
Emergency contact numbers: Make sure that you note down the phone numbers of the hospital, your hotel, your doctor, etc. You will need to enter the address and phone number of your place of residence in the entry form on arrival.
Cash: You must carry some small amount of money for miscellaneous expenses like taxi rides. You can carry up to 25,000 INR in cash. While there is no limit on foreign currency, you may have to declare in customs on arrival in some cases. It is applicable if you carry currency that has value higher than USD 5,000 or if you have traveler's checks, which has a value higher than USD 10,000.
First aid kit: Items like Dettol, bandages, and gauges are good things to be packed.
Personal hygiene kit: Carry antiseptic creams, soaps, dental care kit, shampoos, insect repellents, etc.
Medication: Carry medicines for your medical condition as well as for common cold, cough, upset tummy, headaches, etc
Clothing and footwear: No matter what situation you are in, wearing loose, comfortable clothing and footwear can reduce a lot of discomfort.
Packaged Food items
Miscellaneous items: Do you have a favorite cushion that makes sleeping easier? Carry pillows, shawls, blankets, and other essentials that can ensure a comfortable stay
This article is written by Dr Padmakumar on 10 Mar 2020
BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)
Dr Padmakumar is a practising dentist with more than 18 years of experience. His core areas of interest are cosmetic dentistry and endodontics