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e-FRRO scheme launched for visa services online to foreigners visiting India

New Delhi: A web-based application ‘e-FRRO’ (e-Foreigners Regional Registration Office) for easing the procedures of the foreigners who visit India. The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has launched the application in New Delhi today. Speaking on the occasion Rajnath Singh said that it has been a constant endeavour of the Home Ministry to provide fast and efficient services to foreigners visiting India so that they have a pleasant experience of their stay here.

He said that the e-FRRO scheme is aimed at building a centralized, transparent online platform for the foreigners to avail visa related services and to provide Faceless, Cashless and Paperless services to the foreigners with a user-friendly experience. 

The e-FRRO scheme would be a quantum jump in improving the ease of service delivery with respect to foreigners visiting and staying in India. In the new system, foreigners would be able to get as many as 27 Visa and Immigration related services in India from the comfort of their place of stay. Using the e-FRRO application, foreigners can apply online on the portal and obtain the service(s) through email/post without appearing in person at the FRO/FRRO office.

It may be noted that the online services offered by E-FRRO scheme are not available even in some of the most advanced countries in North America and Europe.

In 2017, more than one crore foreigners visited India and out of them, approximately 3.6 lakhs had to visit FRRO offices spread across the country for various visa-related services. With the launch of the online e-FRRO scheme, their physical visit to the FRRO offices thus been obviated.

 The e-FRRO scheme has been implemented on the IVFRT platform with negligible extra expenditure, taking a cue from the already successfully running e-Visa scheme. It may be noted that the e-Visa scheme has earned revenue of more than Rs 1400 crores since its launch in Nov 2014.

Union Home Secretary Shri Rajiv Gauba, Director IB Shri Rajiv Jain, senior officials of MHA, NIC, MEA and Dept of Tourism were present on the occasion. 

In the present system, foreigners staying in India on Visa duration of more than 180 days have to get themselves registered with their respective FROs/FRROs. Similarly, foreigners requiring a different kind of visa related services such as Visa extension, Visa Conversion, Change of address, Change of Educational institutions, Exit permits etc are currently required to visit the FROs/FRROs office.

Some of the salient features of the e-FRRO include online FRRO Service delivery mechanism without the requirement of visiting FRRO/FRO Office barring exceptional cases. Using this application, foreigners are required to create their own User ID by registering themselves. Afterwards, they can apply online through registered User-ID for various Visa and Immigration related services in India viz. Registration, Visa Extension, Visa Conversion, Exit Permit etc.

The necessary Immigration/Visa document e.g. Registration Permit/Certificate (RP/RC), Visa Extension Certificate etc will be sent by post to the address mentioned in the online application. It would also be electronically sent to the foreigner to his registered email ID. In case of exigency, the foreigner can visit the FRRO/FRO office directly for grant of service.

e-FRRO has already been implemented and is running successfully as a pilot project in four FRROs (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai) since February 12, 2018. Now it has been rolled out in the remaining eight FRROs, namely Kolkata, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut, Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

Advantages of e-FRRO include facilitation of legitimate foreigners through “Digital India” vision of the Government, foreigners need not visit FRRO/FRO office – “Services from the comfort of home”, convenient and Time-saving, an exclusive dashboard for User-friendly experience and Uniform & Standardized Services across the Country.

Major changes w.r.t. current C-FRO (Centralized Foreigners Registration Office) system and e-FRRO are as under:-

Current C-FRO System

Proposed “e-FRRO”

A foreigner needs to take appointment online and visit FRRO/FRO office mandatorily. 

  • There would not be any requirement of mandatorily visiting FRRO/FRO office. However, in certain exceptional cases, the foreigner will be intimated to visit the FRRO / FRO on scheduled date and time for an interview.

Endorsement in Passport and Signed/Stamped RC/RP given to the applicant.

  • No endorsement in Passport.
  • Digitally signed Immigration document.
  • Emphasis on online verification.

Manual Interface

  • Online, Cashless, Paperless

Lack of expertise at FRO level in dealing with foreigners.

  • Uniform and Standardized services through FRROs under Bureau of Immigration.
  • FROs to be consulted online by FRROs.

 

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