To facilitate hassle-free travel to India for foreigners, the government yesterday formally launched the e-FRRO (e-Foreigner Regional Registration Officer) scheme under which they can avail of various visa and immigration-related services online.
The e-FRRO scheme is going to provide fast and efficient services to foreigners visiting India so that they had a pleasant stay. The e-FRRO is a web-based application aimed to build a centralized online platform for the foreigners for visa related services.
Govt launches e-FRRO scheme to provide hassle-free travel for foreigners
Home minister Rajnath Singh on Friday launched the web-based application ‘e-FRRO’, which will allow foreign tourists/ travelers to avail of paperless and cashless visa-related services online while eliminating the need for any human interface.
The e-FRRO scheme is aimed at building a centralized, transparent online platform for foreigners to avail of visa-related services and to provide faceless, cashless and paperless services to the foreigners with the user-friendly experience, as per the statement of Singh.
As per the report, in 2017, more than one crore foreigners visited India and out of them, approximately 3.6 lakh had to visit FRRO offices spread across the country for various visa-related services.
How does the new scheme act?
The e-FRRO scheme would be a quantum jump towards improving the ease of service delivery with respect to foreigners visiting and staying in India. In the new system, foreigners will be able to get 27 visa and immigration-related services in India from the comfort of their place of stay.
Foreigners touring India will no longer need to visit the Foreigners Registration office or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRO/FRRO) for visa-related services, including registration and visa extension, which will now be offered online through the e-FRRO platform.
How the old scheme acts related to visa services?
# As of now, 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 different kinds 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.
What are the salient features of e-FRRO?
# Using e-FRRO application, foreigners can apply online on the portal and obtain the service through email/post without appearing in person at the FRO/FRRO office.
# The new scheme includes 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, registration, visa extension, visa conversion and exit permit.
# The necessary immigration, visa documents like registration permit/certificate (RP/RC), visa extension will be sent by post on the address mentioned in the online application. It will also be sent electronically to the foreigner to his/her registered email ID.
# In case of exigency, the foreigner can visit the FRRO/FRO office directly for grant of service.
What are the advantages of e-FRRO?
# 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, exclusive dashboard for the User-friendly experience.
# Uniform & Standardized Services across the Country.
What are major changes between current C-FRO (Centralized Foreigners Registration Office) system and e-FRRO ?
# In the current C-FRO system, the foreigner needs to take appointment online and visit FRRO/FRO office mandatorily whereas in the proposed e-FRRO system 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 the interview.
# In the current C-FRO system, endorsement in Passport and Signed/Stamped RC/RP given to the applicant whereas in the proposed e-FRRO system, no endorsement in Passport, digitally signed Immigration document, emphasis on online verification.
# At present C-FRO system, manual interface while in proposed e-FRRO, Online, Cashless, Paperless.
# In present C-FRO system, lack of expertise at FRO level in dealing with foreigners while in proposed e-FRRO, Uniform and Standardized services through FRROs under Bureau of Immigration, FROs to be consulted online by FRROs.
The e-FRRO scheme has been running successfully in four FRROs (Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai) since February 12, 2018. Now, it has been rolled out in Kolkata, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Lucknow and Ahmedabad.
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.