India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh speaks at the launch of the e-FRRO web portal, at a function, in New Delhi, April 13. Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and the Director, IB, Rajiv Jain are also seen. (PTI/PIB)

To facilitate hassle-free travel to India for foreigners, the government formally launched the e-FRRO scheme, April 13, under which they can avail of various visa and immigration related services online.

Launching the project, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said foreigners will be not be required to visit Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) or Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) offices anymore, unless specifically called upon.

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.

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, an official said.

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.

The necessary immigration, visa documents like registration permit, certificate, 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, the official said.

In case of exigency, the foreigner can visit the FRRO/FRO office directly for grant of service.

The Home Minister said his ministry has been constantly making endeavor to provide fast and efficient services to foreigners visiting India so that they have a pleasant experience during their stay here.

Singh said 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 user friendly experience.

It has been a constant endeavor of the ministry to provide fast and efficient services to foreigners visiting India so that they have a pleasant experience of their stay here, he said.

The e-FRRO (e-Foreigner Regional Registration Officer) was being implemented on pilot basis in four FRROs – Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai – from February 12. Today, it has been formally launched in eight more FRROs – Kolkata, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Cochin, Thrivananthapuram, Calicut, Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

The e-FRRO is a web-based application aimed to build centralized online platform for the foreigners for visa related services.

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.

For 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, exit permit etc.

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 e-FRRO scheme, the need for their physical visit to the FRRO office has 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. 1,400 crore since its launch in November 2014.