An online system for grant of security clearance to international conferences, seminars and workshops organized in India was launched here today by the home ministry, an official statement said.

This will enable the Indian missions abroad to issue conference visas to foreign nationals or delegates intending to attend such events organized by a ministry or department of the government of India, state governments or UT administrations, public sector undertakings, central educational institutions, public funded universities or private institutions or NGOs.

However, prior reference is required to be made to the home ministry before granting conference visas to foreigners participating in conferences, seminars, workshops etc. in India if the participants are nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Sudan or foreigners of Pakistani origin or Stateless persons, the statement said.

Prior reference is also required if the participants of conferences are required to visit ‘Restricted’ or ‘Protected’ areas in India, or areas affected by terrorism, militancy and extremism like Jammu and Kashmir and the North Eastern States, other than Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

The online portal launched by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba.

With the introduction of the online module, Gauba said the whole process has become paperless and standardized resulting in effective monitoring and timely disposal. Various officials involved in the process can access the online application and documents and take a proper decision to facilitate the organizers and participants of such conferences, he said.

The home secretary complimented officials of the foreigners division of the ministry for bringing out recently several successful initiatives relating to FCRA, FRRO, OCI etc that made the work processes faster, transparent and paperless.

He urged them to continue to work in the same direction.

Obtaining clearances for organizing a conference, issue of conference visa to foreign delegates was an offline procedure till now.

The organizers were required to apply for the clearances in physical forms along with documents. The processing of event clearance was also an offline procedure. Clearances were being issued by the ministry in a physical format.

Indian missions are authorized to issue conference visas to delegates on production of an invitation to a conference being organized in India.