Maldives, India ink new visa pact to ease travel

Maldives on Monday signed a new visa agreement with neighbours India as the two countries looked to reset ties after the recent downturn.

The agreement was signed between Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during a high-level meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the new agreement will address the common concerns and ensure that people-to-people contacts are enhanced.

President Solih hailed the agreement as one which will facilitate many Maldivians who send their children to school in India, to be able to accompany them.

Summary of the visa facilitation agreement

  • 90-day visa for medical and business purposes.
  • Maldivian tourists can change visa to a medical visa without having to leave the country.
  • Maldivians can get medical visa up-to 12 months.
  • Multiple entry student visa.
  • Parents of Maldivian students studying an entry would get multiple entry visa.
  • Relaxed criteria for parents and children of students.

Both leaders emphasised the need to ensure seamless movement of people between both countries.

In addition to the visa facilitation agreement, the two countries had also inked three other pacts ranging from cultural cooperation, agribusiness and ICT.