'Working to extend tourist visa up to one year': Minister

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the government is making arrangements to extend the visa period facilitated to tourists for up to one year.

Speaking to AVAS, Minister Mausoom said the government's target is to allow tourists to stay in the Maldives for longer periods. Tourists who are older in age is a market that has high potential, and such tourists do not wish to frequently move from one place to the other, said the minister. Due to the current regulations, the full benefits from the specific market cannot be tapped, said the minister.

Minister Mausoom said changes must be brought to the current immigration laws to extend the visa period given to tourists. Although one-year visas are facilitated, on-arrival visas will continue to be issued as three-month visas, said the minister.

"The Controller of Immigration decides the duration for which a visa can be extended after the initial three-month period. For this, changes have to be brought to the laws. Even up to an year is fine. I believe it is best to extend the visa duration by 30 days at a time up to 270 days in total after the initial three-month on arrival visa expires. Those who travel to the Maldives on a tourist visa will not be allowed to seek employment in the Maldives in that duration," the minister wrote in a Facebook post.

According to the current regulations, those arriving from Russia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh receive a 90-day visa on arrival in the Maldives. Tourists from other countries receive a 30-day on arrival visa.